Pillow Talk: Your tunes set the scene, atmosphere

There is a song for each and every stage of a romantic situation.

If you can remember all the way back to my first column (way back in August, which seems like an eternity ago), I warned couples across campus to avoid picking a song to represent their relationships. Unless you’re Taylor Swift and have a song of slamming screen doors, I still hold onto my opinion – it’s just not a good idea.

However, music should not be absent from relationships, whether they’re platonic, sexual or serious. After all, music is a common thread that gives people something they can all relate to and discuss. A lot of people I know would say that they would choose to date or not date someone based on his or her music tastes. I wouldn’t say I hold the same opinion, but then again, I’m not too picky these days.

Anyway, lovely readers, if you ever draw blanks trying to come up with the right song in the right moment, I’ve sketched out a very biased guide for you if your creative juices are busy flowing somewhere other than your brain.

If you’re cuddling on a cold night, slow songs that seem to fit the weather’s tone are always appropriate. One of my favorites at the moment is Lydia’s “All I See” that incorporates soft male and female harmonies and gently plucked notes reminiscent of a lightly falling rain. The lyrics are sweetly melancholy, just like watching gray clouds form over the Philadelphia skyline while in the arms of someone you care about. Aww.

If you need help turning into a grinding machine, blast some Girl Talk. The man behind the moniker, Gregg Gillis, uses samples from all genres of music to make music that’s perfect for letting loose on the dance floor. If you need an idea of what Gillis’ beats will do to you, I read a report of a show he did in New York recently where a couple had sex at his feet as he mixed clips from his laptop. For starters, try “Still Here,” which samples Blackstreet, Kanye, the beat from Ace of Base’s “All That She Wants,” Cassidy, Fergie and 17 other artists. If you can’t find a way to dance to these club beats, you pretty much have no hope.

If you’re ready to lose it, you should probably think about who you’re losing it to rather than what song to select…unless you want to be really cool and play “Let’s Get it On” while you’re lighting red candles and putting satin sheets on your college dorm room bed, of course.

If you’re at blackout status, play the most embarrassing thing you can find on your iTunes. Since we’re all about honesty here, I’ll admit it: Kelly Clarkson, the first High School Musical soundtrack or show tunes from Broadway’s Spring Awakening would be my winners for this category. Since you won’t remember it in the morning anyway, stash a mental note before you go bar hopping on Thursday to leave that Hanson CD somewhere your inebriated self can find it upon returning home.

If you believe slow and steady wins the race, I vote for Broken Social Scene’s “Backyards.” The eight-minute-plus composition of indie shoegaze pop serves as perfect background noise in its flowing, subdued beauty: it’s soft enough to not take away from the moment but noticeable enough to add something to it.

If you just want to get it over with already, choose something with a quick tempo that will end in three minutes or less. Try “Date with the Night,” a Yeah Yeah Yeahs song clocking in at 2:35. Lead singer Karen O’s yelp adds urgency to the song title’s suggestion that you have more to do than stay in bed all night long.

If you’ve given in to the lure of breakup sex, Death From Above 1979 provides the ultimate soundtrack to angry passions. This Canadian duo’s brand of electronic dance-punk, as ridiculous as the combination may sound, is just plain hot. With quick, strong beats and half-screamed, slightly masochistic vocals, songs such as “Romantic Rights,” “Going Steady” and “Pull Out” provide a pretty accurate soundtrack to release those relationship demons — with sexy results.

If you’re a post-sex crier, try and revel in your depression a little bit more and find the saddest, slowest songs you can. Preferably acoustic, preferably old Dashboard Confessional and preferably something that brings you back in touch with your emo phase from eighth grade.  If you can’t possibly lower yourself to that level again, check out Pedro the Lion’s “The Poison”: great song, and great for dealing with self-loathing.

If you’ve been in a relationship for a while, why the hell are you still reading this? I’m sure you have a playlist of your own that I could never conjure up.

As you can probably tell, the only genre of music I’m familiar with is more on the indie side. There’s no way I could possibly research enough rap, R&B, country, pop or polka to give insightful suggestions in each category for each genre. So, Temple, it’s your turn to educate me — what does your sex life sound like?

Libby Peck can be reached at elizabethpeck@temple.edu.


  1. Oh Libby, this was a great idea for a column. Just so you know, I could crank some Spring Awakening, and if I’m really in the mood, you know I’m busting out some Mandy Moore

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