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Mix Suggestion: The Love Mix

As you may have noticed, the Interactive Mix Project has lay fallow for the better part of a year at this point, but Cole Bozman has come to the rescue! He's not only suggesting a new theme for you all to create mixes around (being in love), but he's supplying the sample mix himself, complete with its own introduction! This frees me up to spend more time pursuing my interest in wandering around the neighborhood with my garage door opener, seeing how many other garages are on my frequency, and irking the people in whose proximity I have to live. As such, I owe Cole a tremendous debt of gratitude. Herewith, enjoy Cole's love mix, and again, submit your own if you've got a hankerin'! I'll try to do one of my own soon, but Cole's is probably more entertaining anyway. -Willie

"The Boyfriend Mix"
by Cole Bozman

There's really not many things in the world that are better than falling in love. A really, really good song might come close. But the feeling that you're really worth something and there really is someone out there for you is pretty much unparalleled in the otherwise cruel world in which we live. And the other benefit of falling in love is you get to annoy all your friends about it. That's probably the best test of a relationship's strength, really -- if your friends (you know, the close ones who don't lie to you) can still stomach your relationship after bothering them about it, you've probably got something that will last a while.

I know, I'm babbling. But really, it's hard for me not to when I think of how absolutely fucking lucky I am to have found such a wonderful guy. I am eternally grateful to Television Without Pity for providing the forum (no pun intended) by which I could meet my boyfriend. I'm sure you're not at all interested in this, but I've got to put something down here. Anyway, this is a mix CD I sent him (geeks in love!) which contains a number of love-themed songs, both serious and not. Actually, more slanted towards the "not" side, since I didn't want it to be a sappy bunch of melodrama.

Oh, also, many thanks to Chris Willie Williams for providing several of these tunes and somewhere I could post this thing. (I guess I could've done it on my site, but that would require me to update it.)

1. Massive Attack - Protection [7:51] Of course, the problem with popular songs is that there are so few love songs that don't involve the whole boy/girl thing, which, y'know, kinda doesn't work in this case.

2. Refreshments - European Swallow [4:32] The chorus is kind of pertinent to my current (and seemingly perpetual) jobless status. Otherwise it's just a catchy, if goofy, modern rock song. Doesn't their singer sound a lot like the guy from the Gin Blossoms?

3. Flaming Lips - Can't Get You Out of My Head [4:07] It's great how the Lips can take a crappy dance-pop song and make it good. And now the genders match up correctly!

4. Jazz Butcher Conspiracy - Whaddya? [4:46] This song got stuck in my head when I realized I was falling for said guy.

5. Cardigans - Carnival [3:37] I'm not entirely sure what drove me to pick this, other than the fact that it's the best song off of Life.

6. Air - Sexy Boy [4:58] The only song I put on here solely to make a facetious comment via the title. Actually, it's not a bad song, which kind of surprised me when Willie sent me the album, because whenever the video would play it annoyed me. Go figure.

7. The Dukes of Stratosphear - You're My Drug [3:18] You know, I've never liked the Byrds, but of course they didn't have Andy Partridge writing for them. Again with the theme. Do I have to spell it out for you?

8. Beulah - Gene Autry [3:35] This has nothing to do with the theme, it's just an incredibly catchy track from The Coast is Never Clear.

9. Fountains of Wayne - Red Dragon Tattoo [3:32] Inside joke. Move along.

10. Queen - Crazy Little Thing Called Love [2:43] Yeah, as if this wasn't gay enough already.

11. Ween - I'll Be Your Jonny on the Spot [2:00] Nothing says "love" like Ween, right?

12. They Might Be Giants - She's an Angel [2:37] Again with the gender thing, but yeah. "Ana Ng" might've been appropriate too, but we're not that far apart.

13. Theme from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine [2:00] Seeing as how we met via a shared love of Star Trek, and we both know that DS9 is the best of the series, this seemed like an obvious choice.

14. Goo Goo Dolls - Iris [4:53] I'm sure there have been thousands of mix tapes given to SOs that include this song, but that doesn't mean it's not a good choice.

15. Syd Barrett - Love You [2:29] Again with the romance. Nobody has a way with a ballad like the crackpot ex-Floyd singer.

16. Cracker - Sweet Potato [3:16] You GET it already, right?

17. Tahiti 80 - 1,000 Times [3:49] This isn't really in with the theme, I just find the whole idea of indie-disco amusing.

18. Reindeer Section - Cartwheels [4:07] I'll be damned if I can figure out the lyrics to this song, I just like the chorus.

19. Pet Shop Boys - Where the Streets Have No Name [4:32] This is my standard mix tape song -- it goes great just before the last track. And in my mind it has eclipsed the original U2 song.

20. Lifehouse - Everything [6:07] One off-hand comment about me not wanting to seem too codependent led to it being a running joke for a while. I don't care how it sounds, this is how I feel, and if people don't like it, screw them.

"Don't Tell Me My Business, Devil Woman!"
by Willie

It's hard coming up with a Love Mix when you've sworn off love, but I'll give it a go. Especially since I've "sworn off" love only because it's easier to pretend that you've chosen a love-free life than to admit to oneself that it's been thrust upon you. Obviously, the track list would probably vary depending on my love interest's interests. (Though probably not by much, as I have a tendency to make mixes that I think people should like, rather than ones that reflect what they actually do like. If she wants to hear, say, "It's True That We Love One Another" by the White Stripes, she can listen to it on her own time.) However, I'm going to assume that any girl I would be with would have a similar taste in music to mine and also have as black a sense of humor, because, well, things probably wouldn't last more than a few hours otherwise.

As long as we're on the subject, I should also let you know that, over at Excellent Online, they've put together a similar, love-themed compilation for you all to check out. It's two discs' worth of MP3s you can actually download- (almost) all specially commissioned, otherwise unreleased songs from great bands like Of Montreal and Bravecaptain (ex-Boo Radley)- for free, and it's incredibly cool. The compilation is called Flirt, and you can check it out here. If you like sweet indie-pop, this is a treasure trove.

Anyway, here goes everything:

1. Neil Hamburger- "Dentists" (1:47) Two minutes of poor Neil talking to a Malaysian audience who doesn't understand a word he's saying ("Habla Ingles?!"), and venting about his ex-wife, who is marrying a dentist after being divorced from Neil for only two years! "It's a real step down: from being married to the life of the party, to being married to a man who snuffs life out! What the hell?" Makes me double over with laughter every time I hear it, so I assume it'll make her smile as well.

2. Pernice Brothers- "Weakest Shade of Blue" (3:08) A perfect, poppy love song full of trepidation. Joe Pernice's voice is both searching and apologetic, explaining that his feelings are both "ruinous and true" over perhaps the best guitar-based hook since... the previous Pernice Brothers record. It should cause any heart to smirk and then melt.

3. R.E.M.- "The One I Love" (3:17) I included this one basically as a compatibility test, to see if she gets the joke. If she's the girl for me, upon hearing this song on the mix, she will jokingly throw a pillow at me and call me a bastard for including it. It's an ugly, ugly song. But funny, in this context! I hope!

4. Buzzcocks- "Love You More" (1:49) A concise, subtly codependent mission statement to remain with one's lover no matter what. "So why would I cry if you ever left me? Maybe 'cause you're all I'm living for!" But set to an undeniably infectious and celebratory punk tune that captures the genuine joy of giving your heart to someone.

5. Rutles- "With a Girl Like You" (1:53) A simultaneous parody of and tribute to the Beatles, Neil Innes's sweet replica of the Fab Four's early days (bigger Beatles fans than I could surely identify the very song this is based on) makes a great substitute for an actual Beatles song on this mix. She's heard all the Beatles' songs a million times anyway, so why not give her something new?

6. Hem- "Sailor" (3:02) It's hard to make out the murmured lyrics on this piano-and-strings ballad, but Hem's typically warm arrangement and gentle, gorgeous melody would be wrenching even if the words were taken straight from Mein Kampf. A good song to cuddle to, I'd imagine.

7. Andy M. Stewart and Manus Lunny- "Take Her in Your Arms" (4:06) A pithy, addictive Irish drinking song about romantic obsession and failure that's both incredibly sweet and resigned. I love the bittersweet tin whistle work on here, and it'd be fun to sing along with in the car on a date.

8. Neil Finn- "Astro" (3:46) I'll admit that I don't always understand Neil's lyrics- and this song is no exception- but his music is so consistently sexy that it doesn't matter. With carnival keyboards and an ominously swaying vocal line leading into a sad anthem of a chorus, listening to this song is like making out with your dream lover while on a perfect gin buzz.

9. Barbara Manning- "Here Comes Love" (2:50) Set to a bossa nova-or-Latin-or-otherwise non-4/4 beat that I can't identify because my sole Music Appreciation class was five years ago, this is a guilelessly cheerful indie-pop song that, as written by ex-Young Marble Giant Stuart Moxham and sung by Ms. Manning, should get even non-dancing couples bouncing merrily 'round the room together.

10. The Postal Service- "Such Great Heights" (4:26) I defy you to come up with a pop quotation that's more charming and eloquent than "I'm thinking it's a sign that the freckles in our eyes are mirror images, and when we kiss, they're perfectly aligned." The best part is, Ben Gibbard's wide-eyed vocals and Jimmy Tamborello's weightless, kitschy-yet-modern synths can make you feel like you and your lover really are hovering miles above the earth, in a Glenda the Good Witch-style bubble.

11. Chet Baker- "Let's Get Lost" (3:45) Including a jazz song makes you seem all intellectual and cultured, doesn't it? Doesn't it?! Seriously, though, Mr. Baker crooned some of the most romantic songs ever written, and this may be near the top of the list- an ode to shutting out the rest of the world and simply vanishing into thin air with your paramour. That's my fantasy! Awesome piano-trumpet backing here, too.

12. Robyn Hitchcock- "I Something You" (2:35) Okay, time for a little subtle irony. From Storefront Hitchcock, this live acoustic-pop track playfully bites you if you try to find romantic meaning in it. ("In the twilight of this world, you are my Dutch-Australian-Hungarian-Jewish girl...") It's there, though, and it's worth bearing the teeth marks for. Builds character, anyhow.

13. Soul Coughing- "Lazybones" (4:48) Yes, it's a song about an alcoholic who's in love with a heroin addict, but what relationship isn't a little bit self-destructive? More importantly, what relationship couldn't use a line like "If I could stay here under your idle caress and not exit to the world and phoniness and people..."? Or a line like "The cameraman sways to remember how the eye dances"? Or any of Mike Doughty's other dark poetry contained herein? "Lazybones" never commits to being either hopeful or hopeless, but either way, it's a funky acknowledgement of both the dangers and treasures of love.

14. The Incredible Moses Leroy- "Beep Beep Love" (2:56) This driving, winking cover of Gruppo Sportivo's new wave gem bounces and writhes with the confidence of a first date that you know is going to end in getting some action. Screw blood tests!

(This is getting kind of dark, isn't it? Alright...)

15. Magnetic Fields- "Let's Pretend We're Bunny Rabbits" (2:25) Hee! Leave it to Stephin Merritt's juxtaposition of high and low humor ("Let's do it all day long/Let abbots, Babbitts, and Cabots say Mother Nature's wrong...") to lighten the mood. Literate, lo-fi pop is the panacea for any cynicism.

16. Dump- "Everlasting Love" (3:02) James McNew's apartment-based, E-Bow-driven cover of Robert Knight's soul classic adds a certain yearning intimacy to the mix without sacrificing the original's tuneful confidence. It is, after all, everlasting love!

17. Simon & Garfunkel- "Bridge Over Troubled Water" (4:52) As I recently told CosmicBen, I think if we were to broadcast Simon & Garfunkel's music to other planets, to aliens who had no concept of "music" to begin with, even they would find it gorgeous. Anyone who can listen to this song and not wind up weeping has no soul. Once again, I'm not sure that I'm fully cognizant of Paul's intent in writing this, but I take it as a statement of unwavering devotion, and that's something I would probably want to express to a girlfriend. (My mom used to sing me this song every night when I was little, so make of that what you will, Freud, but it always makes me cry regardless.)

18. Odds- "We'll Talk" (4:16) A quiet caress of a song. Vibes, bass, and brushed drums, and that's about it for this song of considerate, tentative attraction. To paraphrase a famous review of Don Juan DeMarco, if you can't get laid after playing this song, you can't get laid.

19. Mitch & Mickey- "A Kiss at the End of the Rainbow" (2:31) From an ironic perspective, this song is hilarious. From a genuine perspective, this song is about as heartfelt as you can get. And if you've seen A Mighty Wind, from which this tune was taken, you'll be able to appreciate it on both levels. An autoharp, too!

20. The dB's- "Big Brown Eyes" (2:01) See, this is an instance where I'll assume that my future girlfriend (Hello, my future girlfriend!) has certain physical characteristics. Specifically, big brown eyes. But you know what? Even if she don't (despite my natural predilection for brunettes, and using redneck grammar for no reason other than drunkenness), this shoulda-been-a-classic jangle-pop tune is a sweet-and-sour treat. Hyphens. Hyphens!

21. NRBQ- "Rain at the Drive-In" (3:11) I don't think there are any drive-ins left in metro Detroit, but if there were, you can bet this boppy song would encourage me and Imaginary, Most Likely Genie-or-Voodoo-Induced Girl Who Finds Me Attractive to check it out.

22. Camper Van Beethoven- "Come On Darkness" (3:15) Having left behind most of their sophomoric tendencies by this point, CVB have left it all up to David Lowery's humane romanticism on Key Lime Pie. And the folksy impatience exhibited here is a wonderful prelude to... use yer imagination.

23. Ella Fitzgerald- "Someone to Watch Over Me" (3:16) If there's anyone who can resist Ella Fitzgerald's up-front romanticism, I don't want to meet them because she is obviously missing essential parts of her very being.

24. Beach Boys- "Wouldn't It be Nice?" (2:24) Though the Beach Boys generally leave me cold with their odes to cars and surfing (cars = convenient machines, not objects to be fetishized; surfing = physical activity and thus not something I give two craps about), this is one of my top ten songs of all time. Naive and infectious, this Pet Sounds opener is scorchingly emotional.

25. David Clement- "Geriatriphilia" (3:06) To contrast Cole's frustration with being forced to spooge* heterosexual love songs into a homosexual relationship, I'm going to do the opposite here. Regardless of genders involved, this is the sweetest, most awwwww-inducing love song I've heard in a good long time, and the perfect conclusion to any mix. Ever! Mellow and cute, Clement plays off the inherent emotional qualities of a Hammond organ and the funny attributes of growing old to create a pledge of eternal fidelity here.

*Microserfs term.