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The date in albums

Published: Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Updated: Friday, August 23, 2013 16:08

 

Maybe Valentine’s Day isn’t important to you. Maybe it is. Regardless of whether you choose to celebrate the holiday or not, whether you’re in a committed relationship or are newly single, the holiday creates an opportunity for fun. 

Couples will spend the day together. ‘Just friends’ might go out together simply to poke fun at the real couples and to console each other’s loneliness. Still others might use the holiday as an excuse to go out on a limb, take a chance and ask out a girl or guy they like.

Either way, Valentine’s Day can serve as a pleasant break from routine if you choose to participate. And if you do, the right music might make all the difference. Whether you’re riding around with your best friend, or taking someone out for the first time, playing the right album at the right time can amplify your date-night experience. Here are my date night picks, organized by situation. Enjoy!

Pre-Date

When you pick up your date, you’ll want to impress him or her, set the mood and simultaneously spark a decent conversation. Frank Ocean’s mixtape “Nostalgia, Ultra,” Drake’s “So Far Gone,” Wilco’s “Yankee Hotel Foxtrot” or any of four EPs by crooner Cocaine 80’s will start the date off right. Each provides stellar instrumentals (or production), unique sounds and clever lyrics. All three have enough mainstream appeal to be accessible to anyone, yet are obscure enough to provoke solid conversation.

At The Date/Mood Music

A restaurant won’t take kindly to you jamming your iPod over their speaker system, but if you’re planning to eat Chinese take-out over a candlelit coffee table, you’re in luck. Music here should be quiet and sensual. The Fleet Foxes’ self-titled debut, Bon Iver’s self-titled second release, D.C. musician Oddisee’s instrumental album “Rock Creek Park” or Stevie Wonder’s “Innervisions” will all do the trick. Tracks from these LPs are mellow enough to serve as background music, but interesting enough to command a listen if the opportunity presents itself. 

On The Way Home From The Date

This might be the most difficult set to choose. You want to set the mood here without coming on too strong, and you really need conversation to flow effortlessly from here on out. Mainstream cuts are a safe bet. Miguel’s “Kaleidoscope Dream” is a recent release that should set the tone for the night without seeming out of place. Usher’s “Confessions” will serve a similar purpose, while simultaneously allowing you to exchange memories from eight-grade school dances with your date.

If You’re Invited Inside

To some extent, let yourself go. You’ve been invited in, so you shouldn’t worry much about being impressive anymore, you’re already there. Instead, show your date a new side of yourself. Keep him/her guessing. Mystery is good. Boredom will send you home before the clock strikes midnight. Pick an album that you secretly love, though you’re embarrassed to admit it. Break your normal genre trends and go out on a limb here, but remember – you’ve worked to create a mood and sense with your music all night, don’t lose it here. For me, “Rumours” by Fleetwood Mac, “True” by Solange and “Love Man,” Otis Redding’s 1969 posthumous release, would get play here.

Spending The Night

If you’re in this far, you might be in for something long-term, or maybe for just one night. Either way, you’ve got a lot of freedom in terms of music choices. Play something to make yourself confident and be sure to cater to your date’s needs or wants. Remember, you’re in this together. The Weeknd’s “House of Balloons” is a contemporary cut that will put you both on cloud nine. Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On” and “What’s Goin’ On” might seem cliché, but chances are that most 90s babies have never listened to the full albums. There’s a reason that Marvin is thrown onto everyone’s bedroom playlist; he’s just that good.

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