aka Anatomy of a Mix, one
I give friends mixes for their birthdays. And because I know and love an extraordinarily large amount of Librans*
, I've fallen way behind on my mixmaking. But I'm working on it, I'm working on it. Here's one that I've actually finished. This is for my beloved friend, the furry and button eyed Jared.
1. I Can't Stand It/Lou Reed (yousendit download)
While I prefer the VU original, this version has the unexpected oomph of having the girls that went "too-doo too-doo too-doo
" come out of nowhere and start blastin' away on the chorus. Who are these women? I would like to be their apprentice.
2. Sparta #2/The Fall
My signature dance song.
3. Ignition (Live)/Bonnie 'Prince' Billy
I first talked up this cover here
. Jared owns Trapped in the Closet
or at least rented it or something. I figure while he's probably never heard the R. Kelly original, which takes itself VERY seriously despite the car metaphors, he'd still appreciate this take on it.
4. Exodus Damage/John Vanderslice
I had a weird experience with this song late one night. I couldn't sleep and as I was switching channels, I came across the video. I can't say I loved it but I couldn't let go of it. In fact, the song lingered in my head in a disquieting way for several days. Soon after whilst browsing the blogs I read about my experience on another site. Jigga huh? Apparently, they were also was up late that night and got sucked in.
Deceptively simple, almost a, b, c-ish with its non-rhyming lyrics and repetitive choruses yammering on and on about Dance, Dance Revolution; this song captures the fragilility and unease of ordinary life after unfathomable events.
5. Hesitation Blues/Dave Van Ronk
From unease to impatience. Van Ronk's interview fascinated me in the Scorsese's Dylan doc, No Direction Home
. Those teeth! That voice! A great interpreter.
6. Check On It/Beyoncé feat. Slim Thug
'Cause it sounds good after the hesitation.
7. Rusted Guns of Milan/Art Brut
I love following a Beyoncé bold woman manifesto with Eddie Argos mewling about impotence.
8. Anthems for a 17 year-old Girl/Broken Social Scene
For Emily Kane.
9. Just a Thought/Gnarls Barkley
I would love this song so much more if it didn't have such sloppy loud drum samples on it. As it stands, it still resonates. I know people dismiss Cee-Lo's "I'm so ca-ca-crazy
" schtick but coming from hip hop, where admitting depression is well, just plain crackers, this is a bold move. Everytime I hear him utter his chipper "but I'm fine
" after talking about his suicidal urges...I feel gratified. Sure, biggie did it first. But not with that weird almost asian keyboard bit at the end.
I'd love to hear Chan Marshall cover this. Maaad slow and zombie sounding, the way she always does things.
10. Land of Lost Cars/Susu (yousendit dowload)
The first time I saw them do this live, I was spellbound by Andrea Susu's woman-as-seagull background vocals. On other Susu tracks she's got an almost baritone brusqueness, but on this song there's just this wild continual high yowling until it fans out into sky-pretty held notes. The fact that it sounds nothing like what she's doing on guitar makes it that much more satisfying to the ear.
11. Sea Song/Robert Wyatt (yousendit download)
My friend Alex, who is quite the singer
, was playing this in my living room a few weeks ago. I love Wyatt (I babbled in admiration in this post
) but I tend to concentrate on the sound of his voice rather than what he's saying. SO, after hearing Alex sing this song, I realized there's a whole story to it that I'd never paid attention to. Namely, a man, a lonely man, falls in love with a sea creature. A mermaid probably. Or maybe something less human looking. This is irrelevant. Man and sea beast meet at night, during the summer, get drunk a lot and form a relationship that gradually means more than he can possibly say. This romance has little to nothing to do with sex. No, it's about realizing that even when she's away, he's not alone. Because he is loved.
Listen around the 4 minute mark, when Wyatt starts to wordlessly vocalize over the mellotron. His complex, ululating wail will make anyone who is a musician feel either wonderment or deep burning shame.
12. Break My Body (Live)/Hanne Hukkelberg
Since it's The Pixies, let's call him Black Francis...well, that man was obsessed with sex. But in his world sex was stripped of its simple pleasures and became something pulsating and somewhat ugly. Impossible to ignore or resist but easy to recast as an alien, stick your finger in the goo type urge. Miss Hukkelberg says fuck that and turns this Pixies classic into a perfectly reasonable observation. Something you might take her up on.
13. Jack the Ripper/colin meloy
unjustly maligned meloy, he of the specs & the grand, grand stories about orphans & high seas intrigue, is quite clearly a "type a" fan. a fan who collects b-sides & looks at every story with the excitement of dickens reader. I hear he's singing about murderous butchers nowadays. I wonder if this morrissey cover with its benevolent look at a serial killer led him down that particular cobble stoned path.
14. You Don't Have Far To Go/Candi Staton
Jared likes a horn intro. Also, he likes Staton's loathsome and popular, Young Hearts Run Free
. This song is far more depressing, which is probably why I prefer it.
15. Baby C'mon/Stephen Malkmus
Bitch please. I don't need to explain myself.
16. Carbon Monoxide/Regina Spektor
I put Joanna Newsom on Jared's birthday mix last year. He was like "what the...?
After he listens to Spektor's "walka walka walka walka
" tangents he's gonna say the same thing all over again. Every mix needs such a moment.
17. I Love You/The Boyfriends
The birthday boy is a fan of Moz and The Smoking Popes. Ergo, The Boyfriends.
18. Heartbeats (Live)/José Gonzáles
I love this song, no matter who does it.
19. The Greatest/Cat Power
Using Moon River
as the hook in this song was a brilliant move. Consider this Marshall's Hard Knock Life
or Trans Europe Express
20. Hate Then Love/The Dears
I actually do not like the way the new record sounds; all hissy and rushed. I loved, loved, loved the majestic sprawl of their previous effort, No Cities Left, so the new album has been something of a let down. Wha'appen?
At the same time, even I will admit the songs are better. And since I've heard this number live several times, I know what it feels like when Murray Lightburn shrieks about believing in love like he's got to, once again, convince himself of it.
We freakin' rule! Librans are lovers of beautiful things, problem solvers, horrible with money, spacy, obsessed with balance and fairness to the point of rage-inducing insanity. Eh, what's not to love?
Labels: Anatomy of a Mix Tape, Colin Meloy, D, Dave Van Ronk, John Vanderslice, Robert Wyatt, Susu, The Boyfriends, The Dears