Staff Top 10
Top Ten Songs I Sent With My Girlfriend To The U.K.

when I first suggested this topic, a few of my fellow Stylusites came up with some sarcastic choices; “Get Your Hands Off Of My Woman”, that sort of thing. Which is a good idea (in which case the #1 song here would be Moroder and Oakey’s “Together In Electric Dreams”), but this isn’t that sort of list. My girlfriend (referred to here as K) is going on exchange in London until Christmas. I’ve made her a bunch of mix CDs and the like since we’ve started going out, and she’s even enjoyed most of them, so there was no way she was getting off the continent without another one. But she was taking her iPod and no discs with her, so I wound up just emailing her these.

They’re all songs that remind me of her, or our relationship or her being away. So yeah, it’s pretty sappy. I sent along with it a quote from Spoon’s “Anything You Want” (which I didn’t include since the rest is pretty negative):

“If there’s anything you want
Come on back ‘cause it’s all still here
I’ll be in the back room drinking my half of the beer”

Being a music geek, I did of course make her promise to listen to these in order (since it was supposed to be a CD) and that’s the order they’re in here.

10. Hefner – “Waking Up To You”
“Every day I’m waking up to you” is literally true, since we live together, but of course it won’t be again until at least December. The song is a tad sarcastic but that’s just because Darren Hayman is like that; the distance actually makes lines like “And all the queasiness within shows you I'm sincere” come across as more, well, sincere. No fireworks, just a warmth and comfort, but you’ve got to start somewhere.

09. The Wrens – “I’ve Made Enough Friends”
I’m not going to get into details (ahem), but this reminds me of when we met. It’s also one of my favorite falling-in-love songs ever; you can practically feel the rush, and it’s very physical in places (“Hands full of your hair and I can't stop kissing / I'm licking your lips / My hand on your hips”), but at the same time it’s a bit more realistic about matters: “Rush of wonder this charm we're under might last / We're too hoping, our years are showing and fast” (we may not be old, but we’re in a university town; anyone with a few years on 18 seems worldly in comparison). Hopefully this makes her look back at those heady weeks a few years ago and smile. Or maybe blush.

08. Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young – “Our House”
As I said, we live together. And we have two cats, albeit not in the yard. And we’re not hippies, either. Thanks for asking. Still, I grew up with CSN&Y;, and we heard this on the radio during our last trip before K left for England. It’s a bit of an exaggeration to say “everything is easy” once you move in together, but it’s a loving one. And our house (apartment) is a very very very fine house (apartment).

07. Yo La Tengo – “The Crying Of Lot G”
Everybody relationship has their rough patches. What every couple doesn’t have, though, is a song that describes exactly how they fight. When Ira Kaplan sings “But it seems like just a little thing / You don't want to listen, and I can’t shut up… All that I ask is you / Stop and remember it isn't always this way”, that is me down to the bone. I had this album for years before I met K, but the first time I pulled it out after we’d moved in together I could feel chills up and down my spine. We’ve been lucky in that we’ve always been good at resolving stuff instead of letting it fester, and I’m certainly not trying to bring up bad memories; but I’m sure she’ll feel a little shock of recognition too.

06. Gomez – “Catch Me Up”
I think I’ve mentioned this on Stylus before, but any mix gets one gimmee. This is mine; it’s a love song, too, and pretty ludicrously overreaching one in delivery (“Coz I / Shot down the moon for you, that's right”), but it’s a great song, and I find it strangely endearing when they promise “I will always wait for you to catch me up”. I would too, even if I’m not sure what that means.

05. Six By Seven – “Oh! Dear”
I’ve actually written about this one for Stylus before (in the non-definitive guide to the love song, no less), and I can’t do much more than reiterate that here. I think this song, as grandiose and huge as it is, is about the more outlandish aspects of the way you feel about the person you love. It may not be pretty to the outside observer, but it’s there. When you leave, after all, I feel left like a fork on a plate. And seven minutes is never too long to tell someone you’re crazy about them.

04. Elefant – “Make Up”
But relationships aren’t all about seriousness and grand statements, of course. Sometimes they’re about liking someone’s smile, and dancing around rooms without any clothes, and all that sort of thing. Diego Garcia may talk some absolute shit sometimes, but at others he’s perfect: “I don't know what you're thinking now / I just hope you're feeling how much love I have for you”.

03. Hefner – “The Science Fiction”
I’m not sure why Hefner got on here twice; I like them well enough, but they’re not particularly a favorite of K’s or anything, and I didn’t plan it this way. They just wrote two songs that captured how I was feeling. If “Waking Up To You” is the home version, this is away; “Because what you do to me stays with me / Oh honey I can’t wait till you’re with me”. It’s actually pretty despairing, certainly moreso than I am (she’s going to England on exchange, for pete’s sake – I’m happy for her), but I like the lyrical sentiment that “the science fiction helps just a little” for him to forget her. Bring on the Philip K. Dick and Spaceballs.

02. Elbow – “Switching Off”
Like “Oh! Dear”, this is one of those love songs that’s so big it can’t possibly actually be about a human couple, but that’s what love songs are for; to express feelings bigger than the two of you. I mean, I can’t really say that K is “the only sense the world has ever made”, but it sure feels that way sometimes. And I’d rather have her know that then hedge on the site of literality.

01. Talking Heads – “This Must Be The Place (Naïve Melody) (Live)”
The most perfect love song ever, which says more about me than it: “Home / Is where I want to be / But I guess I'm already there / I come home / She lifted up her wings / I guess that this must be the place / And I can't tell one from another / Did I find you, or you find me / There was a time / Before we were born / If someone asks, this where I'll be / Where I'll be”.

By: Ian Mathers
Published on: 2004-09-17
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