Monday, November 10, 2008
I made a mix for the MTC (Mix Tape Club) at Anderson. Kristin Ashcraft gets a huge shout out for being willing to burn and distribute the mix to the club. It's rather silly to try participating from this far away, but the MTC is one of the best parts about being at Anderson, and all the mixes that will be awaiting me are one of the things I'm most looking forward to about going back. Anyway, here's a copy of the liner notes, just in case you wanted to hear the soundtrack I've been listening to.
Evolution of an endless summer
This year was the first time in seven years I didn’t spend the summer in San Francisco. Not surprisingly, when I actually got to see the sun, this summer was also the time when I finally realized how much there is to like about LA. And just as I was starting to feel the end of summer approaching, I fled to Sydney, where instead of watching the leaves fall I’ve been sneezing all over myself as the jacaranda trees come into bloom. I had planned on making a mix of all the crazy Aussie music I’ve heard. But it turns out they listen to the exact same cheezypop we hear stateside. So instead I’m submitting a selection of the songs I’ve listened to during the sunniest six months of my life.
Ready or Not – Fugees
I was sitting in a bar in Melbourne two weekends ago and I thought I heard this song. It turns out wasn’t the same song at all, but something about the base note of that one made me think about the intro to this one, and I’ve had it on repeat ever since.
Girl and the Sea – The Presets
I had originally planned on putting this band’s other song, This Boys in Love on my mix, since that song is getting a ton of airplay here right now. But even though I like that song I’ve started to find it wearing. And since I’m hoping you’ll listen to this mix over and over, I had to switch it out. Besides, I find the imagery in this song a bit tragic, and as you’ll see, there’s definitely a melancholic theme running through this mix.
Mondo Bongo – Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros
This guy sounds so much like Bob Dylan to me. If Bob Dylan decided not to sing quite so deep in his throat and actually enunciated. I was going to include some genuine Dylan [Lonesome Day Blues off Love and Theft has one of the world’s best indictments: “he’s not a gentleman at all, he’s rotten to the core, he’s a coward and he steals”] but then I caught a portion of Mr. & Mrs. Smith at a friend’s house the other day and decided to use this song instead. Besides, it plays behind a really sexy love scene, and who can’t use more of those in their life?
Manhattan – Kings of Leon
I had heard of the band, but hadn’t heard their music until I got here. I’ve literally been addicted to their album Only by the Night ever since. I wake up and the first thing I do is put it on, and all day it’s on my headphones. So I highly recommend checking it out. This is the first of the several songs on this mix which feature a whiny guy. But these are the kinds of tuneful, sexy, brooding whiners that you wouldn’t kick out of bed even if they did have terrible morning breath.
Electric Feel – MGMT
This song is on the radio all the time here. And since Kristin but one of their songs on her mix, I decided I could too. Check out the music video on YouTube. Pretty trippy.
I Feel It All – Feist
This song also has a very cool music video. I started listening to Feist at the beginning of the summer, and her album The Reminder is one I will always associate with summer ’08. Particularly because I saw her in concert at the Hollywood Bowl. That concert was not a highlight of the summer, but my trips to the Bowl were, as were the drives up to Malibu blasting this song.
The Worst Things Beautiful – Ours
Here’s another sexy whiner. One that sounds oddly like Bono. Ok, so this song is derivative, and the first time you hear it you may spend the entire song wondering which bands it sounds like most. But I turned on the radio to try and stay awake on my drive home from Anderson at 3 AM the night before my group’s business plan was due last spring, and it was the perfect song at the perfect time. I’ve listened to it many times since, since it too is great for the drive up the PCH.
Ça Plane Pour Moi – Plastic Bertrand
Yes, this song was used in a trailer for Gossip Girl. But it’s zany and weird and makes no sense even if you do understand French. Besides, it woke you up, didn’t it?
I Love to Move in Here – Moby
This is a good driving song. Since I usually listen to music mostly when I’m in the car, I have to include at least one.
Hallelujah – Jeff Buckley
I first heard this song, of all places, in the movie Shrek. It’s gorgeous, and sad, and that breath he takes at the beginning of the song is oddly effective. Buckley gets the award for king of the melancholic artsy-types on this album, since he may or may not have committed suicide, but definitely drowned in the Mississippi.
Fall at Your Feet (Acoustic) – James Blunt
Hopefully you’ll forgive me for including one of his songs since I didn’t use one that’s been played to death on the radio. But even if you don’t I’ll live. Happily ever after. With James Blunt. As long as he sings to me every day.
I Want You – Kings of Leon
I told you I was addicted to this album. Don’t think I didn’t think of just burning copies of their album for you as my “mix”. You can’t imagine how long it took me to weed it down to two songs. I particularly like the baseline of this one.
Hotel Song – Regina Spektor
Thank you Pandora. The first song of hers that I heard was in a mix I had seeded with Cat Power. I’m disappointed, but not surprised, that Kacy Qua scooped me with her, because she is really, really good. And her album Begin to Hope makes her sound like she’s your best friend, and standing in your living room in an old t-shirt and socks, singing and messing around on the piano as she waits for you to finish making her pancakes. She likes the ones that look like Mickey Mouse.
Bario Alto – Thievery Corporation
I had several Thievery Albums mixed in with my music, but I didn’t listen to them much. Until I decided they were a good excuse to go to the Hollywood Bowl at the beginning of the summer. I wound up with fantastic seats, even better weather, and my mind was officially blown. One advantage of living in LA, I discovered, is that the artists who are featured on an album also live there. And often they feel like dropping in and singing for the concert too.
Sweetest Girl – Wyclef Jean featuring Akon, Lil Wayne and Niia
I bought this album at the end of the school year last year, and this song in particular has gotten more than its share of plays ever since. Dollar, dollar bill, ya’ll!
Carry Me Away – Chris Lake featuring Emma Hewitt
I’m a terrible procrastinator. I can easily sit in front of my computer and get nothing done for hours at a time. So during finals when that became a particularly big problem, I would put this song on repeat and start cranking. It worked, and I still love the song. So I hope you’ll forgive the techno, because if this mix is the soundtrack to my summer, then this song goes on the cover.
Rosie’s Lullaby – Norah Jones
I thought I’d include one sexy melancholic female, just to round things out. This is my favorite song off Norah Jones’ latest album. I don’t like the album as much as her previous ones, but I still think if I ever find a magic lamp one of my wishes will be to sound like Norah Jones when I sing.