NPR logo Let's Get It Wrong?

Let's Get It Wrong?

Valentine's Day is nearly upon us and many of us like to express our feelings with music. But just as there are rules to flowers and chocolates (carnations and white chocolate? I don't think so. Not unless the night will be ending on satin red sheets under a mirrored ceiling), so too are there guidelines for the mix CD.

Here then, are ways that Monitor Mix can help you achieve your Valentine's Day music goals.

1. Be prepared to back it up.

If you feel self-conscious about intimacy anywhere but in a bedroom, with the shades drawn and the lights off, then don't put "Love in an Elevator" by Aerosmith on the CD. And you shouldn't put Al Green's "I'm A Ram" on the mix if you're more like a lamb or a cuddly Golden Retriever puppy. This is what's called false advertising

2. Don't put a song on the CD that you would be embarrassed to listen to in the same room or car as the person whom you made it for.

There's nothing worse than that false sense of confidence as you lay down some dirty, sexy track on the mix. Sure, "Whole Lotta Love" seemed like a good idea at the time, but when the two of you are driving up the coast and he pops the CD into the car stereo, you don't want to have to avoid eye contact when Robert Plant starts moaning during the breakdown.

3. If the relationship is new, or you merely have a crush, go easy on the messages in the songs.

You don't want the recipient to feel like they're being pursued by a crazy person. "Ok, she wants to hold my hand, he is dating someone else but likes me, she wants to make out but is scared, he's a former meth addict with good intentions, he likes cats but is allergic, he is going mad with lust, she usually marries for money but has found true love with me", etc.

In the above instance, it is better to be flirtatious than direct. Try something like Neil Young's "Come on Baby Let's Go Downtown", "Work All Week" by The Mekons, or "Send Me A Postcard" by the Shocking Blue. And if you haven't yet said it in person, avoid songs that say "I love you" or "I think I'm in love with you" (see rule number 1).

4. Know the meaning behind the innuendo in songs.

"Pearl Necklace" by ZZ Top is really all I have to say about that one.

5. Don't be a cliche.

Yes, Juno is a great film. But that doesn't mean you have to be one of the millions of people putting the song "Anyone Else But You" on your mix this Valentine's Day. If you do that, you'll be just like the people who put "In Your Eyes" on a mix tape in 1989 when Say Anything came out, or those who wooed their lover with "Up Where We Belong" after seeing An Officer And A Gentlemen. Forge your own path!

6. If you've already sealed the deal—two, five, ten years ago—there's not too much to worry about.

Throw a few classics on there and call it a day. But it might be nice to just make a well rounded mix and to not pummel your significant other over the head with twenty ways of saying "I love you, I know I'm not as funny or attractive as I was when we met, but please don't ever leave."

7. Lastly, two songs that belong on any great February 14th mix:

"The Book Of Love" by the Magnetic Fields, and my personal favorite, "If Not For You" by George Harrison.

Happy Valentine's Day!