Let’s pretend you’re a boy I like. I am an awkward 20 something who just wants you to like me back. I have a wardrobe built solely on the color black and only know how to express emotion through song lyrics. How would I tell you I like you?
Mix tape. Obviously.
Many an object of my affection has been gifted a mix tape. (And uh, not just in the ‘90s either, I wooed my husband with mix CDs when we were courting) I would pick songs based on their hidden — or not so hidden—meanings. In some cases I would decoupage a piece of cardboard with appropriate images or draw something in sharpie marker on the disc itself. The title of the mix was important. There is an art to making a mix.
So consider this week’s play list my mix to you, if you were a boy I liked. This is me telling you that I like you. But I am also testing you. If you don’t like these songs I have so carefully picked as representations of my affection for you…we’re doomed. It’ll break my heart. I’ll probably make a new mix about how sad I was that you didn’t like my last mix. (Stayed tuned for next week’s play list of morose and mopey slow jams.)
It starts obviously enough with title track “La La Love You” from the Pixies. There was a moment in time when I probably would have married the first boy who could sing me “Hand in Glove” by The Smiths with any passing accuracy. We don’t even need to talk about how swoony and dewy eyed I still get for The Cure’s “Just Like Heaven.” “Close to Me” is a very close second for swoon-worthiness but it’s poor form to put two tracks by the same artist on a mix.
Let’s not overlook the adorable silliness of tracks like 1993’s “She Don’t Use Jelly” by the Flaming Lips though. This is the first song that I can remember inspiring a deep desire for someone, anyone really, to write a song about me. For the record, no one has yet. Still. Despite the rash of musicians I dated in the early 2000s.
All of these songs have at some point or another appeared on actual mix tapes handed over to crushes, with my eyes cast downward and batting eyelashes crusted in thick lines of cheap eyeliner. This play list is my love letter to you, music nerds and Press readers, so relive the magic of the 90’s and 2000’s with me. Let’s fall in love.
I’d also love to hear what your mix tape love letters might look like. What tracks would you put on a mix like this? How would you tell me you liked me too, with songs of course? Feel free to write one if you feel so inspired.