When I was young and still courting girls, I didn’t give them flowers or chocolates for Valentine’s Day. The only thing I could afford to do was steal a blank cassette tape from my parents, lock myself in my room and spend hours making the perfect mix tape for my betrothed. You have no idea how much work it is trying to find the perfect combination of rocking tunes and lyrics that truly say what I’m feeling inside. I recently stumbled across the first mix tape I made for Allison when I started dating her. It was moronically titled “Music to Mate to Vol. 1” and I have no idea what’s on it, because I can’t find a working tape player anywhere.

That got me thinking. If I was single today and looking for love in all the wrong places, what would my mix tape (or Spotify Playlist) look like. I’d like to say that my musical tastes have matured, but they most certainly have not. After a ton of soul searching and hours spent searching my record collection, I settled on the following 10 songs. I guarantee that if you include any of these on a mix tape for your girlfriend, she won’t hesitate to say yes to marrying you. So start ripping, burning and dubbing tape.

If you like these songs, you can hear all the originals on this fancy playlist I created. It might not be as cool as a mix tape, but it won’t wear out either.

  1. The Ramones “I Want to Be Your Boyfriend”
    When I asked to go steady, I pretty much lifted half my speech from Joey Ramone’s lyrics. This is the perfect love song. No argument. Ever. One of my biggest regrets is not taking Allison to see The Ramones while they were still alive and playing the area pretty much every week. I got to see them a handful of times, but I still miss them so much.

  2. The Damned “Love Song”
    The Damned are so underrated it hurts. These guys released the first punk rock record ever and hovered in the shadows of The Clash, The Ramones and The Sex Pistols for years. Oddly enough, the band is still around and kicking ass. Not to mention they have a rotating squad of original members on tour with them. Luckily, Dave Vanian is immortal, so your grand kids will get to see them live.

  3. The Descendents “Silly Girl”
    These guys were my idols when I was a kid. All their songs are about being a geek and having everyone make fun of you. Their albums spoke to me like no band had before and it is pretty tough to find a Descendents song that isn’t about a girl screwing you over or choosing the quarterback over you. Silly Girl is a pure love song, plain and simple. “I had to run to catch you, you always moved so fast. With your cute little smile and your silly laugh, God gave me love at last.”

  4. ALL “Just Perfect”
    The flips side of the same coin, ALL is to the Descendents what peanut butter is to jelly. I’m not the biggest fan of their second lead singer, Scott Reynolds, but Just Perfect is a perfect love song that just sticks in your head for hours on end.

  5. Green Day “Dry Ice”
    There is no denying that Green Day should be on this list. The problem is that they just have to many amazing songs. “Dry Ice” was one of the first ones I ever heard and I was instantly smitten with the band. Every time I think I hate Green Day, I put on one of their first few albums and realize just how brilliant and ahead of their time they were. “Oh I love you more right now/ More than I’ve ever loved before/ Here’s those words straight from these lips/ I’ll need you forever more.” Justin Bieber eat your heart out.

  6. Social Distortion “Let It Be Me”
    Mike Ness and company are known more for their hard luck songs, but “Let It Be Me” was the perfect song to play when you lied awake at night hoping that the girl you had a crush on, also had feelings for you.

  7. Nekromantix “Subcultural Girl”
    When I was in high school, all the girls either looked like preps or white trash. There were zero punk rock girls in my school and it was a challenge to get anyone to think I was anything but a weirdo with bad hair. Then 1994 happened and half the girls in my school started dying their hair green and listening to the same music I listened to. It was a complete mindfrak. This song reminds me of the few girls that actually got the music and realized that it was more than just a trend.

  8. The Bouncing Souls “Quik Chek Girl”
    This was a tough one. Lyrically “Hopeless Romantic” makes much more sense for this list, but that song is so generic and lame that I couldn’t put it on here. “Quik Chek Girl” is just one of those fun, quirky love songs that perfectly defines the mid-’90s punk scene. The Bouncing Souls went on to find fame and fans by writing more mature love songs, but for me, the first two records are all that matters.

  9. Dead Milk Men “Punk Rock Girl”
    This song requires no commentary. If you don’t know it, you’re not my friend.

  10. Buzzcocks “Ever Fallen In Love With Someone (You Shouldn’t’ve Fallen In Love With)?”
    The Buzzcocks were one of those bands that escaped me in my youth, but this is a wonderful tune about falling in love with the wrong kind of girl, from the wrong side of the tracks. These guys were way too good for their era of punk, but this song still stands the test of time.

Top 5 UnLove Songs

Because there are way more songs about broken hearts than there are about true love, here’s my favorite unlove songs.

  1. Joey Cape “Wind In Your Sails”
    I’m not sure how a song so beautiful can be so brutal. Every word is tipped with poison, and the acoustic version makes them sound crystal clear. “I wish you the worst dear/ to feel the greatest pain/
    ’cause i’m right here/ to retrieve all you stole/ every tear.”

  2. Green Day “Paper Lanterns”
    The greatest Green Day song ever. I wanted to put it in the Love Songs list, but then I actually remembered the lyrics.

  3. Descendents “Hope”
    I played this song so much that I wore the tape out. This is for every broken heart I ever had.

  4. The Misfits “Skulls”
    Proof that Glen Danzig can write a love song. “I want your skull.” Here’s the Lemonhead’s version, which I actually discovered way before I fell in love with The Misfits.

  5. TSOL “Code Blue”
    Undead girls need love to. Jack Grisham is truly a sick man, but this song is an earworm. #NSFW

If you like these songs, you can hear all the originals on this fancy playlist I created. It might not be as cool as a mix tape, but it won’t wear out either.