Chestnuts roasting on an open fire…IN HELL. That’s pretty much how every person in Arkansas feels this summer. It’s too damned hot to do anything…except stay indoors and spin some vinyl that’s even hotter.
This week, I made my first public YouTube playlist. It features just a few of the songs I’m playing on heavy rotation during the summer of 2012.
The songs I love number in the thousands, and I was even a music major during my first 4 years of college. Making any type of music playlist is nearly impossible for me — I keep wanting to add/change songs…too many to choose from! But I somehow kept this list to 20 of the tunes I’m digging the most this season (plus a BONUS track).
This playlist is for any person who cares to hear it. There’s only one requirement for listening…
YOU MUST HAVE FUN.
So grab a cold beer, turn on the air-conditioning (’cause I know you’re sweating like a whore in church on Sunday morning), and click the link BELOW to listen to “Jenn’s Hot Summer 2012 Playlist.” Also, below the link, I’ve written a short note about each of the bands/tunes:
THE SONGS/ARTISTS featured on my Playlist:
1. “Thursday,” by Asobi Seksu. 2006. — This is an excellent “dream pop” band from New York. I was beyond thrilled when they were featured in the charming indie movie “Like Crazy”, along with some of my other favorite shoegaze and dream pop artists, including M83 and The Mary Onettes (the latter shows up below, at #16 on my list). I loved the film AND the soundtrack…congrats to Asobi Seksu for finally getting some of the recognition they deserve. Dreamy music, indeed…
2. “All I Wanna Do,” by The Beach Boys. 1970. — Though my marriage failed, there are 3 things I received from my time with my ex-husband that are PRICELESS: a) The Lana. b) an appreciation for Clint Eastwood, who’s far more than just a “tough guy.” I mean, have you freakin’ SEEN “The Bridges of Madison County?!…Clint is amazing, and this film is MY SOUL. c) A love of THE BEACH BOYS. Sadly, all that most people know of this revolutionary group is “surfin’ songs.” If that’s what you think of The Beach Boys, you haven’t even scratched the surface. Paul McCartney famously heard one of their records and said, “Well…The Beach Boys have just created the greatest Rock album of all time.” Pretty damn big compliment. My personal favorite for over 15 years, as my ex-husband could tell you, is this tune — “All I Wanna Do,” from the album “Sunflower.” When I was pregnant with my daughter, I would put the stereo speakers up against my big belly, put on this song, turn the volume up, and sing to her. Thank you, Beach Boys, for an absolutely perfect song.
3. “Picnic by the Motorway,” by Suede. 1996. — And no, it’s not “The London Suede.” They only LATER had to add “The London” to their name here in America, and only because of a lawsuit. True fans know them by their original British moniker, SUEDE, and they hail them as one of the greatest of the 1990’s “Brit Pop” groups. I personally think they were the best of the lot — even better than PULP and BLUR. Also, I think Brett Anderson is one of the sexiest front men to ever hit planet Earth, and I fell in love with his androgynous, slinky look. But the MUSIC…oh, the music Suede made together! I love some of the funny/more upbeat tunes like “Lazy,” “Filmstar,” “Trash,” and “Beautiful Ones.” In fact, the entire album “Coming Up” is perfection. But THIS tune, “Picnic by the Motorway”…it ALWAYS raises the hairs on the back of my neck. So stunningly beautiful…
4. “Bigmouth Strikes Again,” by The Smiths. 1986. — Classic tune by a classic band. NEVER fails to make me smile, laugh, and/or sing along… “Sweetness…sweetness, I was only joking when I said I’d like to smash every tooth in your head.” This live version is ace. “Big Mouth…ha ha ha HA!!!” The Smiths…4-EVER.
5. “Lofticries,” by Purity Ring. 2011. — described as “Future Pop,” Purity Ring is made up of producer/drummer Corin Roddick (of “Gobble Gobble”) and talented vocalist Megan James. If you would like some tunes that sound as though Bjork recorded an album in a haunted building while she was taking ecstasy and preparing to get it on with someone, you’re gonna LOVE you some Purity Ring. Promise.
6. “Faster Than Light,” by Duran Duran. 1981. — The Double Duran need no introduction, but this lesser-known song is a treat. The B-side to their mega-hit “Girls on Film,” it will get you shakin’ ya booty. **Entertaining side note: one of Simon LeBon’s hilarious secret pseudonyms to gain access to his hotel room used to be Mr. “Sheik YaBooty”** Somehow, Simon gets away with anything and everything…even his goofy “Li-aye-iiiiieeeet” in the chorus of this song. I guess even cheese becomes sexy over John Taylor’s bass riffs. Duran, killing it. Me, loving it. ALWAYS.
7. “Bang, Bang, Bang,” by Mark Ronson & The Business Intl. 2010. — Amanda Warner is UBER-cute, and her voice rules. Mark Ronson be bringing the beats. Pure and simple: “Bang, Bang, Bang” = FUN, FUN, FUN. Je te plumerai la, tete! Je te plumerai la, tete!
8. “Everybody Loves My Baby,” by Fats Waller. 1940. — Everyone knows that I’m OBSESSED with the 1920’s and 1930’s. The 1940’s…ehhh…..not as much (aside from a few of the Hollywood starlets). But this 40’s version of one of my favorite songs is the best I can find on YouTube at present. The HISTORY of this song is as follows: “Everybody Loves My Baby” was written by Spencer Williams in 1924, and the lyrics were written by Jack Palmer. There were countless covers over the decades by everyone from Julie Andrews to Louis Armstrong to The Glenn Miller Orchestra to The Boswell Sisters — to name just a FEW. But me…I only like the super-early recordings, this Fats Waller cover, and my PERSONAL favorite (which has unfortunately been removed from YouTube), the version by THE TEMPERANCE SEVEN from the 1960’s. But Fats Waller is a close second…now everybody do the Black Bottom!! (the famous 1920’s Black Bottom dance: http://youtu.be/Mpd9QySZrVQ )
9. “Brilliant Disguise,” by Bruce Springsteen. 1987. — I actually don’t like many songs by “The Boss.” But I LOVE “I’m on Fire,” “Tunnel of Love,” “Radio Nowhere,”…and most of all, THIS one: “Brilliant Disguise.” The song is mysterious and intense, just like him. Damn, he is hard-core in this video, looking all sweet and tortured, with his big, beautiful dark eyes staring right at the viewer. I want to yell at the computer screen: “HOLY SHIT, Bruce, STOP! YOU’RE KILLING ME!! YES! I WILL HOLD YOU AND KISS YOU AND TAKE AWAY THE PAIN!!” Last week I watched this video once, all the way through, then I had dreams about having sex with Bruce Springsteen…for three nights in a row. This man is powerful. He is
a rock-n-roll gypsy sorcerer voo-doo king, or some shit. TRUTH.
10. “Give Me Back My Man,” by The B-52’s. 1980. — In the B-52’s fan camp, most people are either a “Kate” fan or a “Cindy” fan. I’m totally, 100% a CINDY girl, and Miss Wilson is tearing it up on this track, “Give Me Back My Man.” She is just fucking CAPTIVATING. Her look, her moves…EVERYTHING. If I could be any female performer for 5 minutes, I would be HER, doing THIS performance. Of course, ALL of the B’s are so young and adorable here — just babies! This still holds up as one of their best tracks, in my opinion. You can’t top lyrics like these: “She cuts her hair and calls his name…” and the legendary, “I’ll give you fish! I’ll give you candy! I’ll give you…everything I have in my hands!” She’s breaking my heart. Give her back her man, already, goddammit!
11. “Crossroad Blues,” by Robert Johnson. 1936. — And we shift gears from 80’s pop to 30’s Delta Blues. If not for Robert Johnson, Rock n’ Roll wouldn’t have been born…or at least, not in the manner — nor at the time — that it came to be…that much is certain. He was the man who purportedly sold his soul to The Devil in exchange for his amazing blues-guitar skills. Probably just a lie he spread to gain notoriety, but who gives a damn — it makes for a great story befitting a great musical legend. For me, listening to this recording – as well as his others – is BLISS. “Ooohhh I went down to the crossroads…fell down on my kneeeeees!”
12. “Boys of Summer,” by Don Henley. 1984. — A favorite for most of my life, this song has haunted me since I was 9 years old. A song that seems (on the surface) to be about a relationship that ended between a man and a woman, it’s obviously about much deeper things — Don Henley has even confirmed this himself in interviews. As a child, I sat open-mouthed in front of the television, watching/listening to this song, feeling every kind of longing and loss possible — loss of love, loss of opportunities, loss of youth, loss of innocence – and I’d not yet had anything in my life that I could lose. But I FELT it…absolute LONGING and devastating LOSS. These feelings are still powerful every time I hear this song. “Out on the road today, I saw a deadhead sticker on a Cadillac. A little voice inside my head said ‘Don’t look back, you can never look back.’ I thought I knew what love was…what did I know? Those days are gone forever. I should just let ’em go.” At the age of 9, I heard this song and experienced a foreshadowing of my difficult future and the pain to come. Yet I loved the tune anyway, and always will…its beauty is undeniable.
13. “The Exploding Boy,” by The Cure. 1985. — Like Duran Duran, The Cure is one of my lifetime favorite bands, and it’s impossible to pick a “best” song. But this summer, I often dance around the house to “The Exploding Boy.” It’s nothing short of a fun, furious, 2 minute 55 second New Wave romp.
14. “Nous Tous,” by Françoise Hardy. 1963. — And this version is in mono! 🙂 This tune is like a light, fluffy pastry with extra, extra icing. But she’s such a lovely chanteuse, good luck concentrating on anything she’s saying — she is absolutely mesmerizing! Oui!
15. “Another One Goes By,” by Mazarin. 2006. — I have adored this song for years – it is dear to me. There is an excellent cover of this song by The Walkmen, but I much prefer the original by MAZARIN. If someone makes a movie of my life one day, this song must be on the soundtrack. MUST.
16. “Century,” by The Mary Onettes. 2009. — More proof that some of the best pop – especially dream pop/shoegaze – comes out of Sweden. I love Scandinavian music…”Like Crazy!”
17. “Myth,” by Beach House. 2012. — Previously, my favorite song by this band was “Lover of Mine.” Then, I heard the song “Myth,” from the new album, and…WOW. I want to kiss to this song, have sex to this song, cry to this song, dance to this song, die to this song. THERE ARE NO WORDS FOR HOW MUCH I LOVE THIS SONG. BEACH HOUSE, YOU HAVE MY HEART.
18. “Last Year’s Disco Guitars,” by Bishop Morocco. 2010. — Surfy/pretty/smart/laid-back pop by the duo Jake Fairly and Jim Sayce, members of the band BISHOP MOROCCO. Their music sounds like a magical mix of The Daysleepers, M83, The Drums, and New Order…but with their own unique/futuristic twist. Which makes them one of my new favorite things, obviously. I drove myself nuts trying to choose only ONE of their songs for this list — I adore “Petter” as well. So if you like “Last Year’s Disco Guitars,” be sure to check out “Petter.” No, that’s not one of my usual typos…it’s not PETER, but PETTER — two T’s.
19. “Cat’s Chorus,” by Lush. 1994. — This English alt-rock band is always fun, perfect for summer. They make me miss the early 90’s…cruising around the city with friends all night, watching “120 Minutes” on MTV, dying my hair various bright, unnatural colors. For old time’s sake, I might have to break out that jar of MANIC PANIC my friend gave me the other day…shade: “Vampire Red”
20. “Ein Deutsches Requiem (A German Requiem),” – 4th movement – by Johannes Brahms. 1869 (the final 7 movement work was not completed and performed in its entirety until this year). — It may seem strange to place a movement from a REQUIEM (death mass) in a summertime playlist, but this bit of classical music is not only beautiful and timeless, but uplifting as well. Traditionally, requiem masses were full of dogma and prayers for the dead. Brahms instead concentrated on a HUMANIST approach, purposely omitting traditional Christian dogma — which makes him one of my heroes. One of my favorite classical works since the moment I heard it my freshman year of college, I was able to hear it LIVE a few years ago when it was performed by The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra. When the orchestra came to my favorite part — THIS, the fourth movement — I cried. I’m so obsessed with this work that I can recite the entire Requiem (which is 70-80 minutes long – Brahms longest work) in both English AND German. In the YouTube video version I selected, you can follow the musical score and choral text as the tune plays. Wie Lieblich sind deine Wohnungen…
21. “The Sweet Brown Autotune Remix,” by theparodyfactory1. 2012. — Yes, Jesus! We all loved sassy Miss Sweet Brown in the famous apartment fire news report. Now, you can enjoy her interview as a soulful hit single, and goodness knows….EVERYBODY got time for that!
Enjoy the rest of your summer, you guys. Until next time, DJ Jenn-X