14 December 2010


take me home...

1 home • low
2 home • glasser
3 home • david byrne + brian eno
4 you remind me of home • ben gibbard
5 home in your heart • solomon burke
6 my home is nowhere without you • herman düne
7 you're my only home • the magnetic fields
8 nestbuilding • the french
9 home time (lemon & lime) • joe goddard
10 come on home to me • tracey thorn with jens lekman
11 climbing high mountains • sam amidon
12 let me go home • sam cooke with the soul stirrers
13 feels like home • randy newman
14 home again • kate taylor
15 i'm comin' home • arthur alexander
16 i'm going back home • nina simone
17 home sweet home • flatt + scruggs
18 this is where i belong • the kinks
19 home (RAC mix) • edward sharpe + the magnetic zeros
20 (far from) home • tiga
21 home • kelis
22 home • lcd soundsystem
23 this must be the place (naïve melody) • talking heads
[ross of love, november 2011]

mmm. home has been on my mind a lot this year – as the house i moved into last june has become ever-increasingly (and through no small effort along the way, even if it now feels almost effortless) more homely, and as i've chosen to spend more and more time away from that home to be with a person who now feels more like home to me than i might have ever expected, and as i've been contemplating leaving this city which has been my home for the last ten years (and this amazing home of a neighborhood, which may forever still belong to both of us) so that we can make a new home together.

and it just so happens that two of my favorite songs of the year – by one of my well-established very favorite artists, and by a unusually intriguing newcomer – are titled "home": glasser's bewitching, almost eerie, yet magnificently warm and comforting, harmony-rich marvel (the first song of hers i heard, and far and away the standout of her striking debut album) and lcd soundsystem's generous, gently epic album-closer (which i overlooked for several months until i found myself dancing to it one fine night...), which might just stand as my favorite song of 2010, if only because it shares some clear, undoubtedly not coincidental similarities to my favorite song of ever... [and also because – at least the way i hear it – it's a bold and thorny exploration of one of my favorite themes; gleaning positivity and resilience from togetherness and connection in the face of confusion and frustration: if you’re afraid of what you need / look around you – you’re surrounded / it won’t get any better.]

obviously, a mix-tape was in order. this was not too difficult to make – an obvious example of the "itunes search" mix-making method, which often feels a bit distressingly easy, though perhaps it just presents different sorts of challenges. in this case, a title search for "home" yielded over 500 songs in my library, so there was a good bit of narrowing-down to do... and of course, naturally, the idea was to make a mix about the concept of home, not just of songs with "home" in the title. i think it turned out quite nicely, with a simple, logical conceptual shape, and a lot of standouts both shiny-new and golden-olden.

apart from the aforementioned pair (which i made almost-bookends, the second and penultimate tracks), i was happy to find a few other suitable selections from 2010 – especially the sam amidon (from an album i'd love to share as widely as i can) and tracey thorn (not the most strictly topical inclusion, but hard to resist a collaboration from two of my favorite singers, even on a cover of a songwriter [lee hazelwood] with whom i've never really connected.) and it wouldn't have felt right to leave off kelis, who also had a great song titled "home" (on a conceptually beautiful album that i didn't quite manage to connect with as much as some people) just because including it required a slightly sharper-than-planned veer into dance-tronica from the largely soul/folk/songwritery oriented main body of the mix.

similarly, i was ambivalent about using the edward sharpe/magnetic zeros song which somehow, without my real awareness, has apparently become something of a modern standard, since i have a probably unfairly suspicious opinion of them/him (it's not even a him, right?) (like, why do they have to have such an obnoxiously long, stupid name?), but it seemed callous to leave it off, since it is so obviously apropos. a bit dubious of this so-called "remix artist collective" too, but always nice to switch things up with a remix.

meanwhile, just like my dear mr. byrne, my b'lov'd darren hayman also happens to have a song called "home," by his old/best-known band hefner, the last track on my favorite of their albums and evidently a personal favorite of his. but i couldn't quite bring myself to include it, even though it is, i guess, topical – i just don't really like it for some reason, maybe because for whatever reason darren himself isn't the main singer – so instead (though i could have done both) i used "nestbuilding," by his other old/obscure band the french, which is a totally beautiful song i really love, even if it sort of ends up being more about a relationship than the ostensible topic of fixing up an old house. still works i think.

otherwise, thanks to itunes for helping me discover the lovely low-flying low tune (more like a hymn, or a mantra) which wound up as an almost preternaturally perfect opener, beautifully setting up the more unsettled/ambivalent/homesick/searching/yearning first half of the mix (home to several more of my favorite songs, especially for singing; the ben gibbard and magnetic fields) before the midpoint tone-shift into homecoming hootenanny/celebration/dance party.

also: i couldn't really think of a good title (for the mix, or for this post) but i guess i'm already there.

as usual, let me know if you want a copy. limited edition potato-stamp printed artwork now available...

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