1.31.2009

Eighteen From 2008

This is not an FCM post, this is just me, Ben.

For the last several years I've created a list containing 20 of the best songs I heard first in that year. December of 2008 had me laid out sick, so I'm running a bit late. In addition, I am only including 18 songs this year. I want this list to be ABSOLUTE favorites and didn't water it down with two more tracks solely for consistency. I'm not a critic, just a lover of good sounds so don't do that ever-so postmodern critique-the-critic thing, please? If you see a little pink star next to an album name, it's one of my favorites for the year. Lastly, the list isn't in order of greatness - rather I tried to create a nice flow for listening. Click here to download the whole thing.

"Soul '69 (Part II)" A-ko
When I'm happy I sneeze all day
This jazz-funk, sample laden DJ creation would be fun and happy without the vocals, but the charming and ridiculous nature of the vocal performance makes Soul '69 (Part II) legendary. The melodies, both instrumental and vocal, are infectious. The horns, the swirling wah wah, and the woodwinds ride ever so lightly and tightly upon the beat and bass groove. I've spent countless weekends with this song on repeat in my head, letting out an occasional "Aah-Choo," revealing my madness.

"As If Love Was a Sword" Steven Delopoulos (Straightjacket)
And the music above was a children's choir
A week after the great Iowa flood of 2008 peaked in my hometown of Cedar Rapids, I drove there to pick up my kids who had been staying with their grandparents. Because of the flooding I had to take local highways through Iowa, rather than my typical interstate route (290,88,80,380, if you care). A mix CD was left in the car and on it was this gem of a song. It's a waltzy 3/4 - for which i have a general weak spot. The arrangement starts with a straightforward folk approach and builds to a grand, bombastic crechendo complete with a choir and what sounds like tympani. I listened over and over and over, as much drawn to the imagery in the lyrics as to the odd musical trajectory of this short song. It seemed suitably apocalyptic for the moment, driving into the disaster that visited my hometown. "The orchestra roared."

"Damn I'm Cold (Feat. Lil' Wayne)" Bun B (II Trill)
Best to get you some sleeves
The swagger on this song is so thick it's impenetrable. Lil' Wayne and Bun B come together and take turns rapping about how absolutely great they are on this remarkably smooth production. This isn't a groundbreaking song, just a perfectly executed treatise on the coldness of these two rappers. Every time this song comes on, I get a little chill.

"Everybody (Feat. Kanye West, Sa-Ra & Andre 3000)" Fonzworth Bentley
Simple elegance looking better when you dance
Up late one night flipping channels, I happened upon a string of rap and R&B videos. At some point Destiny's Child and Sir Mix a Lot segwayed into Fonzworth Bentley. The video presents the entertainers in tuxedos on a soundstage doing dance routines like they're the commodores or something. It works because the music simultaneously throws me back and catapults me into the future. It's classy as hell, sensual, sexy, and fun. Andre's verse is immaculate, his tone is smooth and his cadence buoyant. Fonzworth's songs (see C.O.L.O.U.R.S. below) have a distinctly unique style that I can't get enough of.

"Camel" Flying Lotus (Los Angeles*)
...
It was hard to pick a song from Los Angeles because the album works so well as a unit, each track a twist or turn on a singular highway of sound. I don't even know what they call this music anymore, but it's essentially electronic DJ production with hip hop influence. Listening to this record reminds me of how I felt listening to DJ Shadow's Endtroducing... in 1997. The music sounds new but familiar. I can get sucked into it completely or live alongside it harmoniously, depending on my whim.

"Until We Bleed (With Lykke Li)" Kleerup (S/T)
If Cupid's got a gun, then he's shooting
I had an incredibly overwhelming panic attack in July. I was in World Market picking up some Malteasers and it hit me like a ton of bricks. If it weren't for my headphones and this song on repeat I would have certainly gone mad or been run over by a bus in the street. Maybe it's the beat, but for me this song manages to be incredibly soothing while giving me the distinct impression that the world may indeed be ending right before my eyes. Lykke Li makes a frail yet powerful performance and Kleerup turns out what just might be the sexiest song I've heard in the last three years.

"2 Becomes 1" Karl Blau (Nature's Got Away)
All the hardships sail away
I'm sitting in a mostly-empty barroom with wood panel interior. The bartender, a woman in her 50's, hands me another jar of Miller Light, and i swivel on my stool back toward Karl Blau and his band. The warm tones of the guitar and vocals offset the draftiness of the place. I'm staring at the linoleum where my mind is projecting a slideshow of images starring the two of us. This song could never be true without you.

"Holes In Our Heads" Retribution Gospel Choir (S/T*)
It was just like she said
I was pretty exited to get a hold of Alan Sparhawk's new album, especially after reading that Mark Kozelek produced it. At first, Retribution Gospel Choir was a big letdown for me. It seemed to neither embrace the fragility of his work as Low or the heaviness that these songs seemed to yearn for. But after a couple of weeks this summer in the painting studio with this record on repeat, I figured it out. Pantera's Vulgar Display of Power, used massively layered guitars and vocals to become one of the heaviest and powerful rock productions ever (IMHO). There's power in numbers but there's power in singularity too. A single, passionate voice and one or two electric guitars strummed with abandon can be just as moving as twenty. That's where "Holes In Our Heads" succeeds - it pulls us in with a finger and pushes us out with the passion of a single, determined man.

"C.O.L.O.U.R.S. (ft. Lil' Wayne & Pimp C)" Fonzworth Bentley
I don't wear sneakers, I wear slippers
This low-key, ultra-smooth track features some of the most over-the-top lyrical content since R. Kelly's Trapped in the Closet. By that I don't mean bat-shit-crazy, I only mean that when you hear a man talking at length about cashmere, cognac, and exotic animal furs and leathers... Ummmm... Fonzworth's verse stands out - for some reason I find myself believing that he's telling me the truth, that he actually has purple silk lining in all of his coats. Lil' Wayne and Pimp C are perfect choices for filling out the song - both have such interesting voices and tend to shine when the tempo is a bit slower. Best of all, the chorus spells out this wonderful acronym, and it's fitting - what we have here are Cool Outrageous Lovers Of Uniquely Raw Style.

"Mutha'uckas" Flight of the Conchords (S/T*)
He's gonna wake up in a smoothee!
Flight of the Conchords has been a highlight of my year. I've watched season one several times and the CD is in play at least once a week. I've probably spent hours laughing to Jemaine and Bret's antics. The magic here is that the songs work as songs but come to life as videos and get raised to art in the context of the show. It was hard to pick just one song, but I chose "Mutha'uckas" because it's catchy and stands well on it's own - but you should really watch the video.

"Mr. Carter (Feat. Jay-Z)" Lil' Wayne (Tha Carter III*)
I heard somebody say church, I'm-a need a suit
Lil' Wayne has been a highlight of my year. He's on 3 of the 18 songs in this list and only this one is from Tha Carter III. There's something about the combination of his wheezy flow, his outlandish rhymes, and his complete confidence that makes me want to eat whatever he's cooking. Jay-Z makes a solid contribution to this piano-plink ridden production. While musically it's not the most interesting track on his album - I love the samples and I'm particularly fond of the inventiveness of Wayne's rhymes.

"The Way We Ride" Fulton Lights (The Way We Ride*)
They were trying to take my land
Last year Andrew Spencer Goldman took us to the city, this year he's brought us out west. "The Way We Ride," is like a cowboy version of gangsta rap. It's brimming with bravado and unapologetic street (range?) cred. The dirty-muddy production that put me off at first kept bringing me back for another listen. It's a fighting song, but popping out from the plodding vocal delivery are some great melodies. "Six bullets says I don't give a good goddamn."

"The Vowels Pt. 2" Why? (Alopecia*)
Playing the wall at singles bingo
Vocals are clearly driving us through this song, but the vehicle we're riding in is one of those toddler pull-toys with wooden oval wheels. The punchy, lunge-release, lunge-release, of the track is relentless and powerful - giving way only when we recite the vowels. Every phrase of lyrical content is an image-inducing head scratcher, delivered swiftly and melodically in series. This song makes me smile and move - I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

"Half Of Two Times Two (Newer Version)" Barr (Summary*)
So let's all be special art rebels together
On the train listening to Barr's Summary last month, a man near me interrupted to ask me what I was listening to, what kind of music was in my headphones. All I could think to say was that it was sort of like a guy talking. He said, "Like rap?" and I said, "No, not really." The truth is that on a basic level, this song really is a lot like a guy talking over a simple, repetitive bed of piano, drums, and bass. The value of this song and most of the brilliant work on Summary will not be separated from the lyrics. While these songs are certainly about the words, they are absolutely meant to be songs. Brendan Fowler's vocal delivery and approach to melody breaks up the stream of consciousness into distinct movements, emphasizing the most important phrases and infusing the words with passion. Please don't give this song one listen, listen five times in a row because I need you to see that this is so much more rich and important than a guy talking. "That's what i'm saying. Oh my god, there is soooo much!"

"Archangel" Burial (Untrue*)
...
Untrue is a sexy and nearly perfect electronic album. "Archangel" manages to be atmospheric and undulating without relegating itself to the background. The beat is gorgeous - but not just the beat - every tone and texture of every sound that creates the beat is immaculate. That apparent attention to detail is present in every aspect of this production. Each layered crackle and synth is absolutely meant to be. The vocal is repeated and manipulated with speed and pitch shifts and never comes off gimmicky or contrived.

"New Hollywood Babylon" Don Cavalli (Cryland)
And when I talk... Violence!
This quirky song could easily be tossed off as a novelty due to the vocal delivery and lyrical content but it's just too damned funky and unique. It's hard for me to pin down what keeps me coming back to it. Sonically, it's funky and weird and bouncy and joyful. I love the little wah wah guitar solo moments. This guy's accent and vocal approach makes hearing phrases like "Put your hands up, ya'll!" and "Cadillac cars, Pussycat Girls!" like eating little delicious desserts - perhaps it may be low in nutritional value, but it's pretty damned tasty.

"Bring It On Home To Me" Sam Cooke
Bring it to me
Seriously, how did I miss this song for 31 years? One night I was waiting for the blue line downtown and the trains were delayed. There was a subway musician who was playing soul music with an acoustic guitar with a crowd of delayed passengers around him singing along. I've never seen anything like it - with every song the crowd grew bigger and people around him were not just watching, they were actually singing and clapping along. At some point he went into Sam Cooke's "Bring It On Home To Me." While it certainly sounded familiar to me, I couldn't place it and quickly wrote down some of the lyrics so I could hunt it down when I got home. Sam Cooke's voice is amazing, and this type of soul music is rich and evocative. Thank you, infectious street musician, for bringing this song to my attention. Better late than never.

"Joe's Waltz" The Dodos (Visiter*)
YOU NEED HELP! YOU NEED HELP!
It's been a frustrating year for me. Maybe that's why this list has more fighting songs on it and less singer-songwriter material than years past. "Joe's Waltz" is a little of both. The first half is a good-but-harmless, folksy, melodic waltz. What the song morphs into at four minutes is something entirely different. Sweetly sung melodies give way to shouts, angst, distortion, banging drums, and energetic obscenities. There's conflict in the composition but there's continuity as well. "C'mon, this shit is real."

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11.07.2008

FCM #15 - Covers and (one) Mashup

FCM #15 - COVERS & (one) MASHUP This is our second round of covers, and I dare say that this one is even tastier than the last. Hats off to Chris, who provided the only real mash-up on this mix. Also, I forgot to welcome Justin (Step) last week, so i'll thank him for the excellent songs on this mix as well as the horrible delights he offered for FCM #14 Click here to download the whole FCM #15 - COVERS & (one) MASHUP or hunt and peck below. If you like something or hate something or whatever, please make a comment! Some of these files are m4a format, so you should download them all with the link above or right click and save them to your machine.

Let's VOTE again for next week's theme! Vote in the comments for (a) Autumn, the season! (b) Songs I loved in elementary school (c) Songs about buildings and food

"Paint It Black" The Love Sitars - 1967
Justin Step writes: I downloaded this track from one of my all-time favorite blogs ever, OfficeNaps. DJ Little Danny, the guy behind the site, is a curatorial genius. He posts tunes ripped from his massive and massively impressive collection of 45s, generally on Mondays, and generally in groups of three. This gem was posted alongside other 60s rock songs employing that most psychedelic of instruments, the sitar - visit Office Naps.

"Many Rivers To Cross" The Walkmen - 2006
Ben writes: On a backdrop of bright cymbals, a simple rock beat, strumming acoustics and zum-zumming strings, three jets take off in the form of electric guitars to sing us the sweetest sliding riff. That's what I picture swirling around Hamilton Leithauser's head as he guts out this song. He was born to sing it, you see. The Walkmen take Harry Nilsson's cover of Jimmy Cliff's original to the next level - the music is crisper and more cinematic, the vocals more gutteral and desperate.

"This Land Is Your Land" Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings - 2006
Sarah writes: Folk/Funk = Best Genre Ever. I've been through both a Folk and a Funk phase over the past couple of years and this cover of Woody Guthrie's classic tune is a huge hit in my book. Even though "This Land..." has turned into the grade school theme song for all things wholesome, the lyrics aren't entirely shiney-happy:

"One bright sunny morning
in the shadow of the steeple,
down by the welfare office
I saw my people they stood there grumblin'
and I stood there wonderin'
if this land was made for you and me"

The change of key and tone totally emphasize the bittersweet, melancholic, introspective side of the song. And besides, who can resist those funky trumpet trills? You may recognize the Dap Kings from Amy Winehouse's album.

"What It's All About" Girl Talk - 2008
Chris writes: Girl Talk has become something of a phenomenon in the mixing/mashup world, finding a particularly fond audience in the indie dance crowd. His latest record, "Feed the Animals," condenses so many great samples and so many ridiculous mashups that it's hard to pick just one cut - this 4 minute track alone samples The Beastie Boys, Busta Rhymes, The Police, Ini Kamoze, Argent, KRS-one, Living Colour, and Paula Cole, to name a few. Listening to the album as a whole is a joy for total music nerds like myself who's knowledge of hooks spans a number of genres - there's a "what?! no way!" moment every 30 seconds or so on this record. Pick it up if you enjoy this kind of stuff, though I guess I should also mention that this may be the cleanest track on the record (there are a number of awesome mashups the use some of the filthiest lines from modern hip-hop mixed over the top of innocent and catchy piano lines from, say, Billy Joel).

"(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" Devo - 1978
Jane writes: From their first album, and in my humble opinion, one of the finest examples of a complete rearrangement cover... or as Randy Jackson on American Idol would say "Makin' it your own, dude".

I know there was much gushing when Devo made a multi-album appearance in Friday Music last year, so I'll spare my own except to say, they were light years ahead of their time and one of the best live shows I've ever seen in my LIFE!

"You Really Got Me" Van Halen - 1978
Walt writes: I got into The Kinks relatively late — 1980, to be exact and grew to love their music. Ray Davies writes great songs and his first one out of the gate, "You Really Got Me," is a masterpiece that has not only been covered but copied by too many bands to mention. Van Halen covered "You Really Got Me" back in 1978 and it lead to a resurgence in the popularity of The Kinks and nudged The Kinks further towards arena rock.

My introduction to Van Halen's cover of "You Really Got Me" happened late one Friday night at St. Francis College in Joliet. I was down visiting some friends and we were all imbibing waaay too much and an 8-Track of Van Halen's eponymous album was in the deck. Everyone was sprawled all over the room and too blasted to either turn the music down or off. Every 10 minutes or so, the deck would loudly ker-chunk to switch tracks and every time that would happen happen, everybody would rouse and every fourth time David Lee Roth would start in on that classic Kinks hit.

"Take Me To The River" Talking Heads - 1978
Christine writes: I have always been a fan of Talking Heads and this is one of their best. I have much respect for the Reverend and think these guys did him justice in their cover.

"Eleanor Rigby" Thrice - 2005
Justin Sid writes: A punk-rock version of the Beatles classic. I hope I don't offend any true Beatles fans. Enjoy!

"Just Like Heaven" Dinosaur Jr. - 1991
Justin Step writes: In my book, this is a well-nigh perfect cover. Dinosaur, Jr. takes a played-out post-punk pop classic from the Cure. They juice it with their grungy, 90s flavor, but don't depart far from the original in the first verse. Then when you've been lulled into comfort, and your brain is hungry for the saccharine sweet chorus that burned itself deeply into your synaptic pathways long ago, your expectations get shattered and your wig flipped. With one stomp on the pedal, Dinosaur, Jr. makes the song their own.

By the way, this MP3 file isn't borked... the song actually ends abruptly like this. As a bonus, here's a lo-fi video I found whilst searching for a digital copy.

"Jump" Mary Lou Lord - 1997
Felix writes: I know precious little about the artist (Mary Lou Lord), but I somehow got a hold of this track via Ben... and it's been a little gem that I've kept in my library ever since. Doing some quick searching this morning, I found out that this track is part of a tribute album entitled Everybody Wants Some: A Loose Interpretation of the Musical Genius of Van Halen. This song makes me feel like I'm sitting in a bar at 3PM, or 5AM.

"Here's to the State (Live)" Eddie Vedder - 2004ish
Brian writes: Originally written by Phil Och, "Here's to the State of Mississippi" was the closing track on his 1965 release, "I Ain't Marching Anymore". The song has been re-worked and covered many times, including Och's own re-worked version, "Here's to the State of Richard Nixon".

This re-worked version of "Here's to the State" saw the light of day around 2004. The rest of the story is in the song. And as inspiring/soothing as I have always found it, it just got better.

"$1000 Wedding" The Mekons - 1989
Jennifer writes: It is a shame that the death of the CD means the death of compilation and tribute albums because I have a certain fondness for comps and tributes.

This song comes from a tribute album for Gram Parsons. He was an amazing song writer from the Bakersfield scene that died far too early. The tribute album is great from start to finish so I suppose that is testament to what a great song writer he was. It was difficult for me to pick just one - but I like the way Jon Langford makes the song sound like a real bender.

"Across The Universe" Rufus Wainwright - 2002
Margaret writes: This song is truly beautiful, and I think Rufus did it justice for the "I Am Sam" soundtrack.

"Let Down" David Bazan's Black Cloud - 2007
TJ writes: This is a cover tune of Radiohead's "Let Down" from O.K. Computer. The entire cd has been redone by artists such as Doveman, Vampire Weekend, John Vanderslice, Cold War Kids, The Twilight Sad and more. So this is in a way a cover and a mashup contribution. You can stream it in it's entirety here - enjoy.

"Believe" Macha Loved Bedhead - 2000
Ben writes: This cover of Cher's "Believe" has been in my iTunes library since 2004, but at some point I deleted the ID3 tags and have never, UNTIL TODAY, been able to determine the artist that released it. Back-story aside, this is a clever and mopey version of a song that is so dramatic and over the top - the original makes me want to hide under a table. It begins with dial-tone phone beeps and just sort of sucks me in after that. A re-interpretation of the highest order. Remember when autotune was new?

"(Anew Hope) Star Wars" Meco - 1977
Walt writes: I've never been a BIG Star Wars fan, Star Trek was more my style but I'll always have a soft spot for the first film (really, the fourth chapter). At the time the film came out, disco was still quite popular and a guy named Meco came out with a bunch of disco inspired covers of the popular movies of the time. So it's time to put on your leisure suits and slinky cocktail dresses and dance on over to a galaxy far, far away!

And how about a disco-themed FCM?

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10.31.2008

FCM #14 - Halloween

FCM #14 - HALLOWEEN We're BACK baby, and we're killing it. Click here to download the whole FCM #14 - HALOWEEN or hunt and peck below. If you like something or hate something or whatever, please make a comment! Some of these files are m4a format, so you should download them all with the link above or right click and save them to your machine.

Next week's Theme - Cover Songs #2!

"Halloween - Main Theme" Gareth Williams - 1978
Walt writes: The original Halloween remains one of my all-time favorite horror movies. I like John Carpenter movies and while several of them are cheesy, this one hit all the right notes. Carpenter wrote the theme and there's nothing like hearing those piano keys twinkling to get the blood rushing.

"Dream Warriors" Dokken - 1987
Felix writes: I have a sneaking suspicion that Brian L may also be submitting this track, Nightmare on Elm Street fan that he is. While I was never one for scary movies, I really got into these films when I was in middle school. When the third Nightmare film came out, I got to see two things I loved combined into something even more fantastic. Like a raisin covered in chocolate, or a monkey in a cowboy suit... I present to you a horror movie backed with heavy metal, in the form of Freddy Krueger and Dokken.

"Dr. Stein" Helloween - 1996
Jane writes: So, a year ago, when New Music Fridays was very young and we were trading entire albums, I made a HELLOWEEN comp on Halloween... but since it's now a year later (which means we should have had a birthday theme sometime recently), I feel like enough time has passed for a band repeat. And there really is, in my mind, no substitute for the rousing Germanic vibrato and militaristic drumming this time of year as we celebrate all that is dark.

"Dr. Stein grows funny creatures
let's them run into the night
they become great rock musicians
and their time is right"

"Zombie Graveyard Party" Be You Own Pet - 2008
Christine writes: "life is lame so let me eat your brain." Words that are sure to convince your mortal lover to let your zombie-self enjoy their innards as a little snacky. Then you both may enjoy the unded life together - until the comedic yet loveable zombie killer comes after you and shoots you both in the head.

"Smack Jack" Nina Hagen - 1982
Justin Step writes: This is a nicely operatic and dubbed-out selection to drop at your next death disco party. I like the tension between disco glamour and back-alley depravity in this song. Nina Hagen has a very powerful, dynamic voice, and reallly kicks up the gravelly alto notes here for a freaky, spooky effect. She sounds a bit like an undead, half-decomposed junkie zombie that's stepped from of the shadows of Michael Jackson's "Thriller."

"Zombie Prescription" Snapcase - 1997
Justin Sid writes: This was my favorite song off of this particular album, Progression Through Unlearning from Snapcase. I was handed this album when I was in high school from a friend. Snapcase was the beginning of my Victory Records obsession where I found a bunch of hardcore rock outfits I grew to love.

While the title of this track is a bit more of a metaphor than an actual song about the undead. I felt that it has merit for our Halloween themed mix.

"This Is Halloween" Marilyn Manson - 2008
Jennifer writes: This song is from the "Nightmare Before Christmas - Revisited" soundtrack. I am not sure what the thought process was to reissue this CD with different artists covering the songs but I felt this was the best song on the CD. Marilyn is one of the best at cartoon-y goth covers.

"Black No.1 (Little Miss Scare-All)" Type O Negative - 1993
Brian writes: Certain seasons call for certain bands. Every time Autumn rolls around, I get in the mood for Type O Negative. Everything they've done on their 8 releases captures the essence of the season. Narrowing it down to Halloween only, I could single out at least an album's worth of Type O songs. And while I will almost always go directly to the album "World Coming Down" when Fall creeps in, no song is more fitting for this mix than "Black No. 1" from the 1993 album "Bloody Kisses". By the way, the story behind the song is that most girls coming to Type O shows had their dyed black hair. When asked what type of hair dye they used, the most common answer was Black No. 1. Or so the legend goes...

"John Wayne Gacy, Jr" Sufjan Stevens - 2005
Margaret writes: If there was ever a song that could be described as both haunting and beautiful, this would be it. The last line of the song is one of my favorite lyrics of all time:

"And in my best behavior I am really just like him. Look beneath the floorboards for the secrets I have hid"

"Skeleton Key" Margot & The Nuclear So And So's - 2006
TJ writes: I'm going to be "that guy" that puts the song on the Halloween mix only because Skeleton is in the title and that relates to Halloween. I really like the strings in this mix and have been wearing this CD out lately so I wanted to share.

"Season Of The Witch" Luna - 2006
Allison writes: Allison is silent on this one.

"Nah Und Fern" Wolfgang Voigt - 2008
Nick writes: This is Wolfgang Voigt's "Nah und Fern," a way old unreleased track. I know I've used his work before, but if this song doesn't creep you out then I don't know what I can do for you.

"Experiment In Terror" Henry Mancini - 1962
Walt writes: I figured that we were going to have a Halloween-themed FCM so I planned in advance and had Henry Mancini's Experiment in Terror lined up but Brian beat me to the punch back in FCM #10 with the cover by FantÙmas. But that's okay, I'm a big fan of covers (hey, let's do another round of those). Anyway, here's the original by the great Henry Mancini (this is my second Mancini pick).

When I was a kid back in the 1970s, WGN-TV used to run a Friday night Horror-themed show called Creature Features and I loved it. It's where I first saw the Universal horror movies like Frankenstein, Dracula, The Creature form The Black Lagoon, The Invisible Man, and my all-time favorite ... The Wolfman. The movies had commercial breaks, of course, and when they came back from break, WGN would play a little bit of Experiment in Terror and show a drawing of Lon Chaney Sr. from London After Midnight. In my room, with the lights out on on my old B/W TV, it all looked very spooky. It's one of my favorite memories.

"DaDa" Alice Cooper - 1981
James writes: Camp has always ruled Alice's take on horror in rock, but I've always found this particular track chilling as fuck.

Don't buy the album; it's awful. Instead, enjoy this track and seek out "Love it to Death," "Billion Dollar Babies," and "Welcome to My Nightmare."

"Sinister Exaggerator" The Residents - 1986
Justin Step writes: I discovered this song, and this band, thanks to a cover version on Primus' Miscellaneous Debris, and became a huge fan all through college. It was music was like nothing I'd ever heard, like the soundtrack to a nightmare. A perfect blend of the dark and the childish, it was nervous-making music, and elicited emotions that most other music seeks to avoid. I got hooked, but consistently failed to convince my friends to share my appreciation. They formed in the late 60s, and are still together, and have gone to great lenths to never reveal the identities of individual members, like performing in tuxedoes and eyeball masks, backlit behind screens.

"I'm Evil, Jack" The Frogs - 1996
Ben writes: This song is a terrible bad song. A song to never play around your mother or your kids. Felix, Justin, Matt, and I realized it was also a song never to play loud at work sometime around 2003 when Rey kindly asked us to never play it aloud again. He's Evil, Jack. You will feel a bit evil too, laughing along to this one, unless you quickly delete it and vow to never listen to The Frogs again.

"Tubular Bells" Mike Oldfield - 1973
Walt writes: This piece of music always brings me back to the early 80s. I was a seminary student of the Archdiocese of Chicago living in the Niles College dorms on Harlem and Touhy. Almost every Friday or Saturday night, a bunch of us priests in training would drive downtown, hide some beers in our coats and take in a movie (I remember one of us knocking over a bottle of beer at a showing of Bo Derek's signature film,10, and listening to it roll all the way to the front of the theatre). On one such trip, we decided to see The Exorcist (we figured it was job training). One of my fellow seminarians decided that the movie wouldn't be bloodcurdling enough on its own so he bought a tab of acid from an enterprising gentleman in the bathroom. Luckily he made it though the movie in one piece. I, on the other hand, discovered a great film that mixed spirituality, psychology, science, and horror al in one neat little package.

We seminarians used to have retreats to the Sait Mary of the Lake Seminary in Mundelein, IL. It was rumored that the technical advisor Fr. John Nicola had done much of his research on exorcism while a seminary student there. It was also rumored that his former room was under lock and key due to some strange phenomenon that happened in it while he was doing his research. While I never found his room, I gave it several good tries on my trips there.

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9.29.2008

FCM #12 - Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

FCM #12 - PLANES, TRAINS, & AUTOMOBILES Lots of transportation related songery here and nothing about those two pillows. (we'll save that for booty-shaking theme week!) Click here to download the whole FCM #12 - PTA or hunt and peck below. If you like something or hate something or whatever, please make a comment! Some of these files are m4a format, so you should download them all with the link above or right click and save them to your machine.

Next friday's theme - VERBS! So pick a song that deals with one of your favorite action words and (if safe for work) submit alongside your song and description a photo of you or someone else performing that action.

"Paper Planes" M.I.A. - 2007
Margaret writes: I've been obsessed with this song for the past month or so - it's dang catchy and fun. She mentions planes, trains, trucks and pumping gas - apparently she's all about transportation. That's all I got.

"The Letter" Box Tops - 1967
Christine writes: Hold up Mister, the trainís not fast enough for this reignited lover, get him an airplane! Put aside the fact that she mailed him a letter that probably took at least two weeks to reach him and could be over him again by now, itís a pretty endearing song. This Memphis-bred group led by husky-voiced sixteen-year-old Alex Chilton broke free from the bubble-gum pop so many were apt to chase after in this era and instead relied on more local influences. Their first and probably best single skyrocketed to #1 but the rest of their "best of" CD still has some charmers like "Cry Like A Baby" and "Neon Rainbow."

"Flight 180" Bishop Allen - 2006
Ben writes: "My friends, my friends, I'm coming' home." Bishop Allen wrote a bunch of great songs in 2006 - this is only one of them. It's the lyrics and vocal delivery that keep me coming back to this tune. I love the way he weaves the flight narrative together with his own thoughts and preoccupations. It reminds me of the way I think and so it strikes me as being "true" - if you know what I mean.

"Red Eye" Ace Enders - 2008
TJ writes: This song is from the singer of a band I used to love back in my own band days called The Early Novemeber. I don't know if I've put anything from them on here bit I feel like I have. Anyways, whatever, here is a song called "RED EYE" by Ace Enders.

"Mission Control" No Knife - 1998
Chris writes: The second offering this week comes from an oft-overlooked post-rock band by the name of No Knife. They embody the opposite of the Louvin Brothers, though many things remain the same: two voices, an ambiguous story, travel to places unknown, and a lamentable fate. No Knife, however, is a pounding, swerving, diving ship of distorted guitar and throaty vocals that might certainly seem futuristic to the Louvin Bros. Here, No Knife is happily losing their shit over a botched space mission ("Monkey's a goner!"), whereas the Louvin Brothers were just saying goodbye to a girl they'd never see again. Ahhh, simple times.

"Planes Over the Skyline" Swervedriver - 2005
Nick writes: I am pretty convinced that every single Swervedriver song could fit this mix somehow, so here is one of them.

"No Train to Stockholm (Lee Hazlewood)" Dax Riggs - 2008
Brian writes: I know, I know..."Another Dax Riggs song? Isn't this thing supposed to be about discovering and posting new/different music?" Well, hear me out. I've only actually posted 1 Dax song so far, and the others that have followed are just really, really good songs made even better by Dax. So, I look at it as a 2 for 1 deal.

Dax has introduced me to the music of Leonard Cohen, Townes Van Zandt, John Prine, Nick Cave, Nick Lowe, Nick Drake and countless others not named Nick. In this case, Dax introduced me to the music of Lee Hazlewood (RIP).

In 1970, Hazlewood released Cowboy in Sweden as a soundtrack of sorts to accompany the TV show, also called Cowboy in Sweden, that Hazlewood starred in. Being an album for a TV show, it is somewhat on the poppier side, and very, very catchy. Near the middle comes a song that is fantastically catchy (especially the chorus), but with lyrics that are extremely powerful and way too relevant today. That song is No Train to Stockholm.

I had never heard of Hazlewood at the time, but in early February 2008 I came across this video of Dax performing No Train... It was instantly in my head. I looked up the lyrics and learned to play it on guitar immediately.

A couple weeks later, I saw Dax at Double Door, and he didn't play it. I was talking with him afterwards, and I mentioned the video and how great I thought it was. He asked if I wanted to hear it, and when I managed to form the word "YES", he grabbed his guitar and took me "backstage" (which at Double Door is pretty much like a boiler room in the basement...but with a couch and chair) to play it. It was just me, Dax and a girlfriend of his, and he played the hell out of this song, and a couple new songs, for me. It was a pretty awesome experience.

Anyway, here's a bootleg version of No Train to Stockholm from a couple weeks after that night. I believe it was the last show of the tour.

Wow! This is really long again...Ah well...

"In The Pines" The Louvin Brothers - 1956
Chris writes: I'm bringing two to the table this week because it was so damn hard to choose between the past AND the future of transportation. First up is an old country classic that dates back to days when a loved one could get on a train and never be seen or heard from again. It's "In the Pines", a number that's been covered and recreated throughout the last 100 or so years, but no one's done it quite as well as the Louvin Brothers (Smog came very close, however). Just try and get that train-whistle-like mournful harmony out of your head!

"Train Song [Live]" Tom Waits - 1988
Jane writes: Something tells me that the train songs for this theme are going to be waaaaay under-represented. I hope I'm wrong, because trains are fantastic.

Anyhoo, here's my contribution. I promise not to lay too much Tom Waits on the FCM, though it is by far my largest collection from any one artist. Blame it on me being a drunk in college and friends in record stores (records!!). I chose the live version of this song because it kicks off with a humorous story... a humorous story that leads into the most gutwrenching of laments. Weird juxtaposition. A rollercoaster of emotions. The tears of a clown.

I love this line:
"a steeple full of swallows that could never ring the bell"

I picture them, and it's the saddest part of the song for me. But I'm a sucker for birds and animals.

"Love In Vain" The Rolling Stones - 1969
Brian writes: This is one of my favorite Stones songs from possibly my favorite Stones album. It also happens to be a great train song (and it sort of sounds like Mick Jagger says blueline and redline when he's actually saying blue light and red light). It was originally written by Robert Johnson in the '30's, and later re-worked by the Stones on the album Let it Bleed. So, there you go...2 for 1.

"I've Got A Gal In Kalamazoo" Glenn Miller - 1942
Renata writes: Perhaps a loose interpretation of our Trains, Planes, and Automobiles theme, Kalamazoo is a song my cousins and I grew up with as we spent time together on our annual Kouka family vacation up at Moose Lake in Wisconsin (Kouka = mom’s side of the family). The song is about a guy about to travel to Kalamazoo, MI (via plane!) to visit his love—the toast of Kalamazoo, of course! A loose fit, but a fit nonetheless :)

Grandpa always had the radio set to a big-band station and so Kalamazoo, along with other classics such as The Chattanooga Choo Choo and Sing, Sing, Sing (With a Swing), are songs I will always hold a certain fondness for! To add the story, this past April I drove through Kalamazoo on my way to a student advertising competition. I found this hilarious and immediately texted my cousin, Kimberly (who now lives out in California) to share in the excitement.

A-B-C-D-E-F-G-H-IIIIIIII got a gal in Kalama-zoo-zoo-zoo-zoo …

"The Luckiest Guy On The Lower East Side" Magnetic Fields - 1999
Felix writes: I remember someone mentioning this album to me while in grad school (2000), but I didn't pick it up until after I arrived in Chicago. At the time, I was dating someone still living in Ohio, and from time to time would make the brutal drive from Barrington, IL to Columbus, OH after work on a Friday (oftentimes not arriving until 1AM, factoring in the time change).

Back when I was still listening to actual CD's, Volume 1 was one of my favorites of this album. This was a great song to sing to, and that final high G note at the end of the song is just... ridiculous.

"Motorway" The Kinks - 1972
Walt writes: Okay, it's been a couple of weeks since I tossed a Kinks song out there. Here's Motorway from the Everybody's in ShowBiz album from 1972 . Motorway food is the worst in the world!

"Always Crashing in the Same Car" David Bowie - 1977
Allison writes: Okay, here's a Bowie track from a seminal Bowie album (Low, circa 1977) that apart from a lyrical metaphor about crashing a car, also provides me a vehicle (Ha! Vehicle! Get it?!) for me to link to the video for one of my most favorite, most hilarious bits by Flight of the Conchords, "Bowie in Space."

"Passenger" Deftones - 2000
Justin writes: This is probably one of my favorite songs on the White Pony album, if not my favorite. I absolutely adore Maynard's singing voice and at the time was a really big Deftones fan. I felt the title and lyrics fit well for this week's theme and I thought I would share this with you.

"This time won't you please, Drive faster!"

"Flipside (featuring Peedi Crakk)" Freeway - 2003
Justin writes: I feel like there isn't enough rump shaking hip hop in the mixes so I'm ever so slyly inserting this into the list. Mostly because the artist has dubbed himself "Freeway" and discusses many automobiles in the rhymes that he drops. I mean just examine the first few lyrics he spits in this energetic piece.

"Cars (Jlab Mix)" Gary Numan - 1998
Walt writes: It's the only way to live...

"The Glass Is Half... Awesome" Inkwell - 2005
Justin writes: I found this band a few years ago whilst I was attempting to start a clothing line of the same name. Upon my "is this copyrighted" searches I found this group and generally liked their stuff a lot. I thought is was funny that had I not been pursuing the name check I would've never found them.

Anyway this one is very much about automobiles and it's catchy too!

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9.19.2008

FCM #11 - Dance Party

FCM #11 - DANCE PARTY I'm glad to see this mix come together organically and STILL include the "Cha Cha Slide." Admittedly, there are a LOT of different ways to dance and I'm sure you could go through most of them through the course of this mix. Don't miss Felix's link to "Partydance" which has been an office comedy favorite for some time. Click here to download the whole FCM #11 - Dance Party or hunt and peck below. If you like something or hate something or whatever, please make a comment! Some of these files are m4a format, so you should download them all with the link above or right click and save them to your machine.

We're voting again for next week's theme. Choose one or these. (1) Break Up Mixtape, (2) Planes, Trains & Automobiles, (3) Fight Songs

"Twistin' the Night Away" Sam Cooke - 1962
Felix writes: Really difficult time with this one. I don't tend to dance all that often (it's a rare thing for me, and usually only happens when I'm alone). While I was tempted to make my pick Ed Shepp's "Partydance", I decided to go with a more traditional pick: Mr. Sam Cooke.

"Genius of Love" Tom Tom Club - 1981
Sarah writes: I love funky dance parties! The first Wednesday of every month is Funk and Soul night at Danny's in Bucktown. The DJ duo Sheer Magic play the funkiest music ever recorded, and the tiny dance floor is packed with people who can't resist the beats! One of my favorite things - I look forward to it every month.

At first I had trouble narrowing it down to one song, but when I remembered 'Genius of Love,' the choice was clear. It speaks for itself. "Who needs to think when your feet just go?"

"Nobody Dances Anymore" Brandston - 2006
TJ writes: Well, this track is from the band Brandtson, a late high school/college fav of mine. This song is totally about people not dancing anymore so I figured it would fit perfectly. And it's always made my rump shake. Any for reals yo, please go check out the video. The whole thing is just people dancing to the song. Enjoy.

"Don't Leave Me This Way" Communards - 1985
Walt writes: Imagine a large ballroom dance floor with three dozen dancers in pink and champagne taffeta gowns with hoop-style skirts just rockin' out to this song ... well that's what I do.

"September" Earth, Wind and Fire - 1978
Margaret writes: I had never listened to funk music before I met Justin, but he's a big fan and now I'm hooked as well. We have a Saturday morning ritual where we blast funk music and dance around our living room like a couple of dorks, and this song is a standard on the playlist. It's impossible for me not to move to this song.

"Let's Pretend We're Married" Prince - 1983
James writes: Only Prince could pull off a line like this without taking a knee to the tenders:
"Excuse me but I need a mouth like yours
2 help me forget the girl that just walked out my door
Let's pretend we're married and do it all night"

"Paper Tiger" Spoon - 2002
Chris writes: I'm a big electro fan and there are a number of fantastic speaker-destroying tracks I thought I might like to include on this mix (see works from Justice, Boys Noize, Calvin Harris) but I decided to go with something more personal - hence this track from Spoon's Kill the Moonlight. When I first moved to Chicago I lived in a big, empty apartment in the Ukrainian Village for the first month and a half while waiting for a roommate. I had a chair, a desk, my computer, a bed, and a little TV stacked on a milk crate. I had no cable and no phone, and I didn't have a job either. I spent my time putting my portfolio together and doing a smattering of freelance work to keep myself alive. I didn't know a single soul in the city, but for that first month and a half it didn't really matter. I played my music loud, I became fascinated with Korean television (see: Age of Warriors), one of the few channels that I could get on my TV, and I sang and danced to break up the time I spent working away at my desk. I wore the grooves out (so to speak) on Kill the Moonlight, and Paper Tiger was the star of the show. I would stand up from my desk and shuffle around the bare living room whenever this song played, dancing a sort of soft shoe that seemed to perfectly fit the mood. Spoon have an acute minimalist's touch when it comes to instrumentation and they have perfected the science of finding just the bare essentials needed to create a beautiful song. Britt Daniel's closing lyric inspired daydreams of what the city might hold for me: someone to be with when I turned out the light.

"Strength Beyond Strength" Pantera - 1994
Brian writes: I was 14 years old when Pantera's Far Beyond Driven was released. I ditched school so I could get my hands on it immediately when the record store opened. My first listen was a magical one, and the thousands that followed were so inspiring and therapeutic to me in my youth. I still get chills when I hear it.

I was almost 15 when I saw Pantera live for the first time at The Aragon Ballroom in 1995. That was the first show I had ever been to like that, and I've never seen one like it since.

Just like the Far Beyond Driven CD, they opened up with Strength Beyond Strength. To this day, I have never seen a crowd move like they did at that moment. And I do mean the entire crowd...from front-to-back and side-to-side, that entire place was DAN-CING! I saw Pantera at least 5 more times after that show, and the reaction was nowhere near the same. Not your typical dance music I'm aware, but this is the dance music I grew up on.

"Cuttin' In" Chris Farlowe - 1966
Jane writes: Couples's skate time!! Oh my... hope I'm not the only slow dance in the mix this week.

Chris Farlowe is an incredible guilty pleasure of mine. Mostly known for very self-indulgent covers, it's a study in disbelief to listen to his music then find out that he LOOKS LIKE THIS!

"Beat Connection" LCD Soundsystem - 2002
Ben writes: Everybody here's afraid of fun. Dance-tastic. LCD Soundsystem opened their (2005) set in at The Metro with this song which (until that point) was never one of my favorites. The energy of that performance was like nothing i've experienced. I hear it in a different way now - and I LOVE it. I've listened countless times and nearly every time I bounce involuntarily, just like the crowd at The Metro and the drunk girl next to me who really wanted to grind... Yeow :(

"Wish" Ellen Allien - 2003
Allison writes: Ellen Allien is a kick-ass DJ from Berlin, and this super-danceable number, "Wish", is from her 2003 album Berlinette. The lyrics are at once oversimplistic and wistful, but the real star of the show are those shuddering, grinding (yet vaguely clinical) German beats. Yum!

"High Fidelity" Daft Punk - 1997
Nick writes: So I picked a Daft Punk song called "High Fidelity", which was featured on their first album, Homework. This predates their being robots by a few years. I picked this one because it seems like many people don't realize that Daft Punk had much of a career before Discovery beyond "Around the World". But their first album was and remains ridiculously influential in house music, especially among DJs, and it (along with, yes, "Around the World") gave them the popularity and money to turn into robots and record Discovery.

On Homework they called clicks 'n cuts with "High Fidelity" five years before Luomo and Akufen; they called progressive house with "Alive" three years before Sasha and Digweed; they recorded a synth line so ridiculous that they reprised it at the end of the album by playing it backwards, and it still managed to sound good.

This video of a rave in Milwaukee(!?) from 1994, three years before Homework came out, gives some good perspective. A few way-old Daft Punk tracks are duly chopped up and thrown in, but the majority of it is Detroit techno and acid house. Daft Punk have some interesting roots.

"21st Century Life" Sam Sparro - 2007
Justin writes: This Australian-Singer-Songwriter-Producer I discovered on one of my many internet surf-a-thons. Upon hopping website to website I fell upon this former child star's homepage and that's when I was entranced by this funktastic music video that immediately started playing without anyone's permission. Needless to say my ass began to shake. And then I got this stirring sensation in my legs and it quickly spread to my upper body. "My God!", I said to myself, "I can't stop the jive!"

That was a while ago, since then I've been plagued with the Chronic Jive. Every time this album plays my body is riddled with fits and vibrations. It's an overwhelming sensation that should not be under-whelmed. I recommend this song and album to everyone but listen at your discretion. You will not be able to stop the groove, funk, dance-pop, or jive. You know it, I know it, our asses know it. Enjoy!

"Whoo! Alright - Yeah... Uh Huh" The Rapture - 2006
Ben writes: This comes from The Rapture's second album, which is no where near as good as their first. I don't do a lot of dancing, but when this is on and I am home in my underwear I tend to gallop around a bit and enjoy myself.

"Casper Cha-Cha Slide (Live Platinum Band)" Casper & Col'Ta - 2000
Renata writes: I cannot dance. At all. Except to this lovely track. And by this track, I mean this exact version, which has played at every Junior High and High School dance I can remember … and almost every wedding I've ever attended. And I'm good. Real good. See you on the dance floor …

"Closer" Nine Inch Nails - 1994
Brian writes: I think it's pretty imperative that this band/song be in the mix.

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9.11.2008

FCM #10 - From the Movies

FCM #10 - FROM THE MOVIES Turn your cell phones and pagers off, we're headed to the cinema. We've got everything from Superman to Rosemary's Baby represented in this mix. Click here to download the entire FCM #10 - FROM THE MOVIES or hunt and peck below. If you like something or hate something or whatever, please make a comment! Some of these files are m4a format, so you should download them all with the link above or right click and save them to your machine.

Next week's Theme - Dance Party! That's right, bring out the most danceable tracks you've got. Doesn't have to be "dance" music, but it MUST be danceable!


"Superman - Prelude and Main Title March" John Williams - 1978
Walt writes: The theme to Superman - The Movie is one of my all time favorites. I still get chills every single time I hear it. I love the majesty and joy of it and its ability to get the blood pumping. And when I watch the movie, I'm amazed that a 26-year-old unknown actor was so completely able to master the duality of the Superman/Clark Kent relationship and portray two believable and distinct characters. So here's to you Christopher Reeve, you never gave up!

P.S. I have a photo of me with Christopher Reeve from 1980. I'll try and dig it up tonight.

"Going Up The Country" Canned Heat - 1968
Christine writes: Appears in: Woodstock: The Movie (the original one - Margaret) and in Meet The Fockers (1994). The song was also used in the "Northern Exposure" episode when Dr. Cappra was travelling to replace Dr. Joel Flieschman as the town doctor (thank you google!). Anyways, this is one of those songs that I remember listening to when I was a kid and it just made you feel good. I was recently reminded of it when my sister put it on a comp CD for me. The singer has a really interesting voice that you can't help but try to imitate (poorly) and it is one of the few songs where I really appreciate the addition of a flute to the musical lineup... if only there were cowbells too...

"Ain't No Sunshine" Bill Withers - 1971
Ben writes: From "Notting Hill." Yes, I love the Julia Roberts. This fantastic song is used in a great scene where a year passes while Hugh Grant walks through Notting Hill. I love that scene, and the song is just perfect for it.

"Kaze Wo Atsumete" Happy End - 2003
Felix writes: Though I've seen "Lost in Translation," I never really heard this song until Liz played it for me. It's one of her favorites and she can sing it all the way through, word for word (despite the fact that she has no idea what the lyrics mean). Personally, I love the key changes and the slow, rolling tempo throughout. For some reason, in trying to figure out how to best describe the happiness this song elicits: it's like having someone hand you a large sum of money, but in slow motion. Good stuff.

"Are You Ready For The Sex Girls?" Gleaming Spires - 1984
Jane writes: Wha wha WHAT??!!! This incredible song just happened to be nestled inside the most pivotal movie from my pre-adolescent years?? The one that convinced me it was not only OK, but COOL to be in Scholastic Bowl??! It's true. Not only nestled in, but MADE FOR. You can tell by the brainstorm-style lyrics that someone involved with the movie said "OK, so we need a song about the Omega Mu's coming over for their first mixer at the Nerds' frat house... Riff on it!"

This is a splendid work of art. A bit long, but just try to keep its catchy chorus out of your head for the days to come.

"Dead Already" Thomas Newman - 1999
Masha writes: Here's an arrangement by Thomas Newman for the American Beauty score. I first heard it on a mix tape (remember those?) played in the background of an hs art class. Enjoy!

"I'm Shipping Up To Boston" Dropkick Murphys - 2005
Ben writes: From "The Departed." I was so completely blown away by the film, the anxiety and energy of it, particularly in regards to DiCaprio's character as he gets deeper and deeper undercover. This song was just perfect for the film and it was also my ringtone for some time. My kids and I used to run around the house like crazies with this song blaring.

"Big Bad Wolf" Bunny and the Wolf Sisters - 1985
Justin writes: I had to include this classic. It is probably one of the most ridiculous songs ever created for a film. And one of the catchiest. I inspire you to drop what your doing and do the "Big Bad Wolf".

In case you need some inspiration...

"Less Than Zero" Glenn Danzig & the Power and Fury Orchestra - 1987
Jane writes: If you're ever playing "8 Degrees of Separation" and get stuck trying to connect 80's Brat Pack chump Andrew McCarthy with Misfits frontman Glenn Danzig, never fear because this sweet tidbit is the missing link that will save your hide. Believe me. That situation happens more than you're probably thinking it does.

Boasting over-production, female backing vocals, and general syrup, I'm positive that this concoction remains the ugliest of stepchildren in Danzig's catalogue, but MY GOD it's a guilty pleasure.

"Tommib" Squarepusher - 2001
Nick writes: Squarepusher's "Tommib" was featured on Lost in Translation. It's a short song, but very good - it doesn't need to do a whole lot to get the point across.

"Child Psychology" Black Box Recorder - 1999
Margaret writes: I am a huge Gilmore Girls fanatic. I love the quirky characters, the rapid dialogue and witty banter, and getting bombarded with hundreds of pop culture references in each episode - on a good day I'll catch about 1/3 of them. I got the soundtrack as a gift, and this has got to be one of the most obscure songs I've ever heard in my life - but totally fitting for the show. It surprises me that I like this song, but I find myself listening to it fairly often.

"Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind Theme" Jon Brion - 2004
TJ writes: Jon Brion has made some very awesome soundtracks to some of my favorite films including this theme for the Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. He also did the "I Heart Huckabees" soundtrack. Check it out. Hope you like it.

"Hide and Seek" Imogen Heap - 2005
Justin writes: This is a song off the soundtrack of the film, The Last Kiss. For those not familiar with Imogen Heap she is one half of the group Frou Frou. And Frou Frou is well know for their song that was featured in another Zack Braff film, Garden State. Because I was a huge fan of the Garden State soundtrack, and Frou Frou it was easy for me to spot Imogen's track in The Last Kiss.

I saw her live around a year ago and she had an awesome performance. She talked a lot with the crowd and shared some of her stories, methods, and ways she made her music. This track is also featured on her album "Speak For Yourself" which is one of my favorite albums of all time. I love it, and I hope you do too. :)

"Mad World" Gary Jules - 2001
Allison writes: Is the end of the world nigh? Is the tangent universe near collapse? Hell if I know. Rent the Donnie Darko DVD for more on that note (however abstracted). More to the point, however, this is a Gary Jules heart-swelling cover of the Tears for Fears 1983 track "Mad World". The lyrics are gripping, sad, and -- especially these days -- immediate.

It's one of those three-minute gems I wish was twice as long. It plays and I wish it was playing me just a little bit longer.

"Simple Man" Graham Nash - 1971
Renata writes: I stumbled upon Graham Nash's Simple Man semi-recently while renting the movie Reign Over Me. As the opening scenes played, I remember being overcome by the song … it really spoke to me that day, having struck my mood just right. I was moved. I immediately jotted a few of the lyrics down on a Post-it with the intention to later Google them in hopes of finding the song title so I could then download the track.

I ended up watching the movie for a second time a few weeks later with my mom. As the song played, I told her how much I enjoy this song and, because of this movie, had downloaded and now play it regularly. Her smile widened. She was very familiar with the song and even had a few records from the various guys’s attempts at solo careers (which she immediately whipped out of storage from the family room)—one of which had Simple Man on it! It would up being a really neat bonding experience as mom shared stories of her various concert-goings and reminisced over her favorite artists and albums.

"Ben" Michael Jackson - 1972
Chris writes: Ben was a horror film released in 1972. Here's the synopsis:
A police detective investigating the death of a young man named Willard makes the shocking discovery that the victim was attacked and mutilated by a pack of rats. Ben, the leader of the pack, was Willard's pet, and now the nasty rodent has a new master.
The synopsis neglects to mention that the "new master" is actually a 10-year-old kid with an upper-register voice who cries when the pack of killer rats is decimated by the townspeople. (SPOILER ALERT! Ben survives.) Despite a dismal showing at the theaters, Ben managed to come away with an Academy Award Nomination. Why? Because Michael F'ing Jackson sang the theme song. A young, silver-tongued Michael Jackson who melted hearts with a song about a killer rat and sung for a horror film's end credits. It's a touching song and it makes me think of our very own Ben - Ben, you've got a friend in me.

As a final note, the fairly recent Crispin Glover film "Willard" was set up as a prequel to Ben. Here is Glover's video from the Willard DVD, featuring him singing the title song. It's a gem (and slightly NSFW, but whatever).

"Rosemary's Baby" Fantômas - 2001
"Experiment In Terror" Fantômas - 2001
Brian writes: Named after a super-villain from a series of old French crime novels, Fantomas are an endlessly unique and interesting band, featuring members of Faith No More, The Melvins, Slayer and Mr. Bungle. How could a lineup like that possibly go wrong? The answer is, it can't. In 2001, Fantomas released one of the greatest albums of all time, The Director's Cut. The Director's Cut is a 16-song album consisting of various movie theme songs. They are covers, but just barely. They really took the originals and put their own insane twist on them. I slowly narrowed down my selection from 16 to 2, and I just can't decide. So, I'm including 2 songs. These are the themes from "Experiment in Terror" and "Rosemary's Baby". Also, the band will be performing this album in it's entirety for the Don't Look Back series in December of 2008. For more info on that and a full track-listing, click here.

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8.29.2008

FCM#8 - Labor

FCM #8 - LABOR Most of us really like the work we do. That's how we know eachother, in fact. However, I'm certainly happy it's Friday and I think we all are. Click here to download the entire FCM #8 - LABOR or hunt and peck below. If you like something or hate something or whatever, please make a comment! Some of these files are m4a format, so you should download them all with the link above or right click and save them to your machine.

Next week's theme is not yet determined. Let's have another vote! The choices for next week are (a) Get Political (b) From the Movies (c) Colors. Vote in the comments, please! Voting closes tuesday at noon!

"Government Center" The Modern Lovers - 1973
Jane writes: There are some artists that conjure vivid imagery of landscape and love and loss and joy... but Modern Lovers' songwriting tends to sound like the lyrics were made up about 2 minutes ago about something that just happened. I love it.

Here's the essence of "Government Center". Dude was waiting in line at the post and thought the workers looked bored. In his mind he daydreamed about rocking the joint and cheering up the staff in the process. The end.

"Bang The Drum All Day" Todd Rundgren - 1983
Walt writes: What better way not to work than bang the drum all day? Matt B says that you get tired of a song after hearing it 200 times. For this song, I say ... nonsense! Enjoy the day off, I know I will!

"Found A Job" Talking Heads - 1978
James writes: It's the American Dream! True entrepreneurial spirit! The bored protagonists of this song decide to start their own reality show (decades before the genre dominated television, I might add), and save their relationship in the process.

Consider this song a gateway drug to a near-perfect Talking Heads album.

"Working Man" Rush - 1974
Chris writes: The summer I turned 16 years old my family and I moved to Florida from Virginia, a move I both welcomed (thanks in part to the promise of sunny beaches and sun-kissed women) and despised (gaining vehicular independence while losing all your friends is a downer). Being a one-car family kept me from doing much exploring on my own, but after scoping out the local sunny beaches and sun-kissed women (it was all true!) I decided my life in Florida would be much improved with my own set of wheels. So I, like any red-blooded American worth a damn, went to work at the nearest Wendy's fast food restaurant. I worked my skinny, teenage ass off and before long I was working the drive-thru, the grill, and other positions of power within the Wendy's institution. Within four months I'd saved a grand, drove up to the outskirts of Alabama with my dad and drove back in an $800 1965 Ford Fairlane 500 that had sat in a yard for more than a few years.

It was in reasonable shape, and after tweaking the engine timing, rewiring the whole damn vehicle and spit-shining every piece of chrome, I roared (literally - this car had original glass packs!) off toward school with my sister next to me on the bench seat. My sister was later replaced with a girlfriend, and there were other things in that vehicle that were replaced and improved - the best of which was a CD player installed under the dash and a pair of bass-heavy 6x9 speakers I cut into the rear deck. I loved the way music mixed with the rumble of the muffler - everything was loud, proud, and probably obnoxious. I continued to work at Wendy's through high school, and this song became something of an anthem as I drove home at 10 or 11 following a closing shift. I'd roll down the windows, crank this song and drive my way down a mostly deserted street, feeling very much like the rough-and-tumble blue collar worker this song epitomizes. I was, of course, just another obnoxious teenage fast-food worker driving a car that was as painfully loud as the music I was playing, and I wasn't going home to crack a cold beer like the song suggests. No, I was just going home to climb into bed, wake at seven, and do it all again - just like the working man. This song takes me right back to those days, that car, and my pure love for heavy guitar. Just have a listen to that solo, would ya?

"I Hate My Fucking Job" Moto - 2003
Jane writes: May I also submit the super-catchy "I hate my fucking job" by MOTO? You can't get more base than this one. That's why I felt compelled to put a little more thought into our theme (see above). Well... that, and I DON'T hate my fucking job.

"For The Workforce, Drowning" Thursday - 2003
Justin writes: I'm going to have to leave this week's description up to Geoff Rickly the lead singer of Thursday. Here is an excerpt of his thoughts about this week's theme:

"Falling from the top floor your lungs
fill like parachutes
windows go rushing by.
people inside,
dressed for the funeral in black and white.
These ties strangle our necks, hanging in the closet,
found in the cubicle;
without a name, just numbers, on the resume stored in the mainframe, marked for delete."

"9-5ers Anthem" Aesop Rock - 2001
Ben writes: We the American working population hate the fact that eight hours a day is wasted on chasing the dream of someone that isn't us. And we may not hate our jobs, but we hate jobs in general that don't have to do with fighting our own causes. We the American working population hate the nine-to-five day-in/day-out when we'd rather be supporting ourselves by being paid to perfect the pasttimes that we have harbored based solely on the fact that it makes us smile if it sounds dope.

I think any artist can relate with this statement.

"Why Don't You Get A Job" The Offspring - 1998
Christine writes: Offspring is one of those guilty pleasure bands for me. This song is awesome because it's catchy and hilarious. Who doesn't know a friend (or maybe yourself) that is constantly complaining about a friend or significant other who is a constant moocher? These people have Labor Day everyday.

"Surf Wax America" Weezer - 1996
TJ writes: This is just about blowing off the day and going surfing. Pretty basic yet when I think about it... I wish I could just do that (if I only knew how to surf and lived near an ocean). At least thats what I want this to mean so cause I want it to, it does, enjoy :)

"East Bound and Down" Jerry Reed - 1977
Felix writes: I probably first heard this song from the seminal first Smokey and the Bandit movie. However, I was re-introduced to it by my friend Ron Fuhler, who was my Flash mentor back in 2000... the first guy who showed me the ropes, and taught me a lot of the fundamentals of the program.

He and I worked for a small company in Barrington, and this was a song he'd play whenever there was a rush project, a fire, or something that required a lot of focused energy/attention. It was a playful thing, but it stuck with me over the years.

I tend to employ this song during all nighters, and have had it blasting, full-volume, from my computer more times than I care to remember. But it's a great tune, and it works. At 3:30 AM, when you're bleary-eyed and wanting an extra burst of energy... this song is as good as a strong cup of coffee or a cigarette.

"I Don't Wanna Grow Up" Tom Waits - 1992
Brian writes: This was a difficult theme for me. I really have no Labor Day/song connection in my mind...Which is very odd, because I have some sort of music-related connection to pretty much everything else in my life. Well...As of today, I can now say I have a Labor Day song. While it's not really a song about the working man/woman, or taking a break from the grind, it is a song that celebrates having a mind free of the responsibilities and headaches that come with being a working citizen in the U.S. of A. It's also a reminder to not let the complexities that come with being an adult (like a job), overshadow the simple joys in life. And on top of all that, it's just a great f'ing song. Covered by The Ramones, Cold War Kids, and more, here's the original I Don't Want to Grow Up by Tom Waits.

"Fred Jones Part 2" Ben Folds - 2001
Margaret writes: Poor Fred Jones - he got canned and no one even notices. This is basically Milton from "Office Space". This song depresses the hell out of me...I wish I could find this guy and give him a hug and tell him that it'll all be okay.

"Yulquen" Autechre - 1994
Nick writes: I listen to this pretty often at work.

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8.14.2008

FCM #6 - INSTRUMENTALS

FCM #6 - INSTRUMENTALS Shut your trap! You can't sing along to this mix unless you're really fond of humming. A big hearty welcome to Felix who joins us for the first time on this mix. Click here to download the entire FCM #6 - INSTRUMENTALS or hunt and peck below. If you like something or hate something or whatever, please make a comment! Some of these files are m4a format, so you should download them all with the link above or right click and save them to your machine.

Next week's theme is still up for grabs - post a comment to cast your vote for (a) Girls Rock! (b) Love and Loss (c) Songs that tell a story. Voting ends on monday at noon so get on it!

"Better Go Home Now" Dirty Three - 1995
Jennifer writes: Dirty Three signed to the record label I worked for at that time. Right after they signed on with the label, they played a show in town and we all went to check them out. Earlier in the day, Warren, the violin player, had broken up with his girlfriend and proceeded to get drunk on Jack Daniels before the show and was smashed by the time they hit the stage. Right before launching into "Better Go Home Now", he rambled poetically (yet nonsensically) about his girlfriend and clouds and airplanes then fell to the stage and played this song from his back. I thought it was the most amazing performance ever.

Flash forward a few months... as it turned out, Warren had a lot of personal issues and was on again/off again with his girlfriend all the time and it turns out that the poetic ramblings was something he did for every show. So it wasn't really all that special after all but every time I hear this song, I think of that one performance.

"Rumble" Link Wray & His Ray Men - 1958
Jane writes: My dad had this one in his jukebox when I was little, and I used to play it and think it sounded dangerous and "dirty" compared with the other 60's pop that made up the selections. And I guess I wasn't the only one who felt that way -- it was actually banned on radio stations back in the day just because it sounded so menacing... "A rare feat for a song with no lyrics."

An iconic instrumental from an iconic artist who grandfathered the overdrive and distortion effects we hear in music everyday now. I had the honor of seeing Link Wray live about 11 years ago before he died, and I was absolutely starstruck.

"Closet Quencher" Eschatol - 2007
Justin writes: So this week because since it's instrumentals I decided to go with a selection from a band I know very well. The band is Eschatol (es-ka-tall) and I currently play guitar in this particular group.

About a year ago we were offered free recording time from The Playground studio over on west Grand. So we went in for a few days and cranked out a 4 song demo. It was our first recording experience that actually ended in a decent sounding demo. We have always tried to take these matters into our own hands and ended up failing miserably. This song is a part of a newer style we began writing in and will also be featured on our new album that we are preparing to release.

This song and the rest of the demo is available for listen and download at our website, eschatol.com

"The Haul" Calexico - 1995
Jennifer writes: They were on the same label (see Dirty Three above) and to this day are still my all time favorite artists to work with. They have since developed a fuller sound but this is off their first CD when they were just two guys playing multiple instruments.

"Mess Around" Professor Longhair - 1985
James writes: There was a brief time in my life when I wanted to learn how to play piano. Professor Longhair's the reason. His music is the Rosetta Stone that all New Orleans piano players learned from, and, decades later, still a great listen.

"Orion" Metallica - 1986
Brian writes: Man, these guys used to be so good. The whole song is great, but at about 4 minutes in you will find some of the greatest music ever written, in my opinion anyway. Man, these guys suck now...

"Invention No. 13 in A Minor, BWV 784" Glenn Gould
Felix writes: In college, I watched a film called "Thirty-Two Short Films About Glenn Gould" and got interested in Glenn Gould's music - specifically his Bach/Goldberg Variations. I'm not a huge Classical Music fan, but I really dug Gould's abilities on the piano - particularly with really fast pieces.

I got obsessed with doing a visualization of one of his pieces (the one I chose), and ended up creating a Flash project that displayed every note he played. I got so wrapped up in finishing the thing that I actually called in sick to work one day, just so I could stay at home and work on the thing. Gould Project

"The Pink Panther Theme" Henry Mancini - 1963
Walt writes: Well, first I was going to go with the Batman Theme song from 1966, but of course that's not an instrumental ... right? Not according to Adam West, who claims the the female-voiced "Batman"s in the tune were actually done with instruments. I'm not one to argue with Adam, but I still thought it was cheating. My next choice was "Green Onions" by Booker T and the MGs and while I think it's a great instrumental, I'm going to hold that one back until a later date. Which brings me to Henry Mancini. Once decided on the great Mancini, I had actually chosen a different tune, which I'm also going to hold back until we hit the Halloween-themed FCM. That in no way diminishes the Pink Panther theme, one of the greatest movie themes ever and instantly recognizable! I like this version because it's a bit longer and gets jazzier in latter third of the piece.

"Cavatina" Stanley Myers - 1976
Christine writes: My dad liked to play the Deerhunter soundtrack while we had brunch. Weird, but it's a very pretty instrumental. There is actually a lot more to the whole movement but I didn’t want to overburden anyone with it. If you would like the whole thing, let me know. As a side note, we used to call the soundtrack to Clockwork Orange the "silly record" ... I've had to revisit a few childhood memories because of that one. Enjoy!

"Stairway To Heaven" London Symphony Orchestra
Renata writes: For the life of me, I can’t remember if I heard the Chicago Symphony Orchestra perform Stairway to Heaven … or if, after hearing one of their performances, I obsessively downloaded a bunch of their performance tracks and their rendition of Stairway to Heaven was one of them. ANYHOW. I wasn’t able to find the CSO’s rendition on my computer or iTunes, so the London Symphony Orchestra’s version must do for now. Nothing like the power of a symphonic orchestra to add to the existing awesomeness of a classic.

"Palladio (1st Movement)" Karl Jenkins, London Philharmonic Orchestra & The Smith Quartet
Margaret writes: This one is a bit of a novelty - it's the song from the De Beers commercials in the late 90's. I played the violin when I was growing up, and we begged our orchestra conductor to let us play this song...she conceded, and we proceeded to butcher it because it was waaaaaaaaay too advanced for us, but we had a good time anyway. I love the cello and violin solos that take place after the first minute.

"Marche Slave, Op. 31" Gennadi Rozhdestvensky & London Symphony Orchestra
Margaret writes: I first heard this song from an episode of "Salute Your Shorts" when I was a kid. I loved it at the time, but had no clue what it was or how to get a hold of it. Then, as fate would have it, my jr. high orchestra conductor handed it out to us for an upcoming concert. I don't know exactly why I love it, but the first movement is one of my favorite pieces of music of all time. It just sounds so mischievious and sneaky.

"Built Then Burnt - On The Nature Of Daylight" A Silver Mt. Zion - Max Richter 2001, 2004
Ben writes: One night in 2004 I was working late and listening to music but zoning out in code-land. I had the crossfader set to several seconds in iTunes (the feature was new!) and this wonderful thing happened... "Built Then Burnt" by A Silver Mt. Zion transitioned into Max Richter's "On The Nature Of Daylight" and i didn't notice. BUT then I did notice. A week later I manually faded the two tracks into eachother to create one consistent file and that's what i've posted here. Two excellent songs that form one amazing journey. Unless you know where one starts and the other finishes it'll be hard to tell. wonderful.

"White Lake" Deaf Center - 2005
Allison writes: Deaf Center is a Norwegian duo on UK ambient/electro-classical label extraordinaire Type. Their 2006 full length, Pale Ravine, feels as if it could have been a soundtrack specifically scored for the dream I had the other night about walking through a fog-laden ancient forest (only I was hovering a foot off the ground) when an owl perched on my left shoulder and began cawing secret messages about buried caches of treasure. I highly recommend listening to not only this track, but the entire album, late at night while on the brink of sleep.

"Konigsforst 5" Gas - 1999
Nick writes: My contribution this week is a short-ish piece by Wolfgang Voigt, who recorded several influential deep techno albums in the late nineties and early 00s under the alias Gas. Voigt later went on to found the techno label Kompakt with Michael Mayer, which some years later released last year's Metacritic best-of album "From Here We Go Sublime" by the Field. Connections!

Contrary to the ID3 tag, everything he recorded was untitled. This is the fifth track from his 1999 album "Konigsforst" - his most critically celebrated, but probably not his most popular - later remastered and issued under the box set Nah und Fern.

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6.12.2008

Friday Collective Mixtape #1

Here it is, Friday Collective Mixtape One. Thanks to everyone who participated. Click here to download the whole FCM ONE or hunt and peck below. Thanks to Masha for the photo on the cover. If you like something or hate something or whatever, please make a comment! Some of these files are m4a format, so you should download them all with the link above or right click and save them to your machine. Next week's theme - "Summer Songs."

"Birdhouse In Your Soul" They Might Be Giants - 1990
AJ writes: I chose this one, because it reminds me of my college radio days. We would play it on friday afternoons, and do a little "sing along" with the listening audience. We would turn the mic on and any one who was at the station would come in and sing the line "Who watches over you" along with the song.

"Nothing But Flowers" Talking Heads - 1988
Ben writes: I never heard, or at least didn't notice this song until the summer of 1997. I used to walk/bike around campus and imagine this takeover happening around me - delightful imagery and a really fun groove that's fit for any activity (save mourning).

"Love Plus One" Haircut 100 - 1982
Walt writes: Even though the cover of Haircut 100's debut album screams autumn, their U.S. hit "Love Plus One" simply says summer to me. No matter the season -- all I need to do is pop on LPO and it's the best summer day -- taking a nap with the windows open and a cool summer's breeze blowing through the room and the mid-afternoon dreams flying fast and furious.

"Today" Smashing Pumpkins - 1993
Masha writes: An upbeat, instrumentally beautiful song, seething with angsty lyrics. my memories of it link to seventh and eighth grade summers where it is a soundtrack to being out whole days on bike with my then posse of friends. it resonated with the exhiliration of having such freedom and the sense of adventure possible everywhere.

"My Girlfriend's Boyfriend" Her Space Holiday - 2003
TJ writes: Used to walk to class at Iowa State listening to this song. Brings me back.

"Quarantined" Atlas Sound - 2007
Allison writes: This is a nice little song by Atlas Sound (the solo project of Deerhunter's lead singer) full of shimmering hope, confectionary wistfulness, and the desire to break free from something, anything. It's on one of my fave atmospheric/post-rock labels, Kranky (purveyors of fine music best enjoyed in a dark room, staring at the ceiling, thoughts drifting).

"Baby Black And Blue" The Lizzies - 2005
Jane writes: This song about a "troubled" lass was the result of quite a bit of detective work into the true identities of one of my favorite bands: The Lee Harvey Oswald Band (who never toured, were rarely photographed, and make absolute use of pseudonyms). After following hints and forum suggestions to several dead ends, I figured out who three of the gentlemen were including the unmistakable voice of the singer, Savic Enn who, as it turns out, is somewhat of a recluse who works at a recycling plant in the south. But he is now involved in a side project called The Lizzies with members of Nashville Pussy, and upon finding their myspace page, I was rewarded with a two sample song treasure. My excitement does not diminish the awesomeness of this tune... and if nobody else, Jen Ludwick will appreciate this.

"Pete Standing Alone" Boards Of Canada - 1998
Nick writes: This is from Boards of Canada's third (and breakthrough) album, called "Music Has the Right to Children". Despite its having been out for three years by then, I first discovered it two weeks into my college career, which was probably the best possible time for me to find this band. They followed me through the most formative time of my life, significantly influenced my DJing, and - between this and Kid A, which I bought at the same time! - soundtracked a significant amount of my existence since. Pete Standing Alone isn't the most famous track on MHTRTC by far, and it's far more spare than many of Boards of Canada's tracks, but it's my favorite and the London Philharmonic performed an arrangement of it in 2003, so clearly that gives me license to foist it on all of you.

"Dead Girl" Acid Bath - 1996
Brian writes: Dead girl is one of the first songs I heard from Acid Bath (who was fronted by Dax Riggs). Dax has gone onto front the bands Agents of Oblivion, Deaboy and the Elephantmen, and currently his self-titled solo project. All of these bands are amazing to me, and almost all the songs from all of these bands are special to me. Dead Girl was the first though, so here are 2 versions (v1 = original by Acid Bath...v2 = Agents of Oblivion version - linked below).

"Passenger Seat" Ben Gibbard - 2006
Chris writes: This song is a many things to me, but here are just a few: It's a live recording from a session that Ben Gibbard (Death Cab for Cutie, one of my all-time faves) did down the street at CRC Studios for a tiny handful of (mostly undeserving) Q101 listeners a couple of years back, and Matt Brelje and I were lucky enough to be in attendance (you can hear me "WHOO" faintly amid claps at the end of the song). This is probably my favorite track off of Transatlanticism and it's one of those songs that gets in your bones - it at one time captured a lot of heartbreak for me, but has now come full circle and captures the great things about life and love, as any good sentimental song should.

"JCB" Nizlopi - 2005
Justin writes: "JCB" is a song recorded by the U.K. duo Nizlopi. I fell upon this song through an animated video that was released for the single placed upon the intrawebs. The animated music video is simply sweet and was very appropriately drawn as a sketch in notebook. It's a beautiful song that reminds me of my childhood and takes me through a slew of memories of hanging out with my Dad (although he did not drive a Digger). I highly recommend that you check out the video as well. I hope it moves you like it did me.

"Red Meets Blue" Matt Wertz - 2004
Margaret writes: Before Justin and I were dating (romantic relationships weren't even on his radar - I had already decided that I was going to marry him), we were listening to music together and this song came on, and he told me he really liked it. I listened to it over and over for the next few weeks, hoping and praying that someday he would feel about me the way the artist felt about the woman he wrote about... needless to say things worked out, and this song is a constant reminder of how it all began.

"100 Years" Blues Traveler - 1990
Christine writes: Heard this back in gradeschool I think. Great voice and amazing ability to walk you through a story.

"Scatterlings of Africa" Juluka - 1982
Sean writes: (nothing?)

"Dead Girl" Agents of Oblivion - 2000
See Brian's "Dead Girl" notes above

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