Ye Olde Curiosity Museum and Dance Emporium Mix
(Convenient zip file of all tracks.)
1. The first song you'd put on a mix tape for somebody you were attracted to:
"The Weakest Shade of Blue" -- the Pernice Brothers
Just to make sure, I went ahead and put together a mix of songs I’d send to someone I was attracted to, and this is the one that wound up at the top of the playlist, just ahead of Marshall Crenshaw’s "Someday, Someway" and Belle and Sebastian’s "Piazza, New York Catcher." Upbeat and catchy, it’s a good start for practically any mix.
2. A song that makes you think of BTVS that was never used on the show:
"Like a Monkey in a Zoo" -- Kathy McCarty
Monkeys and chains on the wall, what else do you need? This song is from McCarty’s Dead Dog's Eyeball: Songs of Daniel Johnston, a great tribute album to Johnston that Corwood was kind enough to send me.
3. Cross-genre cover song (such as a soul musician covering a country song):
"Cruella de Vil" -- the Replacements
The ‘Mats do Disney, from the Stay Awake compilation.
4. Quotes another song, either in the music or words – bonus points if by the same artist:
"Young Conservatives" -- the Kinks
This category is easy for Kinks fans, because Ray Davies has long been known as one of the most prolific plagiarists and (especially) self-plagiarists in rock. So many possibilities. Here, Ray invokes some of the other young conservatives he’s written about over the years, name checking "Well Respected Man" and lifting the "Fa Fa Fa Fa" theme from "David Watts." Could have used this as a nemesis song, too.
5. Makes you want to get high, drunk, or, if it's your druthers, dizzy & giddy from spinning around in circles:
"Moondance" -- Van Morrison
Moondancing means spinning around in circles under the moonlight.
6. Features a great bridge:
"A Chicken With Its Head Cut Off" -- Magnetic Fields
We don't have to be stars exploding in the night
Or electric eels under the covers
We don't have to be
Anything quite so unreal
Lets just be lovers...
7. A song released the year you turned 21 (you didn't have to know about it then):
"Speed On" -- Nicky Hopkins
1973 was a hell of a year. So many good tracks to choose from. I’m going with Nicky Hopkins, the ultimate session man, a pianist who’d played with pretty much everybody at some point (that’s his piano on "Waterloo Sunset"). I first took notice of his work on Nilsson’s Son of Schmilsson, an album I played a lot. In ’73 Hopkins released a solo album, The Tin Man Was a Dreamer, featuring a lot of the guys he’d played with on Schmilsson and elsewhere: Prairie Prince on drums, Klaus Voorman on bass, and two guys named Harrison and Taylor on guitars. I snapped it up. "Speed On" is my favorite cut. This was also on my list of potential Lost in the Grooves albums.
8. A song dedicated to your nemesis (or who you imagine your nemesis to be); and
19. A song that references some kind of technology:
"Little Red Light" -- Fountains of Wayne
Traffic and I are old enemies. No, not Steve Winwood’s band, but the hoards of nefarious drivers who insist upon getting in my way when I’m trying to go somewhere. The worst and most numerous of these malefactors are the ones that show up on the approaches to the Tappan Zee bridge on holidays when I need to get to Jersey. The song also mentions cordless phones, a technological innovation that is worthy of disdain. I will also note for the record that the Tappan Zee is a great bridge.
9. A song about committing a crime:
"White Collar Boy" -- Belle and Sebastian
This is off B&S’s latest album, and is eerily reminiscent of another song about crime, 10cc’s "Rubber Bullets."
10. A song from a tribute or charity album:
"The Lottery Song" -- Bill Lloyd
A cut from For the Love of Harry: Everybody Sings Nilsson, this song was originally from the aforementioned Son of Schmilsson.
11. A song with a year in the title; and
18. A song that reminds you of your first love:
"Disney Girls (1957)" -- the Beach Boys
My original plan was to use Richard Thompson’s "1952 Vincent Black Lightning" since it’s a great song and includes my birth year, but Corwood foiled that plan by grabbing it first. Then serendipity struck. The first love in question was a huge Beach Boys fan, and I remembered her favorite song as being "Disney Girls," off the Surf’s Up album. Looked it up, and discovered that the actual title of Bruce Johnston’s paean to the fifties included a year. Whoot!
12. A song about traveling:
"Twisting by the Pool" -- Dire Straits
Following the Beach Boys with a surf song off the old EP of the same name.
13. A song that does not feature a guitar or a piano as the main instrument; and
17. More cowbell: A song containing that essential instrument:
"Sing Sing Sing" -- Benny Goodman
The lead instrument is Goodman’s clarinet, but the main instrument in this is Gene Krupa’s drum set, which he pounds on ferociously. Plus, he adds just a touch of cowbell to spice things up. This turns out to be a great song to listen to on a car stereo as the drums go back and forth between the speakers. Not bad for a seventy year-old song.
14. A song by a band that you could have, but didn't, write about for Lost in The Grooves:
"Down on the Bay" -- the Move
The Move always seemed to manage to shoot themselves in the foot, reload, and then blast away some more. When they finally ran out of bullets, they morphed into ELO, and went on to fame and fortune. This is my favorite track off Split Ends, a melding of half a failed album (Message from the Country) plus five terrific singles (among them, "Do Ya," which probably deserves its own book). Sort of the Move’s equivalent to the Great Lost Kinks Album.
15. An upbeat song about a sad thing:
"Cannibals" -- Mark Knopfler
I kept going back and forth about whether this song should be here, or swapped with "Dead Skunk." Both songs fit both categories, but in the end, I thought this song about a little boy frightened that a hurricane is going to hit Louisiana is a little sadder right now than roadkill. At least here there’s a happy ending. It also seems to fit here little better musically.
16. Midnight driving in the rain music:
"Four-Eyed Girl" -- Rhett Miller
You know how when you’re driving through a place you’ve never been before... in the middle of the night... in the midst of an incredible downpour... after having just dropped off the most interesting person you’ve met in a long, long time... and you’re happy... and excited... and have absolutely no clue where the frell you are other than that you missed a left turn somewhere? Nope, me neither.
20. A song with a chorus that compels you to sing along or that you cannot not dance to:
"Dead Skunk" -- Loudon Wainwright III
This is another upbeat, albeit sad, song, and it’s also almost impossible not to sing along to.
21. A song that starts with a bassline:
"Let the Good Times Roll / Feel so Fine" -- Slade
One of the great glam rock bands, it’s weird that nowadays they’re probably best known for "Merry Xmas, Everybody." This track comes from Slayed?, another possible LitG entry.
22. A song that relates to science:
"Why Does the Sun Shine?" -- They Might Be Giants
I was worried that orthoepy would snag this cover of an old science education song, but she didn’t, so here it is.
23. A song you sing (or would sing) to your pet and/or child:
"Fred" -- Tom Paxton
I used to sing this to my dog all the time.
24. A song that haunts you:
"He Didn't" -- Bob Mould / the 6ths
What can I say? This one haunts me.
25. A song that you would sing to yourself if you were ever in a dire situation and needed it to keep going:
"There's a Fire" -- Longwave
Despite having grown up listening to Bill Cosby talk about keeping his music with him in scary situations (nuh nuh nuh nuh nuh nuh nuh nahhh…), I never picked up the habit. I tend to get quiet and focused instead, like when my students used to try to set the lab on fire, and I’d have to put it out before it reached the bottles of acetone and methanol. Good times. This one time, while I was working with some students in another lab, one of my students came in, stood next to me, and very politely waited for me to finish what I was explaining before calmly saying, “Mr. Machina? There’s a fire next door.”
26. A song by a band with an awful name:
"Stormy Down" -- the Strawbs
They started out as the as the Strawberry Hill Boys, which wasn’t much better, then shortened it as they moved from English folk towards prog rock. The DJs on WNEW-FM used to pronounce it "the Strobbs." This is from Bursting at the Seams, another potential LitG piece, and another member of the class of ‘73.
27. A song that even when you know it's time to LEAVE the BAR someone can put on the jukebox to make you stay:
"Goody Two Shoes" -- Adam Ant
I’m deliberately picking a song that might actually be on a jukebox, at least one of the jukeboxes around these parts. Could’ve also used this for the first love (and several of the later ones, too).