October 21, 2006

110: S**T Blended Up

The title was inspired by a monologue we heard at the comedic showcase Mortified- the woman was reading from her teenage diary, an entry about summer camp and the so-called "food" the campers were fed.
The Cover: the top half is my face, with my vintage sunglasses I bought from an Indonesian man on eBay; the bottom half is my wife brushing her teeth.
The tracks: the blend is a little forced. I try not to use the same tracks on mixes repeatedly, but I should not have used that particular Jennifer Trynin song. I had just read her autobiography Everything I'm Cracked Up To Be, and I wanted to include a song of hers, but I should have stuck to one of the "hits" instead of trying to include a "deep cut". I need to learn that I don't have to be adventurous with EVERY choice! On the other hand, I dug deep for the Semisonic track "El Matador", which I now really love. I had just read the drummer's autobiography, So You Wanna Be A Rock & Roll Star, which inspired that choice. The last track is U2's "Vertigo", which I shoulda left off. I was sick of that song at the time, and I am sick of it now:
  1. Battle Without Honor or Humanity TOMOYASU HOTEI (aka That Song from Kill Bill)
  2. Let Keane In KEANE vs PAUL McCARTNEY (a great mashup)
  4. Give Judy My Notice BEN FOLDS a very early-70s country-rock vibe.
  5. Least Complicated INDIGO GIRLS
  7. Lose Yourself EMINEM (an awesome song on its own, even better in the context of the movie 8 Mile.)
  9. El Matador SEMISONIC
  10. Pictures of You LIT (an okay cover of the Cure song. The original was in those Hewlett-Packard computer printer commercials at the time.)
  11. Come Around RHETT MILLER
  12. Any Little Town THE PUSH STARS
  13. When You Were Young THE KILLERS
  14. Nothing'severgonnastandinmyway (Again) WILCO
  15. Rock Your Body JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE
  16. Time Won't Let Me THE SMITHEREENS
  17. Bad Reputation JOAN JETT
  18. Vertigo U2

August 08, 2006

109: American Talk Show Rest Stop

The Cover: my wife and our friends looked sorta like a rock band in this photo I snapped on the street after our attendance of a "Daily Show" taping (summer 2006.) This visit also informed the title, based on the Phil Ayoub track "American Highway Rest Stop":
  1. A Life Of Illusion - the opening titles song from The Forty-Year-Old Virgin by Joe Walsh;
  2. Just Pretend - The Bens (Folds, Lee, and I can't remember the third?);
  3. Put Your Records On - Corinne Bailey Rae;
  4. Right Time,Wrong Place - Bonnie Raitt and BB King;
  5. Hearts For Sale - The Rolling Stones (a song I nearly forgot from Steel Wheels);
  6. The Edge Of Forever - This Dream Academy song is from the soundtrack of Ferris Bueller's Day Off, when Ferris and Sloane say goodbye at the end of the day;
  7. Break (A mashup of The Beastie Boys over Queen's "I Want To Break Free";
  8. Listen (A mashup of "Shake Your Rump", "Root Down", and "Radio Ga Ga";
  9. If You Talk Too Much - People In Planes (I saw this CD advertised in a TV commercial, of all places, and I liked this song. I bought the CD on sale at Target for $4.99);
  10. Closer To You - Liz Phair;
  11. Sunday Morning - Maroon Five;
  12. Day Tripper - The Beatles - with a false start included, and no fadeout;
  13. Always The Last To Know - Del Amitri;
  14. American Highway Rest Stop - My friend Robert is a fan of Phil Ayoub, so he came up to Cambridge from NYC to see Phil at a CD release party, and Robert invited me along.
  15. I Know There's Something Going On (I heard this song on the PA system at a restaurant, and I remembered the song but had no idea who it was. It sounded like Phil Collins on drums, and I was right- it's Frida, one of the ladies from ABBA, and her sole solo single hit);
  16. September - Earth Wind and Fire;
  17. Sexx Laws - Beck;
  18. Rockin' Down The Highway - The Doobie Brothers;
  19. Point of Know Return - Kansas;
  20. Feel Flows - The Beach Boys song from the closing credits of "Almost Famous"

July 02, 2006

Our Wedding Favor Music Mix

It was surprisingly hard to select and agree on 80 minutes worth of music that was personal, appropriate, and fit well together. Artists that are our favorites, like Bruce Springsteen, didn't quite fit. On the other hand, bands which are barely on our radar (Haircut 100) made it when the song was just perfect for the moment. Read on for more about our wedding favor mix...
1. “Across The Universe” The Beatles • It was tough picking just one song. This is Emily’s favorite.
2. “I Love Every Little Thing About You” Stevie Wonder • I once bought three Stevie Wonder CDs in one day, and lived to tell the tale.
3. “Radio Sweetheart” Elvis Costello • We both love Elvis, and Emily used this song at the start of her college radio show.
4. “Fearless Love” Bonnie Raitt • This is an old favorite – I heard it as background music in the movie Sideways.
5. “Fair” Ben Folds Five • If our love for music were a Venn diagram, Ben Folds would be at the center of the overlap. We actually attended the same BF concert two months before we met. A very When Harry Met Sally moment, wouldn't you say?
6. "Kiss On My List" Daryl Hall & John Oates • The first cassette I bought from the Record & Tape Club was Hall & Oates Rock 'n' Soul Pt. 1. Of course, I still have the tape.
7. "Come Rain Or Come Shine" Ella Fitzgerald • For Emily, it’s impossible to pick a favorite American songbook standard, but it had to be Ella.
8. “Sunday Morning” Maroon Five • This song sounds like the soundtrack to our own screwball romantic comedy.
9. “Black Coffee In Bed” Squeeze (live 1990) • Yes, this is a breakup song, but it means a lot to us. I wrote in my online personal ad that my "most humbling moment" was when I couldn't hit the high notes in this song anymore! Emily was naturally charmed, and the rest is history.
10. “I’ll Be Your Mirror” Clem Snide • A cover version of Emily’s favorite Velvet Underground song.
11. “Lovely Day” Bill Withers • The soul classic that also reminds Emily of rollerskating up and down the driveway, circa 1982.
12. “What A Fool Believes” The Doobie Brothers • Song of the Year from 1979, this one goes out to Miss Amy Armstrong, our fellow Michael McDonald-o-phile!
13. “The Good Part” Wilco (live) • On our second date, we went to see a documentary about Emily’s favorite band. It's hard to find a Wilco song with a positive outlook on love, but this fits the bill.
14. “The Painter” Neil Young • From the album Prairie Wind, we first heard this in the amazing concert film Neil Young: Heart of Gold.
15. “This Old Heart Of Mine” The Isley Brothers • We had to include some Motown here, and Nat has a soft spot for this 1965 hit as it's prominently featured in his favorite “Moonlighting” episode!
16. "Love Plus One" Haircut 100 • This song sounds like the soundtrack to our own John Hughes 80’s teen drama.
17. “Drive South” John Hiatt • I once got John Hiatt’s autograph, but I was too nervous to engage him in conversation, can you believe it?
18. “Waiting For My Real Life To Begin” Colin Hay is the lead singer from Men At Work, a teenage favorite for both me & Em, all grown up here.
19. “Delirious Love” Neil Diamond • Another classic from our youth reincarnated!
20. “Age of Aquarius/Let The Sun Shine” featuring the Cast of The Forty-Year-Old Virgin • Feel free to sing along, just like the end of the movie...

Wedding Reception Background Music

When planning our wedding reception, my wife and I decided to omit dancing. We were more interested in the "family and friends reunion" reception than the "dance party" reception. We decided to hire a classical guitarist for the "cocktail" hour, followed by background music.

Emily and I had a lot of fun putting this playlist together. It's Nat & Em's Greatest Mellow Hits 1940-2006! There are a lot of covers of popular songs on here- it's a nice way to include a fresh take on an overplayed hit song. With the Amazon MP3 store and iTunes, it's easier than ever to browse for a cool cover song, or seek out that long-lost nugget, without paying for a full CD.

  1. This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody) • Shawn Colvin
  2. She's No Lady (She's My Wife) • Lyle Lovett (live)
  3. I.G.Y. (International Geophysical Year) • Donald Fagen
  4. Tupelo Honey • Cassandra Wilson
  5. Magic In The Air • Badly Drawn Boy
  6. As Time Goes By • Billie Holiday
  7. Your Sweet Voice • Matthew Sweet
  8. God Only Knows • The Beach Boys
  9. A Mi Manera (My Way) • The Gypsy Kings
  10. Words • Ellis Paul
  11. Landslide • Fleetwood Mac
  12. Love and Some Verses • Iron & Wine
  13. Baby Now That I've Found You • Alison Krauss & Union Station
  14. Better Be Home Soon • Crowded House
  15. The One I Love • David Gray
  16. Gee Baby, Ain't I Good To You? • Diana Krall
  17. Rain King (live, acoustic) • Counting Crows
  18. Calico Skies • Paul McCartney
  19. Come and Find Me • Josh Ritter
  20. Ooh La La • The Faces
  21. Pink Moon • Nick Drake
  22. I Will • Alison Krauss & Tony Furtado
  23. Tonight You Belong To Me • What I really wanted was the recording in the movie The Jerk where Steve Martin and Bernadette Peters sing on the beach. I found this very similar version by Eddie Montana instead.
  24. You Belong To Me • Patsy Cline
  25. Stranded • If you insist on including Van Morrison in your wedding, please select one of his dozens of great ballads that are NOT "Have I Told You Lately"!
  26. Razor Love • Neil Young
  27. They Can't Take That Away From Me • Lisa Stansfield
  28. Real Love • John Lennon recorded this as a demo only. It first appeared in the documentary John Lennon Imagine in 1988, and was later transformed into a Beatles reunion track in 1995.
  29. Green Eyes • Coldplay
  30. Honeymoon Suite • Suzanne Vega
  31. More Than This • Charlie Hunger Quartet, featuring Norah Jones
  32. One on One • Hall & Oates
  33. Nightswimming • R.E.M.
  34. When You Wake Up Feeling Old • Wilco
  35. It Had To Be You • Billie Holiday
  36. Sea of Love • The Honeydrippers
  37. She Will Have Her Way • Neil Finn
  38. Last Train to Clarksville • Cassandra Wilson
  39. Runaway Feeling • The Thorns
  40. Conceived • Beth Orton
  41. Color My World • This totally retro Chicago song was my in-law's wedding song.
  42. The Long and Winding Road • This version of the Beatles' classic is from the Let It Be Naked album, which strips away Phil Spector's Wall Of Sound strings and choir tracks, thank goodness!

March 23, 2006

108: Love Is Strong

The cover was inspired by the sexiest photo ever taken of actress Scarlett Johansson, from the cover of Interview magazine. The combination of a beautiful actress, and a horizontally striped sweater is irresistible. I was not satisfied with just admiring her beauty from afar; I wanted to incorporate her beauty into my cover design, even if she has ZERO to do with the contents of the CD.
I used the photo as a jumping-off point for the cover concept- I would mock up my own magazine cover, with headlines which include the titles of the songs.
At the same time, I was beginning to experiment with attaching the text to non-straight paths, and what better template than the horizontal stripes of Ms. Johansson's sweater?
  1. Fascination Street THE CURE
  2. Cold Turkey JOHN LENNON (A great dance remix by IDC)
  3. Love Is Strong The ROLLING STONES
  4. She's Gone ERIC CLAPTON
  5. Hypnotized FLEETWOOD MAC
  6. Don't Fear The Reaper WILCO (a low fidelity live recording)
  7. I'm On Fire (live at Giants Stadium 8-19-85) BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN
  8. Begin the Begin (live 11-19-92) R.E.M.
  10. Me Myself I - DE LA SOUL
  11. 40 Days, 40 Fights BADLY DRAWN BOY
  12. I Want Love ELTON JOHN (I picked this track off my wife's 2CD Greatest Hits collection, for two reasons: a> it was produced by Jeff Lynne (ELO, Traveling Wilburys), and b>Ringo Starr plays drums.
  13. What Would It Take (from JEFF LYNNE's little-known solo album Armchair Theater.)
  14. You Can't Get What You Want (Til You Know What You Want) JOE JACKSON
  15. Stuck in the Middle vs. Nasty Girl (A silly mashup of Stealer's Wheel and Vanity 6.)
  16. Big Time PETER GABRIEL
  18. Cantaloupe Island YESKA (sampled by US3 for their song "Cantaloop", aka "dip trip, flip fantasia...")

February 05, 2006

107: Chairlift

The cover photo is a self-portrait, while riding the chair lift at Mt Wachusett.

The Title: This disc has no title. I created the packaging for #105, 106, and 107 all in one shot, and I was not inspired with titles.

  1. Ponta de Lanca Africano (Umbabarauma) - The best song about a futbol player EVER.
  2. Use It - My favorite New Pornographers song.
  3. Jump Into The Fire - This Harry Nilsson song was used in the movie GoodFellas.
  4. Shine - Trey Anastasio
  5. I Want It That Way - You cannot deny the perfection of this song.
  6. Just the Two Of Us - Bill Withers w/Grover Washington
  7. Don't Let Me Lose This Dream - Aretha Franklin
  8. Just One Smile - Dusty Springfield
  9. Diamonds From Sierra Leone - Kanye West
  10. If There's a Hell Below, We're All Going to Go - Curtis Mayfield
  11. Protection - This Donna Summer song was written by Bruce Springsteen after he cancelled plans for her to duet with him on "Cover Me".
  12. This Charming Man - Death Cab For Cutie
  13. The Way We Make A Broken Heart - John Hiatt
  14. You Can't Resist It LIVE in TEXAS- Lyle Lovett & His Large Band
  15. Can't Turn You Loose LIVE in EUROPE- Otis Redding
  16. Heavy Metal Drummer LIVE IN CHICAGO - Wilco
  17. It Ain't Me Babe - Johnny and June Carter Cash
  18. Memo From Turner - A Rolling Stones song used in the movie GoodFellas
  19. Riding to Vanity Fair - Paul McCartney