"The Way It Goes" by Gillian Welch reminds me of the impending changes that are to occur in my life. As I'm sure I have mentioned before, I love songs where I can connect with the lyrics: "That's the way that it goes…that's the way that it is". I enjoy this type of song because it resides slightly outside what I normally would actively choose listen to, and yet I like it. I suppose that's a facet I can always look forward to in a mix CD! The same outside-my-usual-listening-scope facet applies to The Black Keys' "10 Lovers," which may have the prettiest chorus of the mix. Throughout the track, I love how smooth and almost aching the falsettos sound. The synth noises add a certain electric feel, not to take thunder away from MGMT's song of the same name. As I come to expect from a producer like Dan Auerbach, I could listen to this on repeat and probably never grow tired of it, a true testament to how well it has been engineered. I am infinitely curious what kind of music video has been made for this already, and if there isn't one, what I could dream up. This song makes me especially excited to check out their latest album, Turn Blue, which so far has eluded me and my musical musings.
Now, Nicole and I are known for our transitions, but I should note that the switch between songs here is fantastic. Just when I think it will be instrumental, "Erica Western Teleport" by Emperor X's maddening mantras march in. In my brief Wikipedia research of the band, I learned they originate from my home state, Florida.* Cool -- represent! I have held off sending this song to my brother although I think he could definitely relate on the whole "don't think of her" and "study for the LSATs" scoldings. The subsequent live cover of the Pixies classic "Where Is My Mind?" by
If you're not listening carefully as you listen to the next track, you might not realize how sad it is like I did. The title of this Sufjan Stevens creation, "In the Devil's Territory," should be a clue, though. Typical Sufjan fare here, which is narrative ad theatrical to say the least. If I'm honest, on several listen throughs now, I am always tempted to skip "Southern Man" by Merry Clayton. I bet I could hyper analyze why this is the case. Suffice to say it is fine on the ears, I am just not clamoring to hear it again as I have been with most of the others thus far. I admit it is strange I feel this way. Because as my course on Blackness in the Media taught me -- and the film 20 Feet From Stardom reinforced -- much of the "American music" we listen to today has a core of blackness and black vocals.
At any rate, Feeding Frenzy's "Bluebird" perhaps personifies this influence. Enjoyable, though again not precisely noteworthy! Follow this up with "Honey, Just Allow Me One More Chance" by the one and only Bob Dylan and it seems almost as if Nicole is making a personal plea for me to keep listening. And given she is in fact B. Dylan**, I always treat the songs she selects of his as meaningful and deeply rooted in her soul. And that is such a neat thing to have imparted to me, regardless if I feel exactly the same way about the songs themselves. I am sure the same is true for some band/artist whose work I always weave into mixes.
On "Poor Places" by Wilco, there seems to be some sort of auditory interference near the 3 minute mark? Or is that a conscious choice? Strangely and inexplicably, the overlaid audio voiceover that then chimes in around the 4 minute mark gives me great anxiety. Now that I've listened through a few times, I tend to skip beyond this part.
"Evergreens" by The Cave Singers reinstates the mix's lower pacing. The vocals have an interesting yearning quality to them. I feel like it tricks you with timing, though, because clocking in at three minutes, the sweetness of this piece is actually short-lived. One day I randomly added "Follow Your Arrow" by Kacey Musgraves to the shared Google doc Nicole and I have titled "Music to check out". I wonder if Nicole saw it there or if her good friend Lauren introduced her to this separately. Or maybe none of the above and she stumbled upon it like I did! No matter what, this is a nice song and I am happy to own it now.
"Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk" by Rufus Wainwright came as a curveball. I was all too sure I had accidentally hit shuffle on my iTunes. But no, Nicole chose to end on this highly amusing note. Too cute.
I am already working on Nicole's July mix. I am excited for what's in store!
Instant favorites: "10 Lovers," "Erica Western Teleport," "Follow Your Arrow".
*Also, I chuckled when I saw their latest album is titled "The Orlando Sentinel" after the Florida newspaper of the same name.
**Well, the DNA tests were inclusive. But we're pretty sure.