I love the movie High Fidelity. I developed a crush on John Cusack early in high school and spent many (probably too many) college nights tucked into my extra long twin size bed with chocolate covered pretzels and a DVD from the John Cusack canon, happy to wile away the hours wishing some handsome, misunderstood kickboxing enthusiast in a trenchcoat would hold a boombox up outside MY window for once in my life. (Is it me, or does Lloyd Dobler sound way creepier in writing than he did in the movie?)
But I digress.
One of my favorite scenes in High Fidelity is the one embedded below, where Rob Gordon (our pal John Cusack) decides to rearrange his records in autobiographical order.
Last year, I made you a Sweetheart Songs Valentine’s Mix - and I might still give you an old-fashioned mix tape this year, too. We’ll see. I don’t want to spoil the surprise. But I spent all weekend thinking about a playlist of love songs in autobiographical order, and I know I won’t stop thinking about it until I do it.
So – I hereby present to you – A Playlist of Love Songs in Autobiographical Order
- When A Man Loves A Woman - Percy Sledge
When I was in kindergarten, I thought my teacher, Miss Petrone, was the absolute prettiest lady I had ever seen. Her eyes reminded me of Lady’s from Lady and the Tramp, who I also thought was very pretty (despite her more canine qualities). I was not the only person who thought Miss Petrone was the bee’s knees – there was a little boy named Nathan in my class who was absolutely in love with her. One day after nap time, he marched to the front of the room and sang this song to our teacher in front of the whole class. It was the first time I had ever seen such a grand romantic gesture, and even though she let him down easy, I thought the whole thing was terribly romantic.
- Let Me Call You Sweetheart - Ethel Merman
My dad and I sang this song at my aunt’s wedding. He picked me up and propped me on top of the piano, and I was wearing a dark red velvet dress – it was the most glamorous I had ever felt in my whole life. There’s an embarrassing story to go along with this song – click here for the details.
- Have You Ever - Brandy
I slow-danced with a boy to this song at a dance in the 8th grade, and as he gazed into my eyes, surrounded by white eye shadow and gel glitter, he felt a spark. When I got home, I checked my email to find a message from him. There, in navy blue Comic Sans font, were the lyrics to this song along with a confession of his feelings for me. He didn’t just like me – he LIKED-me-liked-me. This was my first time navigating the minefield of unrequited affection, and I think he and I handled ourselves well. We stayed close friends through high school
- (God Must Have Spent) A Little More Time On You – *NSYNC
If I could only choose one song to sum up my awkward middle school years of secret (and not secret at all) crushes, it would be this song. My best friend and I spent hours listening to this song and obsessing over whatever boy we had our hearts set on – and *NSYNC. We were also always obsessing over *NSYNC. She loved Justin for his blonde hair and smooth moves, but I knew JC’s quiet demeanor was a front for his smoldering romanticism.
- Teddy Bear - Elvis Presley
This song takes me back to the summer before 9th grade, swinging in the hammock that hung in my friend’s backyard, listening to oldies on the radio and stressing over clothes, boys, and hair. My friend was a big Elvis fan, and by the end of the summer, so was I.
- Me and You – Kenny Chesney
Ah, my very own grand romantic gesture. My sophomore year, I had a boyfriend who was seriously the best. He was a year older than me and he was hilarious. One day at lunch, he stood up and sang this song to me in front of the whole cafeteria – not because he was being especially sappy or gushy, but because he knew my face would burn to the color of a stop sign. He was right. I wanted to crawl under the lunch table – but I was thrilled, too. What a goofy, embarrassing, completely sweet thing for him to do. (I broke up with him later that year because he bleached his hair with the swim team. A girl’s gotta have standards.)
- Light In Your Eyes – Blessid Union of Souls
OH THIS SONG. My love affair with this song stretched from middle school through today – but it earned its spot on this playlist my sophomore year, when my BBFF (boy BFF) and I sang a duet at our school’s annual pops concert. He was so nervous that his hands and his voice were shaking, but he soldiered through because he knew it was important to me. Sophomore boys could be real jerks and he was no exception – but I’ll never forget how he came through for me on this one.
- Come To My Window – Melissa Etheridge
This one’s for the girls (of course). Junior year of high school, wearing tutus and leather jackets and entirely too much body glitter, we ate Chinese food and headed for downtown Asheville, singing this song at the top of our lungs all night long. Later, on Spring Break at Lake Junaluska, we got all dressed up and sang this song for karaoke night at a small-town biker bar. Nights with those friends were some of the best nights of my life.
- Being Alive (from Company) – Raul Esparza
We’re skipping forward a little here. After a string of late high school and early college relationships that just didn’t go the way I planned, I took a step back to look at my life, look at my choices. I also happened to be going through a major Sondheim phase – and when I heard this song, something clicked. I was dating the wrong guys, and I was dating them for the wrong reasons. (“Add ‘em up, Bobby, add ‘em up!”) When the dust settled, I was ready for a major change. So I looked up the tall, handsome, smart, nice guy from freshman year who I had always assumed was out of my league. And I asked him out for coffee. And the rest is history.
- Spit On A Stranger – Pavement
Honey I’m a prize and you’re a catch and we’re a perfect match. When you know, you know. Josh put this song on a mix CD for me early in our relationship, and that line bounced around in my head for months and months. The rest of the song isn’t especially sweet or romantic, but that line. That line is us.
- Real Love – Regina Spektor (John Lennon cover)
On July 25, 2009, I grabbed my Dad’s arm and floated down the aisle toward Josh. This song played as I walked. I have never been so sure of anything in my life as I am of the fact that I am married to the absolute best man in the world – and I am so, so lucky to have found him.
If you loved this playlist, you can watch all the videos at once by clicking here. Or, you can listen to all the songs on Spotify (except for Have You Ever, which isn’t on Spotify and was replaced by Back at One by Brian McKnight, which I also danced to at the same middle school dance).