By Adam Robinson
Love: it’s a word which churns terror, fear, happiness, pain and mostly bodily fluids in us. In a pre-emptive to remind people that Valentine’s Day is well on its way, and if you’re reading this and haven’t given it much of thought then now is the time to start planning. This mixtape is full of songs which are, in one way or anotherbout love. It would be impossible to try and cater to all types of love in one mixtape alone but I hope I’ve got a good majority of them in here. Whether it is love for the universe, troubled feelings, unrequited romances, madly in love or just plain sick of it; I’m sure you’ll find something to whet your teeth on.
This is a song for people who’d rather stay indoors on Valentines, and honestly who can blame you, I’ll also be trying to keep Valentines Out of Sight (see what I did there) during summative season. Before you ask, and to save you the trouble of googling it, it’s pronounced ‘Space Echo’. Rose Berlin, daughter of Curve’s Dean Garcia, teamed up with her dad to bring shoegaze back into modern music by glitching and reverbing guitars to death. This song reminds me heavily of The Cardigans ‘Erase/Rewind’. Both of these songs have 90’s-esque drumming and reception lounge beeps that sound like they’ve come off of a haughty ‘easy listening’ album you find in petrol stations. However, instead of coming off as muzak it is pulsating electronic psychedelia at its best. SPC ECO goes two steps further than The Cardigans ever did in terms of attention to detail and their meticulous production. All the song needs is a music video of a slow-motion bank heist full of explosions and leather jackets and the feel of this song would be complete.
Stuck in a rut with someone? So is SAMIA. The piano in this caught me completely off-guard. The subject of the song is none other than Josh Tillman, otherwise known Father John Misty, who has been incredibly popular on the indie front in recent years. Whatever relationship Samia has with John is highly ambiguous. Part resentment, part vulnerable confession, it is a beguiling song in its dreamy waltz-like tempo and soaring lyrics. Fans of Sia and Lorde will surely appreciate SAMIA’s emotional outpour as she sings “Do you like me? / Never mind, don’t tell me… If you open your mouth, I am gonna explode…”.
This is the second time Charli and Wolf Alice have featured in these mixtapes and you know what I am not even going to try to apologise for it because they’re so damn good. Don’t Delete The Kisses was a Hollywood-esque love song not steeped in relentless pessimistic realism of how ‘fake’ the visions of life we have seen on screens for decades are but actually a euphoric song of self-actualising the love you know you feel which is a rarity nowadays. Charli’s addition with the help of Post Precious (a double act which is a descendant of MS MR.), is a love letter in itself to Wolf Alice’s original message but with its own unique twist. Charli croons in well used auto-tune fashion: “Yeah I’m in love with ideas of us / And I’m in love with ideas of love…”. Both artist’s responses to the exaltation of love in our own minds and of our idolisation of others is a superb exploration of how emotionally anxious many of us are.
P.S If you’re hungry for more after listening to this, Post Precious’ song Timebomb is an excellent example of how Pop music is currently dramatically changing from airy sentiment to heart-felt yearnings. (It is also arguably a spiritual sibling to Robyn’s ‘Dancing On My Own’)
In the spirit of the past few year’s being the worst since…well since we were last aware how bad our current situation is…Magic Island asks: “I wanna know if the world’s worth saving?”. Full of bass guitars, violins, a clarinet, an organ, drums, a guitar and belter of a voice, this song has an easy Sunday listening vibe to it. People who work for SCA or DUCK, I’d advise you to maybe skip this one if you are fundraising today as this may not be the best message to hear. However, that should not detract anyone from listening to her direct and powerfully truthful voice.
This song is for the people who keep putting off going on that first date or can’t find space in their busy lives to be with the ones they love. In celebration of Def Leppard’s discography finally being uploaded onto Spotify, I’ve decided to include this god awful, cringe-fest of a music video in this mixtape. Just ignore it please (especially if you have any epileptic history) and go do something else like take a shower and sing along while miming an air guitar. Def Leppard are an amazing rock ballad band but only at a great distance. Also does anyone remember that horrendous collaboration they did with Taylor Swift in 2011? No? Well if you’re an avid masochist and need some light practise before your next sex dungeon binge (because it is quite literally that painful to watch, I warn you) then listen to them butcher my favourite Def Leppard song Hysteria. Those of you seriously disturbed after watching both of these videos are advised to douse your eyes with bleach and stay indoors for a couple of days while you regrow your retinas. Have fun!
In keeping with exceptional rock musicians who have notably less wrinkles than Def Leppard, may I introduce you to Teenage Wrist. Like Royal Blood and countless other new bands signed onto the avalanche of home-grown music labels popping up over the past decade, Teenage Wrist are pushing the frontiers of old styles that many thought were over-played. It just goes to show that a good guitar sequence never gets old. Dweeb starts off with a choir of screeches which sounds as if it has come straight from a hammer-horror film. Then, it dramatically dives straight into a cacophony of noise. Dweeb, though simple, is in a class of its own. We all ignore people’s faults when we love them. It is even worse of an idea when you’re not in a relationship with them as the singer belts “To have and never hold / I do I do I do / Giving up for you”.
At first glance this song may appear as just a Madonna fanboy twink being on Tumblr for less than a minute and writing about his first one-night stand on Grindr. That would miss the anthemic quality this song possesses with its celebration of sexual liberation and physical bravado. Not to mention disregarding his previous album Blue Neighbourhood (2015) entirely which had some of the best ambient pop tracks of this decade on it. As someone whose been watching Troye since his YouTube days back in 2012, Its heart-warming to see him finally singing about who he actually is. I expect this song to be blasted from every speaker at Pride 2018 and I will be incredibly happy to hear it as well. His next Album TS2 is expected to come out later this year.
The most danceable break-up song I’ve ever had the fortune to hear. By being very similar to Crystal Castle’s Not In Love (featuring the lord of Goth himself Robert Smith), HEALTH had to step up to the mark with their contribution. The remix by Empress Of and Boys Noize takes the dense dark original and somehow makes it even louder. However, if that’s not your cup of tea then you may enjoy Cashmere Cat’s new release Miss You this week; which lies at the softer end of the electronic music spectrum.
Just face it, you’re in love. One way or another it’ll come out eventually. Every poet and singer has said this in many ways and Martika says it the most eloquently. Released in 1991, written by herself and Prince, it consistently ploughs away at your heartstrings. The melody may be a slow burner but it is worth the wait.
To round off this odyssey of love songs I wanted to finish with one of the timeless ones. Magnetic Field’s The Book of Love has been in many romantic comedies and has near enough the same air time as Mazzy Star’s Fade into You does. Then a few years ago Peter Gabriel comes along with his orchestra and makes the whole damn thing beautiful again. It is just breath-taking. I don’t want to spoil it for you so just listen. However, I will say that there is an excellent reason for why this song is often played at weddings.
Image: Katie Butler