Saturday, June 27, 2009

Playing DJ

Before we get to the post: I read Saturday that AP US History classes now offer a Unit on the 80s. FUCK, I'm old.

My most recently completed DJing project was for Angela Dangerous. She's one of our alums and she's also one of my favorite people to email with, guaranteed to get at least one great forward every few weeks. She's interning at Marie Claire in NYC this summer and in a recent correspondence said that she needed music. I joyously obliged.

"Not Going Home" — The Elected: For some bizarre reason I didn't get into Blake Sennett's band until recently. It's a shame, because this is a perfect song (passionate and driving with some great AM radio harmony energy). I could have seen it live a couple years ago. I'm a dope.

"Heart and Soul" — T'Pau: My friend Paul owned like one CD when I was growing up, this was it. I don't know about the rest of it, but this song is great. Echoey pop melody and a Star Trek reference of the band's name.

"Mascara" — Killing Heidi: This band from Australia sure knows how to write a rock song. It recaptures the best things of the early 90s alt-rock sound. Also, I have to try to obscure it out on at least one song per playlist. I owe this one to WEQX in Vermont, one of the only good things about living in Albany.

"At The Hundredth Meridian" — The Tragically Hip: Growing up in Buffalo we listened to lots of CFNY and this band from Toronto. This one of the songs that anthemized my teen years. I still think it's a shame that such a driving rock band became kinda easy listening.

"Metal Mickey" — Suede: This song alone might make this playlist worth it. I loved these Brits when I was in high school. I let this languish for years on my shelves unlistened. So British, so good.

"The Minstrel Boy" — The Corrs: Saw them on PBS one Friday night and fell in love with their fusion of traditional Irish folk songs and fun pop music. The next day I was stoned (as was this woman who had seen the same concert) by empty Corrs racks at Border's. As for this song ... who doesn't love traditional Irish music about the poignancy of war and glory.

"Toss The Feathers" — The Corrs: Paired with the previous traditional folk song, this instrumental kicks the band of sisters and brother into a festive gear.

"Your Wildest Dreams" — The Moody Blues: "Nights in White Satin" is probably the band's biggest hit. But this pop song, while perhaps lacking in gravity, makes up for it in melody (plus how about the synth intro?).

"Sad Dress" — Belly: One of the great bands of my high school years. An under-rated song from the band's debut album. Tanya Donelly wrote heartbreaking altrock songs better than anyone.

"Frozen" — Curve: The 90s Britrock version of the Wall of Sound. Every Curve song was a trance-inducing dirge.

"Why Can't I Be You?" — The Cure: Dance to obsession.

"If She Knew What She Wants" — The Bangles: This song has a very college studnet interning at women's mag in NYC to me, but nothing personal.

"Battle Of Evermore" — The Lovemongers: It's the Wilson sisters of Heart covering Led Zeppelin, and in my eyes much better. (From the soundtrack to Cameron Crowe's Singles.)

"Answering The Door" — Rachael Yamagata: Off the barely-registered-a-blip Loose Ends EP. Another sad song from Rachael Y, this time about (heart)breakups.

"Landspeed Song" — Tanya Donelly: Tanya Donelly was one of my first rock star crushes. She would never need to tempt me with a song like this. Of course, she's married with kid now.

"These Are Days" — 10,000 Maniacs: When you work with teens, you can't help but dispense some advice. Carpe Diem, Angela. And also watch the video to this song if you can manage to find it (I had a bitch of a time).

"In California" — Neko Case: Live version of this song about the Golden State, though the way Neko sings this song, Cali doesn't seem so golden.

"Fallen Angel" — Poison: Without hyperbole or sarcasm, along with "Every Rose ..." this is my second-fave consecutive song pair ever (behind "High and Dry" and "Fake Plastic Trees"). And it's about L.A.

"Every Rose Has Its Thorn" — Poison: Poison fun fact: someone in the fall 92 freshman comp classes at Arizona quoted from Poison's "Something to Believe In."
I know this because that essay was excerpted in the university's Guide to Freshman Comp handbook.

"Born Of Frustration" — James: A vastly underrated Brit band from the 90s. Dreamy Britpoprock. Not many better songs to break out of prison to.

"Give a Little Love" — Rilo Kiley: This is the version that should have been on the album.

"Be My Baby" — Glasvegas: Live cover of Motown by way of Scotland's latest sensation. I'm iffy on Glasvegas actually, but this cover rocks.

"Make Your Own Kind of Music" — Cass Elliot: Prominently featured in the opening sequence of Lost Season 2, this song has a perfect marriage of melody and lyrics.

"Tear The Roof Off The Sucker (Give Up The Funk)" — Parliament: There's never been a band like this since, not even close. When you have a party in NYC, you have to play this song.

"Cruel Summer" — Bananarama: Prominently featured in The Karate Kid, this song is more California to me than the Beach Boys. A must for any Best of the 80s pop songs mix, not that this is, but nevermind I'm rambling.

"If Love Is A Red Dress" — Maria McKee: A great song to wander streets to. New York has great streets to wander. Perfect match?

"Help, I'm Alive" — Metric: The song that leads off my favorite album of 2009. Everything about this album feels urgent, like this could be the last time you hear a song this cool.

"The Act We Act" — Sugar: Great song. Great album. Great band. The music of high school resonates in ways that no song now can.

"Open Your Heart" — Madonna. Highly under-rated Madonna song that captures the best of pop music—longing.

"Sway" — Bic Runga: This Aussie's breathy singing actually sounds to me like falling in love feels like to actors in cool movies. I spent months trying to figure out the name of this song.

"Get Out The Map" — Indigo Girls: Another great wander the streets of New York, though this one feels more Saturday afternoon walk.

"Belong" — R.E.M.: Listen to this song while people watching during a subway tide to Brooklyn.

"It's Oh So Quiet" — Björk: This amazing genre-cornucopia song from Björk so perfectly captures the all-night energy of New York.

"Dancing Queen" — ABBA: This is another song for the playlist of the party you're going to host when go back to college and tell people about your way-cool summer in New York experience.

"I Can Dream About You" — Dan Hartman: Boy wants girl. Boy writes thoughts down. Boy puts thoughts down to great beat. Boy has great pop song.

"Lost In Your Eyes" — Debbie Gibson: It took me years to be out and proud about loving Debbie and her music. She has to be on a playlist.

"Summertime" — Janis Joplin: Perfect song for a student interning between her frosh and soph years at a mag in New York City. It's the beginning of summer in the city whose hearts fuels the world, the possibilites are endless.

"A Day In The Life" — The Beatles: When endless possibilities lead to feeling like you've got two lives going on, listen to a combination of two songs.

"Don't You (Forget About Me)" — Simple Minds: A playlist needs some 80s, right? SPEAKING OF THE 80s, I read yesterday that an AP US History class taught a unit on the 80s.

"Two And Two Made Five" — Ned's Atomic Dustbin: More retro-music, this time early 90s altrock. A staple band on MTV's Alternative Nation, Ned's energy was a high school car ride staple, too.

"Ven Conmigo (Solamente Tu)" — Christina Aguilera: Great pop song. Great dance song. Great song and you can practice your second-language diplomacy skills.

"The Way You Look Tonight" — James Darren: From an era when music had lots of class to go along with its cool. I fear this innocence is forever lost in our times, but never in music thanks to songs like this.

"Spin The Bottle" — The Juliana Hatfield Three: Songs about hooking up will neve go out of style.

"Red Dirt Girl" — Emmylou Harris: Neither will powerful songs that tell sad stories and wanting to escape.

"I Take My Chances" Mary Chapin Carpenter: One of the best American songwriters of the last 50 years is also a great singer. Carpenter, daughter of Harry Chapin, carries on the storyteller tradition of songwriting with a graceful deftness.

"Fanatic Heart" — Black 47: Music should never cease being an engine of social revolution. These boys from Ireland, Seattle and New York are also wicked fun.

"Political" — Spirit Of The West: The politics of love.

"The Drinking Song" — Moxy Fruvous: One of my fave bands from high school. This song about aftermath is just about perfect and I can think of no better way to close.

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