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Friday, February 04, 2005
I made this mix before I went on a road trip with my Mom to Idaho last March. The version I made for myself and my sister has two differences from the one I forced on everyone - It has an extra song (Go To Sleep from O Brother) and the Ideeho! spelling. It has turned into one of my favorite mixes, but I guess I say that about them all -

1. Mr. Blue Sky - Electric Light Orchestra - I admit I first heard this in a commercial. It was just the insanely glad-hearted Mr. Blue Skyyyyy please tell us why/ you had to hide away for so long (so long), where did we go wrong/ hey there Mr. Blue, we're so pleased to be with you/ look around see what you do, everybody smiles at you part, and I was lost and obsessed until I ascertained that it WAS in fact ELO and not some cool new band, and that for .99 it could be mine immediately. This falls into that category of song where people either love it (me) or hate it (haters!). It makes me happy, so I cannot deny it even though its creators had permed white man afros. Yes, there is a vocoder robot talking part, but come ON. In Portland who hasn't had that burst of intense joy from seeing a blue sky after months of grey?

2. Know Your Onion! - The Shins This was the first Shins song I ever heard! It was on the Gilmore Girls soundtrack (which is excellent, by the way). I like how the title makes no sense at all (sort of like Know Your Chicken! by Cibo Matto, except they at least sing about chicken in their song). 'what kind of life you dream of? you're allergic to love.' /yes i know but i must say in my own defense , it's been undeniable dear to me, i don't know why. This song isn't my favorite Shins song, but it has the sparkly swooping shimmery sound that I like so well about them.

3. You and Your Friend - Snake River Conspiracy - First of all, I had to put this song on this mix because a) Snake River Conspiracy - we drove along the Snake river for the whole dang trip! and b) because it is awesome, fun and sexy.

4. It's Gonna Be A Long Night - Ween - This song is insane. It is a drugged up crazy anthem to a pre-determined night of HORROR, yet is strangely compelling. In a thousand years this doesn't sound like fun to me, yet the song has a weird pull (and a driving, flailing, joie de vivre) don't call your mother, don't call your priest / don't call your doctor, call the police. / You bring the razor blades, I'll bring the speed / take off your coat, it's gonna be a long night. / You're gonna suffer, you're gonna bleed/ I heard it all before, you will concede/ It's gonna be a long night. Plus, the giant nerd that I am loves that in the midst of all this shouting about the police and bleeding he says 'you will concede,' like they are having some sort of rhetorical debate.

5. 36-24-36 - Violent Femmes - sooooomething special about her personality/ sooomething special about her physiology!. I love Gordon Gano when he sounds crazy (when doesn't he sound crazy?)

6. The Look Of Love - ABC - What can I say? I love this song and can sing along to the lone goodbye that follows when your girl has left you out on the pavement without failure. I like the drama, the huge Yippie- i- yippie- iaaaayeah , the spoken part at the end, the big sigh. The 80's keyboard. Love. Pure cheese, but love.

7. I Wonder Why the Wonderfalls - Andy Partridge - Theme song to the late lamented (but recently available on DVD) series Wonderfalls. As a fan of XTC and the creators of the show, I was almost certain to love this song, but I find that it has earned my affection all on its own. We're bobbing along in our barrel /Some of us tip right over the edge /But there's one thing really mystifying / It's got me laughing, and it's got me crying All my life it would be death-defying /Until I know /I wonder, wonder why the wonder falls /I wonder why the wonder falls on me. It is bouncy, jaunty, and full of the questions of life.

8. July, July! - The Decemberists - My birthday is in July, so I sort of feel proprietary about the entire month. In the first 30 seconds of this song there is mention of my uncle who was a crooked French Canadian, who was gut shot running gin/ and how his guts were all suspended in his fingers, and how he held 'em, how he held 'em in. A whole story and history in two lines of a song - even if you have no interest in gin-running french canadian uncles (is it possible to be uninterested?), it is compelling. My next favorite part would have to be the chickens who are rattling chicken chains. You have to hear it to believe it. There is also sprightly light magenta, and a chorus repeating July in the good old fashioned cowboy pronunciation of Joo-lye.

9. I'm The Man Who Loves You - Wilco - If I could you know I would just hold your hand and you'd understand I'm the man who loves you. Internal rhyme PLUS a chorus of wooo hooo's? I'm there!

10. Never Far Away - Jack White - ooooh. this is really good on headphones. It is a little too quiet on the car stereo, but I know what it sounds like when Jack White sings right in my ears (thank you iPod), so it works for me. This is one of the songs from the Cold Mountain soundtrack and is from the POV of the Jude Law character getting back home to his girl in the midst of the Civil War. There are cellos. I'm walkin' home to you, walkin' home to you/ I'm talkin' through my wounds that are bleeding out for you/ talking through my wounds, walking home to you. To recap: Jack White, Jude Law, and the cello.

11. Walkin' on the Sun - Smash Mouth - Sue me! I still like this song, probably better than any of their subsequent hits. I think it might be about smoking pot with aliens and other cures to society's problems, but I'm not sure. It just makes me think of summer and the beach with it's retro organ and guitar.

12. C-C-C-Cinnamon Lips - OK Go - Handclaps (many!), organ, and the power-pop stutter! Wheeee! I don't know why OK Go is not a huge national act. They make insanely catchy, bright pop with clever lyrics. By all rights they should be rolling in dough and fighting off groupies.

13. Friday I'm In Love - The Cure - Wheeee! It sure is getting redundant with me loving all these songs, but that's why I put them on a mix! This one has so many factors that make it a favorite: it has a list, a lovely jangly tune, Robert Smith, and handclaps for Pete's sake. Handclaps! I cannot resist the handclap, or lovely lyrics like these. I read that he wrote it for his wife (childhood sweetheart) and that just makes it even better, if that is possible. Dressed up to the eyes/ It’s a wonderful surprise / To see your shoes and your spirits rise / Throwing out your frown / And just smiling at the sound / And as sleek as a shriek /Spinning round and round / Always take a big bite / It’s such a gorgeous sight/ To see you eat in the middle of the night / You can never get enough/ Enough of this stuff / It’s friday /I’m in love. If you cannot succumb to the joy in this song then give it up! You clearly have a small stone or possibly gravel where your heart should be.

14. Got To Give It Up (Part 1) - Marvin Gaye - This song is so fantastic. Really. It is the story of the wallflower who could resist the groove no longer and was compelled to dance No more standing on the side of the wall/ Well, I've got myself together baby, and I'm having a ball/ As long as you're grooving, there's always a chance/ Somebody watching will want to make romance . Marvin is the coolest. Keep on dancin'.

15. Clear Spot - The Pernice Brothers- this is one of those tricky songs that sounds all joyful and soaring, but is really about darker subject material. The part that I kept glomming on to is the lovely There's something about you , but repeated listenings indicate that it isn't necessarily something good. I feel better now you're gone

16. No Sleep - Huggy Bear - this song is less than 40 seconds, and is only british angry/ sarcastic girl yelling and drumming. I love it.

17. Fiesta - The Pogues Mexican horns and accordion plus the Pogues. What's not to love?

18. The Laws Have Changed- The New Pornographers - So sing-alongable! (one of the great tests of a road trip song is singalongablility). This one passes with flying colors - great nanana chorus to go along with, Neko Case and those other guys making me glad that the laws have changed, and that singing is the way to do it. It was crime at the time but the laws, we changed 'em,/ though the hero for hire's forever the same one./ Introducing for the first time, Pharaoh on the microphone./ Sing all hail, what'll be revealed today when we peer into the great unknown, from the line to the throne? I had to look these lyrics up. Despite singing along with great gusto, I really only knew the first line. It's a good song.

19. Change Clothes - DJ Danger Mouse (Jay-Z) Jay-Z's Black Album remixed to music from The Beatles White Album = The Grey Album. All the rage one year ago when I first made this mix! This one is one of my favorites - Jay-Z whooping it up (for real!) over the fussy harpsichord loop from Piggies on the White Album. My sister and I say Is that necessary? from this song all the time.

20. Pineapple Head - Crowded House Nerd Alert! I started a spreadsheet to keep track of songs used on mix CDs. It's a good thing - this song is probably due to be retired because I use it so much. It is in 3/4 time ( waltz time - the only one I am reliably able to identify). and if you choose to take that path / I will play you like a shark / and I'll clutch at your heart / I'll come flying like a spark to inflaaame yooooouuuuu . The lyrics are like a riddle, but one I don't mind thinking about as they swoop around one more time.

21. Utopia Parkway - Fountains Of Wayne - they make ordinary things sound extraordinary, and this song is no exception. Well I've been saving for a custom van, and I've been playing in a cover band/ But my baby doesn't understand, why I've never turned from boy to man/ I got it made, I got it down/ I am the king of this island town, I'm on my own, I'm on my way/ down Utopia Parkway

22. Dry The Rain - The Beta Band - This is a great last song song, because it is about 6 minutes long and it sort of resets you for the beginning again, or for something new. This one has a fantastic bass-line (this is the song playing in High Fidelity the movie when John Cusak says "I am going to sell six of these records." I like the repetition of It will be all right.
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