February 17, 2004

Mixtape Friday: Bliss
By Canyon Cody
Published in The Heights

Making a girl a mix is always a dangerous idea. If things don't work out, the painful memory could spoil the songs forever. I can never listen to Ace of Base again after a traumatic breakup with my fifth grade girlfriend. I think about us every time I hear "our song." If it's early on in the relationship, buy her a diamond or make her a card, but don't make her a mix and risk ruining a great Al Green song forever. If you really love her, share your music with your girl (but don't blame me when you get a subpoena from the RIAA).


Blackalicious "Make You Feel That Way" Blazing Arrow
This song, arranged around light strings and horns, floats above your head near the altitude of enamored love. Gift of Gab raps about all the things that make you feel that way, including "Christmas day when your momma got your first bike/ type of feeling when you went and won your first fight/ How your team felt winning championship games/ Celebrate in a huddle, dancing in this rain." Gab seems to admit that love remains just beyond the boundary of speech and prefers to sing about the other parts of life that almost compare. He doesn't even mention love until the last line of the song, after he rather awkwardly and unsuccessfully tries to describe feeling that way: "It's love. It's love. It's love."

The Cure "Just Like Heaven" Greatest Hits
Some songs represent your love for your girlfriend or remind you of her. These are the dangerous songs because they are subject to the fickle tide of relationships. "Just Like Heaven" is safe from such contamination because it's about the abstract sensation of love, not someone in particular. My mom once told me she has never fallen in love without this song to accompany her.

The words, though beautiful, are rather unimportant compared to the emotion the song conjures. "Spinning on that dizzy edge/ I kissed her face and kissed her head/ And dreamed of all the different ways I had to make her glow." The only thing better than the original is the live acoustic version on Disc 2 of The Cure's Greatest Hits compilation, stripped naked to reveal its subtle, nervous emotion.


Louis Jordan "Knock Me a Kiss" Greatest Hits
There are very few things that I can unequivocally state that I have loved my entire life, including muted trumpets, free parking validation, and most of all, cake. As a result, I understand just how much Louis Jordan loves his girl when he sings "I like cake, make no mistake, but baby if you insist/ I'll cut out cake, just for your sake/ Baby, c'mon and knock me a kiss." (I was equally, though very embarrassedly, amused by 50 Cent's promise, "I love you like a fat kid loves cake." This is the worst part about mainsteam rap - it tricks you into liking something that you actually hate with a passion).

Jordan knows the exact moment he fell in love: "When you pressed your little lips to mine, that was when I understood/ they taste like candy, brandy, and wine/ peaches, bananas, and everything good."

G. Love & Special Sauce "My Baby's Got Sauce" G. Love & Special Sauce
G. Love lacks the gooey Al Green croon, the poetic U2 lyrics, or the sexy D'Angelo bassline, but he loves his girl nonetheless. Endearingly off-tune, he sings, "My lady got the special sauce/ that's why she's my baby, my baby, my baby/ And of course I'll do anything for her." While rappers exchange unrealistic brags about how big their penises are and how often an assorted group of females have come into contact with the aforementioned penis, G. Love proves himself to be the truly enviable one: "My baby got sauce, your baby ain't sweet like mine."

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