' Cinema Romantico: My Official 2010 Ultimate Mix Tape

Thursday, December 30, 2010

My Official 2010 Ultimate Mix Tape

In his documentary "The Promise", about the making of the "Darkness on the Edge of Town", Bruce Springsteen, as he's so wont to do, said something that resonated with me.  He said: "Part of what pop and rock promised was the never ending now. It's about living NOW. The need to be alive right NOW. Those three minutes it was all on....and it lifted you into this beautiful ever present now." Well, of the hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of new songs I heard over the course of 2010 these were the songs I turned to when I needed to be alive right NOW.  These were the songs that no matter where I was, what I was doing, or how I felt, could always - always - lift me up into that beautiful ever present now. 

Tell me what's on your 2010 mixtape.  After all, my quest for that ever present now is never-ending.

"Half Light II (No Celebration)" / "Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)", The Arcade Fire. In typical Arcade Fire fashion these songs are not songs. They are hymns, they are manifestos, they are snapshots of the world in all her pain and beauty at present, they are fermented pop music grapes of exquisite immortality (???), all of which is to say their brilliance is beyond us.  I'm not worthy. And neither are you.

Am I the only one who wishes they dressed like this all the time?
"All The Lovers" / "Can't Beat The Feeling", Kylie Minogue. Really, her entire new record, "Aphrodite", is awesome and deserves a place near the top of the formidable Kylie Canon. It was my favorite album from 2010, which is to say it was, in actuality, my fourth favorite album in 2010, but I'll explain that in a minute. These two songs made the most powerful impression on me and they did so because when I first heard them I realized that Kylie was speaking directly to me. She was saying: "Hey, Nick, I know you like Lady Gaga. And that's cool. No worries. I like her, too. I respect her. But, you know, I'm, like, Kylie Minogue. You and I go way back, remember? I haven't gone anywhere. I'm still here." Duly noted.  Lady Gaga has kinda become my current Female Bruce Springsteen, but Kylie Minogue will always be my one and only Kylie Minogue.
"Boy" / "Too Dramatic", Ra Ra Riot. I was honestly a little disappointed in their sophomore effort as a whole but, even so, these two tracks are pretty much precisely what I seek in pop music. If they can someday encapsulate the experience of seeing them live (which I have had the honor and privilege of doing five times now) into an album it will undoubtedly cause my head to delightfully explode.


"Engine To Turn", Tift Merritt. My official 2010 Anthem.

Did you know this person has read my blog? Just sayin'.  I don't have a lot of great moments in this life, okay, so let me have this one.  Please.
"Harlem River Blues", Justin Townes Earle. The most uproarious, most danceable song about drowning one's self ever recorded. Three minutes of absolute ecstasy.


"Lost In The Backyard", James McMurtry. So I was kinda late to the party with this album ("Where'd You Hide The Body?"). Like, 15 years late. But back then I was too busy digging on Gwen and Tribe to think about some Americana rocker from the Lone Star State. (Those were the days before I discovered Lucinda Williams and realized that country music isn't awful - in fact, it can be quite transplendent - so long as you're listening to the right country music.) Besides, as a believer in destiny I have no doubt this album was supposed to get to me in 2010 and no earlier and so it did, thankfully, and it was my third favorite album of this particular year. I'm choosing this song for the mix tape because, well, frankly, I feel like I'm still lost in the backyard.  Or, like James says, "I said this is the last time / A few times ago / But once more it's happened / And that's all in the world I know."


"My Pet Snakes", Jenny and Johnny. While I was kind of all over the map on how I felt in regards to the mega-fantastical Jenny Lewis's new album with her boy-toy, Jonathan Rice, this song....this song I looooooove. It's Nicks/Buckingham for the modern-day hipsters who in accordance with Hipster Code are not allowed to like Nicks/Buckingham.


"Fading Memory", Eilen Jewell. So earlier this year I was attempting to offer an explanation to my friend Dan of my admittedly confounding music tastes (likely made apparent from this list so far) and out of desperation said something to the effect of "I don't think I care for blues based music" except then my sister introduced me to this song and I fell head-over-heels, punch-drunk in love with it (there was a day this summer where I was on the train and it was so packed I could barely even reach the pole I was clinging to and this guy's backpack kept smacking me in the face and so I put this song on repeat on the ol' Ipod and it was all gooooood) and, well, guess what?  This song is blues based. So it's official: My music tastes make absolutely no sense.


"Night" / "Run Me Out", Zola Jesus. Damn, this girl's goth. So why does her music make me feel like I'm driving through New Mexico beneath a cloudless sky with a killer cup of coffee and a full heart?  (My fifth favorite album of the year even though it was an EP.)

I don't think I'm technically allowed to like someone so goth.
"Dog Days Are Over", Florence & The Machine.  Her debut album, "Lungs", which was released last year was the second best album I heard this year and if anyone tries to tell me this particular song isn't rock and roll I will drive a snowplow right into their house.


"Gimme Sympathy", Metric. It took me a year and a half to find this album - "Fantasies" - and that's fine because it was the best album I heard in 2010. Top-to-bottom, front-to-back, inside-and-out, every-which-way, I love it, I love it, I love it. Did I say I loved it? Because I loved it. And I'm choosing "Gimme Sympathy" for the mix tape for the simple fact I find it utterly inconceivable this is not the single biggest song in the entire world.
If I were Music Czar.........

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