Mixing it up

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Saturday, January 08, 2005
I love making mix CDs. I loved making mix tapes too, but they were a lot more infrequent due to the hassle of pausing the tape, switching the CD, unpausing the tape, etc. Mix CDs and I became very good friends in 2001 when I first got my iBook. I began making them for road trips and it started going crazy from there. One of the more recent mixes I made was for my friend, who I will call Blondie. Blondie's birthday is right before Christmas, which sucks - who can compete with Jesus for a birthday? So we try to find little ways to make it better. Of course because I suck, she still doesn't have her Christmas presents, but really - that's a story for another post. I tried to pick songs that I thought she would like. She's a fan of harmonizing and generally prefers a more gentle sound. If you follow any music blogs you will no doubt recognize a lot of these. Anyway, here's the Blondie's B-Day Mix with commentary:

1. Here's To Love - Ewan McGregor and Renee Zelwegger - I know she loves Ewan (who doesn't?), and Down With Love in particular. Ewan plays Catcher Block - man's man, ladies man, and man about town. I still don't get the lyric about babysitters, but that can be the something new I learn on another day.

2. Strange Magic - Darrin Hayes. I have actual shame about loving this song. It is like the elevator music on the way to the easy listening hell, YET I LOVE IT. I have no shame about some other songs that might be considered mockable, including other songs by Savage Garden - I love their I Want You song - you know the one with the Cherry Cola. Fun, fast, poppy. This one is slow, syrupy, saccharine sweet - but I cannot get enough! It must be his voice, or more likely some sort of hypnotic suggestion. Easily sounding like it could be from a Disney movie in the 50's (the beginning part, anyway), it is actually from the Ella Enchanted soundtrack. The movie is cute, and this song is crack (to me - I realize I am probably alone. here's hoping Blondie liked it or at least doesn't want to jab her ears with a fork when she hears it)

3. Float On - Ben Lee I didn't realize that this was a Modest Mouse cover, because I am not always too bright. Anyway, I like this song - when I first heard it through my crappy computer speakers I thought it was a typewriter at the beginning. I love typewriter songs! (Dear mr. and mrs. troublemaker by the AGSFB comes immediately to mind). But I also like this song with its gentle insistance that things will be ok eventually, even if they are shitty right now. It is sort of from a detached but concerned POV. good news is on the way

4. The Mayor of Simpleton - XTC Love this song, so much. When all logic grows cold and all thinking gets done/you'll be warm in the arms of the Mayor of Simpleton. For the overthinkers among us.

5. Memory Lane - Elliott Smith - This one is like so many Elliott Smith songs - it sounds so beautiful, so bouncy, but is a complete heart-breaker/kick in the gut. Honestly, I was going from a 'sounds pretty' standpoint when I put it on this mix. But I think that knowing the Mayor's name is Fear/his force patrols the pier is something. Hey! Maybe I should collect songs that refer to city elected officials. This is part of the mayoral run of this mix cd.

6. Be My Baby - Travis I like Travis from the The Man Who era a lot. They've gone and gotten kind of hippy/jambandish which ruins it for me. shakes fist at hippies I'll never forget being up far too late one night working on a project and hearing Why Does It Always Rain on Me, and seeing the video with the dead fox, the water, the kilts, etc. It was surreal, and at 3am just the ticket. Its been downhill from there, if you ask me, which I realize nobody has. Anyway, this is a great cover of a girl group classic.

7.Every Little Bit Hurts - The Spencer Davis Group - with young Steve Winwood on vocals. I like this song, and it seemed like it would be in one of those British romantic comedies from the mid-late nineties, which Blondie is a big fan of. So from this point, I tried to think of this as my own british romantic comedy soundtrack. I largely failed since I am neither british, nor living in a romantic comedy, but it was fun to try.

8. Look For Me (I'll Be Around) - Neko Case See how fast I came off the british romcom rails? This one has the creepy western reverb/vibraphone sound found in David Lynch movies everywhere! And Neko Case - amazing! I put this on here because I think everyone should know about her. This song is slow, slinky, sexy, and sad. And reverbilicious.

9. Grace Cathedral Hill - The Decemberists I find myself practically incapable of making a mix without a Decemberists track on it these days, and this one is lovely, so I put it on. I have a theory that Colin Meloy has actually invented a new vowel sound, but it isn't very well thought out yet.

10. Polly - The Long Blondes - crazy catchy retro sounding tune, straight from the slow dance at the sockhop. One could also hear this while waiting for the waitress on rollerskates to bring hamburgers and milkshakes to the car, while ones date tries his luck getting hands inside the inevitable angora sweater.

11. The Dress Looks Nice On You- Sufjan Stevens Banjo, baby! OK, this is just a pretty, pretty song. I can see a lot of life in you. Not a bad thing to hear.

12.It's There - The All Girl Summer Fun Band One of the best crush songs, ever. At the part of the crush where you are trying to convince yourself that it's not all in your head, and that the object of your desire is secretly crushing on you too. For delusionals everywhere! plus, they sing about tying your shoelaces together, which is just adorable. oh, dear, you'd better stay away from me/ for fear I'll tell you how I feel/oh sure, it's something good, its something real/ oh yeah, it's there

13. Kyle's Mom is a Bitch - Eric Cartman - what can I say? Blondie loves Southpark!

14. I'm So Thankful - the Ikettes - I was still in my BritRomCom state of mind, despite all of my digressions and transgressions. This has great horns and motown sound.

15. Wildflowers - Tom Petty - my friend (not Blondie) insists that Tom Petty belongs in my hall of shame, the way Rod Stewart is in hers, or Billy Joel is in my sisters. She is wrongedy wrong wrong. I insist that Tom Petty is not NEARLY as shamefull as RS or BJ. This song is a favorite of his slower ones - it is so heartfelt and sincere. I also heard a busker singing it this summer while I stood in line for a sno-cone before the cops made him leave. He did a nice job with it. Way to go, anonymous busker at Art in the Pearl! Ummm, Blondie really loves Art in the Pearl, therefore this was an obvious choice.

16. Four Seasons In One Day - Crowded House - I don't care what anyone says - Neil Finn writes amazing pop songs! In addition to being an amazing pop song, this one has very nice harmonies, which as I mentioned above, Blondie really likes.

17. Jacques Derrida - Scritti Politti Oh, how I love this song! It showed up on fluxblog not that long ago. It brought back how much and how obsessively I listened to Cupid and Psyche back in the day (although this song was not from that album). Mr. Scritti Politti has one of the sweetest sounding pure pop voices I have ever heard. So, this song had very little to do with Blondie, and a great deal with how much I needed to put this on something I could listen to easily in the car. Plus - it is a great way to expand or reinforce your vocabulary ( rapacious, voracious, nation-state, assuage, living-wage ) and familiarity with French deconstructionists. For more than you ever wanted to know, check here.

18. mahnamahna - Muppet Show My friend PSC and I used to sing this for HOURS. I thought Blondie would like it, and it sort of bookends the Cartman song.

19. Bittersweet Symphony - The Verve - I know, I know. Overdramatic, used in a nike commercial, dated to the mid-late 90's. I Care Not. I love it. I have identified that I am pretty much a sucker for any symphonic pop songs, and this is the start of more than one on this mix. It is the kind of thing Blondie would like too, so it's not like I'm torturing her.

20. Flowers In The Windows - Travis Another Travis song, and not even from The Man Who. It is jolly, jaunty, and hopeful (and sounds that way, unlike that sneaky E. Smith) and therefore deemed appropriate for the mix. Not my favorite song ever or anything, but I like it and thought Blondie would like it too. It has disturbing seagull sounds, however.

21. The Shining - Badly Drawn Boy Everytime I type this out, I picture The Shinning from the Simpson's Tree House of Terror. Use the Shinning, boy! This song fulfills the BritRomCom AND symphonic themes. If only it were called The Mayor of the Shining it would be perfect. This is appropriate to the mix also because Blondie bought me a ticket to see Badly Drawn Boy once. She hated the opening act, and then the band proceeded to chainsmoke through the whole show despite it being a non-smoking venue. I think she was bummed that they did not sound just like they did throughout About A Boy. This song sounds like the sound she prefers, so hopefully this will help get the smoke out of her lungs and improve the memory.

22. Innocent When You Dream- Tom WaitsTom Waits is a werewolf, I am sure of it. Anyway, she really likes this song, but had no Tom Waits AT ALL. She remembered it from the soundtrack to the movie Smoke (excellent), and had asked me to help her figure out what song it was. I did, and put it on here for her. It was her birthday, after all.
4 comments on "Mixing it up"
  1. I thought the "soon it will be just babysitters" line meant that now they were going to settle down into their 50s style love nest and bust out a few puppies.

  2. That makes so much sense! I kept thinking that there must be some badass babysitters that come into the club or restaurant that they (Catcher and Barbara) are at, at the same time every night. "oh, look at the time, soon it will be just babysitters. We'd better get out of here!" Of course, that made no sense, but the obvious answer was eluding me. Until now, of course! Thank you, Leslita.

  3. Today I was adding some mix CDs to iTunes and came across a CD you made me - the one to prepare me for my first journey to Paris! It brought back lots of extremely fond memories and is just simply a good CD to boot! I look forward to having these songs back with me.

  4. Oh Yay! I like that mix a lot too. Hmmm. I will put it on right now. I have not met my accordion RDA yet today.


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