February 17, 2005

Mixtape Friday: A Stereo Held Above My Head
By Canyon Cody
Published in The Heights

Ask Lloyd Dobler: When you're in love, it can be hard to find just the right words. John Cusack's character from Say Anything overcomes his stumbling tongue by simply holding his stereo above his head and letting Peter Gabriel sing what Dobler couldn't articulate himself.

Poet Rainer Maria Rilke had some advice for young lovers: Do not write love poems. "They are the most difficult," he writes, "for it takes a great, fully matured power to give something of your own where good and even excellent traditions come to mind in quantity."

The point is that very few of us are blessed with a gift for romantic words, and Lloyd Dobler and I are not two of them. For Valentine's Day we have to rely on "In Your Eyes" to whisper in her ear the words we couldn't find ourselves.


Bob Marley "Is This Love" (Horns Mix)
Simple love is the most attractive. Marley can't offer her the world, but he can promise her, "We'll be together, with a roof right over our head." On-campus Boston College couples will relate to Marley's tale of tiny dorm beds: "We'll share the shelter of my single bed." Instead of the overplayed original on Legends, check out the version on Marley's four-disc boxed set. The remix is similar enough to remain familiar, but new enough to be exciting again, like hooking up with your girlfriend's sister.

Van Morrison "Crazy Love" [ft. Bob Dylan]
Better than the original, even though mumbly Bob Dylan clearly does not know all the words.

Citizen Cope "Sideways"
Breaking up with your girl is an inevitably regrettable decision. Freedom never tastes as good as she did, and eventually you find yourself feeling like Citizen Cope: "I keep thinking that time will take them away, but these feelings won't go away." Valentine's Day is perfect for reconciliation and there's nothing better than make-up sex.


Jack Johnson "Tomorrow Morning"
50 Cent might consider himself quite the P.I.M.P., but Jack Johnson proves that he's the true Don Juan. On an amazing album released exclusively through iTunes, appropriately titled iTunes Originals, Johnson sits in the studio strumming his guitar, singing bits of tracks from On and On and explaining where the inspiration for his songs come from.

"Tomorrow Morning" began as a message he left for his wife while out on tour and unable to reach her. On the answering machine he sang, "What would you do if I wrote you a song? Would you give me some loving when I get home? Would you be mad at me if I had a hard time getting ahold of you, but baby I try all the time." Johnson explains, "That was the end of the message, and that was all I wrote it for, to try and get my wife to laugh instead of being mad at me for being so bad at getting a hold of her."

I still have a lot to learn about what women like, but I'm going to guess that she was pleased.