These 5 Songs Mean I Love You. Reviving the Lost Art of the Mixtape

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The art of crafting a mixtape is something lost on the newest generation of teens falling in love. Everything is USB drives and torrenting. However, there is a talent to the art of the mixtape, especially when giving it to that special someone. A classic gift for any music lover, when you’re trying to express not just a love of music but also a love of the gift’s recipient, there are a few clever ways to sneak in that message without being as bold as John Cusack in Say Anything. So when you’ve only got 15-18 tracks to say what you really feel, these five songs are sure to do the trick.

5 Late at Night – Buffalo Tom

Another classic 90s tune, Late at Night came to my attention during that beautiful episode of My So Called Life, when Jordan Catalano (Jared Leto) walks across a hallway full of people to ask Angela Chase (Claire Danes) if she wants to go somewhere with him. He takes her hand, and it is the most beautiful moment in all of 90s TV. Ever.Not a love song by definition, Late at Night sings about the protagonist’s flaws, which one must own up to when attempting to woo their crush. “I’d do it if I could/I hope you know I would” is a gentle pleading to the listener to believe, that despite it all, the protagonist is good. And even if they hold on a little too tight, for fear of loss, it’s all with good intention. It’s all out of love.

4 Freak Scene – Dinosaur Jr.

For the confused pair of lovers, or friends trying to be lovers, or friends with benefits, Freak Scene is the perfect surprise track on a mixtape for your friend with benefits. Freak Scene is exactly the type of scene so many 20-somethings find themselves in. This song reassures the listener that, no matter what, their friendship will always exist – and be cherished. Sure, it’s always a little more complicated when friends start having sex, and it usually blows up in their faces, but Freak Scene is testament to the good intentions that we all have when we start off on the winding path of friends with benefits, or whatever you want to call it. The song is great, as are most of Dinosaur Jr.’s songs, and you can’t help but smile coyly when as you really listen to the words.

3 Romeo and Juliet – Dire Straits

For lovers of classic folksy rock, Romeo and Juliet is the quintessential crush song. It is featured aptly in Empire Record’s soundtrack right at the moment AJ (Johnny Whitworth) attempts to confess his love for Corey (Liv Tyler) and fails miserably (spoiler alert, don’t worry, AJ gets the girl). Romeo and Juliet is animpeccably playful love song. While the end may not be exactly happy, the song’s intent of undying love is still quite apparent, and the meaning behind it is obvious to the listener. After all, there is no greater tale of love (and woe) than Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet, and Dire Straits’ musical reinvention of the play is almost more heartfelt – since it doesn’t end in fake-death-double-suicide. As long as your crush is smart enough to get that you don’t plan on stabbing yourself with a happy dagger, this song is the ideal level of sweetness for a mixtape.

2 Come and Dance With Me – Frank Sinatra

For the upbeat lovers to be, Come and Dance With Me is the perfect break from sappy indie love songs. Dazzle your crush with Ol’ Blue Eyes’ swoon inducing voice. Come and Dance With Me is undeniably cheerful, and will make the object of your affection want nothing more than to dance with you. You’ll be hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t like Frank Sinatra, and even if they don’t (freaks) they will appreciate the cheerful sentiment of this song. Instead of singing about heart pangs and longing, Come and Dance With Me is rife with laughter and all the exciting possibilities a new relationship can bring. There is nothing one wants more than to be called “cutes” and to “romance with me on a crowded floor”. If you’re trying to not so subtly invite your crush to a dance, or on a date, this is the best way to lay out your happy intentions.

1 Name – Goo Goo Dolls

One of the best love songs to come out of the 90s, the Goo Goo Doll’s fame-maker Name is a beautiful acoustic feat. JohnRzeznik’s vocals are at an all-time strength, with an almost gravely depth to them. The poignant acoustic guitar makes it feel all the more personal. The song offers no grand declarations of love, no forever guarantee, but instead offers a sweeter promise; that of secrecy, of shelter, of protection. “I think about you all the time/But I don’t need the same” is the epitome of selfless love, and “It’s lonely where you are/Come back down/I won’t tell ’em your name” is that promise of protective care that we all seek in someone. Offering yourself up to be that someone is a bold move, and there is no better way of expressing that desire than through one of the most heartfelt non-ballads about love, Name.

Each of these songs expresses a slightly different aspect of modern day crushing. It’s hard when you have the language to express desire – whether it be sweet and innocent, or lustful and passionate – and yet don’t quite know what to say. Sometimes, it’s better to let someone else do the talking, or singing as it were. Yes, there areplenty of other love songs out there, but these five take different types of wisdom, in relation to different types of love, and aptly express all those complicated feelings. In the end, we all exist in this freak scene, and the best way to bumble through it is to be honest – and these songs, in the end, espouse that honesty in a brilliantly beautiful way.

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