17 October 2006

Five Songs For... Making a Mix

Whether it's on CD, iPod, or that dusty relic known as the "cassette," the music mix can still be an art form. Sure, technologically advanced mixes don't let you make elaborate, handicraft covers out of magazine clippings and glitter, but you still get to consider things like song order, emotional arc, which artists merit a second song near the end, and whether or not six minutes is too long for a track in the middle third. (Personally, I think it is.)

I find that certain songs creep up in my mixes time and time again. I'd love to know if any of you guys have similar staples. My selections can probably point to something salient in my personality, and maybe yours can, too. Hence, this Five Songs For... Making a Mix.

(1) Deee-Lite, "Apple Juice Kissing"
-- This sexy, slinky song is a perfect candidate because it's an obscure track from a one hit wonder. You can hear it and say, "Whoa! They had a song that wasn't Groove is in the Heart? Neat!" I feel like knowing this one makes you a little bit cooler.

(2) Junior Senior, "Rhythm Bandits" -- I wish more people knew this Danish dance duo, one of whom is straight and one of whom is gay. Really, their first album--"D-d-don't Stop the Beat"--is just so much fun, and it has this great song called "Chicks and Dicks" that lets the two guys argue over which is sexier. Brilliant. "Rhythm Bandits" is the perfect mix-opener. Short, punchy, and good for getting your attention.

(3) Toad the Wet Sprocket, "All I Want" -- Every mix needs a blast from the past: Some song the listener will remember but may have forgotten about. That way, they can rediscover an old friend. This tuneful, mournful song from Toad (oh, Toad, we loved you so!) almost always gets a smile.

(4) When in Rome, "The Promise" -- This brilliant 80s classic could also be the blast from the past, but I think it best fits the bill as a closer. To me, a mix should send you out on something soft and sweet, just like this hit does. (Side note : The song peaked at number 11. Tell me this isn't top ten material!) "The Promise" makes for a particularly great finish because it's got one of those choruses that really makes you want to sing along in a romantic, I'm-in-a-meaningful-80s-teen-movie way. "I'm sorry but I'm just looking for the right words to say..."

(5) YOUR CALL! Which songs make a mix perfect for you?



At 11:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I always like:

1. Otis Redding. Either "Tramp," which is a hilarious and tragically little-known song in our generation, or "Try A Little Tenderness." The latter is, of course, lip-synced by Duckie in Pretty in Pink -- and has got to be one of the better odes to heterosexual female sexuality out there.

2. Bishop Allen. "Things Are What You Make of Them." I love, love, love this song. Everyone should find it and listen to it. Now.

3. Cha Cha Cha, by Jimmy Luxury and the Tommy Rome Orchestra. Off of the Go soundtrack? This one is quirky and funny, and it is good for that booty-wiggling part of your mix.

4. Jump in the Line, Harry Belafonte. As is this. Remember? From Beetlejuice? When the dead people are making everyone dance? You really love this song but you don't know it, and that's the perfect song to put on your mix.

At 11:19 PM, Blogger Mark Blankenship said...

Nice call! I love Bishop Allen, and "Things Are What You Make of Them" is a stand out on their album.

Other great Bishop Allen songs: "Busted Heart" and "Couple Easy Things."

I wish they'd release a second album.

At 3:31 PM, Blogger seedling said...

Wow, I'm not quite sure what to make of mine. What a great exercise. . .

“Caramel” by Suzanne Vega. Suzanne’s voice partners nicely with the song’s rumba rhythms. A perfect rainy-day song. I like adding it to a mix because I don't think it's a song people commonly know.

“Don’t Get Me Wrong”
by The Pretenders.
Gives any mix the perfect measure of bounce. Love to hear this one while walking down the street.

“Mary Jane’s Last Dance”
by Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers. Rock at its very best—IMHO. Brings an element of surprise to the mix.

“Love Me or Leave Me”
by Nina Simone.
Love her. Love the lyrics. And I love how the piano takes a classical detour.

“Jardin d’Hiver”
by Keren Ann.
Very moody song set to a sexy, sort of melancholy rhythm. She also sings in English.

At 5:10 PM, Anonymous JenH said...

1.)Superstition (Stevie)
2.)Sexx Laws (Beck)
3.)Tempted (Squeeze)
4.)Musicology (Prince)
5.)Flash Light (George Clinton)

i'm feeling a bit funky today...


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