Tuesday, March 11, 2008

A good compilation tape, like breaking up, is hard to do.

A couple of weeks ago at the Orbit Room I was explaining how I kind of keep lists in my head of ideal mix CDs. Basically there are some songs that pair or group SO WELL together, thematically and/or soundwise, and I keep thinking that if I remember those groupings for long enough, eventually other songs are going to join those groups and I'll end up with a full CD's worth. I was thinking about this today and I have four of these kind of to-be-continued mix CDs. I feel like I should make a disclaimer at this point and admit that at heart I have incredibly dorky taste in music. It's like no matter how much indie shit I listen to and love, I end up coming back to some of the same stuff I've loved for years and years. I'm pretty much ok with that, but I also kind of feel like I'm unburdening a sort of deeply embarrassing or vulnerable thing by sharing these mixes with you, but it was on my mind so I'm doing it anyway.

The "perfect love song" Mix.
These songs are all buoyantly happy and bouncy and just awesome.
1 - Van Morrison's "Perfect Fit." I would like this played at my wedding. (And I never say "I want my wedding to be like X," so you know that when I say it I really mean it.)
2 - John Lennon's "Oh Yoko." Rachel totally called me on this on Valentine's Day. She posted it on her blog and when I told her "Oh man, I love that song," she said "I know, that and the Long Winters' "Cinnamon" and Spoon's Anything you want." I am apparently reliably dorky on the subject of certain songs.

3 - The Beatles' "I've Just Seen a Face." This is like my favoritest love song ever. It's so so happy. I am pretty sure I saw "Across the Universe" purely because this song was in the preview and they had that awesome bowling scene with it. (Also he is really adorable.)

4 - Complete middle school alert: Alanis Morissette's "Head Over Feet." I know, I am a dweeb, but it's really damn good. It happened to come on my iTunes last night and I had a great time with it while cleaning my room. I love the sort of hitch in her voice when she says "I've never felt this healthy before."

5 - And, to go with one I already mentioned, the Long Winters' "Cinnamon." This one I sort of wore out on a teensy bit, and didn't litsen to for like, three years, but after Rachel mentioned it on V-Day I went back to listen to it again. I love the part "We lied, we're already married, cause, here's proof we have suntans." It makes little sense but the imagery it evokes is really good, and I like the sort of spillage of once sentence into another. It sounds kind of breathless, like you can't help it, and I think that really sums up the mood of this mix cd pretty well so I included this after all.

This mix would probably be the easiest to complete, but I've never really dared. The songs I just listed ended up here because I've happened to play them only when I felt absolutely happy for no good reason, and I feel like a mix like this has to happen organically.

The "I don't really care if you screw me over, and in fact kind of want you to screw me over just because it's all I can get right now" love song mix.
There are only two of these because these are the only two songs that really feel the same to me in this way. I think that the rhymey-ness of "crack you up" and "fuck me up" helped me pair these together.
1 - The National's "Slow Show." I mostly mean the part "I wanna hurry home to you, put on a slow, dumb show for you and crack you up." It sounds so desperate, like, you will do anything you can to keep her around, even if it's making a fool of yourself. I think part of it is just the vibe, not the lyrics.

2 - Ryan Adam's "Come Pick Me up." This one is the part "I wish you would come pick me up, take me out, fuck me up, steal my records." I also love how the lyrics change from "screw all my friends, they're all full of shit" in the beginning to "screw all my friends behind my back" -- it's just a nice trick there and I like the idea of ignoring your friends' better advice not to be with someone. It happens. This video sucks but the song is good:

The "I am a selfish person" love mix.
I don't really know how to title this one, so bear with me.
1 - Basically I have always had this secret strange love for the Blink 182 song "Josie." The subject of the song is sort of a pushover, but for some reason the song is just sort of good anyway, I mean as good as a Blink 182 song could be. And also there's a certain amount of gratitude in the lyrics for the girl, which I feel like mutes the pushover-ness of it a bit.

2 - This song's pair is oddly enough Weezer's "No One Else." Maybe it's the surfer-skater connection, or just the idea that the narrator of this song is kind of pissed that his girl isn't more like Josie. I never really believed that the singer actually wanted it to be "over now," I felt like it was an empty threat.

Finally, the "sweet family songs" mix. I can admit that I have cried during every one of these songs.
1 - I'm ashamed to say it, but, Lonestar's "Front Porch Looking In." Sometimes in LA there is nothing on any of the radio stations (even the oldies' station) but commercials, and during those times for some reason the country station is still playing songs. These times, I sometimes used to listen to country. I am not super ashamed about it because by the way country is great to listen to when you are drunk, but I hate to admit that I cried at a Lonestar song. (Those responsible for "Amazed" really should not inspire any genuine emotion. I just don't know how to reconcile this.)

2 - More country: Phil Vassar's "Just Another Day in Paradise." I won't continue to disclaim anymore.
3 - Shawn Colvin's "I'll say I'm sorry now." I think this one my mom played or said she thought was sad, and I couldn't agree more. Sad but in a good way. I like how it ends sort of abruptly, like there's only so far she can take you and then you are on your own, which is sort of the point.
4 - Marc Cohn's "The Things We've Handed Down." This one my dad played for me once. It's by far the saddest and best of these.

For some reason this blog entry reminds me of my old Stanford Daily articles. I guess I've been in this kind of slap-happy mood all week (well, all day and a half of the week), and so I'm sort of giddy enough to post random crap like this. You guys know me, you know how much of a nerd I can get about things I really love. I get irrationally happy and grinny. Given the slap-happy giddy mood I'm in, it's no surprise I've been listening to a lot of happy music, and if not happy music then music that I just really, really love. So I'm going to forgive myself for the geeking out. This is a good opportunity, however, for comments from you all (you know, all four of you). What are your imaginary mix cds, if any, or what would you put on the kinds that I've listed?

I feel like I might need to watch "High Fidelity" this week.


Anonymous said...

Another sweet family song: by Bob Dylan, "Sign on the Window." And maybe "Sara," though it might be more of a love song.

"Head Over Feet" is one I didn't remove from my iPod; I listened to it on the elliptical when you were taking your shower.

And I love "I've Just Seen a Face."

How about a rueful memories mix?

Kelly said...

i love this entry! i have also been in a crazy good mood lately. tonight i was doing exactly what you described in this entry - no stations were playing music except the country ones - they were playing "barbecue stain on my white t-shirt" by tim mcgraw. and i turned the volume up loud. ridiculous song, but i love it! i also love both of the country songs that you mentioned. and after this tim mcgraw song, they played "strawberry wine" which made me think of you, and boone's farm. i know this was mainly your thing with laurel and rachel and casey but i think i participated in some singing of this song at the apartment back in the day. :)

Kelly said...

and by "entry" i clearly mean "post." i'm not too up on the lingo of the blogosphere.

Anonymous said...

"Cinnamon" has a haphazard energy I really like. And the line about the car saying, "Please start" is a simple stroke of comic genius that speaks to anyone who has ever lived with a non-starting car.

Anonymous said...

sara says...

k, i kept meaning to sit down and think of good lists, but if i wait until then, i'll never post anything in response. so what i have off the top of my head, i would have to say my melancholy break up list would include:
- "Leave" and "All the way down" from the Once soundtrack
- "Heartbeats" by Jose Gonzalez