Archive for the ‘Elsewhere’ Category

More songs about food, but not buildings

18 August 2013

Bon Appétit comes up with 25 songs that ought to fit into your diet somewhere. How many of these selections match up with my Fewer Songs About Buildings and Food compilation? Three.

Meanwhile, back in the concrete jungle

29 April 2013

The deliberately lower-case magazine inconnu offers a 90s mix of fourteen tracks, described thusly:

For all you 21st century cowboys and cowgirls out there who would rather be listening to 90s radio, anyway. A little bit of Marcy Playground, Beck, Rilo Kiley, and 3EB to get you through those hot summer evenings in the #concretejungle.

Who knew that Rilo Kiley made any recordings in the 90s? Obviously not me.

State of the lost art

23 December 2012

As of about ten years ago, I’d done 333 mixtapes. (As you can see, I’m not making a whole lot of progress converting them to CD.) Michele Catalano writes in Forbes that the comparative technological ease of making one’s own CDs has cost us something:

The art — and make no mistake about it, it is an art — of making a mix tape is one lost on a generation that only has to drag and drop to complete a mix. There’s no love or passion involved in moving digital songs from one folder to another. Those “mixes” are just playlists held prison inside a device. There’s no blood, sweat and tears involved in making them.

There was a certain ritual to making a perfect mix tape, one that could take hours to finish. Maybe even days, depending on how much you wanted to impress the recipient. While the songs had to have a common theme (“I hate you and hope you die” was as common a theme as “I would like to get to first base with you”), it wasn’t good enough to just take a bunch of love songs and throw them on a tape. It was about so much more than grouping some tunes together. They had to segue. They had to flow into one another. Each song needed to be a continuation of the one before it, as if all these disparate bands got together and recorded a concept album based solely on your feelings for the guy who sits in front of you in English class.

I do actually put that amount of work into a CD, mostly to improve the flow, although the fact that I haven’t done one all year should tell you something right there. And earlier this week I found in a box a fairly late tape (#326) labeled “Nothing in Common,” which turned out to be a random collection of Seventies stuff — though I will happily defend its production, if only for exploiting the sheer variety of Seventies tunes: where else will you hear the Bee Gees’ “Love You Inside Out” and T. Rex’s “Metal Guru”?

Weathered or not

7 November 2012

What to listen to when the weather has gone from frightful to lethal? Sheila O’Malley has posted her Sandy/Athena Shuffle, and there are two things you can be sure of: nothing painfully obvious, and the presence of Elvis.

And the pavements are burning

6 July 2012

Stereogum once again is offering a 24-track mixtape (okay, it’s a pair of ZIP files, don’t get cranky) titled Cruel Summer, which they describe as “handpicked from the pool of this year’s finest freely available MP3s, and then lovingly selected and sequenced to soundtrack rooftop goodtimes and/or backyard BBQs and/or emotional breakdowns.” What more could you possibly want? And you’ve probably got 200 MB to spare, so download it here and unzip at leisure. So to speak.

Waiting for the 80s

17 January 2012

Yeah, I know, they probably won’t come around again — all that time-looping business tends to screw around with the future — but Steph’s Top 40 Tunes from the 80s contains some seriously good tunes from this era, some big hits, some not so big.

Then again: isn’t “Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now” (#33) the premise of every Smiths song?

For any and all occasions

11 November 2011

SongsAbout.com is “a database of ready-to-use playlists about holidays, current events and interesting topics of every kind!” Even better, they’re posted a little in advance; their Veterans Day selections came out on November 3rd.

The material is derived from the Green Book of Songs®, offered as a subscription service. They admit up front in their FAQ that they can’t possibly get everything:

Some songs are regarded as, frankly, too complex to full classify in this Database. For example, Emmylou Harris’s “The Pearl” covers profound themes of God and mankind that resist efforts to recognize it adequately. There are numerous other such cases, and we thank you for accepting the inevitable limitations within which this Database operates.

Which statement, modest as it is, was enough to insure their inclusion here.

15-year-old goes retro

22 August 2011

Tavi Gevinson, who’s been blogging at Style Rookie for four years, has several side projects, including mixes at 8tracks.com. This particular one I found delightful, especially in view of the fact that she wasn’t around for any of these songs when they first appeared. There’s no list attached, but you can read it here.

Bring on the Nineties

12 August 2011

So far as I know, I’ve never done a 1990s compilation of any sort, and this may have something to do with the fact that I spent much of that decade avoiding record stores and such. Fortunately, Apocalypstick is here to fill the embarrasing gap with an inspiring 24-track 90s mix, and what’s more, she was kind enough to put it up on Spotify. More than this, one should not presume to ask.

Rules made to be broken

28 May 2011

A paragraph from Nick Hornby’s novel High Fidelity:

To me, making a tape is like writing a letter — there’s a lot of erasing and rethinking and starting again. A good compilation tape, like breaking up, is hard to do. You’ve got to kick off with a corker, to hold the attention (I started with “Got to Get You Off My Mind”, but then realized that she might not get any further than track one, side one if I delivered what she wanted straightaway, so I buried it in the middle of side two), and then you’ve got to up it a notch, or cool it a notch, and you can’t have white music and black music together, unless the white music sounds like black music, and you can’t have two tracks by the same artist side by side, unless you’ve done the whole thing in pairs and … oh, there are loads of rules.

I might actually follow these once in a while, but I don’t make a habit of it.

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