Monday, January 08, 2007

Winter mix

Despite the title, this post is not going to be about vegetables -- because when I read the title, all I could think of was the California winter mixed vegetables that frequently appear on the menu in the cafeteria at work.

No, instead, this is about a mix CD I made for my friend Mary. I wanted to put a little something extra in her Christmas present (we just got together yesterday to have our Christmas) so on Saturday night, I was feverishly putting together a CD of songs that I thought she might like. A lot of them were culled from my "Recently Added" playlist in iTunes. And even though it was initially a present for Mary, it is probably going to become the official Winter Mix 2007 - following in a long line of winter mixes that I have done every January since 2000. It's been a while since I've done a list of songs, so I thought, what the hell, why not blog it? So here it is:

Dan's Winter Mix 2007

1) "You Want This" - Janet Jackson. I admit that this song kind of came out of nowhere to end up on the CD. But I've always loved this song. The sample is good and it really is Janet at her peak, even though I don't particularly care for a lot of the Janet. CD.

2) "Like A Virgin (Confessions Tour Studio Version)" - Madonna. This song is probably getting the most play around my house these days. I found it on a Madonna forum and, as I've blogged before, it's a studio version of the live version Madge did on the Confessions tour. It's so good - the live version was one of my songs of the summer and it's only fitting that the studio version make the winter mix.

3) "Little Victories" - Matt Nathanson. I have Caryle to thank for talking me into buying the whole Matt Nathanson CD, Beneath These Fireworks. I had purchased a few songs of his here and there before, but the whole CD is actually quite good. This is a good song for when life's not all that good and you have to remind yourself of the big picture.

4) "If You Leave Me" - Sarah Cracknell. Another song courtesy of Mikey and, as usual, it's fabulous. I love Sarah Cracknell's solo stuff (Heidi can kind of take it or leave it - she much prefers her with Saint Etienne) and Sarah reminds me so much of Deborah Harry I'm almost obligated to love her.

5) "Revenge 2" - Eurythmics. I've totally been into the Eurythmics 1986 album Revenge these days (that's a blog post in and of itself that'll be coming up soon.) And this is one of the bonus tracks that was added to the album when the CDs were remastered a while back. Why it's "Revenge 2" I'm not sure, as there isn't a song on the album called "Revenge" but it's a very good song nonetheless.

6) "Catch You" - Sophie-Ellis Bextor. This is a song I would have never found without my blogging friend xolondon. He featured it on his blog, and I've heard a bit of Sophie before - most notably "Murder on the Dancefloor" - but I had no idea something new was coming out. This is a great song. Again, reminds me a titch of Blondie, and well, it's fabulous.

7) "Lovelight" - Robbie Williams. John introduced me to this song after "Kiss Me" made my best of 2006 list. He and I kind of share the same opinion of Robbie Williams - I mostly don't care for him, but when he does something right, it's usually very very good. And this is another one that he did very very right.

8) "The Hardest Part" - Casey Stratton. The lead track off of DIVIDE and a top notch track. It was a staple of Casey's live shows prior to DIVIDE's release so I heard it quite a while ago. But it always seems to come back to me. It's a song of a dead relationship - Casey always knows just how to get to the pain in his music - but for a song about that subject, it's gorgeous.

9) "Put Your Makeup On" - Simon Curtis. Thanks to Paul, I now know a little bit about Simon Curtis, who, according to Paul is the great hope for pop music in 2007. And this is a great track - I especially love the part about how he talks about how he got shit for listening to the kind of music he did when he was a kid, with other people saying "you should listen to this or this" (paraphrasing here) but their music wasn't worth a damn on the dance floor.

10) "STFU" - Lucian (feat. Barbra Streisand). Quite possibly the funniest thing I heard all year. And surprisingly, it only gets better after each play. Basically, all it is is Streisand telling that person in her audience to "Shut the fuck up!" over a techno beat. But it never fails to make us all laugh hysterically.

11) "Nothing Is Real But The Girl" - Blondie. With all the references to Blondie (Sarah Cracknell, Sophie-Ellis Bextor) I just thought that it was appropriate to put the grand dame herself on there - or rather, her band!! (Blondie is a band!) This one comes from their comeback CD No Exit which was quite good and criminally overlooked here in the US. But I wouldn't expect anything less from radio programmers here. I mean, Debbie is over 30 you know!

12) "Sorry (Man With Guitar Mix)" - Madonna. Yep, the second Madge track, and it's testament to the fabulousness of Confessions on a Dance Floor and the song "Sorry" in particular, that it made the Winter Mix when the Pet Shop Boys mix of the same song made LAST YEAR'S winter mix. I've cooled significantly to the Pet Shop Boys mix, and this one has emerged as my favorite official mix of "Sorry."

13) "Believe In You" - Amanda Marshall. I haven't listened to Amanda Marshall in ages, but back in the day (mid-90s) I played her debut album until it we couldn't stand to listen to it anymore. Her follow-up, Tuesday's Child, was nowhere near as good and only had a few standout tracks. This is one of them.

14) "Gravity" - John Mayer. I have a serious love/hate relationship with John Mayer. I recognize that he's a good musician and has crafted some quality songs - even if they aren't necessarily pop. But for some reason, his personality -- or rather, how he comes across to me -- really rubs me the wrong way. He just seems like every stupid frat boy that I hated in college that had all the women fooled. But in any event, I do like his music and am able to look past his personality for the most part. Perhaps I'm wrong and he's a really nice guy, so what the hell do I know?

15) "Early Winter" - Gwen Stefani. The only song I really like off of The Sweet Escape. Seriously, if I never hear that "Wind It Up" song again, I'll consider myself the most fortunate man on the planet. And that's too bad because I really did enjoy Love Angel Music Baby. Time to go back to No Doubt, Gwen.

16) "Long Hot Summer" - Girls Aloud. I, of course, have Mike to thank for all the Girls Aloud I have. And I think this is probably my favorite song. They so should have used it in An Inconvenient Truth, but I guess the pop-ish UK girl band sound wasn't exactly the mood they were going for in that movie.

17) "I Like The Way" - Darren Hayes. I've really been into Darren Hayes this fall/winter. From what I can ascertain, the album The Tension and the Spark was pretty much a flop which is too bad because it has some pretty good stuff on it - this being one of them.

18) "Analogue" - a-ha. If you're like me, you probably thought that a-ha disappeared after "The Sun Always Shines on TV." But John sent me a bunch of his favorite a-ha tracks and they are great. This one is my favorite of all of them. Thanks John!!

OK, that's enough of me rambling. If you read this far, good on you. If not, well, it's hard to say if you missed anything.


xolondon said...

Analogue is a great song - I think it's a "Max Martin"?!

I have not played Sweet Escape since I bought it and I keep waiting to have an actual winter before I play "Early Winter."

Paul said...

great list - i'm very into Janet's janet album at the moment and its gonna be on my blog soon! And of course i'm always delighted when Simon pops up on people's lists. What a perfect little pop tune that is from such a nice guy!

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad you've enjoyed the Matty Na love. The best thing about him is that he's even better live than in the studio. :)