Valentine's Day Mix CD
January 21, 2010 4:23 PM   Subscribe

Your favorite alternative/indie/classic but not overplayed love songs?

I'm making a Valentine's Day mix cd for the music-loving man I've been seeing and I need some help. I've already included every song that I know of that would be appropriately romantic (see below), I'm hoping that the hive mind can recommend some other songs that would be fun, cheeky, clever and include just enough romance to be appropriate. We won't have been seeing each other that long, so as much as I love the Smiths I'm trying to avoid proclamations about what a pleasure it would be to die at his side, etc.

Here's what I've got so far:

"Baby," by Devendra Banhart
"Baby Let Me Hold Your Hand," by the Detroit Cobras
"I Want A Love I Can See," by the Temptations
"Blame It On the Trains," by Art Brut
"Never Had Nobody Like You," by M. Ward
"Your Arms Around Me," by Jens Lekman
"Settling In," by Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings

He has pretty eclectic tastes, so throw your best at me, whatever it is. Thanks for your help!
posted by Colonel_Chappy to Grab Bag (68 answers total) 59 users marked this as a favorite
When the Day Met the Night-Panic at the Disco
posted by kylej at 4:30 PM on January 21, 2010

Stay With You by John Legend
posted by gnutron at 4:32 PM on January 21, 2010

Dirty Dancing by Frida Hyvonen
posted by fire&wings at 4:34 PM on January 21, 2010

"Wishes For Kisses" - The Rosebuds
posted by nulledge at 4:38 PM on January 21, 2010

100,000 fireflies by the magnetic fields
posted by phelixshu at 4:39 PM on January 21, 2010 [4 favorites]

I made a similar mix tape a few months ago - I wish I'd remembered Art Brut!

Check out the 69 Love Songs album by the Magnetic Fields. There's a lot of amazing choices on there, some favourites are "The Sun Goes Down and the World Goes Dancing" and "The Luckiest Guy on the Lower East Side". Both are cute, catchy, and romantic but not too too serious.

Some others:

Mix Tape - Avenue Q soundtrack
Let's Make Love and Listen to Death From Above - CSS
Computer Camp Love - Datarock
Paper Tiger - Spoon
This Must Be the Place - Talking Heads
posted by ripley_ at 4:41 PM on January 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

third-ing the magnetic fields. I like the book of love
posted by chicago2penn at 4:45 PM on January 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

Maybe I'm just emo but I do have a soft spot for Death Cab for Cutie. Particularly "I will posess your heart" and "Marching bands of manhattan"
posted by radioamy at 4:46 PM on January 21, 2010

Friday I'm In Love by The Cure is a reasonable contender for greatest pop song of all time, I say.
posted by mhoye at 4:47 PM on January 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

Also, helplesslessly hoping by crosby, stills and nash.
posted by chicago2penn at 4:47 PM on January 21, 2010

David Byrne doing "I wanna dance with somebody"

You can find audio that's much better quality, but man it has to be the best cover ever. And every mix tape needs a surprising cover.
posted by handee at 4:47 PM on January 21, 2010 [2 favorites]

Dark Room by The Features. Link is to a 30-second sample of the song, but here are the lyrics.
posted by runningwithscissors at 4:48 PM on January 21, 2010

The Postal Service- Such Great Heights (the Iron and Wine cover is also good)
Iron and Wine- Naked As We Came
Alkaline Trio- Every Thug Needs A Lady, Don't Say You Won't
The Plus Ones- Touring In The Fall
The Shins- Saint Simon, Turn A Square
Cream- Sunshine Of Your Love

Those are all off of my "Love Songs That Don't Suck" playlist, which is depressingly short, really.
posted by NoraReed at 4:50 PM on January 21, 2010

"It's You", by Jonathan Richman.
"Eine Symphonie Des Grauens", by the Monochrome Set.
posted by Dreamcast at 4:50 PM on January 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

starlight- muse
regret- new order (my favourite song of all time!!)
harbour- vienna teng
gotta have you- the weepies
hometown boy- over the rhine
posted by raw sugar at 4:51 PM on January 21, 2010

"Home" - Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros
posted by oinopaponton at 4:58 PM on January 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

Definitely The Magnetic Fields!

Here are some romantic but a little upbeat, funny and clever songs:

Kiss Me Like You Mean It
Washington DC
Abigail, Belle of Kilronan
Queen of the Savages
When My Boy Walks Down the Street
Love is Lighter Than Air
You and Me and the Moon (this one is pretty upbeat)
The Village in the Morning
Desert Island
Strange Powers

There are more, but I'm unsure of just how romantic you want. Most of them are still pretty upbeat.
posted by Lizsterr at 5:00 PM on January 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

Good lord, Van Morrison's "Sweet Thing."
posted by GamblingBlues at 5:05 PM on January 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

"Throw Your Arms Around Me" by Hunters and Collectors although it could possibly be interpreted as a break up song but probably not
posted by GuyZero at 5:09 PM on January 21, 2010

Are you corresponding shapes? Postal Service (or Iron & Wine or Ben Folds or... the list goes on) - Such Great Heights

Josh Ritter covering Tonight You Belong To Me. This is from a great compilation (from $tarbucks, of all places) called Sweetheart: Love Songs that's got a bunch of cool 'indie' artists doing covers of classic love tunes. Calexico, Neko, Jim White, Sondre Lerche, M. Ward, etc.

A Previously
posted by carsonb at 5:09 PM on January 21, 2010

My Love is You - David Byrne
Heaven of My Heart - Jim White
My Girls - Animal Collective
posted by dawnoftheread at 5:28 PM on January 21, 2010

nthing Magnetic Fields - 69 Love Songs

"Androgynous" by The Replacements
"Be Mine" By the Concretes
posted by ghharr at 5:30 PM on January 21, 2010

Bright Eyes - First Day of My Life

amazingly touching song.
posted by carlh at 5:33 PM on January 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

"Just Kissed My Baby," The Meters
"I'd Rather Be With You," Bootsy Collins
"I'll Come Running," Brian Eno
"When Somebody Thinks You're Wonderful," Bryan Ferry
posted by Vervain at 5:34 PM on January 21, 2010

"Must I Paint You a Picture?" by Billy Bragg
"I Wanna Sleep In Your Arms" by the Modern Lovers
"Into Your Arms" by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
"New Partner" by Palace Music
"Only Lie Worth Telling" by Paul Westerberg
"1952 Vincent Black Lightning" and "Beeswing" by Richard Thompson
posted by Rangeboy at 5:46 PM on January 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

18 Wheels of Love -- Drive-By Truckers (It's a true love story. Well, true enough. As they say.)
posted by BitterOldPunk at 5:48 PM on January 21, 2010

Oops. I meant to link to the song.

posted by BitterOldPunk at 5:49 PM on January 21, 2010

For lighthearted, there's "Business Time" or "if You're Into It" by Flight of the Conchords.
posted by drjimmy11 at 5:51 PM on January 21, 2010

I like "Chesterfield King" by Nerf Herder (Well, it's actually by Jawbreaker, but I like the cover better).

Also "Falling in Love Again" as covered by All the Pretty Horses.
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:56 PM on January 21, 2010

Some non Magnetic Fields, most of which are more low key and/or acoustic:

The Dress Looks Nice on You - Sufjan Stevens
International Small Arms Traffic Blues - The Mountain Goats
My Darling, Anything - Lucky Soul
Your Love is Like the Morning Sun - Al Green (Okay, not the genre you were looking for, but any red-blooded indie dude loves the reverend)
Tonight, I'll Be Staying Here With You - Bob Dylan
I'd Rather Go Blind - Man Man (a cover, obviously, but it's really amazing. If you can't find it, message me with your email.)
Kiss - Scout Niblett
Reservations - Wilco
It's Only Time - The Magnetic Fields (I know, I know)
The Hazards of Love 4 (The Drowned) - The Decemberists
Save Me - Aimee Mann
posted by Lizsterr at 6:00 PM on January 21, 2010

Dean & Britta doing "You Turn My Head Around" might be ideal. (Though for extra cool points, you could find the original by Lee Hazelwood and Ann-Margret.) Their "Night Nurse" is also pretty sweet.
posted by neroli at 6:04 PM on January 21, 2010

"Skips a Beat (Over You)" by The Promise Ring.

Great little poppy love song.
posted by Ike_Arumba at 6:09 PM on January 21, 2010

Anything You Want - Spoon
Our Way to Fall - Yo La Tengo
posted by Lazlo Hollyfeld at 6:18 PM on January 21, 2010

First day of my life - Bright Eyes
posted by backwards guitar at 6:40 PM on January 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

Oh man, I've got perfect cheeky power pop love song for you:

The Rezillos - (My Baby Does) Good Sculptures
posted by invitapriore at 6:53 PM on January 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

Mix Tape - Avenue Q soundtrack

Ha - I was going to recommend Mix Tape by Michael Shelley. Great song.

Ever heard Evan Dando cover How Will I Know?
posted by mintcake! at 7:12 PM on January 21, 2010

The First Day of My Life by Bright Eyes
The Ship Song by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
You Are the Best Thing by Ray Lamontagne
The Luckiest by Ben Folds Five
To Make You Feel My Love by Dylan
I Want You to Be My Love by Over the Rhine
Each Coming Night by Iron & Wine
Just Like Fred Astaire by James
Hear You Me by Jimmy Eat World
Everything Will Be All Right by the Killers
Your Song by Ewan MacGregor (covering Elton John)
posted by gauche at 7:15 PM on January 21, 2010

Anything by Al Green esp. Love and Happiness
posted by hortense at 7:17 PM on January 21, 2010

"Tender Torture" by Islands has been making me feel all in love lately.
posted by PhatLobley at 7:23 PM on January 21, 2010 [2 favorites]

Beautiful by Shack
Heartbeat or Yellow Butterfly or 1,000 Times by Tahiti 80
I Love How You Love Me by Camera Obscura
Light-Hearted Love Song by The Pets
You and Me Song by The Wannadies
Ripples by Trembling Blue Stars
We Could Walk Together by The Clientele

and being a long-time huge fan of The Cure, I must point out that Friday I'm In Love is a terrible song. Stick with Lovesong.
posted by otters walk among us at 7:35 PM on January 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

hee, this is fun

The Fall, "Bill is Dead"
But just lately seeing you
I rise a.m. off pink sheets
I am renewed
I am aglow
Red brick and green is the streets
You dressed today as if for riding school
Your legs are so cool
Came twice
You thrice
These are the greatest times of my life
The Mekons, "Only Darkness Has The Power" ("in fact the nakedest love song the Mekons ever recorded, one of the nakedest love songs anyone ever recorded, candid and vulnerable and romantic and doomed" - R Christgau)
Spent the night in Sophie's bed
It became impossible for me to leave
Only want to be with her
She made me better than I was before

Only darkness has the power
Only darkness has the power
And darkness is what surrounds me
So I can open my heart to the world
Leonard Cohen, "I'm Your Man"
And if you've got to sleep
A moment on the road
I will steer for you
And if you want to work the street alone
I'll disappear for you
If you want a father for your child
Or only want to walk with me a while
Across the sand
I'm your man
Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, "Get Ready For Love (Praise Him)"
I searched the seven seas and I've looked under the carpet
And browsed through the brochures
That govern the skies
Then I was just hanging around, doing
Nothing and looked up to see
His face burned in the retina of your eyes
The Raincoats, "In Love"
The Slits, "Adventures Close To Home"
Rolling in pain
discovered what hurts
and tasted hell
infatuated by madness
I danced in flames
and drunk in the depth of love
The Soft Boys, "Kingdom Of Love"
You've been laying eggs under my skin
Now they're hatching out under my chin
Now there's tiny insects showing through
And all them tiny insects look like you
Pylon, "Feast On My Heart"
Feast on my heart
Drill a hole in it
I want you to drown me in it
Pick up the scalpel and DO IT
Motorhead, "I'll Be Your Sister"
I'll be your sister
I'll be your lover, yeah
I'll be your mother
If you need somebody

If you need someone to love
I'm the one you should be
Thinking of
If you need somebody
I'm your hand in glove
posted by koeselitz at 7:43 PM on January 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

Seconding "Harbor" by Vienna Teng. One of my absolute faves.
posted by forza at 7:48 PM on January 21, 2010

"Song For A Mixtape" - The Ataris
"I.O.U. One Galaxy" - The Ataris
"Pure" - The Lightning Seeds
posted by SisterHavana at 7:58 PM on January 21, 2010

"you you you you" by The 6ths is just about the sweetest little love ditty I've ever heard.
"Little Bit of You" by Laura Cantrell is a great early-on-in-the-relationship song.
posted by katie at 8:04 PM on January 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

You and the Candles, by Hawksley Workman

An odd, simple story of post-apocalyptic love. One of my favorites.
posted by sarahsynonymous at 8:09 PM on January 21, 2010

The Velvet Underground, "I'll Be Your Mirror"
posted by Devika at 8:49 PM on January 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

The Exposures - Collage of Digital Passion

The only lyrics are love!
posted by azarbayejani at 9:23 PM on January 21, 2010

"California Stars" by Wilco
"You and I" by Wilco (w/Feist)
"Trapeze Swinger" by Iron & Wine
"(It's Gonna Be) Alright" by Ween
"I've Just Seen a Face" by the Beatles
"Do You Realize?" by the Flaming Lips
"Two Characters in Search of a Country Song" by Magnetic Fields
"Just What I Needed" by the Cars
"Elevator Love Letter" by Stars
"Four Night Rider" by the Rural Alberta Advantage
posted by gompa at 9:23 PM on January 21, 2010

for all the music I have around, I don't have a lot of these type of songs that aren't messed up in some way, but a couple of my favorites:

The Make*Up How Pretty Can You Get (only clip I can find.. great song, super fun.)
Vivian Girls Tell the World
posted by citron at 10:02 PM on January 21, 2010

I Wanna Be With You - Bruce Springsteen
posted by illenion at 11:26 PM on January 21, 2010

In addition to "I've Just Seen a Face," I also recommend Tell Me What You See as a (comparatively) obscure Beatles song.
posted by CrunchyFrog at 11:42 PM on January 21, 2010

I'm gonna say All Her Favorite Fruit - Camper Van Beethoven.

There's an orchestrally-backed version that I'm particularly fond of—poignant trumpet bits, it has—but which does not appear to be available to download from iTunes or Amazon unfortunately. You'll find a sample here, in their Cigarettes and Carrot Juice box set, track one, disc five.

You may question my judgment in this matter, but I think it's just a wonderful track. In my mind, it would be illustrated by Amy Crehore, with creative direction from Graham Greene.
posted by mumkin at 12:06 AM on January 22, 2010 [1 favorite]

This previous post may be helpful.
posted by rachaelfaith at 12:21 AM on January 22, 2010

Virtually anything by David Gray or Josh Ritter, two of the last great romantics. "The One I Love" and "You're the world to me" by the former, "Kathleen" by the latter, for starters.
posted by jbickers at 3:08 AM on January 22, 2010

"Into The Mystic" - Van Morrison

Sweet. Simple. Powerful.
posted by quietalittlewild at 5:55 AM on January 22, 2010

Remarkably weak showing, but then again I'm drawing a blank also.

Well, just brainstorming.

Rilkean Heart by Cocteau Twins. They have many others.

Song of the Siren by This Mortal Coil feat. Liz Fraser.

Mary by Peter Townsend. LIttle known but great demo from Lifehouse.

Teardrop by Massive Attack feat. Liz Fraser.

Another Day by Roy Harper.

Little Lady by Roy Harper. Great one.

I once held a lantern of love in my hands
She was all I could see
Kicking the brown leaves of childhoold around us
We danced the deep sea
That welled from the spring of the boy that I was
Held in her flame
Feeling her learning
Watching her burning
To see the first man I became
Little lady
Who made me
Was it you
Or is it that old unforgiveness
That I can't forget

I Love You by the Zombies. Incredible vocal by Colin Blunstone.

I'd Like to Walk Around in Your Mind by Vashti Bunyan.

Love You or alt. version by Syd Barrett.
Very funny, espcially for a guy who was supposedly totally gone.

Two of a Kind by Syd Barrett. Really touching in its childlike-ness.

Swimming Horses by Siouxsie & the Banshees feat. Robert Smith.

Angelo by Leda Battisti. Leda Battisti is an angel, check her out.

Diamonds in the Sand by Ephemera. These girls can sing. Dont miss Capsized.

Looking at You by MC5. Since everything else seems so donwbeat.

From the Beginning by ELP. Corny, but so what? Corny sometimes works.

Hori Horo by Shirley Collings & Davey Graham

I Remember You by The Ramones. I need to dust this CD off. Incredible production, vocals, songwriting.

Over and Over by Morcheeba. Love the vox.

Punish Me With Kisses by The Glove feat. Robert Smith.

Just One Kiss by the Cure. The most romantic song Robert Smith wrote, maybe, and he's written many. May be too intense. Use Let's Go to Bed instead.

Only You by Portishead.
Use this live version, much warmer. God, I had to watch that one to the end, I forgot how great it is. Beth Gibbons is a superstar. Love the cig in hand. Need to buy the DVD, have a _VHS_.

You Don't What Love Is by Chet Baker. Far to sad to include, but, wow. Like nothing else.
posted by supremefiction at 7:23 AM on January 22, 2010

Sorry, when I went back to listen to the Baker I remembered this.

Angel Eyes by Ella.
posted by supremefiction at 7:32 AM on January 22, 2010

Just a quick scan through what I have with me - some of these may work (or not)

I love these kind of posts.

Can you Tell - Ra Ra Riot
Quiet Little Voices - We were promised jetpacks
Skull - Sebadoh
What do you want me to say - The Dismemberment Plan
Islands - The XX
P.S. You Rock My World - Eels
Undeclared - The Dodos
You! Me! Dancing! - Los Campesinos!
This Fire - Franz Ferdinand
Velvet - The Big Pink
Walking on a Dream - Empire of the Sun
Omaha - Tapes 'n Tapes
Together - The Raconteurs
I've Got Your Number - Passion Pit
All I Need - Radiohead
posted by TheOtherSide at 9:07 AM on January 22, 2010

"I'll Wear it Proudly" by Elvis Costello
posted by haveanicesummer at 9:14 AM on January 22, 2010

Say Yes - Elliott Smith
posted by umbú at 9:53 AM on January 22, 2010

Take it With Me - Tom Waits
Picture in a Frame - Tom Waits
It Must Be Love - Rickie Lee Jones
Stewart's Coat - Rickie Lee Jones
Let's Dance - M. Ward's cover of David Bowie
posted by Paris Elk at 12:30 PM on January 22, 2010

Be Mine by REM.

It is a slow-burner, but the lyrics are beautiful and the repetition of "You and Me" sticks in your head. I used the "I'll be..." format as the basis for my wedding vows.
posted by cholstro at 1:41 PM on January 22, 2010

Perfect Lovesong - Divine Comedy
Something Changed - Pulp
posted by jfricke at 4:25 PM on January 22, 2010

I've got three hearts and one's for you...

Octopus by 2 foot yard
posted by cephalopodcast at 10:50 AM on January 23, 2010

Yes yes yes (!) to Pylon's love songs, "100,000 Fireflies", "You and Me Song", and "I'll Be Your Mirror".

Astrud Gilberto--"Agua de Beber" (ahem, featured in the first season of Mad Men no less), "It Might as Well Be Spring", "One Note Samba". Peggy Lee's "Beginning To See the Light". Come to think of, Velvet Underground's song with just about the same name works really well too ("Wine in the morning/and some breakfast at night/I'm beginning to see the light.../how does it feel/to be loved").

Neko Case! "No Need To Cry" is maybe the most openly sweet one, but "Stinging Velvet" might work too, etc.

Jenny Toomey's "Breezewood, PA" is one of my favorites in the category of "come hither story for normally understated, cheeky but shy, sensible people" ("every little thing you say/wipes the floor with what was my dull day to day/yeah I'm not offering a heart you could break/just a chance we might make/a graceful mistake").

Of Montreal's "I Was Watching Your Eyes".

If you both like the Simpsons and can laugh at each other, um, my now-husband once put Kirk Van Houten's "Can I Borrow a Feeling?" on a mix tape for me. (:

She might get offended, but maybe not: "I'd Rather Dance With You" by Kings of Convenience.

If you both like indie pop and can be kinda snobs about it, Tullycraft has a handful of songs about bonding over that, complete with cutesy name-checking. You may puke or you may dig it...

Happier songs from the Concretes like "Teen Love." Which reminds, the originals: "Be My Baby" is one of the greatest songs ever, across the board, so it goes on almost anything I do anyway, and the Supremes' "Love is Like an Itching in My Heart." Bill Withers too!

If you guys like to dance, maybe Eagles of Death Metal's "Speaking in Tongues."

The Smiths/Morrissey. Which song in particular varies wildly depending on your honey's preferred modes of expression, I think...some would say "Ask" and hell, others would say, I dunno, something about bean-thinking the whole connection a la "Stretch Out and Wait" and still others would want a wrenching song no matter how inappropriate, if it's the Smiths, etc.

And how could I forget...Casiotone for the Painfully Alone, if you can find something not terribly lonesome seeming. "Rice Dream Girl" maybe? "We Have Mice"? That song that name-checks Capote and Scrabble? Jeez, I'm not sure...
posted by ifjuly at 1:06 PM on January 23, 2010 [1 favorite]

Ooops, you're the lady and he's the man. Sorry for the silly gender assumption on my part. :I
posted by ifjuly at 1:08 PM on January 23, 2010

Autumn Sweater - Yo La Tengo
Down Home Girl - Alvin Robinson
Suedehead - Morrissey
Chains of Love - Dirtbombs
posted by thecolor12 at 8:50 AM on January 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks, everyone, for all the great suggestions. I ended up with such an abundance of songs that I decided to make two CDs. Here's the 28 songs (14 each, for 2/14) I decided to work with:

"Baby" by Devendra Banhart
"I Want a Love I Can See" by the Temptations
"Just Kissed My Baby" by the Meters
"Baby Let Me Hold Your Hand" by the Detroit Cobras
"Blame It On the Trains" by Art Brut
"Wishes for Kisses" by the Rosebuds
"You Turned My Head Around" by Dean & Britta
"Your Arms Around Me" by Jens Lekman
"When My Boy Walks Down the Street" by the Magnetic Fields
"Never Had Nobody Like You" by M. Ward
"Tonight I'll Be Staying Here With You" by Bob Dylan
"Tender Torture" by the Islands
"Love Song" by Spoon
"Settling In" by Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings
"Every Little Thing" by Tullycraft
"Such Great Heights" by the Postal Service
"Islands" by the XX
"This Must Be the Place" by Talking Heads
"A Lighthearted Love Song" by the Pets
"I Love How You Love Me" by the Babys
"Together" by the Raconteurs
"You and I" by Wilco
"Little Bit of You" by Laura Cantrell
"On a Neck, On a Spit" by Grizzly Bear
"Easy to Be Around" by Diane Cluck
"I'd Like to Walk Around In Your Mind" by Vashti Bunyan
"You You You You You" by the 6ths
"First Day of My Life" by Bright Eyes

Thanks again. Couldn't have done it without you!
posted by Colonel_Chappy at 10:16 AM on January 27, 2010

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