On a Valentine’s Day themed Monday Mixtape, Marco Cartolano recommends songs with “love” in the title. Find this week’s mixtape on Spotify here!
[“Uh Oh, Love Comes to Town”-Talking Heads]
Happy early Valentine’s Day. I’m Marco Cartolano and this is Monday Mixtape. In honor of the holiday, I put together a playlist of songs with “love” in the title. Don’t worry if you’re lonely like me, these songs cover the wide spectrum of love. From gooey ballads to pissed-off punk songs, this mixtape has something for everybody this Valentine’s Day. You just heard “Uh oh, love comes to town” by the Talking Heads. One of my favorite bands of all time, the Talking Heads revolutionized new wave music and wrote some of the cleverest albums of the ‘70s. “Uh Oh, Love Comes to Town” is about how love is so powerful that it makes smart people make stupid decisions. David Byrne sings from the perspective of a know-it-all who gets caught off guard by love. It also mixes the sweet sentiment with chaotic imagery of jet pilots getting out of control and ship captains on the ground. Musically, it’s a pretty simple song aided by bright keyboards and Byrne’s ability to sound both smitten and slightly unstable.
[“The Book of Love”-The Magnetic Fields]
The Magnetic Fields know a thing or two about love songs, considering they released an album called 69 Love Songs, which actually has 69 love songs on it. However, songwriter Stephen Merritt likes to add sardonic and bitter touches to his tales of lovers. “The Book of Love” could be his mission statement. Merritt’s conversational tone makes him sound like a real sad sack. The spare instrumentation only makes him look more miserable. He says that the book of love is boring and that it contains plenty of dumb songs. But, he loves hearing his partner read it to him and enjoys receiving gifts from that partner. It’s a great song for lovers that are a little tired of cheesy Valentine’s Day Stuff.
The next song, simply titled “Love” by Erykah Badu, updates traditional soul music by mixing live analog instruments with a J Dilla beat. It retains the groove of vintage tracks but still sounds like it came from 2010. To add another futuristic element, Badu’s voice is slightly compressed for effect. However, the sentiment is timeless. It’s a song about trying to get a man to say he loves her. And this is a top guy, she even compares him to Superman. But, he has a hard time saying that special word. It’s a tender track with a bit of frustration thrown in.
[“Ever Fallen In Love (With Someone You Shouldn't've)”-Buzzcocks]
Sometimes, love sucks. The British punk band Buzzcocks understood this when they wrote “Ever Fallen In Love (With Someone You Shouldn't've.)” It’s a basic punk track with two verses and a sticky chorus. But the sentiment is clear. It’s about getting disrespected by your partner and how we all fall for the wrong people. The Buzzcocks had a knack for pop songwriting that influenced other punks to embrace their inner-romantic and “Ever Fallen In Love” is a clear example of how fruitful finding the sweet spot between punk and pop can be.
[“Love Me Like I'm Not Made Of Stone”-Lykke Li]
There’s no better word for this track than raw. “Love Me Like I'm Not Made Of Stone” by the Swedish singer Lykke Li eschews the more electronic elements of her other songs for a bluesy, acoustic sound. It’s a plea to a lover who treats her coldly but can still seduce her. She knows that this relationship hurts and that it will probably end at some point. But, she wants the comfort her partner can bring for as long as he can. It gets pretty emotional at the end, where she’s so overcome that she can’t even sing the full chorus. It may not be the most pleasant song about love, but it cuts deep.
OK, I’ll try to lighten the mood with a song from The Cure off their album Disintegration. In all fairness, “Lovesong” is one of the best, well, love songs of the ‘80s. Robert Smith wrote it as a wedding present to his then-fiancee and it’s a straightforward song about loving that fiancee. She brings out the best in him and they can stick out any distance that comes between them. The upbeat, but still gothic, guitars and keyboards give the song the punchiness that made it a hit. Smith sings with honest emotion and I always get caught up in his passion whenever I listen to the song. Some might be more familiar with Adele’s cover, but the original is definitely worth checking out.
[“Digital Love”-Daft Punk]
For the final song on this mixtape, I’m turning it over to the patron saints of French House. Daft Punk’s “Digital Love” feels like a dream with the hazy production and the pitch-shifted vocals. That’s because it’s about a dream, specifically one about dancing with a crush in a club. Unfortunately, the dream fades away and the narrator ends his portion of the song unsure about what he can do to make his dream a reality. The song goes on after that and even includes a nice solo created by music sequencers instead of an actual guitar. Like a good dream, “Digital Love” eventually comes to a close, but every second of it feels warm.
And that’s all for Monday Mixtape. This week’s playlist will be available on Spotify at mondaymixtape. Make sure to subscribe to Monday Mixtape on Apple Podcasts so you get a notification every time we post a new episode. Valentine’s Day may be over commercialized and kind of lame, but try to have fun any way you can this holiday. Until next time, this has been Marco Cartolano for NBN Audio.