1. Title track: Any song that is also the title of the album from whence it came, such as “Piano Man” from the album Piano Man.
2. I Command You A song title which is a command in the grammatical sense, such as “Don’t Stop” or “Please
"Skip a Rope"- Henson Cargill
I have intensely visceral memories of this song from childhood, not so much of the subject matter, but the actual 45s that my dad had, which included “In the year 2525” by Zager & Evans, and “Bottle of Wine” by Jimmy Gilmer and the Fireballs—right down to the little yellow spindle adapter thingies.
3. Human Anatomy 101 A song about a part of the body, whether it’s the eyes, the heart, or the toe. Any part of the body at all.
"Black Tongue," Yeah Yeah Yeahs
4. Song about waiting Self-explanatory, surely.
"I’ve Been Waiting," Matthew Sweet
Love the jangling, Byrds-esque guitar here.
5. Novelty song:
"eBay," Weird Al Yankovic
Growing up, we had a couple of K-Tel compilations (Goofy Greats et al.) on 8-track, which provided a steady diet of Ray Stevens and Nervous Norvis. I went a little more new-school this time, not least because I’m right out of 8-track players. BTW: the future copyright lawyer in me isn’t convinced this song qualifies as a parody under
6. Great song on a shit album Again, that’s obvious enough. A song you like from an album you don’t.
"The Way," Fastball (All the Pain Money Can Buy)
Not really a shit album, just one I never listened to except for this song. Then again, maybe this song isn’t really “great,” so it kind of evens out. From that post-vinyl/pre-iTunes no-man’s land we call the 90s
7. Song from 2008 Yes, it’s time for you people to get current again. Any song that was released this year.
Pretty much the only music from 2008 that I have. Thanks to Stennie for turning me on to them.
8. Song about school:
Reminds me of high school, as it should, and not in a good way. Especially “Some sweet girl playing my life runs off with a boy whose bike she’ll ride . . .” Seems like there was a preponderance of songs about British schools and how awful they are.
9. This & That A song with a title using the conjunction “and” . . .
"Bulldozers and Dirt," Drive-By Truckers
Sometimes the simplest, most elemental pleasures in life are the most sublimeI love the slow accretion of production elements, as if the song were an ever-enlarging sonic stalactite. It’s the lesser known inbred cousin of Phil Spector’s signature, The “Mound o’ Sound.” Also, the vocal harmonies call to mind a bunch of ‘coon hounds baying on a big-ass front porch of an old farmhouse
10. Dedication: dedicate a song on your mix to someone!
"The Look of Love," Dusty
Dusty’s voice like a satin teddy slipping off an alabaster shoulder, the strings unabashed in their urgent yearnings, and that sax. Good god, y’all. If there’s more artfully rendered ode to the physical act of love, I can’t begin to imagine what it would be, Mandrake. Dedicated, of course, to The Mother of The Man Cub (who must never be referred to as ‘Mrs. Middlebrow’). Track 16 is dedicated to the both of them.
11. Favorite song from the year you graduated high school.
"Never Say Never," Romeo Void
Wasn’t sure if this should this be favorite at the time, or favorite from that year now either way, it’s a bit of a cheat: the song came out in ’82, but I didn’t discover it until ’84 (in the movie Reckless) so I figured I could split the difference. This really captures the essence of what (I’d like to believe ) the early 80s were about musically.
12. Song you are most surprised to discover in your CD/MP3 collection. Alternate category name: “That’s not mine, officer.”
"More Than a Woman," Bee Gees
What surprised me was that I didn’t stop it or FF to the next thing. It was the Bee Gees—and I liked it! And why not, what with the Fender Rhodes tinkling like ice cubes in a tall glass of sweet tea. Very sweet tea. If I’m dedicating the mix to the MotMC, I might as well include a song that owes its presence in my iTunes to her: she or her mother bought the Bee Gees’ 2-CD best-of set and ripped it into my iTunes so they could each have a copy. So, really, this could have been any Bee Gees classic.
Had I chosen using Stennie’s criteria (musical kryptonite), you would all have been subjected to "The Wind Beneath My Wings," by Bette Midler (shudder), the mere thought of which makes me want to jam an icepick into each ear. It got into my iTunes because I was helping a former client, unschooled in the ways of the Interwebs, who wanted to make a mix CD for her daughter who was headed off to college. No good deed goes unpunished, I guess. Reminds me of the guy in High Fidelity who came into the shop to buy “I Just Called to Say I Love You” for his daughter. “Oh, is she in a coma?”
13. Kick-ass cover The old favorite.
"We’re not the Jet Set," John Prine & Iris Dement
I know it’s fashionable on these things to pick a genre-bending or ultra ironic cover. This one kicks ass because it’s such a heartfelt homage to the George Jones / Tammy Wynette original. And if there’s a bigger Iris DeMent fan in the world than me, it’s probably John Prine.
14. Song with your name in the title You can use your middle name if you can’t find anything for your first name.
"Alles Roger!," Sportfreunde Stiller
Yes, I had to go buy it. I had really hoped to find a song that not only had my name, but used its verb form: to roger, a good rogering. Given how rusty my German is, they very well might have. Bonus/two-fer: they also refer to my middle name: Atomic Kitten
15. Smoking song—a song about smoking, what else?
"The Wildwood Weed," Jim Stafford
Thought I’d save you the trip to
16. Song about magic
"Three is a Magic Number," Schoolhouse Rock
A bit on the nose, but truly a great song. The compilation album should be called “That’s Edutainment!”
17. Next song Heidi should learn on the guitar (a.k.a. While Stennie’s guitar gently weeps)?
"O Marie," Daniel Lanois
This is assuming Stennie’s disdain for U2 doesn’t extend to their erstwhile producer. I’ll leave it up to her if she wants to learn it in French.
18. Introductory song: Song you would like to have played by Paul Schaeffer and the CBS Orchestra if you were a guest on Letterman.
"Are You Gonna Go My Way?," Lenny Kravitz
Damn, I knew I should have held on to “Play that Funky Music . . .” My variation on the question is, What do they play at the stadium while you’re walking to the plate: “Now batting, number 14, Misterrrr Middlebrrrrooooooowwwwww!” You just know Paul would arrange a smoking Hammond B3 part for himself, which would just make it all the sweeter.
19. Amnesia: a song about forgetting
"Don’t Forget About Me," Nanci Griffith
Stennie, if this song inexplicably makes your fillings hurt, it might be because one Larry Mullen, Jr. is playing drums. I’ll probably never put a U2 song on a mix, but they might invariably find a way via their cronies and compatriots.
20. Amnesty song As always, a song that you would have liked to use in this (or any other) mix, but couldn’t seem to find room for.
"Don’t Wait for Tom," Over The