Thursday, May 27, 2010

Anatomy of a Mix Tape

My friend and fellow playwright EM Lewis is moving to Princeton for a fellowship, and she recently posted on her facebook wall that she would be in need of some moving music ("music to move to," not "music to make her emotional." But I have both.). I thought I would make her a traditional Jackie mix, but my iTunes is sort of broken since I had to move all of my music off of my computer so that my computer would, ahem, keep working (I have a lot of music and an old computer).

By a stroke of luck called a giant car accident, I'm driving my dad's Jeep and the only disc in it is my holiday mix from 2008. So I'm going to make EM a copy of that, since I still love all the songs on it. As I've been listening to it (constantly, on a loop, for the past 2 weeks), I've been thinking about what each of the songs means to me. I was thinking it would be cool to give Ellen a written record of that, since we're both writers and all, but since we're also both bloggers and all, I thought it might be fun to blog about it. So here you are - anatomy of a mix tape from December 2008. I linked to lyrics when available. I also took care to not link to lyrics pages with annoying pop-ups. You're welcome. (Extra thanks to for making that easier.) And without further adieu...

Jingle Bells (Barbra Streisand)

It feels so wrong to listen to this song when it's not the holidays. So wrong, in fact, that I've skipped over it every day but today, and that was only so I could accurately do this post. This is my favorite version of any Christmas song ever. My mom and sister and I sing it to each other to make each other laugh. I think that Toni Collette in United States of Tara (the show that Donna and I are currently addicted to, check it out) is channeling Babs to do her most recent alter, Shoshanna.

Jesus on the Radio (Guster)

I still love Guster even though my sister has informed me that they are not a good band. Nick and I went to a ton of Guster shows in college and their music still makes me happy. This song has my birthday in the first line ("5 am, March 16") and I have no idea why. I also think of Brandon when I listen to this album because of another song that was on a different mix ("Come Downstairs and Say Hello" - another fantastic song).

Everybody Got Their Something (Nikka Costa)

This song was a part of Cati Jean's dance warmup for a short time, and I think it must also have been played on the radio or something because I remember hearing it a lot at some point. It cheers me up but I stopped listening to it for a while because it was so overplayed. Kind of like "Kids" by MGMT (which is not on this mix).

Misery Business (Paramore)

There are so many better songs by Paramore, I'm not sure why I put this one on there. Must have just gotten the CD. CrushCrushCrush is far superior. Sorry Ellen.

The Moneymaker (Rilo Kiley)

I was temp PA'ing on a show at Sunset/Gower and was listening to this song pretty much on repeat. Craig Golin and I listened to it on the way to Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles one day and he commented that it was a cool song. My convertible top still worked and I was loving LA even though I had just gotten fired (from a different television job). I also think this song would be great for a pole/strip class - and my friend Natalie teaches those classes, so Nat, here's a new song for ya. One of these days I'll come to your class. :)

Running Up That Hill (Placebo)

This is a great song to run to - something about the beats per minute make it exactly the right rhythm for me. Before I got Bear I was down to 8:30 minutes/mile, and I owe a lot of that to this song. I also absolutely love the lyrics - it's a cover of a Kate Bush song. "Meds" by Placebo is also a fantastic song.

Separate Ways (Journey, Greatest Hits Live)

I love this song, and I love that he says "domo arigato Tokyo!" at the end. Lately it makes me think of my friend Leilani, who calls herself "Reirani" sometimes, which cracks me up. No mix tape is complete for me without a bit of Journey. I sing along, and I sing along loud, and if you've ever done karaoke with me you know that "Faithfully" is my fallback song. In fact, when I went to google the lyrics I accidentally typed in "Faithfully Journey lyrics."

Stacked Actors (Foo Fighters)

I thought Ellen would appreciate this one - I listen to it when I'm having a bad day as a stage manager and I want to kill all the actors (except Tristan and Laura and Rebecca, of course. And a lot of other actors too. I'm such a softie.). Read the lyrics to find out why.

I'm Alive (Heather Nova)

This song is my "ode to bipolar disorder." It's about a guy (as are most sad lady-songs), but nothing and no one has pissed me off as much as my illness. With the help of my friend Marc, I'm working on changing my relationship with that illness. But in the meantime, whenever I get upset I put this song on and it reminds me that everyone deals with being pissed off sometimes.

Suddenly I See (KT Tunstall)

This song and the movie "The Devil Wears Prada" go hand in hand for me. And I like that movie, and I like this song. It also makes me think of Bianca for some reason - probably because she's tall and dresses well. I intentionally put a happy song on after "I'm Alive." Because if there's one thing I learned from "High Fidelity," it's how to balance a mix.

Lift Me Out (Jackie Moses/Jeff Mendel)

I think this is the only time I was so indulgent as to put my own song on a mix. This is one of two songs that Jeff and I recorded in my neighbor's recording studio. He has moved on to bigger and better recording studios; I have not. But I'm taking steps to rectify that.

Esta Cobardia (Julio Iglesias)

Julio Iglesias rocks. This entire album makes me reminisce about my childhood. In this song, I know "cobardia" means cowardice and that's about it. But that doesn't stop me from singing along.

fuck was i (Jenny Owen Youngs)

This song was on a mix that my old friend JRu gave me for Christmas when I was at aforementioned television-job-from-which-I-was-fired. Sadly he and I are no longer friends (on facebook or otherwise). This is a great song and the whole mix was awesome, so thanks JRu in absentia. Some of my favorite lyrics of all time are in this song. And apparently it was also in the tv show "Weeds," which Shelley and I haven't watched since it started kinda sucking.

Solsbury Hill (Peter Gabriel)

I know Michael Shutt and I share this as one of our favorite songs. This song reminds me of so many things, but the dominant memory is driving over a bridge in the Bay Area with my sister's friends (I think Lils and Kelly and Mere? And maybe Miranda?) going to outlets or something. I was so happy to be in that car with them. I think I'll always have that "little sister" feeling when I'm with my sister's friends. Especially Debbie Lippert, who ate my puzzle pieces when I was going through a jigsaw puzzle stage.

Ping One Down (Gomez)

Because there is a Gomez song on every mix I have made since 1999.

Mirror In the Bathroom (The Beat, aka The English Beat)

I saw The English Beat play at a benefit concert somewhere in a canyon in 2006. They were fantastic live and I'd love to see them again. My mom and I got matching English Beat hats (I have since lost mine) and I bought this album immediately. Another great song on this one is "Save it for Later."

Winter Birds (Ray LaMontagne)

This song was blowing up KCRW in the winter of 2008 and I was loving it.

What I Cannot Change (LeAnn Rimes)

If you read the lyrics to one song, pick this one. I have loved LeAnn Rimes since Tamara played me a recording of her singing "Blue" when she was, like, thirteen. This song makes me cry and makes me want to be a better person. In fact - screw it, it's the end, I'm pasting in the lyrics.

"What I Cannot Change" by LeAnn Rimes

I know what makes me comfortable
I know what makes me tick
And when I need to get my way I know how to pour it on thick
Cream and sugar in my coffee
Right away when I awake
I face the day and pray to God I won't make the same mistakes
Oh the rest is out of my hands

I will learn to let go what I cannot change
I will learn to forgive what I cannot change
I will learn to love what I cannot change
But I will change, I will change
Whatever I, whenever I can

I don't know my Father
Or my Mother well enough
Seems like every time we talk we can't get past the little stuff
The pain is self inflicted
I know it's not good for my health
But it's easier to please the world than it is to please myself
Oh the rest is out of my hands

I will learn to let go what I cannot change
I will learn to forgive what I cannot change
I will learn to love what I cannot change
But I will change, I will change
Whatever I, whenever I can

Right now I can't care about how everyone else will feel
I have enough hurt of my own to heal

I will learn to let go what I cannot change
I will learn to forgive what I cannot change
I will learn to love what I cannot change
But I will change, I will change
Whatever I, whenever I can

So there you have it - a peek into the selection of 18 songs for one of my holiday mixes. I hope you enjoyed my trip down memory lane. And I really hope I get my iTunes situation sorted out before the Holiday 2010 mix is due.


Anonymous said...

Have I told you lately that I love you?

NoHoJax said...

Oh, about 3 hours ago. But I still love hearing it. Love you too.

EM Lewis said...

You are the BEST, Miss Jackie. Thank you for this. I love the mix -- but even more than that, I love the chance to get to know you a little better!