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The Nerve Mixtape With The Kooks
The Brit-poppers share their secret seduction playlist with us.
by Hugh Harris
In support of their third album, Junk of the Heart, The Kooks are coming to America for a run of sold-out shows with Foster the People. We asked guitarist Hugh Harris to make us a romantic seduction mixtape; the glorious results are below. Check out this Spotify playlist of their picks.
1. Mason Jennings, "Big Sur"
This is the best possible start to any compilation — "Just let the disc play." I had this opening a tape for my girlfriend. We've been together six years, so something must have worked.
2. The Mummers, "March of the Dawn"
This reminds me of being in love and in Brighton, running around in the sunshine, which is all people really do down there and probably why I moved to London. Raissa Khan-Panni's voice sounds so free — a little like Bjork in places. They played a festival called The Secret Garden Party and completely brought the house down. (The treehouse, that is, I guess.)
3. Billy Joel, "She's Always a Woman to Me"
Luke [Prichard, vocalist/guitarist] first played this for me. I don't think I'd ever heard anything so delicate and so captivating. To quote Luke, "I was just in the bath, man, and this song came on, and I just started crying and crying. The shower wasn't even on, I swear."
4. Edwyn Collins, "A Girl Like You"
The great guitar sounds on this track are best heard loud, while driving through the English countryside with a big wicker picnic basket full of scotch eggs, pork pies, kale, sausage rolls, cucumber sandwiches, champagne, shooter's sandwiches, and crack.
5. Peter Sarstedt, "Where Do You Go To (My Lovely)?"
The "Marie-Claire" who's the subject of this song must have been the most wonderful thing. This song usually makes an appearance at our drunken acoustic jams. No one really writes songs this charming and humorous anymore. It's perfect for crooning your way into any girl's heart.
6. The Kooks, "Give In"
This wasn't on any of our albums — a real shame. I think it's one of my favorite songs Luke has written. He writes in a way that's pure and honest. That's quite difficult to do in our era of image.
7. The Police, "Can't Stand Losing You"
Sting hit on a paranoia so many of us feel in relationships. This song has a tension and urgency in it that is almost hypnotic to me.
8. Prince, "I Wanna Be Your Lover"
My girlfriend and I have regular dance competitions to this song on most of our holidays. This usually results in disputes over who deserves first place, and the song now has incurred a ban due to overly competitive conduct on both parties. I still await fair judgment and will invest in bribable independent adjudicators.
9. The Beach Boys, "God Only Knows"
Probably the best song ever written.
10. The Rolling Stones, "Beast of Burden"
I think this song was written for the sole purpose of wooing. I heard it first when we got signed — we were taken out by a girl from our label, driving around Chelsea, drunk, with the hand brake still on. She was a bit mad. So were we. It was a good time.
11. Stevie Wonder, "I Believe (When I Fall In Love It Will Be Forever)"
Here's an air-drumming classic. It's a bit cheesy, but you've got to dig cheese sometimes. I used to play this in a soul covers band called Soul Solid Crew (later to be replaced by the less successful Our Soul) years ago.
12. The Beatles, "Girl"
Hoo... girrrrrl. Lovely, dainty, pretty, and perfect. I heard this first in Japan, performed by a Japanese Beatles cover band. They were amazing!
13. Beirut, "Elephant Gun"
I find myself dancing like Kate Bush to this song. That could easily be taken for a mating call.
14. Coldplay, "The Scientist"
I remember when it all clicked with me and Coldplay, and I haven't much looked back since. This is a beautiful song, and the video is very moving too.
Want someone to test out Hugh's selections on? Check out Nerve Dating.