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Saturday, February 14, 2009

Give me my f**king songs back!


Valentine's Day is upon us once again. Screaming at us with its chocolate scented breath. Pink sticky fingers poking. James Blunt is in our TVs, maniacally  grinning.  Hedgehogs are suddenly regarded the epitome of cute. Roses are chopped and wrapped. Reservations made. Tables booked. Teddy bears purchased.

Which is just dandy.

But what about when things don't work out?

We’ve all been there. Or at least every serious music lover has. You’ve lost your favourite song(s) to someone who, it turned out, was, well, let's say less than worthy of said songs.
‘Lost’ because you can’t listen to them anymore. They remind you of a person and a time you’d much rather apply the Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind treatment to. You’ve left all that in the past, but unfortunately you’ve been forced to leave the songs there too…
How did you get there?

It seems so unavoidable. You meet someone, fall in love… a song is playing, and the problem begins.  And it's a problem that can begin anywhere, where you may most or least expect it..
Many, if not most, people meet in bars, clubs or other social places. Since clubs, bars and other typical locations where alcohol is served tend to play music, and all these places can be the cause of our topic today.
Now the good thing is that the music at said establishments tends to be crap - you probably won’t lose any sleep over ‘losing’ that Black Eyed Peas track.
No, higher risks are likely to be posed by places such as your local indie club (adieu Kaiser Chiefs), your computer at home (ciao Bright Eyes), your car (seeya Kanye), your friend's home or car (goodbye, uhm, Mariah), your iPod (later Sebadoh!) or, since the O.C., every decent television programme ('bye bye Deathcab', 'farewell Futureheads', 'good riddance Snow Patrol').
The biggest cause of the aforementioned problem however, and the most difficult to 'repair' once the damage is done, is definitely the mixtape (sorry, but 'mix CD' just sounds bad), and differs from the former examples as it involves songs you actually already loved before you met the person in question.


What matters most is what you were listening to when you met this person (see above), when you were thinking about them (ditto), but most importantly of all, the songs you included on that cursed mixtape. The one they didn’t even listen to/like/understand/appreciate (or, and this is the worst: they said "oh yeah, i kind of liked that one song, I don't remember what it was called, but it was nice, and a girl was singing it"). 'Nice'!!! These are your favourite songs we're talking about! 
And, as anyone who has ever made a successful mixtape can attest: making one is not just a matter of collecting a few random songs and pushing record/burn.
The truth is that, unless you shuffled it, you’ve put some thought into it. And chances are, if you were successful and achieved what you set out to do, you probably put (at least some of) your favourite songs on it…
So you’re fucked right?
Not necessarily.
Here are some tips to help reclaim your favourite songs:
1.       Context. Yep, this one is all-important. Simply change the context of listening. If you remember hearing the song in question in the bedroom with the person in question, simply listen to it in the bathroom/kitchen/broom closet instead. Or leave the city and/or country. That works too.
2.        Listen to remixes of your favourite songs (see point 4 below) from now on. Granted this might be a problem with all those Smog songs you once burnt on a CD for her/him, so you’ll have to make your own remixes of said songs (try Acid).
3.       Break into their home and physically remove said song from any iPod, PC they might have. If you can actually get your hands on the original mixtape, that is obviously the best. In fact if you do that, you can happily disregard all the above and below points, as the sheer catharsis of that simple act of criminality will be of inestimable value to you and your psychological well-being.
4.       Simply burn a new CD for someone completely new, using the songs in question! Of course you will probably only be postponing the inevitable (see above), but what the hell!
5.       Rig up a Clockwork Orange/Lost style brainwashing device and listen to all the songs in question on repeat for several weeks while watching a selection of completely random imagery. 
Or simply avoid losing the songs in the first place!
1.       Avoid meeting new people in any places where music is played. Or simply avoid meeting new people. Period.
2.       Don’t watch any TV series made after 1999. Friends in relatively safe, as is Frasier.
3.       If you really must make one, only include songs you dislike on your first mixtape… Of course you won’t impress the object of your affection, or in any way achieve what you set out to do, but at least you’ll have the last laugh (hahaha)
4.       Here’s a clever one: include only remixes of your favourite songs on the mixtape!  Yep, this way you’re sort of giving them something you love, but not quite!
5.       Avoid karaoke. Duets in particular. So, the next time you and your special person are invited to a Singstar party, simply say no.
6.    Don't fall in love to begin with... But where's the fun in that?

And here are a few sad, angry and beautiful songs to help soundtrack your day:
The Walkmen - The Rat
Shellac - Prayer to God
Songs: Ohia - Being in Love
Jeff Buckley - Last Goodbye
And you will know us by the Trail of Dead - Mistakes and regrets 
Sebadoh - Soul and Fire


Agnes said...

Ohhh every word is oh so true! I literally feel ill when I hear those songs that you refer to, those that remind us of love gone wrong. I only have three or four that have been truly ruined for me, but still, they get me every time.

Great post!

Michael Beijer said...

Keep up the good work bro!
But what do you do if you don't even like her music? Hmm.

liz said...

Oh my god, I loved this. So true, I couldn't have said it better. Goddamn exes for ruining every song by Iron & Wine... and Stars. They must be reclaimed!

Charponnaise said...

My fella and I have hit upon a new [and admittedly geeky] take on the mixtape - instead of lovingly crafting mixtapes for each other, we have a private shared folder online and just upload anything and everything we want the other to listen to. Hopefully the sheer volume of songs that passes through it will take the potential sting and 'you stole my favourite song' bile out of the experience.

It had better. I can't listen to Arab Strap at all anymore. Sulk.

Steven B. said...

haha that's not a bad idea!

Perhaps the 'mix-usb' is the future...