Thursday Playlist: The Breaks (Through, Down, Up, Out)

I started toying with an early version of this playlist several months ago when I was going through a breakup. Originally, it was a collection of tracks that I threw into an iTunes playlist – songs that either reminded me of the ‘good’ parts of the relationship that was ending, songs that fortified me against the sad feelings I was encountering, and songs that generally expressed my perspective on what was going on in my wee brain. I suppose the shrinks in the audience might say it was an exercise in catharsis, and they might be right but I’m not giving them a dime for it.

Over time, the playlist morphed from a list of tracks to an actual live DJ set, and it also went meta. I was no longer really thinking about any relationship in particular, but rather relationships in general; and the processes that seem so universal to seeking out one’s soul partner. The dating, getting to know someone, the falling in love, the fighting, the making up, the falling out of love, and ultimately determining whether this is a lifetime project, or something to wrap up and let go.

The track list has changed drastically from where it started, and I have to admit that while there is a solid theme running through the set, I made several editorial decisions that favored flow over theme. The full track listing is at the bottom of this post, but my “liner notes” relate to the thematic organization of the overall set and the story line, rather than the specific tracks. The mix speaks mostly for itself, so I’ll keep my comments brief.

Download Today’s Thursday Mix

The Breaks – Liner Notes

  • Intro: 00:00 ~ 6:30
    • This is the first, scintillating part of dating, after the initial awkwardness (not that I’m awkward), and before any relationship starts. It’s basically a crush, with the potential for more. In the story told in this mix, this all precedes the first night spent together.
  • Through: 6:31 – 15:32
    • Falling in love is always a thrilling experience, wrought as it is with so many different emotions: excitement, happiness, hopefulness, trust, lust, etc. You’re still getting to know each other, and are probably beginning to imagine a life together.
  • Down: 15:33 – 20:30
    • In this story, the relationship is beginning to sour. Something doesn’t feel right, and one of the people starts realizing that things might not work out quite as he or she intended. Depending on the intensity of the relationship, this can be a tough time. It’s as though the breakup has started, but neither party realizes it yet.
  • Up: 20:31 – 28:29
    • This is when it can get ugly, with both sides potentially having hurt feelings and what not. This part of the cycle is the one that gets a lot of attention. This is when people get all mopey, sit around in they underwear and listen the Smiths and eat ice cream. A lot of sad, powerful music is created around the Breakup. It’s fertile ground. In this story, it gets about 8 minutes of airtime, and the emotions range from sarcastic, to anger, to sadness, to acceptance.
  • Out: 28:29 – onwards
    • This story/mix has alternate endings. One is that both parties have moved on in their separate lives. This is the one that I chose, because the over all theme of the mix is a relationship that ends. But the “out” phase could also represent a couple going off into the sunset together, having resolved the issues confronted in previous phases. This is my favorite part of the mix, because the music works well together, and the energy is positive. Plus, any opportunity I have to play the Specials is a good one.

Them’s the Breaks, kids! Hope you enjoyed them.

Track Listing*:

  1. Frank Sinatra – Intro
  2. The Coup – Bullets & Love
  3. Missy Elliot – Work It
  4. Maxwell – Get to Know Ya/Andre 3000 – Where are my panties?
  5. Andre 3000 – Prototype
  6. Mary J. Blige – Grown Woman
  7. Handsome Boy Modeling School (feat. Cat Power) – I’ve Been Thinking/The Sound of Music – So Long, Farewell
  8. Public Enemy – She Watched Channel Zero
  9. Bob Marley – She’s Gone
  10. Bob Marley (Yes King Remix) – Sun is Shining
  11. Leftfield – Release The Pressure/Nithyashree – Shiva Shakti
  12. Wax Tailor – Que Sera
  13. The Specials – You’re Wondering Now/Jeru the Damaja – Statik

* You might notice that nearly all of these tracks are from at least a year ago. This is because I desperately need some new music, so recommendations are welcome!

27 responses to “Thursday Playlist: The Breaks (Through, Down, Up, Out)”

  1. bw says:

    Am I right that you only loaded this in single-file/podcast form? What software did you use?

    I’ve been looking fwd to one of your mixes, in part because my hiphop catalog often comes from you via farrell and trixie. so i’m sad that you’re hard up for new music (though i’m loving this mix so far and some of it is, indeed, new to me). my only legit hiphop listening in the last year was lupe fiasco.


  2. Rachel says:

    bw, I really liked Dizzee Rascal’s Maths + English, but with unfortunate song titles such as “Pussyole” and “Suk My Dik,” it probably wouldn’t find a place on Brooke’s excellent playlist. (p.s. yessss! The Coup=greatness!)

    “This is when people get all mopey, sit around in they underwear and listen the Smiths and eat ice cream.”
    PERFECT. You mean we all do that?

  3. Marleyfan says:

    Marleyfan recommends any playlist which includes Bob Marley.
    Rasta on…

  4. Brooke Maury says:

    Hey Bryan, I used an open source recording application called Audacity. Not *that* audacity, silly! Sorry. I recorded the full set live on my turntables and then exported it to the MP3 format. I think you can also import MP3 tracks into an Audacity project and string them together, mix and mash them.

    As for new hip-hop, I am behind the curve. I really love the new Mary J. Blige (not so new now, but great), and the new Erykah Badu album is funky and worth owning. The Roots have a new album coming out in late April. Trailer here:

    Rachel, I love the Coup. I thank Fawcett for turning me on to the Coup in the very first x-mas mix I got from him, probably in 2003 or so. I had the good fortune of meeting Boots Riley and he’s one of the nicest, un-rock-star performers I’ve met. His lyrics also rock.
    “When I’m running from the police/ I don’t have to rush/I’m so dope/I just jump in the toilet and flush”

    Marleyfan, I couldn’t agree more! Do you have the Roots, Rock, Remixed albums or any of the other remix albums? They rock.

    Happy Spring everyone!

  5. Gee Dub says:

    Brooke, thanks so much for authoring this mix for us! I love that you have used the songs to tell a story. Music and stories are my two favorite things. Outside of hookers and cocaine, of course. Oh, and baseball. Plus lunch. Also, dinner with wine. Pancakes, too.

    P.S. I love that you have Flavor Flav busting in on the song from The Sound of Music. “You blind, baby!” Flav himself could probably learn a thing or two about love from this mix.

  6. Tee Dub says:

    Oopsy. Those were not, in fact, the thoughts of the leader of the “free world”.

  7. bw says:

    the hookers and cocaine had me convinced otherwise …

  8. bw says:

    I suppose I should have tagged that “Bee Dub”?

  9. Godfree says:

    Tee Dub, cocaine, baseball, meals…you do seem to have a lot in common with Gee Dub. Hmmm, and I’ve never seen the two of you in the same room at once either. I wonder…

  10. Tee Dub says:

    Around the 40-minute mark, a spoken voice comes in a few times during “Shiva Shakti.” It sounds like something from an old movie. Who is that? Vincent Price? What does he say? It goes by so fast I can’t quite catch it.

  11. Timmy Timmerton says:

    I’ve never seen the two of you in the same room at once either.

    And you never will.

  12. LP says:

    Mmm, dinner with wine. And pancakes. Sounds like a yummy breakfast to me.

  13. LP says:

    Is it Friday yet?

  14. Brooke Maury says:

    #5 – Gee Dub: I was right there with you until the pancakes. Ewww. Pancakes are grody. Ask Trixie.

    #10: I’m not sure who it is, but that’s a part of the next song “Que Sera” by Wax Tailor. He’s an awesome DJ, by the way. Both WT album, Tales of the Forgotten Melodie and Hope & Sorrow are some of the best.

    #13: Let’s pretend it’s Friday!

  15. Brooke Maury says:

    To answer #10’s question – He says “A record of the delightful piece they’re going to play this evening.”

  16. Dave says:

    I pretended last night was Friday. Mistake.

  17. Lisa Parrish says:

    Aha, does that explain your delightful flirtation with swells over on the other thread at 1:48 a.m.?

  18. Tim says:

    I pretended last night was Friday. Mistake.

    Now you get to do it all again tomorrow night. Yay, Friday!

    Brooke, pancakes are double-plus-good. With eggs over easy and a side of corned-beef hash. And home fries. Feeling ill yet, Dave?

    “A record of the delightful piece they’re going to play this evening.”

    Nice! Thanks!

  19. Dave says:

    17: Yes. Although swells is flirtworthy no matter what state I’m in.

    18: I had some pad Thai for lunch and am feeling much better, thanks.

  20. bw says:

    #13: That’s what Governor McGreevey’s driver said!

    #16: That’s what Matos McGreevey said!

  21. Dave says:

    20 is awesome.

  22. bw says:

    Of course 14’s comment to 13 is what the Governor himself said.

  23. Brooke Maury says:

    So, I’m listening to the Mary J. Blige album, and I realized that I’m liberally throwing around terms like “hip-hop” to describe artists like Mary J., Badu and even Wax Tailor. Mary J. and Badu could as well be described as R & B or part of the new soul movement (with people like Macy Gray, Angie Stone, etc.). But these artists tend to work with a lot of my fav. hip-hop artists like the Roots, Common, etc, so I think of them all as one big collective, which is probably wrong.

    Also, Wax Tailor is often described as hip-hop, but that might be mis-classified as well. I guess the genre “hip-hop” is fairly loosely defined…

    Okay, back to regularly scheduled programming.

  24. i’ve listened to the Hercules & Love Affair album about 5 times in a row today and it has booty shaking cred. Vocals powered by Antony — surprisingly effective. I confess — it’s a Pitchfork “best new music” tip off.

  25. E. says:

    i loved the mix brooke.

    if i were to have my own alternate ending that followed my relationship patterns it would go like this (after wax tailor):

    waren zevon – reconsider me
    john cage – 4’33”
    waren zevon – splendid isolation
    wax tailor – que sera
    waren zevon – reconsider me
    waren zevon – reconsider me
    wax tailor – que sera
    waren zevon – splendid isolation

  26. brooke says:

    E. & Bryan, thanks for the recommendations! I wish those albums were available for D/L on the Amazon MP3 site. Do you have a place to purchase them digitally?

  27. Looks like you can get it at

    Also, did you see my rec for you on the samamidon post (based on sam’s enthusiastic rec)? I agree with him — “love/hate” by the-Dream. it’s music for brooke maury.