Love is so much more than mere romance – it’s an exhilaration of passion, and of rage, and of sorrow. It’s angst and triumph, it’s addiction, and friendship and self-perception. It’s insecurity and affection. It’s at the forefront of “human” – it’s the bane of our existence, yet it’s the crux of every single happy occurrence. I like to think of youth in a similar way; all these things buzzing round, making you dizzy and silly as you tip-toe (or stomp) between the carelessness of childhood and the burden of freedom that comes with adulthood. This Playlist is about the songs that remind me of being young and in love: in love with your friends, in love with the boy in your uni lecture, in love with the world around you. In love with some gritty stuff too; sex and vices and discovery and self-awareness. These are the songs that remind me of beauty – finding beauty in the mundane and the ugly, finding it in the pretty and perfect – and then somehow mashing the two together to form this complex, contradictory, crappy explanation of what it means to be young. Just imagine you’re watching Skins or something.
Wolf Alice – Silk (2015)
Thanks to the new Transpotting trailer, Wolf Alice’s ‘Silk’ from their debut album, My Love Is Cool has blown up. It’s the type of song that leaves you in sentimental awe – gritty lyrics, anthem-like harmonies and a plucky baseline make you want to run through the moors at dusk with your teen heartache. It’s the love of freedom. The love of carelessness. The love of now. Hell, even run through the streets of Edinburgh while Ewan McGregor talks about ‘Choosing Life’. God, I love Transpotting. Wolf Alice’s dark dream rock is TAKING ME THERE. I AM IN SCOTLAND. I CAN SEE RENTON AND SPUD!!!
The 1975 – fallingforyou (2013)
How could I have made a playlist about being “Young and In Love” and NOT include this tune? I couldn’t. I would have been committing a crime, or at least something close to it. Listen to it as it rains outside and you’re finally alone with that boy or girl you’ve been crushing on for a while. It’s being home alone at sixteen. It’s having that first kiss. Slightly cringey, I know – BUT listen to the synths and the slow heartbeat-like drum and you’ll just get it. So 2013 (who needs capitals or spaces between words?). Love it. Matty Healy, you mega babe.
Gretta Ray – Drive (2016)
triple j unearthed high winner Gretta Ray is a gorgeous fresh breath of poetic indie-folk. ‘Drive’ is driving down the Great Ocean Road with an unrequited love – noticing the little things, feeling the nerves. None of this yucky, smutty stuff – just old fashioned crushin’. I like Gretta Ray. She’s pure in production and lyrics. Alas, listen to this tune and go for a spin in your crappy Nissan Pulsar on a warm summer day with the windows down. Eat an ice cream. Sneak a little kiss.
AlunaGeorge – Body Music (2013)
Mix synthpop, experimental ambient electronica, and UK RnB and you’ve got AlunaGeorge. ‘Body Music’ is a cool song because you could dance to it, or you could have a ‘lil cry to it. I love songs like that – bittersweet versatility. Listen to this in your bedroom, or on a rainy train ride home. Think of luuuuurve and attraction and compatibility and all that jazz. You’re welcome.
Arctic Monkeys – Only Ones Who Know (2007)
I love Arctic Monkeys. I had the pleasure of seeing them live in 2013 – although I had terrible seats and was seated next to a bunch of girls wearing space buns and creepers who only knew the words to ‘AM’. Pathetic. Favourite Worst Nightmare is deffo my favourite Arctic album. I’ve got in on vinyl. You don’t know how amazing ‘Fluorescent Adolescent’ sounds in it’s purest form (I’m such a music snob, I know). However, ‘Only Ones Who Knows’ is a beautifully melancholy track describing a forlorn love with the backdrop of soft, wailing psych-inspired guitars AND NO DRUM OR BASS. You know quiff-boy is sad when it’s just him and a guitar. It’s okay, baby Alex Turner. Forget Alexa Chung – I’m now of legal age and ready 4 u.
Bjork – Venus As A Boy (1993)
I love Bjork. I love her so much. I hope she knows that I’m sorry I didn’t put the little accent over the ‘o’ in her name. My keyboard (and laziness) doesn’t allow for such luxuries. ‘Venus As A Boy’, one of the leading singles from her debut album, is an ambient exploration of sexuality and beauty. I adore the concept of mashing the construction of masculinity with the femininity of goddess Venus. I envision colours and love and curiosity when listening to beloved Bjork. This particular song, whenever it plays, makes me appreciate the aesthetics surrounding me, marvelling in awe of their beauty and feeling immense love for even the simplest of things. Also, this film clip is iconic (I’m calling it).
Friendly Fires – Bored of Each Other (2008)
I am Friendly Fires biggest fan (the trio can do no wrong. Perfection!!!), and, this is, hands down, their best tune. ‘Bored of Each Other’ is jangly pop-rock that screams “2008”. Amazing. Before they were wearing Hawaiian shirts and lead singer Ed Macfarlane was hip-thrusting on festival stages, Friendly Fires were small gigs and distinctively British in a way that didn’t emphasise a cockney accent of a cup of tea or whatever. This song is for the love of friends and awkward first relationships. There’s no official video, but some bloke has uploaded 3 years worth of photos from the mid 2000s, and I like to think that such a compilation is the perfect accompaniment to the spirit of my favourite band.
The Holidays – Broken Bones (2010)
Ahhhhh, how sweet was 2010 for Aussie music? Pop-rock that sounds like a beachy version of something by Miami Horror. Gorgeous. I love the lyrics in this song: “Just show me your broken bones, and I’ll show you mine.” I’m a whore for metaphorical sentiment, and I like the idea of imperfection. I remember listening to this song at 12 while I decorated my Stardoll apartment. Good times.
Iron & Wine – Flightless Bird, American Mouth (2007)
For a lot of years, I’d listen to this song and instantly think of a shitty scene in the film, Twilight. UGH. Whatever, I’m over it now. And thank sweet baby Jesus that I am because this song is bloody beautiful. Acoustic, heartfelt folk music that embodies what it feels like to fall, and fall deep, into luuuuuurve. Such a pretty song. Play it at your wedding and try not to think of Edward and Bella.
Jamie xx – Loud Places (ft. Romy) (2015)
In his Grammy-nominated solo effort, Jamie xx’s In Colour worked magic with dazzling complexity. Single, ‘Loud Places’ is no exception – it’s your heart racing, pupils dilating, staring at a lover, running from responsibility – all over perhaps the greatest use of a cow bell I’ve ever heard. To top it off, the music video features his The xx bandmate, Romy, riding a skateboard through London at night. Watch, and you’ll just get it. GORG!
Kimbra – Two Way Street (2011)
Kimbra is definitely one of my favourite artists. She’s so innovative, creative and experimental. Every single one of her songs has a fresh impact. It’s neo-soul, funk, jazz, and indie-pop all rolled into one. Brilliant. Most people know her for being the “nude girl” in Gotye’s Grammy award-winning ‘Somebody That I Used To Know’. Yet, she’s so much more. This track is from her debut album, Vows, and my giddy god it’s a beautiful tune. I condemn the idea of romance a lot of the time, but ‘Two Way Street’ makes me want to stumble into love and experience Kimbra’s high. Gorgeous stuff.
Lorde – Ribs (2013)
Lorde’s debut honestly blew me away. I was barely sixteen and was so far up tumblr’s pastel aesthetic asshole that I couldn’t comprehend a more perfect vision of modern youth. You don’t know how much I lost my shit when she named her album ‘Pure Heroine’. God – it’s all coming back to me. Lorde’s overrated now. She’s now BESTIEZ with T-Swizzle and Lena Dunham and I miss the days when she was just a NZ gal roaming the ‘burbs and singing about being young and broke. Lorde’s lyrics are an ode to youthful recklessness. ‘Ribs’ is a favourite of mine – fearful of growing older, having a laugh with your mates, thinking about childhood memories.
The Cure – Just Like Heaven (1987)
Let’s be real, all of the songs in the list have slightly depressing, so I thought I’d round things off with a happier tune. While ‘Friday I’m In Love’ seems a more probable contender, personally, ‘Just Like Heaven’ fits the mould of “Young and In Love” so perfectly. It’s a new-wave/post-punk TUNE (in capitals, yes) worthy of a credit sequence at the end of an indie rom com. In honour of Robert Smith – whack on some red lipstick, tease your hair, and, for the love of God, dance!