Monday, July 07, 2008

Playing DJ

When another student asked me to make her a playlist I was of course superterrificallyexcited again, but feeling a bit worried. Would it suck? That's always the fear right? When you're sharing something of yourself, what if that part of you isn't good enough. I was going for stuff that was a bit more obscure for this girl, who I know has very similar taste in contemporary music to me.

“Stupid Girl” -- Garbage: Garbage -- Lead singer Shirley Manson is a goddess. One of my favorite songs from high school by one of the bands I’m very disappointed never to have seen.

“It's a Shame About Ray” -- The Lemonheads: It's a Shame About Ray -- A band that time seems to have forgotten, but the melodies and harmonies amount to an unforgettable memory of late night MTV during high school. This was one of the songs that kept me up for “just one more video.”

“Sister Rosetta (Capture the Spirit)” -- Noisettes: What’s the Time, Mr. Wolf? -- Best free single of the week ever on iTunes? Maybe. Amazing soundtrack to doing something aggressive song? Definitely.

“Worn Me Down” -- Rachael Yamagata: Napster session -- This piano-only version of this broken heart song somehow manages to make it even more poignant. It’s a shame that she’s sooooo uknown despite her appearance on The O.C.

“No Man's Woman” -- Sinead O'Connor: Faith and Courage -- Wanna know a secret about me? When given the choice I always choose female characters in adventure video games. Why? Watch the Alias pilot for when this song comes on.

“Feed The Tree” -- Belly: Star -- This song was my first crush on the lead singer song of high school. Tanya Donelly should have been a superstar for her metaphoric lyrics and rock melodies.

“David Duchovny” -- Bree Sharp: A Cheap and Evil Girl -- Bree Sharp has probably been hurt longterm by the fact that this was her first single. But who wouldn’t want a song like this written about themselves? I keep dreaming ...

“Rock The Smile” -- The Clash vs Jay Z vs Lily Allen -- This mashup doesn’t have a formal title that I know of. Who gives? It’s awesome. More importantly, mashups like these show that music isn’t divided into genres, just good and bad.

“Only In My Dreams” -- Debbie Gibson: Out of the Blue -- Debbie owned malls and pop and still owns the keys to my heart. Amazing thing about her versus virtually all other teen pop stars is that wrote her own songs and produced them, too. Has gone onto Broadway acclaim. Hooray, Deborah!

“True Blue” -- Madonna: True Blue -- A less known and far more innocent Madonna song. But I defy anyone not get this melody happily stuck in their head.

“Sweet and Lowdown” -- George Gershwin: “Gershwin Plays Gershwin: The Piano Rolls -- American classic. Gershwin does more on one piano line than most pop artists do on a whole CD. It’s a damned shame that music like this is no longer popular. I guess there is some truth to the idea that the good old days were pretty good.

“Magic Works” -- Jarvis Cocker, Jonny Greenwood, Phil Selway, Steve Mackey, Jason Buckle, Steve Claydon: Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire -- Supergroup records
suprisingly great songs for the Goblet of Fire soundtrack.

“Mushaboom” -- Bright Eyes -- There’s some French show that asks artists to cover songs. Hooray for the French because this version of Feist’s song is awesomeness.

“Goodbye Earl” -- Dixie Chicks: Fly -- Revenge is a dish best served cold with a side of melody and sarcasm.

“Cruisin'” -- Gwyneth Paltrow & Huey Lewis: Duets -- One of the biggest surprises ever was that Chris Martin’s wife can sing. This Smokey Robinson classic gets a fine treatment from Huey and Gwyneth—so casual and easy.

“Tiny Dancer” -- Elton John : Madman Across the Water -- Phoebe Buffay said on Friends that this was the most romantic song ever. Maybe. When it’s used in Almost Famous it’s definitely my non-Once-related favorite use of a song in a movie.

“Toss The Feathers” -- The Corrs: Forgiven, Not Forgotten -- Traditional Irish melody. The Irish sure could party back in the day, too.

“I Can Dream About You” -- Dan Hartman: Streets of Fire Soundtrack -- Nickelodeon used to have this music video request show called “Nick Rocks,” which my parents let me watch before I was allowed to watch MTV. This song was on all the time. Thankfully even PG-rated rock music can be great. This guy is white, btw.

“Something's Coming” -- Broadway Cast: West Side Story (Original Broadway Cast) -- I love showtunes and if we all could sing like this and convey our emotions with this kind of passion, I would love to live in that world.

“Into the Mystic” -- The Swell Season: Bonnaroo Music Festival 2008 -- Glen and Mar of Once fame cover Van Morrison and amazing live music moment ensues. I wish I had been there.

“Sweet Child O' Mine” -- Kelly Clarkson w/ Metal Skool and the Yellowcard dude -- Kelly doesn’t know all the words, but who cares because best contemporary female pop vocalist + novelty act x GNR classic = genius.

“Diablo Rojo” -- Rodrigo Y Gabriela: Rodrigo Y Gabriela -- I demand that everybody see them live. They need to be featured on the next guitar hero.

“Walk This Way” -- Run-DMC: Raising Hell -- More evidence that there’s good music and bad music. When two superstar acts combine on one great song—voila!

“Satellite” -- Ruby James: (Unreleased) EP -- This song seemed to portend the future of woman-rock but then what happened? I wish that I knew.

“Missing Link” -- Curve: Cuckoo -- Why do the English do things better than us? Curve is gone now, but like a supernova when they burned they burned really fucking brightly.

“Make Your Own Kind of Music” -- Cass Elliot: 20th Century Masters -- The Millennium Collection: The Best of The Mamas and The Papas -- I think you already know how to do this one, Devin.

“The Way You Look Tonight” -- James Darren: This One's from the Heart -- When I listen to a guy like Darren sing a song like this I understand why some people want only to be songwriters and have great singers sing their songs.

“I'll Cover You (Reprise)” -- Rent: Rent (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) -- Don’t we all want to be protected like this? But it’s scary because what if that protection disappears?

“Mandy” -- Barry Manilow: The Essential Barry Manilow -- If this song is cheese then I want to be the Mac.

“Delirious Love” -- Neil Diamond: 12 Songs -- Combining a producer like Rick Rubin with a singer-songwriter like Diamond means rediscovering the fountain of youthful genius.

“Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead” -- XTC: Nonsuch -- One of my fave songs from the early 90s. My fave high school radio station (CFNY from Toronto) intro’d me to XTC. I wish I had been cool enough to discover them as an A&R guy.

“The End Of A Love Affair” -- Stina Nordenstam: The World Is Saved -- Rachael Yamagata blogged about this Swedish singer and I am so thankful she did. One of my fave ways of discovering new music is finding out who the artists I love are listening to.

“Zooropa” -- U2: Zooropa -- U2 went electronic in a great way on this album, which was more The Edge’s baby along with Flood and Brian Eno. The opening German line is “progress through technology.”

“Birthday” -- Sugarcubes: Life's Too Good -- I like Bjork better when balanced with the guys in Sugarcubes. This song was one of many intro’d to me by Alternative
Nation on MTV.

“Swan Swan H” -- R.E.M.: Life's Rich Pageant -- My first favorite R.E.M. song. War sucks.

“Nightswimming” -- Coldplay with Michael Stipe: Austin City Limits -- This version of
my second favorite song ever is hauntingly beautiful and somehow even more wistful. If someone could be unmoved by this then they don’t have a heart.

“The Absence of God” -- Rilo Kiley: Live at The Greek Theater 6.18.2008 -- It’s OK to cry when Jenny asks Blake to turn the bad in her into good again.

“The Life Of Riley” -- The Lightning Seeds: Pure -- Highly underrated Brit-pop.

“You Gotta Sin To Get Saved” -- Maria McKee: You Gotta Sin To Get Saved -- I’m glad I judged this CD by its cover. Something about McKee’s expression in black and white clued me in that this CD would have soul and heart to spare.

“Us” -- Regina Spektor: Soviet Kitsch -- F-U Cold War. The Russian heart beats with love for family. The piano on this song carries power and wisdom like a river.

“Rhythm Bandits” -- Junior Senior: D-d-don't Stop the Beat -- Some songs just make you move. This is one of them. This song would be played at my wedding if there is one. Maybe I should get married just to dance to this?

“I Would Never” -- The Blue Nile: High -- If I ever meet the person who makes me feel like this I will get married. Wow.

“Back to Me” -- Kathleen Edwards: Back to Me -- Another revenge song. From The Dixie Chicks to Kathleen Edwards to Beatrix Kiddo women are soooo much better at it than men.

“Ahead By A Century” -- The Tragically Hip: Trouble at the Henhouse -- An amazing band from Toronto that has degenerated into coffeehouse music, but when Gord Downey sing "no dress rehearsal, this is our life" you understand that life is about appreciation.

“Just Like A Pill” -- Pink: Missundaztood! -- What a difference between Pink’s first record and her amazing second one. Never stop fighting to be yourself.

“Ev’ry Rose Has Its Thorn” -- Poison: Open Up & Say ... Ahh! -- Paired with “Fallen Angel” I would argue that few bands have ever had two songs in a row on any album sooooo good.

“Happy Together” -- The Turtles: Muriel's Wedding soundtrack -- The innocence of the 60s pop songs. I wish it was OK to be this unironic now.

“Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now” -- Starship: Mannequin soundtrack -- Another Mac and Cheese song.

“Your Wildest Dreams” -- The Moody Blues: Moody Blues Greatest Hits -- Purists would argue (and argue correctly) that the Moody Blues did far more important work than this synthesizered pop song. But it’s beautiful and dreamy, and since when was that ever bad for music?

“Then He Kissed Me” -- The Crystals: A Box Full of Love - Volume 2 -- This song opens Adventures in Babysitting in one of the great uses of song ever in a movie, too. Motown ruled.

“The Hammer & The Bell” -- Spirit Of The West: Weights And Measures -- This song by one of my favorite Canadian bands (thanks CFNY) was written in tribute to a member who left the band. Will anyone say such things of me?

“Kamakazee” -- Blair: Single -- Unsigned girl writes e-mail to you when you buy her CD online. It’s a great song from a New Orleans artist that a Pitchfork ad intro’d me, too.

“The Captain” -- Kasey Chambers: Morning Becomes Eclectic 5 Nov. 2004 -- Hearing Kasey live her girlish voice gets a strong dose of heartbroken husk, too. When she sings this song ... tears.

“Common People” -- William Shatner featuring Joe Jackson: Has Been -- Could have been dismissabel novelty. Instead it’s raucous and almost violent. What a great way to close?

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