Break Up Sex

We asked Mike to make us a valentine’s playlist and we got break up sex…

Granted, it was great but jeez.

Writing by our newest columnist, Mixtape Mike
Art by all-star, Jesse D. Karshner

Cream Scene Playlist

Under covers and lost lovers… I wanted to make a Valentine’s mix tape that wasn’t simply love songs, that sweet familiar syrup of February. I wanted lust songs, desperation songs, songs of loss, and of longing. I wanted songs that fucked.

Here goes. let’s, as the man said, get it on.

Fade Into You

  • Artist: Valerie June
  • Album: Under Cover
  • Link: bandcamp

Valerie June is a some sort of fae magic accidentally let into our world.

I love this cover, in this voice.

I look to you and I see nothing
I look to you to see the truth…

Careless Wisper

  • Artist: Devon Lamar Organ Trio
  • Album: I Told You So
  • Link: bandcamp

One of the two instrumentals, if this doesn’t make you want to grind your hips against someone you shouldn’t, are you alive?

shoulda known better…


  • Artist: Gabriels
  • Album: Angels & Queens
  • Link: artist site

Gabriels’ Love and Hate in a Different Time stopped me in my tracks when I first heard it. Gut punched by it’s intensity and awesomeness.

Taboo continues that trend, but hits below the belt. A song that feels like the frenzied kissing and pulling off of clothes at the open of an affair.

Don’t bring me food then say I can’t eat
Shit’s so good it brought me to my knees

Between the Bars

  • Artist: The Civil Wars
  • Album: Between the Bars
  • Link: discogs

I walked down the aisle to a different cover of this Elliot Smith classic love song to alcoholism. This version lets us catch our breath, is this love or lust? A mistake, or a must…

people you’ve been before, that you don’t want around anymore
They push, shove, and won’t bend to your will
I’ll keep them still

Drink up one more time and I’ll make you mine
Keep you apart deep in my heart
Separate from the rest, but I like you the best

Milk (The Tricky Mix)

  • Artist: Garbage, remix: Tricky
  • Link: discogs

Somehow beautifully creepy and sexy all at once. Obsession, flirting with danger… that hand on your throat that excites and much as it scares.

I am waiting
I am aching
For you

I’m Not In Love

  • Artist: Kelsey Lu
  • Album: Blood
  • Link: discogs

I think of 10CC as being somehow related to the Monty Python crew, which is weird when most people only know this song, which is dirty as fuck in the original, and amplified here.

So earnestly claiming not to have the feelings writ so clearly in every atom of your being.

So don’t you ask me to give it back
I know you know it doesn’t mean that much to me

Heart Shaped Box

  • Artist: Amber Mark
  • Link: discogs

Having loved and subsequently mostly set aside Nirvana, this wave of r&b/sexy covers of them makes me appreciate them all over again, both the spasms of intensity of the originals and how the words can now soundtrack back seat shenanigans.

I’ve been locked inside your heart shaped box for weeks
I’ve been drawn in to your magnet tar pit trap
I wish I could eat your cancer when you turn black…


  • Artist: Sundur
  • Album: Somewhere there’s Music
  • Link: bandcamp

Jesus, a 2020s response to 90s Bristol sounds, a whole album that bristles against the world while soundtracking the dirty sex that can take our minds off the world ending outside.

Past the door, down the hall, tumble into bed.

Many times I’ve… dreamed of finding you this way
We are flawed… precisely because we want too much

All that lilac wine we’ve been sipping on got me feeling some kind of a way…

Paradise Circus

  • Artist: Massive Attack
  • Album: Heligoland
  • Link: bandcamp

Oh wait, did I say Bristol?

Turn off the lights and read each other like braille.

love is like a sin my love
For the ones that feel it the most

Every Time the Sun Comes Up

  • Artist: Sharon Van Etten
  • Album: Are We There
  • Link: bandcamp

Is this an ode to walks of shame? Let’s be less ashamed and more shameless.

Every time the sun comes up I’m in trouble
Every time the sun comes up I see double

The Night We Met

  • Artist: Lord Huron
  • Album: Strange Trails
  • Link: discogs

I had all and then most of you
Some, and now none of you

Legitimately the most gutting two lines of a lost love song ever written. If this doesn’t elicit tears, have you ever loved? Lost?

I don’t know what I’m supposed to do
Haunted by the ghost of you…

Pictures of You (Extended Dub Mix)

  • Artist: The Cure
  • Album: Mixed Up
  • Link: discogs

What is it about Robert Smith’s voice that is so sexy?

Deep in the loss, no longer standing in the rain outside their apartment, but still trying to pretend there’s a chance…

Remembering you, standing quiet in the rain
as I ran to your heart to be near
And we kissed as the sky fell
in holding you close, how I always held close to your fear

Keep On Loving You

  • Artist: Cigarettes After Sex
  • Album: Affection
  • Link: bandcamp

My wife put me on this. I don’t know how it’s the jam for 2023, but goddamn if it isn’t.

Cause it was us baby way before them and we’re still together
and I meant
every word I said
when I said I love you
I meant that I love your forever

Running Red Lights

  • Artist: The Avalanches
  • Album: We Will Always Love you
  • Link: discogs
  • Video: youtube

Such a song of hope held out for a relationship already lost… If you haven’t, watch the music video.

something’s gone… horribly wron

Les Fleurs

  • Artist: Bacao Rhythm & Steel Band
  • Album: Expansions
  • Link: bandcamp

Our second instrumental, I’m in love with every version of this piece, the Ramsey Lewis original, the Mini Ripperton burner.

It’s a good day (to fight the system)

  • Artist: Shungudzo
  • Album: I’m not a mother, but I have children
  • Link: artist site

Another tip off from my wife. Love as the root of protest.

We never gonna stop
We’re gonna make it count
When one of us is tired out
The other one will hold it down
We’re gonna spread the love
We’re gonna spread it ’round

Adore You

  • Artist: Harry Styles
  • Album: Fine Line
  • Link: discogs

There’s no guilty pleasures here, love what you love, love who you love. Fuck with wild abandon. Also yes, my wife put me on Styles, and now I’m maybe a bigger fan.

Sing this to your person while you walk to a farmers market. Bone before you put the groceries away.

You don’t have to say you love me
you dont have to say nothin’
you dont have to say your mine
Walk through fire for you
Just let me adore you

Right Down the Line

  • Artist: Lucius
  • Album: Nudes
  • Link: bandcamp

I mean, some Shmoopy love songs. This cover still fucks though.

When I wanted you to share my life
I had no doubt in my mind

Song to the Siren

  • Artist: Amen Dunes
  • Album: Cowboy Worship
  • Link: bandcamp

I don’t even know where this fell onto my radar, only that I hated it immediately and then loved it intensely. like some of my favorite flings that left scars.

Sail to me
Sail to me
Let me enfold you
Here I am
Here I am
Waiting to hold you
Did I dream
You dreamed about me?

About The Writer

Mike is neither an artist or a critic though he acts like both.  Nor a lover or fighter, but sometimes hits in bed and kisses in the streets.  He has impeccable taste in music, and buys private press new age tapes at garage sales to trade with other middle aged dads. His qualifications can be summed up in this artist statement: “I was in the right place at a weird time and now I get to share my bullshit with you, so, winning.”

About the Artist

Jesse Davis Karshner is a California artist and a member of The Cream Scene Team, working in the Art Department.

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