I'm devoting pretty much the entirety of this week's installment to an important public service, but I did see and read some dope stuff so let's get that out of the way.
The Lego Batman Movie
Sure, it was good. It was funny and visually interesting and had amazing cameos and inside jokes and what not but let's chill with the like "This Is The Best Batman Movie Ever" I mean it was good, but it wasn't even as funny as Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs or as poignant as Ghandi's episode of Clone High with the ritalin.
Between Justice League America: Rebirth and Detective Comics #950, DC's whole Rebirth thing, which had started off strong, is now somehow even better. Maybe it's because across the proverbial pond, Marvel is playing Wouldn't It Be Crazy If Comics Were Exactly As Terrible As Everything That You Have To Deal With When You Open The Paper Every Day, but with strong new additions to the line and with books that had started off kind of wonky hitting their stride (Aquaman is GOOD??), the unthinkable has happened: Instead of something in comics trailing off and becoming uninteresting or played out, it's somehow just gotten better.
Jane The Virgin
What's the point of anything, really.
WOW THAT'S WHAT I CALL MUSIC!
Now to the important stuff. Tomorrow is Valentine's Day and as we speak, thousands of lovers and loved ones and crushes and crushed ons are sitting in front of their iTunes or their tape decks or their (shudder) Spotify and trying to find the right songs in the right order to send the perfect message of love or like or Hey, I think you're pretty cool.
Search no more. Here are 40 (!!!) songs that make the perfect additions to any mixtape (or, fine, PLAYLIST). Wait, of course, not ANY. Mixes are precision instruments. You need to figure out exactly what you want to say. That's why there are so many (SO many) songs included. Pick your favorites (or what you think will be their favorites) and think hard about what should go where.
Of course, you could also just send this as is that special someone, because it's perfect in sequence, sentiment, and quality.
- "Overkill Choir" by Prefuse 73. "Wait, what?? You don't even start with a love song? This is just some weird electronic song? I don't know about any of this now, Ben." Trust me, dear reader. Start things off with something unmistakably beautiful but also, yes, a little weird. You're not in high school anymore.
- "Cute" by D.R.A.M. You also want that special someone to know you keep up with music. Because great love songs (like this one) get released all the time.
- "My Chinchilla" by Cub. Perfect for that person in your life who thinks "New York City" was written by They Might Be Giants.
- "Powa" by tUnE-yArDs. This is just a pretty amazingly hot song. Not Safe For Crushes.
- "Seperator" by Radiohead. Every mix deserves the best Radiohead song ever recorded. (Don't try to argue. Colin Greenwood is the best part of Radiohead. This is his best bassline. Thus, this is the best Radiohead song. Next.)
- "Kissing On You" by Honeyblood. Part one of the two part Making Out Suite, always paired with...
- "Make Out Club" by Unrest. Because Valentine's Day should always be about kissing, right?
- "Long Island" by that dog. "By definition a crush must hurt/And they do/Just like the one I have on you." This is literally the perfect Crush Mix song. 1,000,000 bonus points if you happen to also be "pretty groovy for a boy from Long Island" like I am. But it still works if you're neither.
- "February Fourteenth" by Lilys. I just got into this band, but I mean, this one is perfect, right?
- "Boyfriend" by Best Coast. Another song that you just know the best was writing it exclusively to be used in mixtapes.
- "Janine" by Soul Coughing. I put this on pretty much every tape I made in college. Who didn't?
- "We Are Fine (Demo)" by Sharon Van Etten. The album version is great but the demo is just perfect, and fits in wonderfully with a bunch of other acoustic songs like...
- "Acrobat" by Angel Olsen. and...
- "Black Star" by Gillian Welch. Nothing says I love you like the literally best guitar solo ever recorded.
- "Somethings Going To Come" by Adem. This one goes out to the Friday Night Lights fan in your life who still can't fucking believe they replaced this song with some instrumental bullshit over the scene where Tyra reads her college application essay to Landry because they didn't buy whatever rights they needed for this song to be put on DVD or streaming or whatever YES I'M STILL MAD ABOUT IT.
- "Stick Figures In Love" by Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks. I don't know if Malkmus has ever written a for real love song, but this one is really pretty and the title also happens to be perfect title for your mixtape, so go for it!
- "Weekend" by Smith Westerns. This is a great song about liking someone that also totally rocks. An important tool in your mixtape toolbox.
- "Silver Leaf And Snowy Tears" by Superchunk. Another entry in the "Maybe It's Not A Love Song, But It's So Pretty" category. Every mix needs those.
- "You're So Great" by Blur. But they also need these.
- "Reasons" by Built To Spill. I spent probably the entire weekend trying to decide between this and "Distopian Dream Girl". At one point I was just going to put them both on but then I got serious about Building The Perfect Mix and picked this one. "Distopian Dream Girl" is amazing, and it has that bit where he goes "I'd do the stupid thing/And let you/Keep on/Living" which is romantic, but also sardonic, and, hey, there's probably a mix and/or a special someone who is perfect for that. It was for me, plenty of times and for plenty of mixes. But these days? I'm all about "Stay with me until I die/There's nothing else I want to try." YMMV.
- "Marching Bands of Manhattan" by Death Cab For Cutie. Some rich person should pay some marching band to arrange and play this for their Valentine. But if you're not rich (i.e. me), you'll have to settle for putting it on a mix for them.
- "We End Up Together" by The New Pornographers. Another choice you have to be careful about. Don't want to put this one on a mix for that cool girl from the coffee shop you haven't even said "Hi" to yet.
- "Happiness" by Elliott Smith. What do you say about this song? Beats me. It's beautiful and perfect in every way.
- "Crime" by Real Estate. These guys have a bottomless cavern of mix tape perfect songs, and this one is at the top of that...bottomless...cavern?
- "Follow" by Whitney. Aside from this being a really sweet song, this band sounds really good next to Real Estate and leads really well into...
- "Direct Address" by Lucy Dacus. Dacus writes love songs that feel just as awkward and rich and real and warm as what actual love and attraction feels like to regular people. A must add.
- "Remember The Mountain Bed" by Wilco & Billy Bragg. Probably better suited for a longer term situation, but you could do a lot worse when it comes to summarizing a relationship in a song.
- "Lullaby" by Hayden. YES it's another Hayden song and YES it's perfect for literally any mix. And it's not even close to the only one he's written!
- "Emma Blowgun's Last Stand" by Beulah. Pretty but not really a love song? But it's got prominent horns and sometimes you need that for sequencing.
- "Aguas De Marco" by Cibo Matto. Every good Valentine's Mix needs a great duet. And this is it. The greatest duet.
- "Burro" by Beck. Remember when I said you needed some horns on your mixtape? It's so you can lead into a song like this.
- "PPP" by Beach House. I think every Beach House song is about failed relationships and/or something sad, but they're also all so pretty, so sometimes you have to roll the dice if it's the best thing for your mix. Show a little backbone, man.
- "Cornerstone" by Arctic Monkeys. Because you get back to the old fashioned love songs eventually.
- "The F-Word" by Cannibal Ox. Definitely listen to this one before you use it. It's perfect for a very narrow set of situations, but if that's your situation, this one is solid gold.
- "Something" by The Beatles. I mean, this is the best love song ever written, and you can't sleep on that.
- "It's Never Over (Oh Orpheus)" by Arcade Fire. Maybe a little too sad for every mix, but when it works, it works really really well.
- "The Point Of It" by Yo La Tengo. Another one that's better for, like, you and your special someone's tenth or fifteenth Valentine's Day together, but, holy moly. Talk about a doorbuster.
- "I Went To The Store One Day" by Father John Misty. Ugh, this song is just too perfect.
- "Beautiful" by Aimee Mann. It took me a while to figure which of Mann's many perfect-for-Valentine's song I was going to pick, but ultimately you can't beat this one. (Although "Hearts", from the most romantic sequence in TV history [NSFW, probably], was in the running until the very end.)
- "Drown" by Smashing Pumpkins. So here's a fun little piece of trivia. This song isn't on Spotify! I know! Usually I try to avoid putting stuff on these playlists that aren't on Spotify, but this is literally the perfect way to end any Valentine's Mix, so it's up to you to find it. Trust me on this one.