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Listen Up, Romeo

Every man has made at least one. The romantic-mix CD is one of the surest-fire ways to woo a woman's heart or, if your goals are more banal, just get laid. With Valentine's Day around the corner, here's a list of songs you should never, ever include on a mix when trying to let her know just how you feel about her.

1. "Every Breath You Take," the Police

This one seems like a gimme, but, in case you're one of the blissfully ignorant, "Every Breath You Take," no matter how passionately Sting croons from a court-ordered 150 yards away, is still about one scary-ass stalker. If you ignore this detail, your girlfriend won't.

2. "Someday You Will Be Loved," Death Cab for Cutie

Like most of Death Cab's ballads, "Someday You Will Be Loved" sounds a helluva lot more romantic than it actually is. Ben Gibbard likes to play with your emotions, you see. "I once knew a girl/In the years of my youth/With eyes like the summer/all beauty and truth," he sings. Wow, that is not only profound but beautiful. Then: "In the morning I fled/Left a note and it read/Someday you will be loved." Songs about one-night stands where guys sneak out the front door will just remind your girlfriend how much of a tramp she used to be. Bad call.

3. "Face Down Ass Up," 2 Live Crew

Sure, missionary can get boring, and there's nothing like a little doggy-style love to spice things up. But you're not going to make your partner feel sexy or romantic when, just as it's time to head to the bedroom, Uncle Luke yells out, "Pussy ain't nothing but meat on the bone/Suck it or fuck it or leave it alone." This song might have been funny 20 years ago. But if you're old enough to remember it, hopefully your date is old enough to find it insulting. In fact, even if she did want to sleep with you until sunrise, this is officially the libido killer.

4. "Millie and Billie," Alice Cooper and Marcy Levy

Like "Someday You Will Be Loved," "Millie and Billie" isn't what it seems at first. The duet is just about as boisterous and fun as anything Johnny Cash and June Carter ever recorded (Cooper sounds a bit Elton John, in fact), except, while you're not paying attention, the singers suddenly confess they've killed her husband to be together. Even creepier, Millie's musings on their future offspring: "They're frightening and gruesome and sad/And I don't want them inside me." The tune might be one of the greatest rock 'n' roll love songs nobody pays a lick of attention to, but that doesn't mean you want it anywhere near your Valentine's Day mix CD.

5. "Unchained Melody," the Righteous Brothers

Yes, "Unchained Melody" might just be one of the most iconic love songs of all time. That alone should keep it off any romantic mix, since you don't want her to think you're an uncreative, uncultured tool who can't even dig up a decent Al Green song to at least sound somewhat original. Hell, it's almost as bad as putting "Everything I Do (I Do It for You)" on there.

6. "I Wanna Sex You Up," Color Me Badd

Irony is the death of all romantic-mix CDs but especially Valentine's Day mix CDs. This is why "I Wanna Sex You Up" by the laughably bad Color Me Badd should never appear on any mix you give her with roses and chocolates. You're a dude and, by definition, already want to sex her up. She already knows, so don't try to be cute about it.

7. "I Wanna Fuck You," Akon featuring Snoop Dogg

Whatever we just said about irony and "I Wanna Sex You Up" goes quadruple for "I Wanna Fuck You." No matter how funny you think it is, your girlfriend will punch you in the balls for using any song that starts with "I see you windin' and grin' up on that pole" on a mix for her unless the mix's title is "Baby, You're a Freaky-deaky Ho-bag Whore With a Fat Ass I'd Like to Tap, So Why Don't You Bring It on Over Here So I Can Smack It With My Unit." In fact, avoid rap on any romantic mix.

8. "Stay With Me," Rod Stewart and the Faces

Don't let the title fool you — your girlfriend won't be staying with you any longer than the first verse of this song if you put it on a Valentine's Day mix CD for her. "Stay with me, stay with me/For tonight, you'd better stay with me," Rod Stewart sings while the Faces rock out behind him. "So, in the morning, please don't say you love me/'Cause you know I'll only kick you out the door." In other words, fuck me, please, but don't expect eggs. Maybe cereal, but only if you go to the corner store and pick up the milk I forgot to get myself.

9. Anything by R. Kelly

And we mean anything, even the stuff that sounds kind of hot. If a dude pisses on 13-year-old girls for kicks, you have no right helping him pay his lawyers to get him off by buying his music.

10. "Love Song," Insane Clown Posse

"Love Song" violates two of our rules for a Valentine's Day mix CD: No irony, no rap. "Bitch, I'm knocking at your door/Let me get some neden, ho/Bitch you're ugly, that's okay/I'm finna hit it anyway/I guess you want me to take you on a big date/But what you're saying don't sound all that straight/All I wanna do is feel your butt and squeeze your titties/Cuz I can't feed your fat ass on a buck fifty." Ah, nothing says love like Violent J. You know what else Violent J says? You're an idiot for even considering this song, that's what.

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Cole Haddon