Ideas for a Smart Valentine’s Day Mixed Tape: Intelligent, Romantic Songs to Create a Meaningful Gift

The mixed tape is a staple Valentine’s Day present, particularly for those strapped for cash, or looking for a meaningful gift. These small collections of songs can be thoughtful or funny, personal or recycled from the last romance.

It could be a random jumble of loving music, or a carefully planned progression of evocative lyrics. There might be a few words of dedication in front of each song, or a full blown poetry reading, set to a selection of instrumentals. Regardless, a mixed tape can be daunting to put together from scratch.

Choosing the Perfect Song

The best songs to pick may seem to be ones that have a personal meaning to the recipient. However, aside from gems like “the song that was playing when we first met” or “the song we first kissed to”, most songs with personal meaning are probably already found in the recipient’s collection. A recycled play-list will do no favors.

Unfortunately, it might also be difficult to extrapolate what music a particular person is into without picking from records they already have.

So, the trick is to use classic love songs that appeal to most tastes, which can express the feeling of the day.


There are plenty of generic love songs out there to choose from, but discerning Valentines will call for something smarter. Music experts no doubt have a dozen perfect songs leap to mind when it comes to picking and choosing an ideal mix.

But, for those who struggle to recall just what that song is called by that band that does that thing, here are a few smart, romantic choices in order of release.

The Smart, Romantic Song List

“I Only Have Eyes For You”, The Flamingos, 1959

Originally written in 1934 for the film Dames, this song has been covered by several artists, but the definitive version is by The Flamingos, released in 1959. A sweet, slow and tender song, it has been the backdrop for many a love scene in the movies.

“At Last”, Etta James, 1961

“At Last” was originally written in 1941, for a musical film titled Orchestra Wives. It was covered by Nat King Cole in 1957, but it is best known by the version Etta James released in 1961. Beyoncé sang this sultry, soulful song for President Barak Obama and his wife on the night of his inauguration (reportedly to the chagrin of James).

“In My Life”, The Beatles, 1965

Originally penned by John Lennon, with disputed amounts of input from Paul McCartney, this song has regularly appeared on “all time greatest” song lists. The charm of it lies not only with its gentle, quirky pop music, but with lyrics that express adoration in a matter of fact sort of way.

“Northern Sky”, Nick Drake, 1970

“Northern Sky”is from Nick Drake’s album Bryter Layter. Released in 1970, the album sold less than 3000 copies. Now Nick Drake, who sadly committed suicide at the age of 26, is considered one of the most influential British musicians of all time. “Northern Sky” is a haunting ballad which compares the lover to a star in the northern sky.

“Kiss From A Rose”, Seal, 1994

While “Kiss From A Rose” was originally released in 1994, it was re-released in 1995 as part of the Batman Forever Soundtrack, and won the 1996 Grammy for Song of the Year. This harmonious song is filled with poetic metaphors of roses and shining light, making it perfect for Valentine’s Day.

“Everlong”, Foo Fighters, 1997

From the album titled The Colour and the Shape, “Everlong”is one of the Foo Fighters most popular songs. It was written by Dave Grohl, reportedly during a low point in his life. There are several variations, though an acoustic version might be best for a Valentine’s Day mixed tape.

“Sweet Surrender”, Sarah McLachlan, 1997

“Sweet Surrender” was written by McLachlan and included in the album Surfacing. This melancholy pop song has love-struck lyrics, admitting there is nothing to give to a lover, save surrender.

“Stand Inside Your Love”, Smashing Pumpkins

A single from the album Machina/The Machines of God, this song is classic Smashing Pumpkins. Billy Corgan, on VH1 Storytellers, stated that he believed this to be one of the only love songs he ever wrote.

“Hard To Concentrate”, Red Hot Chili Peppers

A song from the album Stadium Arcadium, “Hard To Concentrate” was reportedly written by Anthony Kiedis, to be used as a marriage proposal by band-mate Flea for his girlfriend. This rock song, laced with themes of family and happiness, is perfect for long-time Valentines.

Individual songs such as these can be downloaded from official music websites, to compliment the favourites that are already on hand in making the perfect mixed tape.


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