Not exactly why.
R. E. M. – Document – “Welcome to the Occupation”
First lesson of the mixblog: you can’t always get what you want. I was intending to start off with “The Finest Worksong” and go a completely different direction (almost), but I couldn’t find a video that had embedding allowed. Not to be held back, I chose another song off of the same album–and it is a mighty fine track in its own right.
This mixblog is going to follow my mixtheme of life, meaning that since it is the first mixblog it must be full of music we used to refer to as “college” or “alternative” back when I was younger than I am now and half of the people I know were still learning to count.
I hope that this song helps everyone remember that R. E. M. was fucking amazing.
XTC – Nonsuch – “The Smartest Monkeys”
XTC wasn’t very well known over here in the states. I think their biggest hit was “The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead” or “War Dance” or “The Mayor of Simpleton” but I’m not sure and I can’t be bothered to look it up. The thing that people didn’t get is this… wait for it…
they were good. Good enough to buy their albums. If you like this kind of music.
And I hope you do.
James – James – “Laid”
I know, this is the most stereotypical song imaginable to put on this kind of mixtape. But I won’t make you read any more so you can rock out because I know you think you know all the words.
By the way, this is the edited version. If you want to sing to it, know that you’ll have to change the lyrics to “she only sings when she’s on top” instead of the more well known “she only comes when she’s on top.”
I love girls like that.
They Might Be Giants (TMBG) – Flood – “Birdhouse in Your Soul”
This song is actually about a light switch cover, shaped like a blue canary, that glows in the dark in order to keep monsters away.
Or something to that effect.
I remember back in ’92 or ’93, I didn’t really know anyone that liked TMBG. I knew people that listened to them, and that tolerated me playing Flood and Apollo 13 over and over (and over and over) again, but nobody really listened to them.
Yes, I know I’m making the Wesley Snipes/White Men Can’t Jump argument. No, I don’t care.
Anyway, I was in the library doing my research on some random topic for a school assignment I can no longer remember or care about. Everyone else was there, too. It was nearing finals week, I think. Erin, a girl I went to school with one day a week back in grade school (we were both “gifted”) was there as well and we had a conversation about TMBG. We were both big fans.
That’s all. Nothing came of the talk. No eternal lasting bond was formed. Our friendship (or lack thereof) didn’t get any deeper.
But I met someone else that loved TMBG. And she was pretty cool.
Toad the Wet Sprocket – Fear – “Something to Say”
1. I used to know what “toad the wet sprocket” meant, or at least why the band was named that.
2. I forgot.
3. These guys are totally underappreciated.
I chose this song here for two reasons. One, I’m scaling back the songs a bit and letting the music lull. This is the middle of the mixblog, so it’s time to just relax a bit and let the sounds carry you.
Two, I like the dichotomy the lyrics of this song create with the last written post concerning Birdhouse. It’s not meant to be a dig on the young woman I mentioned, just an interesting change of emotional charge.
Marcy Playground – Marcy Playground – “Opium”
Marcy Playground never got the recognition they deserved. I think that’s a theme with most of the bands I listen to regularly.
I hope to god that doesn’t make me a hipster.
I discovered Marcy Playground late. I found this cd for a dollar at the music exchange in Akron, off of Tallmadge (I used to live up in that neck of the woods…by where Larry Bleachmouth worked at Quonset Hut) and figured that I should pick it up. I was collecting radio tracks that I liked to stick in my playlist, and I figured that spending a dollar on “Sex and Candy” was worth it.
I was right. The album has become one of my all-time favorites.
The Counting Crows – August and Everything After – Anna Begins
You think I’m gay because this song has made me cry, but that’s okay. Many people have thought I was gay for much better reasons than that–including wearing a nightgown in public. I don’t feel inclined to censor what you think.
I first heard The Counting Crows in my friend Laura’s car. She loved them. I thought they were bland as all hell.
I’m sorry for doubting you, Laura. (Doubting girlfriend’s musical tastes has become another trend in my life–as has being wrong about it)
I destroyed the first copy of August and Everything After because I played it too damn much. I’m not the biggest fan of “Omaha” or “Perfect Blue Buildings,” but not everyone is perfect.
Edie Brickel and the New Bohemians – Shooting Rubberbands at the Stars – What I Am
This song made religion the equivalent to a smile on a dog. And it made my half-sisters friends dance half-naked in my living room. I would have played it despite that, but who’s to argue.
Heading into the home stretch it’s time to pick things up again. I’ll stop typing and let you sing again.
Juliana Hatfield – I Forget – “Everybody Loves Me (Everyone But You)”
There was this time when I listened to a lot of female vocalists. Juliana Hatfield was one of them, along with people like PJ Harvey, Lisa Loeb, Edie Brickel, Merrill Bainbridge, Ani Difranco, Tori Amos, … you get the idea.
I have a great Juliana Hatfield story, but I’m going to save that for another mixblog.
That’s called a cliffhanger! I’m going to turn into the online equivalent of a dime novel. I have a story about the Counting Crows, too. And I’ll make you wait longer for that one. Maybe.
Juliana Hatfield was most famous for the song “Spin the Bottle” from the Reality Bites soundtrack, and the song “My Sister” from the radio. Personally, I think she’s a solid rock goddess with a lot worth hearing. And listening to her voice makes me happy.
Don’t fret, Juliana. I love you.
10,000 Maniacs – MTV Unplugged – “Because the Night”
Natalie Merchant is ten-thousand times better live. Did you hear that cover song I posted on facebook?
Yeah, I’ll let you sing. One more to go and it’s another that you’ll rock out to. Especially if you’re a thirty year old woman.
Lisa Loeb – Reality Bites Soundtrack – “Stay (I Miss You)”
So, I mention Reality Bites… and now this.
I know that you figured I would end this little post with “Closing Time” by Semisonic. You were wrong. That wouldn’t have fit the theme.
What theme? My theme. Mixed tapes were as much personal as they were an emotional outpouring. You’ll probably hear “Closing Time” in the future. It will probably be in the same post as a certain Train song.
For now, sing your heart out. And try to check back with me later for more fun.