FEBRUARY MIX by Emma Straub

Songs That I Play Really Loud So No One Else Can Hear Me Cry

Is there anything better than a sad love song? I’ve checked — there isn’t. Here is a brief list of some of my all-time favorites to get you through Valentine’s Day, whether or not you’ve got a date. Each and every one of these songs is vetted (by me) as a song that you can listen to on repeat, either pining for a lost love, being sad about being lonely, or still being mad at that guy who cheated on you in high school. Extra points go to anyone who burns this onto a CD and listens to it in their car and/or lives in a dorm room and/or with their parents, places were self-indulgent sadness is best appreciated. This mix includes songs that I know I’m supposed to be embarrassed to love, but hey, this is an irony-and-coolness-free zone.

1. Al Green — Tired of Being Alone
So plainly stated, so perfectly sung.

2. Otis Redding — Try A Little Tenderness
My love for this song began with Duckie lip-syncing in Pretty in Pink, which still makes my heart skip a beat.

3. The Beach Boys — God Only Knows
I usually like to keep God out of my personal life, but in this case, I make an exception.

4. Belle and Sebastian — My Wandering Days Are Over
For when you’re ready to settle down.

5. Big Star — Thirteen
If this song doesn’t give you middle school flashbacks, you have no soul.

6. Billy Bragg + Wilco — At My Window Sad and Lonely
Subtle, no, but oh, the harmonies! This song makes me wish that I could sing.

7. Roxy Music — More Than This
There really is nothing more than this, it’s true. Can sound satisfied or bereft, depending.

8. Chet Baker — But Not For Me
Really, the question is not ‘why this song?’ but ‘how did you manage to make this list and not only include Chet Baker songs, Emma?’

9. Elliott Smith — Say Yes
I saw Elliott Smith in concert a number of times, and every time, I would crowd near the front and shout out my requests for the encore. Once, he sang this just because I asked him to.

10. Erasure — A Little Respect
There has never been a better song for a one-person dance party.

11. Feist — The Park
The best, saddest love song in years.

12. Mary J. Blige — Real Love
In my heart, it is always the 90s.

13. Patty Loveless — Blame It On Your Heart
That’s right — sometimes you need a little twang to get the job done right.

14. Rod Stewart — The First Cut Is The Deepest
Like I said, this is an irony-free zone, and this song gets right in there.

15. Morrissey — The More You Ignore Me, The Closer I Get
I had this on CD single, which both dates me and proves that I am awesome.

16. The Magnetic Fields — Andrew in Drag
My dear friends The Magnetic Fields have written one trillion wonderful love songs, but this is my new favorite. (Their new record is out in March, but ‘Andrew in Drag’ is the first single, so it should be available now!)

Other People We Married

by Emma Straub


— Emma Straub is the author of Other People We Married, out now from Riverhead Books. She likes love songs, chocolate, cheese, her cats, and her husband, though not necessarily in that order.

Click here for more literary mixtapes from EL.

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