Sunday, August 21, 2005

Summer Upbeat Mix: Volume 1

I’m finally getting around to posting my Summer Upbeat Mix track list. I know there’s at least one person eager to read it and I’ve been exceptionally delinquent in getting it on here. Personally, I think it’s probably the best one that I’ve ever done—and I thought last year’s was pretty dang decent. So without further adieu, here’s volume one.

  1. New Order – “Dracula’s Castle” I downloaded a handful of tracks off of New Order’s new CD, Waiting for the Siren’s Call. Wendy is a big New Order fan, but I’m pretty much a fair weather one. I love “True Faith” and “Bizarre Love Triangle” but hadn’t really listened to much else by New Order. Well, I couldn’t resist a track with the name “Dracula’s Castle” so I bought it based on the 30 second sound snippet on iTunes. A great return-to-form for New Order.

  2. Amy Grant – “Happy” I got this track from Jeff who had bought Amy Grant’s CD Simple Things and been disappointed (as he usually is with impulse CD purchases.) Admittedly, it’s not her strongest outing, but this song kicks off the CD and is a great one. Easily one of her best secular pop songs in a great long while.

  3. The Killers –“ Mr. Brightside (Romantic Radio Edit)” I got turned on to The Killers via the fantastic Jacque LuCont remix of “Mr. Brightside” on iTunes. (Incidentally, if that remix is any indication at all of what might come of his collaboration with Madonna, November just got that much further away.) This remix came from, which I read because it has great links to new music. I love how the song got kicked into high gear + you’re never entirely sure who Brandon Flowers is talking about.

  4. Gloria Estefan – “Cuba Libre” One morning as I was waking up, Heidi was playing the all-dance CD Gloria did a few years back. And for some reason, this one stuck with me. I’ve always been fond of Gloria’s Spanish language stuff, especially recently because her English-language stuff seems so uninspired. I heard “Always Tomorrow” in Borders the other night and was reminded how bad she can really be, but this song is really fun.

  5. Amber – ”Above The Clouds” This song plays over the end of last episode of the third season of “Sex & The City.” I tried like mad to figure out what the name of the song was and then one day, I stumbled across the information online (and I remember Googling it quite seriously.) Unfortunately, it wasn’t available on iTunes. Fortunately, it was available at the local library.

  6. Sinead O’Connor – “Mandinka” This is a bizarre song that I added because I rediscovered it this summer. It makes no freaking sense. But I love it. Oddly, it wasn’t the first song by Sinead O’Connor I heard—it was “I Want Your (Hands On Me)”—featured rather prominently in one of the Nightmare on Elm Street movies—can’t remember which.

  7. Everything But The Girl – “Missing (CL McSpadden Unreleased Powerhouse Mix)” A great remix of EBTG’s classic 90s song “Missing.” Truth be told, I think I’m probably more fond of the original version of “Missing” (i.e., the non-dance one) and I’m amazed that I don’t have it somewhere in my MP3 collection.

  8. Dave Matthews Band – “American Baby” I came this close to buying the new DMB CD, but when I heard that it was copy protected and couldn’t be transferred to iPod without significant effort, I pretty much said “Screw this, I only sorta like them anyway.” I bought this song off iTunes as a prerelease. It’s not really “upbeat” so to speak, but it’s a good summer song. I’m surprised I didn’t hear more of than I did. Of course, I barely listen to the radio at all, so I really haven’t the slightest idea how it did chart wise.

  9. Casey Stratton – “Blood” Casey Stratton is my discovery of the year. He’s another artist I discovered thanks to and I have pretty much bought up just about everything I possibly can that he’s recorded in the last 4 months. I purchased his absolutely great major label debut, Standing at the Edge, off iTunes piecemeal using winning Pepsi caps and there was a time earlier this spring that I didn’t listen to anything but Casey. I even got Heidi to listen to him, and our musical tastes don’t always coincide all that well. I love this song so much—the minor key, the syncopation, everything about it (ok, save maybe the heavy breathing at the end.) I saw him perform it live here in Ames last April where I picked up a couple of his old CDs when he was indie. And he’s going to be indie again, having severed his relationship with Sony in favor of promoting himself. Check out Casey. He’s freaking awesome.

  10. Tina Turner – “Nutbush City Limits (The 90s Version) This was always one of those “eh, it’s ok” songs on Tina’s Simply The Best collection. But years later, I just couldn’t stop listening to it this summer. My one recollection of this song from college is being at this friend of my roommate’s house and he was playing this song saying “I just have to play this for the DJs down at the 620 (local gay bar in Iowa City.) And it’s got a pretty fun dance beat. Plus you just can’t beat the first line “Church house/gin house/school house/outhouse.” It makes me laugh every single time.

  11. Dolly Parton – “Rocky Top (Live)” I’ve been dying for a recorded version of Dolly doing “Rocky Top” forever. I downloaded a version of “Rocky Top” back in the Audiogalaxy days labeled as being Dolly, but ended up being the Osborne Brothers. Well, this one just kicks ass. Dolly is as cornpone as ever on this opening the song with a reference to the previous song on the set list, “Little Sparrow”: “Now personally, I think I should have called that song “Little Pigeon”—took a big dump on his head and flew to Rocky Top.” And she sings the hell out of this. But my favorite part of the song is after the song’s over and she says “Whoo! That was a high note there on the end. My thong’s a-ridin’ up.” Disturbing to think about Dolly wearing a thong.

  12. Gwen Stefani – “Hollaback Girl” This was a song that I absolutely hated when Gwen’s CD came out. I thought it was annoying and stupid and I just never got into it. But, by God, they made it a single anyway and then the damn thing crawled into my brain and stuck there. Some great mash-ups have been done with this song, my personal favorites being the mash-up with “I Am A Man of Constant Sorrow” from O Brother Where Art Thou? and the one where they combined it with “Need You Tonight” by INXS. I’ve really grown to like this song a lot now, which is saying a lot considering how much I hated it to start with.

  13. Scissor Sisters – “Filthy/Gorgeous” I love the Scissor Sisters. They are so campy and over the top, I just can’t get enough of them. And this is Heidi’s favorite Scissor Sisters song. It became the theme song to one of her characters in her WIP, so we listened to it A LOT this summer. Anna even sings along to the chorus, which is equal parts disturbing and cute.

  14. Delerium – “Underwater (Mauve’s Dark Vocal Mix) This song played over a Club Babylon scene in the second season of “Queer As Folk” which Heidi and I are devouring on DVD courtesy of Netflix. Heidi’s been into Delerium for a while now, and their remixes are really great. I’ve never even heard the original version of “Underwater,” but this one was worth a purchase on iTunes. Come to find out, it also made the cut for the “Queer As Folk” Season Two soundtrack which I’m sure we’ll acquire eventually.

  15. Billy Joel – “The Entertainer” This is one of my favorite obscure Billy Joel songs. Well, not really obscure because it is on his Greatest Hits CD, but it’s not one you think of when you think of Billy Joel. It’s basically a cynical take on fame and the music industry—and the really funny thing about it is that it’s such a damn happy song. It came from one of Billy Joel’s first albums, so apparently he was a quick learner in the music biz. I love it because the synthesizer music reminds me of a kid’s show that played on PBS when I was a kid called “All About You, my sole memory of which is the episode about how you shouldn’t hide in refrigerators.

  16. Green Day – “Holiday” Until earlier this year, I had never purchased anything Green Day had ever done. But I downloaded the whole blasted American Idiot CD off iTunes because it appealed to my liberal sensibilities and because I loved the two lead off singles. And this just follows in the footsteps of them. I love how angry they are and how satirical the whole CD really is. Definitely a highlight of the summer.

  17. Madonna – “Guyom’s 77 Track Megamix” It is absolutely not hyperbole when I say that this is hands down the best Madonna megamix I have ever heard. It clocks in at only seven and a half minutes, but it is so tight and so well blended it’s hard to remember that it’s not an official release. While I think the 77 track thing is a bit of a stretch (I count only 7 or 8 songs that are prominently featured), it is the mixing of “Vogue,” “Deeper & Deeper,” & “Express Yourself” over what is basically the bassline and instrumental of “Music” that is the truly amazing thing. I never get tired of listening to it.

And with that, I’m done for now. This took a damn long time to write, so Volume 2 may be a few days in the offing.

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