The art of the mixtape has enjoyed a digital upgrade with the advent of streaming services, and crafting the perfect mix is now as simple as clicking a mouse. If you haven’t taken advantage of this yet, Valentine’s Day can be the perfect time to start, especially if you’re in a relationship and still looking for gift ideas. Don’t fret if you’re struggling to find the perfect music for your significant other — Pipe Dream’s Arts & Culture section has got you covered.
“I Say a Little Prayer” — Aretha Franklin
No song has ever captured the joys of love more accurately than this one. If you’re going to include it in your playlist, put it toward the beginning so your significant other can start their days off right.
“Baby It’s You” — The Shirelles
While this song seems to be addressing a wandering lover, its chorus offers a simply sweet message. It was famously covered by the Beatles, but the Shirelles’ original is even more warm and appealing than the Fab Four’s version.
“My Cherie Amour” — Stevie Wonder
This song is featured in the modern cult classic film “Almost Famous,” contributing to a scene that showcases the bond between the main love interests. Wonder wrote the song about a girl he dated in school, and it’s used in this scene to signify the loyalty that comes with love.
“Best Part” — Daniel Caesar feat. H.E.R.
The soft harmonies in this ballad make this the perfect song to snuggle up to. The dreamy lyrics centered around love and authentic relationships will surely be the “best part” of any lovers’ mixtape.
“A Case of You” — Joni Mitchell
If you’re looking for angelic vocals, you’re in no better hands than Joni Mitchell’s. “A Case of You” sees Mitchell using her legendary range, and she earns bonus romance points for the wine metaphor — it’s the perfect song to split a bottle over.
“God Only Knows” — The Beach Boys
A perfect song from what many consider to be a perfect album, “God Only Knows” is instantly recognizable with its lush instrumentation and tear-jerking French horn intro. Plus, it’s not strictly about romance — its central message of loyalty and gratitude can extend to anyone who’s kept you moving forward.
“First Day of My Life” — Bright Eyes
This soft acoustic ballad from indie-rock band Bright Eyes captures the essence of new love. There’s been buzz around the band since they announced a reunion tour this year, so introducing the song to your partner might even lead to an extra-special date night if you’re lucky enough to score tickets.
“Slow Show” — The National
Love in a long-term relationship is less about infatuation and more about comfort, the feeling that you and your partner are a team, fighting against the struggles of each other’s respective lives. The National’s “Slow Show” is a perfect exhibition of this muted, quiet love, with singer Matt Berninger fantasizing about getting home from a long day and spending the night with his wife.
“You Might Think” — The Cars
This upbeat ‘80s radio classic playfully assures the listener, “You might think I’m crazy / All I want is you.” If you’re lucky enough to be dating a scattered, offbeat creative this Valentine’s Day, put it on your playlist; it’s most likely what they’ve been waiting to hear.
“This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody)” — Talking Heads
If you look at your significant other and see a “face with a view” — a person who brings new possibilities into your life and betters your experience of the world — this is the song for you. While it’s unusually tender and understated for the Talking Heads, it’s also as dance-friendly as any of their other hits.