Thursday playlist: Songs we played most

Happy Valentines Day, lovers! Here follows a special special Valentine. The annual Fawcett/Honeycups mix. A bit of background is necessary.

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Since 1995 I have been compiling an end of the year mixtape. During those first years it was sent out to just a handful of friends. As many of you know, making a tape is very labor intensive. And it's a pain in the ass to make more than four or five copies. But in 1998, it became a mix CD which is much easier to produce. It also became codified as “the mixmas” (get it?) and became part of an ever-expanding circle of mixmas-making friends that initially included Waterman, Twitchell, Velez, Barber, and Bacon–then later expanded to include Zitter, Berkowitz, Turley, Stella, Parrish, and eTan. Seven years ago, my mixmas became a collaborative CD with Honeycups. She has been a great addition, not just for her musical tastes, but for her skills in selecting the cover art. Half the fun of the the mixmas has been picking out cover art. It was also a scissor and glue ordeal. This year as the mixmas enters the internet-world it loses that artistic/crafty part of its tradition. We feel a nostalgic sadness. And a relief. Technology is a double-edged sword, indeed.

The other evolution of the mixmas has been the content, the songs themselves. In the beginning, it was focused on finding those tracks your friends hadn't heard. Or finding really challenging tracks (now I leave that to E Tan). Or, finding that perfect transition between songs, or finding a grand, over-arching theme. It was a very cerebral music-geek endeavor. And the liner notes would sometimes read like a grad school essay. A couple years ago, Trix and I just started calling it “Songs we played most.” The concept worked well for us. In the digital/soulseek world it seemed that all of those things that defined the early mixmas were becoming less and less important. The fact is, we simply love music. We seek it out in all kinds of places. And we love the process of coming home and trying out a new exciting song on each other, watching the response, waiting for that knowing smile, head nod, hip swing, that signal that this song is indeed special, maybe spectacular. It is one of our greatest pleasures.

Thus, we present, 2007's “Songs we played most.”

A few comments: It is generally energetic. These songs are perhaps best meant to accompany jogging, subway commutes, freeways, velocity in all its forms, that first cocktail at home, changing clothes, road trips, snowboarding, jet-setting, wall-bashing, drunken evenings, triumphant moods. It includes a couple of tracks outside the indie cannon: Bruce Springsteen and Britney Spears. Deal with it. There are a few song edits–basically early fade outs. I've been accused of being a bit ADD. I prefer to think I'm just looking out for the interests of the dear listener. Deal with it. Also, this compilation is not quite as straightforward as it sounds. These are not THE 24 songs we played most. We had a file of almost 50 songs we had played a lot. From those, we debated and carped and agonized and finally agreed on these. But understand, these songs are only just barely, so slightly, almost not at all more beloved than the ones we left off. There are 20 more songs that were right up there with these. Thus, for those devoted music lovers, we present “songs we listened to almost as much” if you are interested. To be posted as a comment later. In the mean time, enjoy these.

1.) Holy Fuck “Lovely Allen” This song accompanies a fantasy I've carried with me for many months now. It goes like this: November 4, 2008 11:58pm, a newscaster speaks soberly into history, “Based on that fact, it is now indisputable, Barack Obama will be the next president of the United States.” Joyful exuberance. Cue the music.

2.) Matthew Dear “Deserter” Just a beautiful song. Sad and exciting at the same time. Probably got played in the background more than any other song last year.

3.) Dan Deacon “Wham City” No more than Bryan's gonzo love letter need be written about this song.

4.) Deerhunter “Spring Hall Convert” I posted a video link and comments of concert footage to this song on best videos of 2007. Moody but uplifting. Post Joy Division brilliance.

5.) Gui Borrato “Beautiful Life” It's almost nine minutes. And they are blissful.

6.) LCD Soundsystem “All my friends” Sustenance. Perfect at the end of a trying day.

7.) LCD Soundsystem “Someone Great” Godlike. Please play it at our funeral.

8.) Of Montreal “Gronlandic Edit” Personal, and awesome. This song has always reminded the both of us of the kind of song that Scott Godfrey would sing to us when the right mood strikes him.

9.) Chemical Brothers “Das Spiegel” Another uplifting, away-from-the-day type of song that we found energy and comfort in this year.

10.) Los Camesinos! “We throw parties, you throw knives” Ah, youth.

11.) Spoon “The Underdog” What's not to like? And the whole album kicks ass.

12.) The National “Fake Empire” Ohh, the way it builds. Orchestral and sad. Thank you.

13.) Fiest “1 2 3 4” It's a little hard to promote this after the media blitz she has manifested this year. But still, this song (and the album) is terrific.

14.) Bat For Lashes “The Wizard” Does anyone else hear Kate Bush in this song? Perhaps only JZ played this song as much as we did this year.

15.) Shout Out Louds “Time left for Love” Isn't it about time a band updates the cure for a new generation?

16.) Panda Bear “Pony Tail” One of our most sublime listening experiences of the year. For those who quibble,”Bros” is on the other mix.

17.) Super Furry Animals “The gift that keeps giving” Wait for it, there's horns. And more throughout the album. Thank you, SFA.

18.) Mark Ronson “Toxic (Feat. Ol' Dirty Bastard and Tiggers)” Yes, it's Britney. If only all her songs featured ODB and were so masterfully remixed. Poor Britney, here's hoping she pulls out of her spiral soon.

19.) Bjork “Earth Intruders (Spank Rock Remix)” And Bjork also deserves more remixes like this.

20.) Little Ones “Lovers who Uncover” Don't know if we like this better or its remix (which appears on the other mix).

21.) The Pinker Tones “Mojo Moog (The Submarines Remix) Would be exquisite without that weird old man voice.

22.) The Field “Silence” One of the most interesting sounds of the year.

23.) Caribou “Eli” Again, the whole album is great. This song was a companion to us this year.

24.) Bruce Springsteen “Girls in their summer clothes” God help us, we love this song. Who would have thought Bruce would be writing songs this grand at this point in his career? Not us. But he did. We fell for it.

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13 responses to “Thursday playlist: Songs we played most”

  1. Scotty says:

    Thank you for turning me on to so many good songs. I particularly love the Boss number.

    Unrelated: For anyone interested, it’s a real bummer to get dressed in your favorite red boots and pink sweater only to get to work and realize that, holy fucking hell, it’s Valentine’s Day! To make things worse, I have to walk through a class of female journalism students to get to the computer lab in which I work. I’m sure they’re all like: “wow the gay computer guy is going whole hog for his special daddy.” It isn’t the gay part that bothers me, mind you; it’s the being noticed as one of those freaks who dress up for holidays that is most troubling. Someone kill me.

  2. Ruben Mancillas says:

    maybe you should have worn your second favorite red boots…

  3. Farrell Fawcett says:

    but wow scotty, that really sounds like a special outfit.
    what are you going to wear for president’s day?
    better brush off your stove pipe hat.

  4. Farrell Fawcett says:

    that was trixie btw

  5. Rachel says:

    #1: But you are going whole hog for your special daddy, right?

    Farrell and Trixie, I too will miss the physical object that was your mixmas. The ones I have are real works of art! But hearing songs is always the best part. Usually about halfway through the new year I get super-turned on to a newly-discovered tune, only to realize it appeared on your holiday mix months before (e.g. “Ankle Injuries”). I love having early adopter friends. xoxo

  6. swells says:

    Listening to these songs reminds me of five or six of the best days of my whole year.

  7. Scotty says:

    Rachel, I think it’s best to go whole hog for my special daddy every day; she’d accept no less.

    And I’d like to echo said daddy’s words above.

  8. bryan says:

    6: I agree so wholeheartedly.

    I get so much use out of your “Songs We Played Most” playlists, f&t. I use them at parties, mine them for other playlists, exercise to them, and throw them on whenever we need to dance. Obviously you all dance a lot more than I do. I envy you that.

    And even though I know a lot of the songs each year, there are always more that I don’t know!

    bw

    ps — I love the trimmed Dan Deacon, btw. ADD pays off in this case. Much better for integrating into a dance playlist.

  9. Tim says:

    Are we *sure* that “Girls in Their Summer Clothes” isn’t a cover of a Magnetic Fields song? Seriously.

    Thanks for the songs! What fun it is to envision you and Trixie bopping around to all these tunes.

  10. Jeremy says:

    By the way, I think I played “The Wizard” more times in one week than you guys did all year. Way more impressive, no?

    Thanks for the awesome list… though I, too, am sad about the demise of the wonderful physical artifacts that were your mix CDs.

  11. Cynthia says:

    Great mix. I loved the boss too

  12. Matt Coats says:

    It’s about time, Fixie! But I needed this mix THREE WEEKS ago for our road trip! Now it’s practically useless. Didn’t you get my email demand? Hmm…maybe I sent it to that old address you never check. Wah-wah.

    And Scotty, I want a picture of your outfit.

  13. trixie says:

    matt, you are emailing us??
    please believe me when i say that we would fall over each other fighting for the keyboard to write you back if we had gotten an email from you.
    sorry we didn’t get to soundtrack your road trip.
    xo
    trixie