These Are a Few of My Favorite Things…

Jen Kehl at My Skewed View and Kristi at Finding Ninee host Twisted MixTape Tuesday, a blog hop that’s all about music.  The premise is to create a five song mix based on the week’s theme.  (You can click on the button above if you’d like to play along).  Here’s Jen’s instructions for today’s topic:

Share with us your favorite MixTape from the last year.

Happy New Year Everyone!  Jen has asked us to share our favorite mixtape from the past year.  This one was relatively easy because my top two favorites are both from this summer’s trip through the decades, so I only had to choose between the two weeks that covered the 1990’s music.  Originally posted on July 16, 2013:  Aaaand it goes a little somethin’ like this…

Jen Kehl at My Skewed View and Kristi at Finding Ninee host Twisted MixTape Tuesday, a blog hop that’s all about music. The premise is to create a five song mix based on the week’s theme. (You can click on the button above if you’d like to play along).

Here’s Jen’s instructions for today’s topic: If you were going to make a mix for a friend in the Nineties, what would it contain? This is NOT a best of. This is If You Were You, in the 90′s, and You Were Making A Mix Tape For A Friend (on any topic) What Would It Be?

Before I get into the “meat” of this post, let me warn you up front…the language in this post, in the songs’ lyrics, and the material featured in the videos is NSFW…Not Safe for Work, or small children, or pets, or house plants, or anyone easily offended by language or controversial subject matters. You’ve been warned. Proceed at your own risk.

In 1990, I took a job with an international import company and moved overseas to Hong Kong. In addition to completely flipping my life upside down, I was exposed to more of a global musical culture while drinking Carlsberg or San Miguel in (now) classic HK bars and pubs like Scotties in Lan Kwai Fong. The tiny dance floor was usually so packed on weekends you only had room to jump up and down. The DJ was hot, serving up international dance tunes, most I hadn’t heard before.

But there was also a song, played twice nightly, that stuck in my brain, Special AKA’s Free Nelson Mandela, which was gaining popularity once again due to Mandela’s release earlier in the year and his negotiations to end apartheid. What I didn’t realize I was missing back home in the good ole US of A, was the beginnings of the commercial grunge movement and the cyclical re-emergence of a subset of political/protest music moving away from the apathy of the origins of the genre. Censorship, the first Gulf War, the events surrounding Rodney King and the L.A. riots were all fodder for this generation’s music with a message.

1. We Care A Lot – Faith No More (1987). This “anti-protest” manages to bridge the gap between the isolated Seattle grunge subculture and the evolution to mainstream grunge in the early 90’s. The parody of celebrities jumping on the bandwagon for “causes” in itself became a message and was one of the forerunners of the re-emergence of political and protest rock in the grunge musical style.

2. Man in the Box – Alice in Chains (1991). A very simple lyrical denouncement of censorship through the filter of a very high Layne Staley. “Feed my eyes now you’ve sewn them shut.”

3. Hush – Tool (1991). I love Tool’s big old Fuck You, both musically and visually, to Tipper Gore and her PMRC bobbleheads. Attacking the PMRC (Parents Music Resource Center) became one of the common themes of much of the protest music in the late 80’s and early 90’s. What the PMRC ended up with (the advisory stickers) was very much different from their original agenda of censorship and limiting access to music that didn’t meet their ambiguous and restrictive moral codes.

**side note: the next band on my list also protested against PMRC in a unique way. They spent their whole set time at Lollapalooza standing silently naked on stage with their mouths covered in tape like this:

ratm lollapalooza

4. Killing in the Name – Rage Against the Machine (1992). RATM’s one of most well-known of the political rock giants of this era. Killing in the Name takes on the protest darlings of racism in military, government and police agencies. I can’t wax poetic about this song when its own lyrics say so much more (and so much better) than I could ever manage myself. Just listen.

5. Warfair – Clawfinger (1993). This Swedish rap-metal group is primarily known for its political and anti-racism messages in its music and signifies how the new uprising of political themes in music evolved from grunge to other genres towards the mid-90’s.

“The duty of youth is to challenge corruption.” ~Kurt Cobain

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Where Did You Sleep Last Night

Jen Kehl at My Skewed View and Kristi at Finding Ninee host Twisted MixTape Tuesday, a blog hop that’s all about music.  The premise is to create a five song mix based on the week’s theme.  (You can click on the button above if you’d like to play along).  Here’s Jen’s instructions for today’s topic:

It’s dealer’s choice again! Already? Yup already!

Its official…Christmas has well and truly kicked my ass this year.  Its our year to spend the holidays at my Mom’s house, so in addition to the usual holiday madness, we have to gear up for a roadtrip.  I’ve been a germ magnet and just when I thought I’d gotten over a double shot of strep, I get a good, old-fashioned cold and missed last week’s mixtape.  I wanna thank Jen for the showcase spot and kinda feel bad that it was on a week I missed.

So, once a month, Jen let’s us pick our own themes.  The first time, it was a painstaking task, as having set parameters helps me narrow my focus.  Of course, after the first one was published, I immediately came up with about ten more.  Now I have a stockpile of ideas and have to pick between them.

If you’ve visited my mixtapes before, you know I have a fondness for covers.  There are some cover versions that you just cannot compare like Hound Dog by Big Mama Thornton and the later Elvis cover.  Or they’re such different genres like Hendrix’s All Along the Watchtower vs. the original Bob Dylan.  Then there are some that you can’t help but put side by side and determine which is better.  In the case of the songs I selected today for my mixtape, these are the rare covers that are better than the originals (purely subjective to my ears, of course).

1.  Love Don’t Live Here Anymore – Rose Royce vs. Madonna.  I’ll preface this by stating that I’m not a fan of most Madonna work after 1990, with a few notable exceptions.  One of which is the remixed version of this song from her Something to Remember album in 1995 (not her original cover from Like a Virgin).  Madge wins this match up hands down.

2.  Black Magic Woman – Fleetwood Mac vs. Santana.  This is one that until a couple years ago, I didn’t even know there was a version other than Santana.  This is another one that’s no contest for me, Santana clearly did it better and the video posted is with the song’s composer, Peter Green.

3.  Me and Bobby McGee – Roger Miller vs. Janis Joplin.   Ok, so I learned something new while researching this song’s history.  I knew Kris Kristofferson wrote the song, but I thought he’d done the original recording as well.  Though he did eventually record it, he gave the original spot to Roger Miller first.  Either way, neither compares to Janis.

4.  I Fought the Law – The Crickets vs. Bobby Fuller Four vs. The Clash vs. everyone else.  Sometimes the most well-known version of a song isn’t exactly the first recording, such in this case.  Written by Sonny Curtis, it was originally recorded by The Crickets when he filled the role of lead guitar after the death of Buddy Holly.  The song never got played on the radio though until covered by the Bobby Fuller Four which then became a top ten hit.  Its been covered numerous times, but all are exceeded by the version recorded by The Clash.

5.  Where Did You Sleep Last Night – Lead Belly vs. Nirvana.  Originally a folk song, the lyrics tended to change over the years.  Of the two most well-known versions (the other being about a train by Bill Monroe) the Lead Belly interpretation is what’s usually thought to be the earliest standard.  The verses have been changed and recorded multiple times over the years, but Nirvana did an homage to Lead Belly’s arrangement for their MTV Unplugged show and killed it.  I remember reading somewhere that Cobain refused to do an encore at the taping because he felt they couldn’t surpass the performance they’d just given of this song.

Since we’re taking next week off from the mixtape, I wanna wish everyone a Merry Christmas and/or Happy Holidays.

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Holy Shit…Its Christmas!

Jen Kehl at My Skewed View and Kristi at Finding Ninee host Twisted MixTape Tuesday, a blog hop that’s all about music.  The premise is to create a five song mix based on the week’s theme.  (You can click on the button above if you’d like to play along).  Here’s Jen’s instructions for today’s topic:

It is officially OK to be listening to Christmas Music now! Bring it on! Maybe we’ll find some new favorite Christmas tunes for our holiday playlists!

I knew this was coming at some point in December even before Jen posted the list of upcoming topics.  By the time Thanksgiving is over, I’m already so sick of Christmas music that I could yak every time one comes on the radio or I walk into a store and hear it blaring from the speakers.  I’m not a complete Grinch, just about the holiday music.

The only thing I can stand and even enjoy in December is the parodies and the mashups.  As a matter of fact, I do look forward to hearing them each year.  But these probably aren’t going to be the things you hear out in the general public.  The videos may look all cute and animated, but the lyrics are a complete snarkfest over everything wintery and Christmasy.  Just the way I like it.  So put on the headphones or wait til the younger kiddies are in bed because these ain’t your Grandma’s Christmas carols.

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WARNING:  Explicit subject matter and lyrics!!!!

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1.  Holy Shit, It’s Christmas! – Red Peters.  This one’s especially for those that are sick of the stupid Chipmunk Christmas song brought to you by those dirty-minded, foul-mouthed hamsters.  Gotta love when they change the words on him!

2.  Leroy the Redneck Reindeer – Joe Diffie.   Okay, so I’m going country with one of my songs, but I love this hillbilly version of Rudolph.

3.  The Night Santa Went Crazy – Weird Al Yankovic.  You can’t talk about Christmas parodies without including a little Weird Al.  By the second week in December, this is about how I feel.

4.  Ho Ho, Fucking Ho – Kevin Wilson.  This time its Santa’s employees that lose their shit.

5.  XM@$ – Corey Taylor.   I just heard this one this season and immediately added it to my list.  This is my perfect Christmas song.

In a more serious musical mind, there are two rocking Christmas song mashups that I like that I’m including as a bonus.

6.  Lonely Siberian Winter – DJ John.  From A Very Bootie Christmas 1 mashup album.

7.  Yuletide Zeppelin – Mojochronic.  From the A Very Bootie Christmas 2 mashup album.  A lot of Zeppelin makes the Christmas Carols much easier to take.

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Trapped

Jen Kehl at My Skewed View and Kristi at Finding Ninee host Twisted MixTape Tuesday, a blog hop that’s all about music.  The premise is to create a five song mix based on the week’s theme.  (You can click on the button above if you’d like to play along).  Here’s Jen’s instructions for today’s topic:

Kerri from Undiagnosed but Okay. She said,  how about a “this song could’ve sent me to jail?” I was intrigued, but needed more. Hmmm let’s see the Doors come on baby get higher:)Or Carrie Underwood doing a little grand larceny beating up her boyfriends truck? Blondie gets arrested after seeing Aliens in Rapture Or even to be funnier: Joe Cocker you can leave your hat on, so if I left just my hat on I would be arrested for indecent exposure.

When I first saw this topic in the list several weeks ago, I dreaded it.  But the more I thought about it, the clearer it became that I could use some of my favorite hip hop/rap songs from the 80’s and beyond.  Funny thing though, once I settled on that genre, it seemed to fit all the topics of the weeks between that I had to look somewhere else for songs since I knew this one was coming soon.

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WARNING:  Explicit subject matter and lyrics!!!!

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1.  Regulate – Warren G. ft. Nate Dogg.  Starting out the night, just cruising along, when all of a sudden, I roll up on a buddy gettin’ a beatdown.  You know I gotta handle that shit, right?

2.  Kush – Dr. Dre ft. Snoop Dogg and Akon.  After all the excitement, even a badass needs to chill with a little sumpin’ sumpin’.  Inhale…exhale.

3.  White Lines (Don’t Do It) – Grandmaster Melle Mel.  Too much smoke needs a little pick-me-up after.  (I actually prefer the Duran Duran version with both Melle Mel and Grandmaster Flash, but in keeping with the more hip hop genre, I went with the original.)

4.  99 Problems – Jay Z.  Rollin’ with all this weed and blow in the car and it never fails you get pulled over by the cops.  Luckily, I know my rights and I’m not gonna let them search my car.

5. Trapped – 2Pac.  A shootout, a police chase and now trapped in a corner facing that jail time.  What to do?

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I Got Dreams to Remember

Jen Kehl at My Skewed View and Kristi at Finding Ninee host Twisted MixTape Tuesday, a blog hop that’s all about music.  The premise is to create a five song mix based on the week’s theme.  (You can click on the button above if you’d like to play along). Here’s Jen’s instructions for today’s topic:

This week’s MixTape Theme is Cheating Songs.

The plague has run rampant throughout the Dream household over the past couple weeks in the form of strep throat.  Some of us were even “lucky” enough to get it twice before we actually knew what it was or that it required antibiotics.  Fun times.  Fun enough that I’m taking today’s theme at face value of infidelity and not digging deeper looking for cheating in other forms:  cheating in school, cheating death and so forth.  (This post is brought to you by Halls Honey Lemon Triple Soothing Action cough drops, Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup, Amoxicillin, and The Walking Dead.)

Once again, country music would be a treasure trove of songs to fit this theme.  Another genre would be rap/hip hop.  But I’m gonna go back.  Way back.  Back into time. Back to the heart of today’s cheating songs and take a trip through the blues with those that cheated, thought about cheating, were the one cheated on or cheated with.  I find myself kind of sentimental about using the blues genre since I used it for my very first Twisted Mixtape Tuesday post and since my blog just passed its six month mark, it seems kinda fitting to revisit one of my favorite styles.

1.  I’m Mad Again – John Lee Hooker.  Here’s a guy that was good enough to take his buddy in and the guy repays him by messing around with his woman.  Listen close.  Sound familiar?  It has the same sound as a modern quasi-famous blues song by George Thorogood called “One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer.”  Even though John Lee Hooker did a cover of that song as well, George Thorogood’s version sounds more like the musical style that JLH used on this song.  You can especially hear it on the “Yes man/yeah man.”

2.  Hound Dog – Willie Mae “Big Mama” Thornton.  This singer’s big frame, countenance, and attitude made such an impression on Leiber and Stoller (the prolific song writing team of Brill Building fame), that they wrote this song for her in twelve minutes on the back of a brown paper bag after meeting her.  Its about her telling off a no-good, cheating, layabout man that won’t work and kicking him out of her home and life.  Its almost a shame that the woman that inspired such a classic rock n’ roll song only made $500 for her recording, even though it went on to make millions after being recorded by Elvis.  

3.  You Can Have My Husband (But Please Don’t Mess With My Man) – Irma Thomas & BB King.  This lady certainly knows what she wants.  She don’t care if another woman wants to mess around with her husband, but tells her she better keep her claws out of her man on the side.  Can you tell the song was written by a woman?

4.  Don’t Answer the Door – B.B. King.  Now Mr. King figures the best way to keep his little woman faithful while he’s gone is to keep her locked up at home with no visitors.  Seriously?  Not even her momma or her sister can come visit?  He don’t even want her to have the doctor make a house call if she gets sick!  Sounds like he’s got just a little bit of a jealousy problem.  Run girl, run!

5.  I Got Dreams to Remember – Otis Redding.  This one may technically be considered more soul than blues, but at the heart of the song, its blues through and through.  Poor guy finds out the hard way that his woman is cheating after seeing their PDA on the street.  Even after seeing it with his own eyes, he loves her so much that he still wants her because he remembers how good they were together.

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Sing Me a Story…

Jen Kehl at My Skewed View and Kristi at Finding Ninee host Twisted MixTape Tuesday, a blog hop that’s all about music.  The premise is to create a five song mix based on the week’s theme.  (You can click on the button above if you’d like to play along). Here’s Jen’s instructions for today’s topic:

Songs that tell a story. These can be epics or not. Just a story. You know, just not la la la I love you or I hate you or whatever….

When I first saw this song topic, my mind immediately went to country music.  Let me qualify that to pre-90’s country music, when most singers were storytellers.  I won’t give examples because knowing the music aficionados we have participating each week…someone will cover this.  But for me, its too soon since the “genre we don’t normally listen to” week where I used country outlaws for my mixtape.

In trying to come up with my theme-within-a-theme this week, I looked at American folk singers, folk revivalists, and some of the current indie folk bands.  I really felt the urge to do give this week a bit extra thought so I decided to use music that tells a story based upon classic literature.

1.  Wuthering Heights – Pat Benatar.  Written and originally performed by Kate Bush, the ghost of Catherine begs Heathcliff to be forgiven.  While I generally like Kate Bush, I find the unique quality of her voice distracting on this song and believe the controlled power of Pat Benatar better suits the emotion of the story.

2.  Annabel Lee – Stevie Nicks.  Since high school, I’ve really adored this poem by Edgar Allan Poe and love that Stevie Nicks set it to music.

3.  Calypso – Suzanne Vega.  Based upon a portion of Homer’s Odyssey where the nymph Calypso enchants Odysseus with her singing, keeping him with her on an island for a number of years.  The gods order her to let him go when it becomes apparent Odysseus still wants to return home to his true love, his wife Penelope.


4. The Ghost of Tom Joad – Bruce Springsteen w/ Tom Morello (RATM). The main influences of this song, John Steinbeck’s, The Grapes of Wrath, the John Ford film adaptation and Woody Guthrie’s The Ballad of Tom Joad, come together in a modernized tale of making it through the hardships of life.

5.  The Rime of the Ancient Mariner – Iron Maiden.  A musical homage to the Samuel Taylor Coleridge epic poem of the same name, even using some of the verses as lyrics.  A surprising number of Iron Maiden’s songs are in fact based on literary works and/or legendary myths and I had a time deciding which one to use.  But this is my favorite.  I chose a video of the original (lengthy) song that showed the lyrics.

Bonus:

6.  Desolation Row – Bob Dylan.  This one didn’t exactly fit into my sub-theme, but Dylan is the ultimate storyteller and I couldn’t let this week pass without one of his songs.  In Desolation Row, he portrays a series of surreal scenes featuring historical, classic fictional characters and those he completely made up.  There’s been much speculation about the influences and meaning of the lyrics.  Though Dylan’s never confirmed or denied any of the theories, he once joked that it was about an area around a Coke factory in Mexico.

Bonus #2 (because the rest of this list is just too damn serious):

7.  Rocky Raccoon – The Beatles.  This one also doesn’t fit into my theme, but I really felt the need to add a dash of humor and this is one of my top five favorite Beatles’ songs.

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The Mercy Seat

Jen Kehl at My Skewed View and Kristi at Finding Ninee host Twisted MixTape Tuesday, a blog hop that’s all about music.  The premise is to create a five song mix based on the week’s theme.  (You can click on the button above if you’d like to play along).

Jen is letting the inmates run the asylum today and giving us another free-for-all week.  This means you are at the mercy of the theme I choose!!  Be afraid.

No, don’t be afraid because I’d never torture anyone with music.  With all my recent medical issues, my soul has been a bit tortured though and its shown in the playlists I’ve been listening to lately.  There’s one in particular that has some particularly maudlin and/or haunting music on it that I’ve been obsessed with and played it frequently.  Often, several times a day.

I selected my top five favorites from that playlist.  They aren’t really earworms because I think they’re actually good songs, but I need to purge this insatiable desire to listen to them constantly.  I’m hoping by using them in this week’s mixtape, I can exorcise these musical demons and get back to being my usual rocker self.

1.  The Mercy Seat – Nick Cave.  I love the intensity of the acoustic version.  It also now hits me that this would have been a great one for the Spiritual song week.

2.  I Want You – Elvis Costello.  The emotion in his voice really comes through and has a way of making his pain so very beautiful.

3.  Done Wrong – Ani DiFranco Everything about this song is just simply stunning.  I ran across it when I was looking for a particular song for the week we picked songs that helped make us the people we are.  It didn’t fit that theme, but I’ve been infatuated with it ever since.

4.  Winter Song – Sara Bareilles & Ingrid Michaelson.  I found this song so haunting, even before they started using it in the American Horror Story: Coven promos.  But it was because of those that its been echoing around in my head the past month.

5.  Symphony 6 Fare Thee Well & the Requiem Mix – Emily Wells.  Another haunting melody that’s so far outside my normal listening zone that it even surprises me that I listen to it.

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