Relationships

What Songs Do You Make Out To?

Joanna Goddard and Alex Williams

When Alex and I were first dating, still nervous and full of butterflies, we thought it would be romantic to make music mixes for each other. So, we went home to our separate apartments, carefully chose songs and burned CDs (it was early 2007, after all). Then we swapped them, and they were a big hit. What is it about listening to songs chosen especially for you that feels so intoxicating?

Well, the other day, while cleaning out a desk, we found mine. It was fun to listen to the music ten years (and two children) later. Here are the songs I chose, if you’d like to see:


We couldn’t find Alex’s CD anywhere, but I remember he included I’ll Be Your Mirror (The Velvet Underground and Nico), which ended up being our first dance song :)

What songs do you like to make out to? What else are you listening to these days? I’d love to hear…

P.S. Scheduling sex, and how do you know your partner is the one?

  1. Colleen says...

    I’m stunned that people thought of this…and stunned that these lists last hours! Good job you guys!

  2. Borjana says...

    I love this! My husband and I did the same thing when we first started dating in 2006. He introduced me to the music of Sondre Lerche. We danced to Modern Nature as our first dance at the wedding. It will always be one of my favorite songs.

  3. Vanessa says...

    “This Charming Man” is such a great song!

    I like listening to Glass Animals – their music has VERY sexy vibes.

  4. My husband made me a mix tape when we first started dating at university in 1998. There was a lot of Britpop on there! Ocean Colour Scene ‘Robin Hood’ and Eagle Eye Cherry ‘Save Tonight’ always take me right back. Wish I could find that tape!

  5. Karin says...

    Great playlist! Among my most treasured mementoes are a few mix tapes (yes I’m old) made by ex-boyfriends. . . I miss that tradition. My husband made some amazing mix-CDs for us to play in the hospital when I was giving birth…”Kooks” by David Bowie is one song on them that always takes me back to when my son was a baby.

  6. Cindy says...

    Artists that I think are great for makeouts: Nick Waterhouse, Gary Clark Jr, and Leon Bridges. I definitely dig the retro sound, so I may be biased :) Here’s a link for a song Nick Waterhouse and Leon Bridges did together, in case you are interested! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=83eyUuL8fFk

    • Oh my goodness thank you for this comment. I listened to all three of the musicians and now I love them!

  7. Jamie says...

    What a sweet thing! Thank you for sharing.

  8. Brings me right back to college days! Love it :)

  9. Rhye’s album “Woman” never gets old, and FKA Twigs “LP1” – so sexy.

  10. Ah, Joanna, usually I skip past blog’s playlists, but this one is so good! Won’t fight future ones.

  11. Kate says...

    Mazzy Star–Fade Into You
    Patty Griffin–Carry Me
    Jose Feliciano–Light My Fire
    Santana–Samba Pa Ti
    Dido–No Angel album
    Norah Jones–Come Away With Me album

    • Kate says...

      I forgot
      Butch Hancock–Eileen
      Ryan Adams–Gold album
      :)

  12. Anna says...

    A lot of The Honorary Title! and Jack Johnson!
    The Avett Brothers hold a special place for us too. My husband surprised me with front row tickets to their New Year’s Eve show for our first real date. 3 little boys later and we still love to put on Emotionalism for long car rides :)

  13. When my husband and I were first dating we had a very memorable night together where he made a playlist (mostly slow, sensual, definitely some John Mayer type jams in there) and he planned a long massage to it. Ahh, it was heaven! And also just very sweet and memorable. I don’t remember the specific songs, but the thought that he put into creating the playlist and overall the special night, will always stay with me. 2 kids and a marriage later, I guess it was worth the effort :)

    Xoxo http://www.touchofcurl.com

  14. This totally could have been a mix that I made in 2007! I always had a song from cat stevens, van morrison, and the beatles or rolling stones, mixed in with new artists. love this mix!

  15. Ana Leonor says...

    Ohhh, I just loooove je t’aime non plus! Me and my husband love the oldies like Barry White…

  16. Rachel says...

    Listening to your playlist right now – it’s so sweet!

    My boyfriend and I favor R&B right now ;) Miguel’s Kaleidoscope Dream album is in heavy rotation. We’re also loving Anderson .Paak and The Weeknd.

  17. Claire says...

    Love this :) My boyfriend, for all the ways I love him and how similar we are in thought and humor, is not a “music person”. As someone who has been singing their whole life, music is a deep part of my heart. It baffled me a bit and I didn’t want to force it on him, but I wanted him to understand something so important to me. So, for the first year we dated I made him a monthly Spotify list schooling him in music…first my favorites, then decades, jazz, the Beatles got a whole month, etc. Though he’s not suddenly an expert now (a girl can dream), he listened and always recognizes when a song from one of the playlists comes on. It’s fun to go back and listen to each one and remember where we were at each month, too. :)

  18. Kait says...

    We have a “SFT” (Sexy fun times) playlist on Spotfify and The Weeknd is heavily featured. Even though we are totally indie music lovers…. his music is just make out central! Embarrassingly, I remember when we first started dating we once made out for FIVE HOURS! Our playlist ran out pretty quickly (a lot of Damien Rice back then), so now even though our sessions are abbreviated, our playlist is about 100 songs long just in case ;)

  19. totally made out a lot to moby’s porcelain. :)

  20. Ewelina says...

    No 20 was our first dance song!:)

  21. This playlist is real nice.

  22. elena says...

    Joanna,
    you have covered so many topics but I have never seen anything on a marriage crisis on your blog ( or any other to be honest). That is also something that concerns lots of us. Would you consider touching upon this topic sometime?

  23. Aimee says...

    Ha! We burned a cd too! Circa 2005 a little earlier probably. It included “Iris”, “Save Tonight”, “Standing outside the fire”, “shameless”, “to make you feel my love” (we like Garth Brooks!) “cocaine”, “ring of Fire” and a number of others! I would probably make out with my husband if I heard any of those songs and get all nostalgic on him. “This is us” “I walk the line” and “feels like home” were wedding songs and make us feel gooey for each other!

  24. This is so wonderful :) My, now, husband and I used to swap songs over instant messenger but I was always desperate to appear cooler than I was BUT the first song that I genuinely recommended to him was ‘Whisky and Wine’ by Matt Costa. We occasionally get lost down a Spotify rabbit hole, with a bottle of wine, and re-listening to all our old favs! The best!

    http://www.englishgirlinnewyork.org

    • Katy says...

      Love Matt Costa.

  25. Lindsay Somers says...

    So weird. We totally have the same taste in music. But, probably not that weird, bc I identify with your lifestyle genre. But all the songs that “only I know about” were there. So good.

  26. Sandra says...

    My favorite make out album of all time is Roxy Music’s Avalon. My first love and I listened to it all the time. I could never listen to it with my husband…too many memories!

  27. Erica says...

    Love this! Taking all kinds of notes. My list varies so much. Top three, however:
    1. Delicate – Damien Rice
    2. Waves – Miguel
    3. Off to the Races – Lana del Rey

  28. Carly says...

    My boyfriend and I haven’t made each other mix CDs in a while but they played a huge role in our first month of dating. I remember his first CD to me was full of cool, indie bands and songs with meaning, while I pulled together my favourite Bryan Adams, Springsteen and Bon Jovi greatest hits for him. I was so embarrassed that I didn’t know any “cool” music but to this day, “Baby When Your Gone” is a big song for us to warble terribly to each other in private….or publicly in karaoke after a few drinks. Nothing says love like like being slightly tipsy, wanting to make out with your partner and channeling Mel C.

  29. Wendela says...

    So glad you started this discussion! I’ve been married for like, forever, and we have been having trouble with “stale” music play lists at such moments. We aren’t sick of each other, but are so tired of the same old music! Thanks for raising the topic! I’m definitely taking notes… ;)

  30. Eva says...

    omg i totally have a go-to list haha. these albums are super sexy in their entirety—and beautiful also for nonsexy times:
    washed out – within and without
    cock and swan – secret angles
    bob moses – days gone by

    can totally relate to the emotional intertwining of song and love. <3

  31. Stephanie says...

    My former BFs made me CDs of bands that, today, are some of my favorites. Interpol, Postal Service, Yeah Yeah Yeahs all come to mind.

    • chrissy says...

      love those 3 bands!

    • Brianna says...

      I heard Maps by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs the other day and I was immediately transported back to what felt like a completely different lifetime. It was so eerie.

  32. abbey says...

    I have a (not-so) secret ongoing playlist titled “For Play” that I have at the ready for the circumstances we’re speaking of. A bit of R&B. My favorite tracks include… “L$D” by A$AP Rocky, “Girl” by The Internet, “With Me” by dvsn, and “Tough Love” by Jessie Ware.

    My favorite part of this conversation are the titles of the playlists. Please share more of these, people. “Spicy Meatball”? Ha!

  33. Kassie says...

    Love the playlist! Can I find it on Spotify?

  34. Nicole says...

    Radiohead!!!

  35. Mikaela says...

    I can’t believe I’m hearing this song! Years ago I used to wait tables at a small town french restaurant, and the owner had the “Je t’aime moi non plus” song on the playlist. Every time it came on we servers would CRINGE and look at each other like “OMG that french sex song is on again…WHAT IS THIS AND WHY??” This is the first time i’ve heard it since. Hilarious and still so cringey.

  36. Patricia says...

    Even After All by Finley Quaye is SUCH a sexy song. And First Day of My Life by Bright Eyes was our first dance wedding song…although we walked (danced, actually) into the reception to The Way You Make Me Feel by Michael Jackson.

  37. Deborah says...

    My husband and I have diverse musical tastes and sometimes the things that get me going don’t do it for him & vice versa. But without fail, the song that we both find the absolute sexiest is ‘Your Rocky Spine’ by The Great Lake Swimmers: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eQ6W_cq-zQ0

    Not only are the tune and lyrics swoon-worthy, but the song has featured in so many random romantic moments for us. Most recently, we were at an intimate concert at a bar in Toronto after spending about 4 months living apart on different continents. The Great Lake Swimmers were the ‘surprise’ act and played that sexy song. We both melted into each others’ arms and the four months apart faded away. I could have stayed in that moment forever.

    • Eva says...

      love that song. makes me melt every time.

  38. yael steren says...

    Well, I’m not making out to these – but here are some of my faves, all oldies but goodies (in my opinion, hehe)! Enjoy! xx yael http://www.yaelsteren.com/blog/

    1. Everybody Wants to Rule the World (Tears for Fears)
    2. Part-Time Lover (Stevie Wonder)
    3. What’s Luv (Fat Joe)
    4. Say My Name (Destiny’s Child)
    5. I Wish (Skee-Lo)
    6. Ready or Not (Fugees)

    • heather says...

      High five for this list.

    • Karin says...

      What’s Luv!!!! Love that song!

  39. Guylaine says...

    We married in Mexico in 2004 with no budget and no guests expect for 2 friends. My sister made us a wedding soundtrack with strict instructions to play in order given. Certain songs before the wedding, some during the wedding and the rest after the wedding/dance. My seven year old daughter has been listening to music with headphones to fall asleep at night and I walked in on her singing ‘it’s a nice day for a white wedding’. Was so cute and brought back nice memories.

  40. jk says...

    Reggae reggae reggae . Massive attack. Portishead. Depressing PNW rock. French hip hop. Still happy together ten years later in france.

  41. Carrie says...

    Blown a Wish – My Bloody Valentine. So romantic and epic. Shoegaze is perfect for making out, I find the haze so sexy.

  42. Danielle says...

    I’m a more than a little embarrassed to say that we have a playlist jokingly titled “The Bone Zone” in our Spotify account.

    A go to is definitely Rhye. It’s hard to go wrong with it- even the cover is sexy!

    Once we googled “best makeup albums” and Fleetwood Mac’s Tusk came up. I wouldn’t have thought of it otherwise but it’s pretty great (with a couple of weird song exceptions).

    • Patricia says...

      The Bone Zone just made me laugh out loud. I want to be your friend.

  43. We’ve never been much for making out. Sure every once in a while! But we rabidly made mixes for each other when we first met and have since laughed 7 years into marriage at just how obviously we were showing one another our hearts with our song choices. When it comes to a song that jumps to mind for romantic times though, it’s D’angelo’s “How Does It Feel”- you know- the famous video. It always starts out as a joke, but every time my husband puts the song on- well! Hold on to your horses! :-)

  44. HILLARY says...

    Ohh yes… Michelle Branch’s “Everywhere” takes me back to being a teenager in my ex boyfriends Ford Explorer haha

  45. Sharon in Scotland says...

    Don’t have a bloke at the moment, but songs that do it for me are “you’re just too good to be true”, “the look of love” and the long guitar riff from Freebird!

  46. Stefania says...

    My husband and I have a collaborative playlist called ‘spicy meatball’ – whenever we hear songs we think sound sexy we add to it. Its fun because when you make out you never know what will pop up next!

    • Danielle says...

      That’s such a good idea!

    • Charli says...

      Hahaha spicy meatball. You sound like my kind of people.

  47. My husband loves Marvin Gaye so when we were first dating he factored in quite a bit to our nights in. Nowadays I can’t hear a Marvin Gaye song without thinking of my husband :)

  48. Sonny says...

    Wow, we have really similar tastes in music…especially since it’s quite an eclectic mix you’ve put together. My husband and I totally made out to Let’s Pretend We’re Bunny Rabbits….A. LOT.

  49. The night my husband proposed we were listening to “Moon River.” Fourteen years and six kids later and that song makes me choke up every time!

    • Carrie says...

      Moon River chokes me up and I don’t even share such a lovely association!

  50. We made quite a few mixed CDs for one another when we first started dating…I think a Spotify playlist would be such a fun updated version of the mixed CD!

    Our makeout (or can we can it what it is?) baby-makin’ music would be John Legend, Miguel, and Usher. But mostly Usher.

  51. Alison says...

    I was on a date (lets be honest, booty call) with a super lovely dude and we started you know, and he starts scrolling thru his Spotify and the last searched term was “sex music” and I died laughing and luckily he did too, which was great. I now have a mix called “chill-out” which is slightly more disguised…

  52. heather says...

    One time this acquaintance of mine randomly made me a mixed CD. We were just friends and I felt a little bad that this guy I wasn’t into had made me a mix, because I thought it meant he might be into me. But then the next day I was listening to it in my car and had to pull over to the side of the road because the music was THAT good and I was suddenly like, Wait, who IS this person who made this mix for me? He is now my husband. Behold the power of the mixed CD!!!

    Thanks for making us a playlist, JG!

    • Love this story!!! Congrats Heather <3

    • Jessica says...

      What a great story!

    • Hannah says...

      That’s such a great story!

  53. when we first started dating i told my now husband that i loved me some Matt Nathanson and Jennifer Nettles/Sugarland. after our first day he downloaded their albums to listen. he’s been to more than i can remember Nathanson shows with me, since. still trying to catch a Nettles show, but she doesn’t tour as much…

  54. MK says...

    My husband made me many CD’s while we were dating, and he still makes me Spotify playlists for my birthday and our anniversary. I still get butterflies whenever I hear the first song on the first mix he ever made me- “Kids” by MGMT. (Which is… not a romantic song at all, funnily enough!)

  55. Veronica says...

    My husband I literally fell in love listening to early Beatles music together (think Twist and Shout, Do You Want to Know a Secret?, etc). He made me a two part mix CD that was early Beatles and Josh Ritter. He introduced me to Josh Ritter with the song “Kathleen,” which is now one of my favorite songs.

  56. As much as my husband and I both love music… we never end up having anything playing when making out. Often our soundtrack is just whatever is around us which could be silence, the dishwasher, children laughing in the other room, the TV… it seems like anytime we actually put on music nothing happens! Haha!

  57. My husband and I went to the same high school but didn’t know each other (I was a freshman when he was a senior), so sometimes, we put on songs from the early to mid 90’s and try to let them take us back to who we were then, in hopes that maybe, just maybe a long forgotten memory might be sparked…

  58. Erin W says...

    The Zombies always and forever. I also love Destroyer, his songs are beautiful!

  59. “Crash” – Dave Matthews Band

    And this is a little embarrassing now that I’m 36 and oh-so-mature, but in college, I had a couple FTMOs – Friends That Make Out. We didn’t want to date each other, and we were too goody-goody for anything “heavier,” but we made out. And it was fun and innocent, and every time I hear that DMB song, I’m immediately catapulted back to that time in my life.

  60. The first mixed tape (CD) that my now husband made me is my most prized possession! The album came with a cartoon of our awkward first date. After people and pets, it would be the first thing I would grab in a fire!

  61. Deirdre says...

    Oh man! My now husband put Al Green’s version of I Want to Hold Your Hand on a mix TAPE for me before we started dating 17 years ago. I love that song because he says, “I want to hold your hand” but it’s clear that that’s totally not what he wants to do to her.

  62. The first song on the first mix I made for my now husband, 8 years ago, was Tom Waits, “I Hope I Don’t Fall in Love with You.” He was going away on a trip after our first few weeks of dating and he cried in the airport as soon as he pressed play.

    PS Love love Cat Power! Her cover of Sea of Love was our first dance.

  63. i just love seeing the smiths on here…morrissey is my absolute fave. so back in high school-prior to cds, of course-my friend made me a mixtape that i thought was saying he was interested, but then there was one random song that threw it all off. so we didn’t date for a while after said mix tape. but once together, he made me another which had super cute things like prince’s the most beautiful girl in the world. aww, old times.

  64. Katy says...

    Anything from Ray LaMontagne’s Trouble will do it for us. I distinctly remembering slow dancing in the living room of my Chicago apartment to Shelter and Trouble and Jolene. We were doing the long distance thing – he in Minneapolis for grad school, and me in Chicago. So those weekend visits were already emotional roller coasters as is. Add Ray to the mix, and we were done for. Two kids later, whenever we hear Ray, we’re instantly transported to my Lincoln Square brownstone.

    • ev says...

      Love Ray. Saw him live at Hinterland last summer. Magical.

  65. karen says...

    Sondre Lerche! Be still my heart. I had forgotten about him. My husband is a master mix tape maker. A few weeks after our first date he made me a mix tape. I was going on vacation with my father and sister to Turks & Caicos and said he made it so that I wouldn’t forget about him. Needless to say it worked. I listened to that tape over and over again. My sister was like, “Come on let’s go hit the club!”. And I just wanted to listen to that mix tape.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that is so cute, karen :)

  66. Roselyn says...

    At this moment, someone (me) is listening to your love songs during their workday. #jazzhands Thank you, definitely needed a mood changer!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      yay! :)

  67. I love this playlist, Joanna! Would love if you shared with us another love song playlist with more current songs. Kill two birds with one stone–something for Alex, and something fun for us! ;)

  68. Heather says...

    I am all about the band Whitney to fuel the make out sessions as of late. Calvin Harris “Feel So Close” might be my favorite make out song ever though :)

  69. This is adorable. Before kids, my husband used to make a mix on a Saturday night and we’d open a bottle of wine and see where the night took us. We’d listen to Eric Clapton, King Curtis, Paco de Lucia, Percy Sledge…and lots of other bluesy stuff.

    Now if we try to listen to music we both actually find it distracting and heaven forbid we wake our sleeping kids!

  70. Lauren E. says...

    Mixed CD’s! Somewhere I have a “Breakup Mix” CD that I made in high school that is absolutely epic.

    My husband and I make out to instrumental jazz. If we listen to music with lyrics, one or both of us will get distracted and suddenly we’re dancing instead of doin’ it. :)

    • Heather says...

      I might like Breakup Mixes more than Make out Mixes…..might :)

  71. Danielle says...

    So lovely. My husband plays the guitar and so in out early days he’d play and we’d sing together (after a couple of glasses of wine!). He always says I have a lovely voice (he truly does love me 😉). Our first dance was First Aid Kit’s Emmylou and it always reminds me of the early days (and now) – he’s my Johnny and I’m his June x

  72. My husband and I aren’t very musical and never did mix tapes, but in a funny turn of events the song “Get Low” by Lil Jon & The East Side Boyz (possibly the least romantic song ever written) always brings me back to late nights in college dancing and drinking at the local dive bar back when we didn’t have a care in the world. Now that we have all the trappings of adulthood…careers, a mortgage, children…it’s so fun to put that song on and be transported back to 2004.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      love that, melanie!

    • Get Low was THE song of my freshman year in college in 2003-2004… I’m so with you. I have so many memories of that song. haha.

    • Patricia says...

      My husband goes all out singing that song and it cracks me up.

  73. Kali says...

    Frank Ocean, Allen Stone and Amos Lee. My all time favorite song though is still Sunday Morning by Maroon 5, the acoustic version. Mmmmm … 

  74. this is so sweet- except i hate the idea that burning cds is old fashioned!

    i like making out to early 2000s r&b- my husband is my high school sweetheart, so it reminds me of being at dances with him, all sweaty with hormones and butterflies in my stomach.

    xo, brittany
    http://www.notablob.com/

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      so sweet.

      and i remember making mixed TAPES for crushes in high school. #old

  75. Jessica says...

    Oh that is so sweet! We do have our songs too and it’s funny how they’ve change during the years.. but we still have our classics. XD

  76. One kid later and my partner is still making mixes/playlists for me, but now on Spotify — actually, I should really give him more credit for keeping the romance alive ;) Cat Power’s I Found A Reason was our first dance song!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      what a beautiful first dance song!

  77. MF says...

    Last night someone I’ve been seeing casually mentioned having made a playlist for me! It’s so sweet to imagine a grown man taking the time to do that. The playlist highlight is “Baby” by Donnie & Joe Emerson

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that’s so sweet!

  78. Lenae C says...

    My husband and I met and began dating in high school during (what I perceive to be) the height of AOL instant messenger. While chatting online, we’d send each other songs that reminded us of one another. I remember listening to the songs he sent me so carefully! Our first kiss was in my car while listening to a Something Corporate CD. Oh, 2002.

    • Ashley says...

      Okay, this comment makes me so happy because I distinctly remember making out with my high school boyfriend to a Something Corporate CD, too (“Leaving Through the Window”). ha! That CD was actually one of the items that we exchanged when we had the ‘give each other back our things’ meeting after we broke up during college. Ah, memories. :)

    • OMG… my husband and I started dating freshman year of college, in 2003/2004, and definitely began our courtship over AIM (one time I spilled water on my laptop during an all-night AIM session and was more stressed that he would think I left the convo than about my fried computer… and in the pre-text message era, I had no way to get ahold of him other than call, a phase we weren’t into yet, haha)… and we definitely listened to tons of Something Corporate (Globes & Maps, my fave).

  79. Alex and I have the same taste in music! I have put many of these same songs on mixes I made for my now husband when we were first dating! There is something so great about making a mix for someone- carefully choosing the songs, the order, and I even made liner notes for each CD that had commentary about each song or a special lyric… We still have all of them- 2 kiddos later as well!

  80. Kathryn says...

    My husband and I first held hands to the song “Wake Up” by Arcade Fire in the movie “Secret Life of Walter Mitty” and for months (and months) afterwards that was the first song we’d go to for a good ol’ makeout session.

  81. My husband and I used to play Leonard Cohen’s 1979 album Recent Songs in our first apartment together – we lived on the second floor, right on 125th Street and at night we needed some calming music to drown out the street noise. Every time that first song begins I feel nostalgia for those days, (and gratitude for our current, much quieter apartment). RIP Leonard!