I thought that maybe, during the Summer of Fun (more on that later) I'm implementing for myself, one of the things I would do at least twice a month is put together a small playlist around a theme. I loved making mix tapes, and enjoy hearing new music via playlists sent to me by friends and lovers, so I'm hoping maybe this will be a way to introduce you all to my internal musical psyche!
I also love the idea of making these minimixes as a form of advice to various issues people are having, so email me if you need a mix for a specific situation- maybe you're going through a breakup and it's sad but you know you're better off, or maybe you need a pick me up for the job you're going to when you're anti-capitalism? Whatever it is, I'd love to see if I could make a mix for you.
Today's 5 song minimix is for those who are housing a bittersweet heart, the kind where your gut wrenches but you welcome the ache. It's a mix of nostalgia, missing lovers that were bad for us but whom we sometimes wake up looking for them in our bed, and of longing, wistful and dreamy unrequited or unspoken love. I don't know about you, but even when I'm perfectly happy in my relationships, I love to listen to songs that make me feel like a teenager lying in a pile of records wishing to be with someone who isn't thinking about me. These are songs that make me feel like that- in love, and in pain, and embracing both fully.
1. "Year of the Cat", Al Stewart
"She comes out of the sun in a silk dress running
Like a watercolour in the rain
Don't bother asking for explanations
She'll just tell you that she came
In the year of the cat"
When I was a little girl, I would sing this song to my cat Pixel, a very tolerant Maine Coon lookalike. I was sure, as a kid, that I was going to marry my cat and we would live in a cottage by the ocean. It makes me think of summer love affairs, where we don't know how long it'll last, or care- we let ourselves love as fully as we can, for as long as it feels good. This may be my first exposure to the idea of a manic pixie.
2. "Breathe Me", Sia
"Ouch, I have lost myself again
Lost myself and I am nowhere to be found
Yeah, I think that I might break
Lost myself again and I feel unsafe"
I heard this song for the first time on an airplane from London to San Francisco. It was on a mix cd made for me by a lover as a goodbye gift, though I didn't know it at the time. I was attracted to him because of his vulnerability, his willingness to lay himself open to me, and this song seemed like a heartfelt plea for our arguments not to cause us to abandon each other. Instead, he left my heart a wasteland, and me devastated by the loss.
3. "Hostage-O", Warren Zevon
"I can see me bound and gagged
Dragged behind the clown mobile
You can treat me like a dog
If you make me feel what others feel"
I like a little bit of bondage, and I seem to like a little bit of suffering too. A mixture of kinky imagery and clowns mixed with the plea to learn how to now to be numb is definitely up my alley for plucking my heartstrings. I was introduced to it by a casual lover, and fell more for the lyrics than for the person who played it for me. I'm still working on my feelings about romance and sacrifice.
4. "I Love You More", The Softies
"I can't compete with that boy
I can't make you feel like that
I can't love you the way he does
I can only love you more"
I struggle a fair amount with jealousy, though it's not often the sort of jealousy that makes me want to split people up. Instead, my jealousy manifests in putting myself down, and sadly withdrawing from the person's life because I feel they have lovers around them who make them happier than I do. In my darker moments I second guess why my lovers would be with me when they can have so much better (and sometimes do), so songs like this that talk about those feelings help me wallow, cry a little, and then let those feelings go.
5. "Quiet Little Place", K's Choice
"In this quiet little place
You run your fingers through my hair and whisper "Hey"
And no matter how I try
I can't seem to think of anything better to say"
I'll end on a note that fits with the soft and sort of sad sounds of the previous songs, but that offers a slightly more peaceful feeling. K's Choice is a great band for feelings of "I'm in love with you and it's kind of confusing but I'm into it" and I have those feelings often. I fall in love easily, if not often. This song speaks to that moment when you're with someone you love and you're speechless... not for any bad or awkward reasons, but because there's no need to fill the empty space. That joy and calm of just sitting with someone you care about, whether they're a lover or a friend, and just existing, is a beautiful feeling.
I hope you enjoyed this new potential feature, please let me know what your thoughts are!