This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine...

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Playlist Story Telling

Click HERE to listen to my first publicly shared playlist. It's mixtape time!

1. Archipelago, Mirah
2. Rope of Weeds, Elysian Fields
3. Free at Last, Antony and the Johnsons
4. Hope There's Someone, Antony and the Johnsons
5. Ah Pook The Destroyer / Brian Gysin's All Purpose Bedtime Story, William S. Burroughs
6. Lover's Day, TV On The Radio
7. Don't Get Lost In Heaven, Gorillaz
8. Ostriches & Chirping, Elliott Smith
9. Twilight, Elliott Smith
10. This Must Be the Place, Talking Heads
11. Life During Wartime, Talking Heads
12. Anyone Else But You
13. Rainbowarriors, CocoRosie
14. Japan, CocoRosie
15. Beautiful Boyz, CocoRosie

I make a lot of playlists and I tend to make them on the fly. I'll want to dance my way home on a springy April evening. On my train ride I'll quickly mix a "Disco is For April" playlist beginning with Abba and ending with Zap Mama. The playlist creation rises and falls with newness and change: love, lessons, endings.

The playlist detailed above was created at the end of May. I don't usually include the same artist twice, let alone do so several times in a mix. I remember wanting to get something good for background music to an evening and making it quickly during my commute; now just over a month ago.

Playlists often follow logic only I can hear. The story entwined in them are for my savoring alone much of the time. Despite that I am about to try to nail some of that down in this entry. I hope that, at least, listeners enjoy the flow of music. I'd like it if they asked for more too.

Mirah's light voice seemed to ease me into the playlist. The energy of three strong lovers (myself included) was whirling with me around as I made this list. Her lyrics are simple and carried on easy melodies that do not invite reverie. In addition to Mirah's lightness, her song "Archipelago" was about the sea, ships, love and loss; I was falling deeply in love with a navy man - the fact of which I have always been interested and amused.

"Rope of Weeds" and Elysian Fields were given to me during Hadj's stay here. The story the lyrics tell is reminiscent of the Skeleton Woman story and Jennifer Charles's vocals are delicious and haunting atop the maritime shanty rock. I gave him back a song her gave warmly to me. I enjoyed the two song sea theme.

The next two Antony and the Johnsons songs were included because the mood fit and because I talk about them a lot. "Free at Last" features one of Antony Hegarty's heroes and was included for it's uniqueness and auditory textures. "Hope There's Someone" breaks my heart wide open.

"Ah Pook the Destroyer..." was included for pretty shallow reasons, I barely listened to it before putting it in there, but turned out to be one of my favorite transitions on the mix. It's settled right between two really beautiful love songs by two of my current favorite bands. Hadj also gave this music to me, and I wanted to have something playing that night that contained music familiar to his ears too.

He and I talked about TV On the Radio a day or two before the mix was made. "Lover's Day" talks about family, fucking, making love and it felt right. Upon subsequent listens I find that it still pulls all the right strings.

I think we'd also mentioned the Gorillaz in the time around making the mix. I didn't think about this when making the mix (mostly likely chose the song for it's flow from the last and due to our shared appreciation for the band) but I really like that a song about keeping your feet on the ground. "Lover's Day" is very appropriate for the love-conquers-all feeling that New Relationship Energy can have and I like how the message in "Don't Get Lost in Heaven" tempers it. After all, we're not here to conquer...exactly

"Ostriches & Chirping" and "Twilight" were included mostly to add body to the mix, as my creation period (on the bus to/from work) was coming to a close. Hadj gave me the disc these are from as well. The first track was included because of my adoration for birds and the second track seems to have just followed. Sometimes I get prickly at Elliott Smith's gall to come in all pining, wrought, and sad in my NRE mix. Isn't that silly? That's why he's still in there.

"This Must Be The Place" is a good example of the kind of sweet I am when I get all romantic and "Life During Wartime" is perfectly contradictory. It's also just a really great song with really great lyrics.

"Anyone Else But You" was probably added because I passed it on my way to something else for the mix. Its supreme cheesy love-dorkness snuck it into the spot. It's also really fun to sing along to.

The three ending CocoRosie tracks are there because they're good and I wanted to introduce them. (Also! Note Antony Hegarty singing in the last track.)

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