By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Abel Folgar
By Kat Bein
By Jacob Katel
By Karli Evans
By Jose D. Duran
By Pablo Chacon Alvarez
Every music geek has made at least one. The romantic mix CD is a sure-fire way to woo a would-be lover's heart or, if your goals are more base, just get laid. But the wrong song choice can make the entire project backfire. With Valentine's Day around the corner, here's a list of songs you should never, ever include.
"Every Breath You Take," the Police
Sure, it might sound sweet at first. But "Every Breath You Take" — no matter how longingly Gordon Sumner sings for the chick cautiously breathing as he's watching her from a court-ordered 150 yards — is still about one scary-ass stalker.
"Someday You Will Be Loved," Death Cab for Cutie
Like most of Death Cab's ballads, "Someday You Will Be Loved" sounds a hell of a lot more tender-hearted than it actually is. Ben Gibbard likes to play with your emotions, you see. "I once knew a girl/In the years of my youth/With eyes like the summer/All beauty and truth," he sings. Wow, that is not only profound but also poetic. Then, "In the morning I fled/Left a note and it read/Someday you will be loved." We hope her brother hunted you down, Ben.
"I Will Follow You into the Dark," Death Cab for Cutie
Here's another chance for Ben Gibbard to cock-block you. Yes, "I Will Follow You into the Dark" is a beautiful song about love and, yes, maybe it's even romantic, but for fuck's sake, it's not that kind of romantic. "Love of mine, someday you will die/But I'll be close behind/I'll follow you into the dark," he sings. What? Really? It's kind of sweet in some cockamamie way, but a Valentine's Day mixtape shouldn't include songs that tell your lover he or she is going to die and that you'll follow ... Wait, is Gibbard saying he'll kill himself to follow her? That's really messed up.
Though not for any moral reasons, it's safe to say you should never include any Death Cab track on your romantic mix.
"Lovefool," the Cardigans
"Lovefool" is one of those songs that get stuck in your head. It's not quite "Tom's Diner" by Suzanne Vega, but it lives in the same suburb, which means it's not suitable for any mix CD. No single song should overpower all other songs on a mix, unless of course it's a romantic mix and that one song is your song. In that case, it should be the climactic track, but — and this is a big but — if "Lovefool" is your song, you're probably in trouble already. Despite the bubbly sound, it's all relationship unhappiness and emotional dishonesty in search of temporary satisfaction.
Like "Someday You Will Be Loved," "Millie and Billie" isn't what it first seems. The duet is boisterous and fun — Cooper sounds a bit Elton John here, in fact. But while you're beginning to not pay attention, the singers suddenly confess they've killed her husband so they could be together. Even creepier are Billie's musings on their future offspring: "They're frightening and gruesome and sad/And I don't want them inside me." You don't want it anywhere near your Valentine's Day mix CD unless the recipient knows who either Dario Argento or Tom Savini is. If so, you're good.
"Unchained Melody," the Righteous Brothers
True, "Unchained Melody" might be one of the most iconic love songs of all time. That alone should keep it off any romantic mix. Do you really want to look like an uncreative, uncultured tool who can't even dig up a decent Al Green song to at least appear somewhat original? Hell, it's almost as bad as including Bryan Adams's "Everything I Do (I Do It for You)."
If you're a guy going after a girl, we understand you also might think that playing this Righteous Brothers classic for your sweetheart will make her somehow unconsciously equate you to Patrick Swayze in Ghost. Don't do it, man; it always backfires. You will never be as hot to her as Swayze was in Ghost, and drawing attention to that will only make you look bad.
Irony is the death of all romantic mix CDs. This is why "I Wanna Sex You Up" by the laughably bad Color Me Badd, no matter how much you think it will incite a giggle, should never appear on any mix. It's a given you want to sex the person up, so don't try to be cute about it.
That statement about irony and "I Wanna Sex You Up" goes quadruple for "I Wanna Fuck You." No matter how funny you think it is, a girl will punch you in the neck for putting any song that begins with "I see you windin' and grindin' up on that pole" on a mix for her — unless the mix's title is Baby, You're a Freaky-Deaky Ho-Bag Whore with a Fat Ass I'd Like to Tap, So Why Don't You Bring It on over Here So I Can Smack It with My Dick. In fact that seems to be what Snoop has in mind when he raps he's "D-O Double G, and I'm here to put this dick on you." On you, Snoop? Hmm, doesn't it go in?
"Stay with Me," Rod Stewart and the Faces
"Stay with me, stay with me/For tonight you'd better stay with me," Rod Stewart croons while the Faces rock out behind him. "So in the morning, please don't say you love me/'Cause you know I'll only kick you out the door." In other words, fuck me please, but don't expect eggs. Maybe cereal, but only if you go to the corner store and pick up the milk I forgot to get myself.
Anything by R. Kelly
And we mean anything, even the stuff that sounds kind of hot. If a dude allegedly pisses on 13-year-old girls for kicks, you have no right helping him pay his lawyers by buying his music.
"I Said I Loved You, but I Lied," Michael Bolton
Apparently love is an adequate word to describe how Michael Bolton loves. Of course, it's not love, because, you know, it's more than that. That's why he lied. Don't hate him for it. However, most people will hate you if you include this Bolton classic.
"Love Song," Insane Clown Posse
"Love Song" violates the aforementioned irony rule in a huge way: "Bitch, I'm knocking at your door/Let me get some neden, ho/Bitch, you're ugly, that's okay/I'm finna hit it anyway/I guess you want me to take you on a big date/But what you're saying don't sound all that straight/All I wanna do is feel your butt and squeeze your titties/Cuz I can't feed your fat ass on a buck fifty." Ah, nothing says love like Violent J. You know what else Violent J says? You're an idiot for even considering this song, that's what.