1. "Every Breath You Take," The Police This one seems like a gimme, but in case you're one of the blissfully ignorant, "Every Breath You Take" — no matter how longingly Gordon Sumner sings for the chick cautiously breathing as he's watching her from a court-ordered 150 yards — is still about one scary-ass stalker. If you ignore this detail, your girlfriend won't.
2. "Someday You Will Be Loved," Death Cab for Cutie Like most of Death Cab's ballads, "Someday You Will Be Loved" sounds a helluva lot more romantic than it actually is. Ben Gibbard likes to play with your emotions, you see. "I once knew a girl/In the years of my youth/With eyes like the summer/all beauty and truth," he sings. Wow, that is not only profound, but beautiful. Then, "In the morning I fled/Left a note and it read/Someday you will be loved." We hope her brother hunted you down, Ben. It sounds like you deserved an ass-thumpin'. Include "Someday You Will Be Loved" on your Valentine's Day mix CD, and your girlfriend might make sure you get a thumpin' of your own.
3. "Lovefool," The Cardigans "Lovefool" is one of those songs that get stuck in your head. It's not quite "Tom's Diner" by Suzanne Vega, but it lives in the same suburb, which means it's not suitable for any mix CD. No one song should overpower all other songs on a mix, unless, of course, it's a romantic mix and that one song is your song. In that case, it should be the climactic track, but — and this is a big but — if "Lovefool" is your song, then you're probably in trouble already. Despite the bubbly sound, it's all relationship unhappiness and emotional dishonesty for temporary satisfaction.
4. "Millie and Billie," Alice Cooper and Marcy Levy Like "Someday You Will Be Loved," "Millie and Billie" isn't what it seems at first. The duet is just about as boisterous and fun as anything Johnny Cash and June Carter ever recorded (Cooper sounds a bit Elton John, in fact), except, while you're not paying attention, the singers suddenly confess they've killed her husband to be together. Even creepier, Billie's musings on their future offspring: "They're frightening and gruesome and sad/And I don't want them inside me." "Millie and Billie" might be one of the greatest love songs nobody pays a lick of attention to, but that doesn't mean you want it anywhere near your Valentine's Day mix CD — unless your girlfriend knows who either Dario Argento or Tom Savini is. If so, you're good.
5. "Unchained Melody," The Righteous Brothers Yes, "Unchained Melody" just may be one of the most iconic love songs of all time. That alone should keep it off any romantic mix because you don't want her to think you're an uncreative, uncultured tool who can't even dig up a decent Al Green song to help make you appear somewhat original. Hell, it's almost as bad as putting "Everything I Do (I Do It for You)" on a mix. However, we understand that you also somehow think that playing this Righteous Brothers classic for your sweetheart will make her somehow unconsciously equate you to Patrick Swayze in Ghost. Don't do it, man; it always backfires. You will never be as hot to her as Swayze was in Ghost, and drawing attention to that will only make you look bad.
6. "I Wanna Sex You Up," Color Me Badd Irony is the death of all romantic mix CDs, but especially Valentine's Day mix CDs. This is why "I Wanna Sex You Up," by the laughably bad Color Me Badd, should never appear on any mix you give her with roses and chocolates — no matter how much you think it will make her giggle, or maybe even remember the silly big hair she used to have. You're a dude and, by definition, already want to sex her up. She already knows, so don't try to be cute about it.
7. "I Wanna Fuck You," Akon featuring Snoop Dogg Whatever we just said about irony and "I Wanna Sex You Up" goes quadruple for "I Wanna Fuck You." No matter how funny you think it is, your girlfriend will punch you in the neck for putting any song that starts with, "I see you windin' and grindin' up on that pole," on a mix for her unless the mix's title is, "Baby, You're a Freaky-deaky Ho-bag Whore With a Fat Ass I'd Like to Tap, So Why Don't You Bring It on Over Here So I Can Smack It With My Dick." In fact, that seems to be what Snoop has in mind when he raps he's, "D-O Double G, and I'm here to put this dick on you." On you, Snoop? Hmm, doesn't it go in? Here's a free tip for you: No rap on any romantic mix CD.
8. "Stay With Me,"Rod Stewart and the Faces Don't let the title fool you — your girlfriend won't be staying with you any longer than the first verse of this song if you put it on a Valentine's Day mix CD for her. "Stay with me, stay with me/For tonight, you'd better stay with me," Rod Stewart sings while the Faces rock out behind him. "So in the morning, please don't say you love me/Cause you know I'll only kick you out the door." In other words: Fuck me, please, but don't expect eggs. Maybe cereal, but only if you go to the corner store and pick up the milk I forgot to get myself.
9. Anything by R. Kelly And we mean anything, even the stuff that sounds kind of hot. If a dude pisses on 13-year-old girls for kicks, you have no right helping him pay his lawyers to get him off by buying his music.
10. "I Will Follow You Into the Dark," Death Cab for Cutie Here's another chance for Ben Gibbard to cock-block you. Yes, "I Will Follow You Into The Dark," is a very beautiful song about love and, yes, maybe it's even romantic, but, for fuck's sake, it's not that kind of romantic. "Love of mine, someday you will die/But I'll be close behind/I'll follow you into the dark," he sings. Wait, what? Really? It's kind of sweet in some cockamamie way, but for the sake of a Valentine's Day mix tape, don't include songs that tell her she's going to die and, when she does, don't worry, you'll follow her into . . . wait, is he saying he'll kill himself to follow her? That's really messed up.
11. "I Said I Loved You, But I Lied," Michael Bolton Apparently, "love" is not an adequate word to describe how Michael Bolton loves. Of course, it's not love because, you know, it's more than that. That's why he lied. Don't hate him for it. Your girlfriend, however, will hate you if you include this Bolton classic (and we use that term contextually, not because we agree).
12. "Love Song," ICP "Love Song" violates two of our rules for a Valentine's Day mix CD: No irony, no rap. "Bitch, I'm knocking at your door/Let me get some neden, ho/Bitch you're ugly, that's okay/I'm finna hit it anyway/I guess you want me to take you on a big date/But what you're saying don't sound all that straight/All I wanna do is feel your butt and squeeze your titties/Cuz I can't feed your fat ass on a buck fifty." Ah, nothing says love like Violent J. You know what else Violent J says? You're an idiot for even considering this song, that's what.