06 January 2012

2011, all mixed up

In the past, I've had a policy of "saving" my emerging favorite favorite songs from an unfolding year – i.e. refraining from including them on mixes (or at least mass-distro mixes) and holding them back instead for a big bang-up year-end mix of songs. That delayed-gratification approach has resulted in some satisfying summing-ups which have stood up to time – notably, 2003's Such Great Heights [aka the duct tape mix]; Fun and Interesting: 2008 in Pop; and last year's H'010nanny! Other years I haven't made a year-end songs mix at all, or else I've made one that I didn't like much at that time and have forgotten about since (like the 2009 two-fer at the bottom of this post.)

This year, breaking my own rules willy-nilly, I made several mixes over the course of the year which did include most of my current-listening favorites – and what's worse I rejiggered the tracklists of these mixes and cherry-picked songs from them for use on later mixes – without necessarily ever settling on a finished stand-alone mix that I was completely happy with. (a similar process has happened with my year-end top ten lists this year – it's been that kind of year.) So in effect, I guess, my B3ST 0F 2oII M1XT@P3 has been a work-in-progress all year long.

Here are some tracklists – they may or may not exactly reflect the versions of mixes I may or may not have given you over the course of the year, but in the end why fuss; it's all good musik!

We Need a Mix*
1. Cults - Go Outside
2. Dom - Living in America
3. James Curd presents Ziggy Franklin - Shelter
4. Cornershop with Bubbley Kaur - Double Decker Eyelashes
5. Xylos - Not Enough
6. Britney Spears - How I Roll
7. Abigail Washburn - City of Refuge
8. David Wax Museum - Yes, Maria, Yes
9. The Kills - Nail In My Coffin
10. The Strokes - Taken For A Fool
11. Peter Bjorn and John - Dig A Little Deeper
12. Yelle - Comme Un Enfant
13. Zoey Van Goey - You Told The Drunks I Knew Karate
14. The Mountain Goats - Estate Sale Sign
15. About Group - There's A Way To End This Run Of Doubt
16. The Decemberists - Calamity Song
17. Deerhoof - Super Duper Rescue Heads!
18. Young Galaxy - B.S.E.
19. Revolver - Monk (Mini Mansions Cover)
20. Panda Bear - Slow Motion
21. Cut Copy - Need You Now (Architecture in Helsinki Version)

*titled in homage to the epic Okkervil River song which I liked [and whose title I especially liked, and took as sort of the thesis statement of their fascinating-but-not-quite-lovable album in my annoyingly non-linkable cowbell magazine article...come to think of it that album got weirdly and also unfairly shunted out of pretty much all year-end coverage i've come across, mine included...] but which I didn't manage to actually include on this or any mix...but equally as an appropriately descriptive/meaning-empty response to a slightly alarming feeling of having to do something with the already-overwhelming glut of sure-fine-yeah musical detritus that was accumulating in my 2011 headspace circa april, which must have been about when i made this.

i like the hipster/anti-hipster move of opening with two of the biggest blog hits of 2010, for the very sane reason that i was only just hearing/really getting into them. i also like lots of these songs, but ultimately the ones i really like the most are the ones that got pillaged for later editions...see below...

1. Foster the People - Pumped Up Kicks
2. Beyoncé - Countdown
3. Mayer Hawthorne - Work To Do
4. The Cool Kids ft. Mayer Hawthorne - Swimsuit
5. Dennis Coffey ft. Mayer Hawthorne - All Your Goodies Are Gone
6. Sebastian ft. Mayer Hawthorne - Love In Motion
7. Pictureplane - Real Is A Feeling
8. tUnE-yArDs - Bizness
9. When Saints Go Machine - Kelly
10. Architecture in Helsinki - Contact High
11. Ford & Lopatin - World of Regret
12. Wild Beasts - Lion's Share
13. Rye Rye ft. Robyn Never Will Be Mine
14. Teddybears ft. Robyn - Cardiac Arrest
15. Nicola Roberts - Beat Of My Drum
16. Kissy Sell Out ft. MC Zulu - Turn It On
17. Austra - Lose It
18. Ada -Keep Me In Mind
19. Benoit & Sergio - What I've Lost
20. Allo Darlin' - Tallulah
21. YACHT - Shangri-La

*because what we really need most is a summer mix, and can't get much simpler cuz i didn't think i could really pull off the Mangumian po'etry of "Cum Trees in the Summerville Breeze" q.v. the ginkgos outside my Inman Sq. [but over the line] Somer sublet., which was the phrase in my head every time i biked up prospect street past the field (The Field!) etc.... anyhow this is more like it. Mayer Hawthorne and Robyn get to be MVPs even tho they hadn't (yet) even put out anything much new of their own in 2011... some versions of this also included Junior Boys' "Banana Ripple," which (like the rest of their album) i kinda like but mostly just don't know what to do with. the closing sequence is really the clincher; I played it to end our midsummer backyard pool Shlock Party, and I kept it for what is essentially a cannibalistic combination of the two above mixes:

Glow in the Dark, Arrow in the Heart*
1. Cults: Go Outside (Menahan Street Band Remix)
2. Beyoncé: Countdown
3. Mayer Hawthorne: Work To Do
4. Xylos: Not Enough
5. Young Galaxy: B.S.E.
6. Pictureplane: Real Is A Feeling
7. ANR: It's Around You
8. tUnE-yArDs: Bizness
9. Cornershop & Bubbley Kaur: Double Decker Eyelashes
10. When Saints Go Machine: Kelly
11. Architecture in Helsinki: Contact High
12. Wild Beasts: Lion's Share
13. Abigail Washburn: City of Refuge
14. Mark McGuire: Chances Are
15. Active Child: Hanging On
16. Hercules & Love Affair: Boy Blue
17. Ada: Keep Me In Mind
18. Benoit & Sergio: What I've Lost
19. Allo Darlin': Tallulah
20. Y∆CHT: Shangri-La
[packaged in a pink sleeve]

*maybe not my favorite lyric from "Kelly" (the whole thing really is brilliant, even perversely so), but it's certainly a potent summation of what the song feels like, and likewise the love of any good song or season or, sure, boy. when i made this it was just early fall and i was touring through the southland, so the working/burning title of this was dixieville. i could've jiggered it more (maybe swapping in a MayHawt album original for the Isleys cover from the EP, but it just didn't feel right) but decided to let it stand as-is as one-half of my "official" "best of 2011" mix-package, along with:

A Swastika In Your Cappucino*
1. Lana Del Rey: Video Games
2. Jens Lekman: Waiting for Kisten
3. Frank Turner: Peggy Sang The Blues
4. Wilco: Dawned On Me
5. Lykke Li: I Follow Rivers
6. Low: Try To Sleep
7. When Saints Go Machine: Add Ends
8. The Dø: Too Insistent (Trentemøller Remix)
9. Paul Simon: Love Is Eternal Sacred Light
10. Kathryn Calder: Who Are You?
11. Peter Bjorn and John: Dig A Little Deeper (Mayer Hawthorne Remix)
12. Cults: Walk At Night
13. Baby Dee: The Pie Song
14. They Might Be Giants: Cloissoné
15. Devon Sproule: The Warning Bell
16. Darren Hayman: I Taught You How To Dance
17. James Blake: Lindisfarne II
18. Gillian Welch: Hard Times
19. St. Vincent: Champagne Year
20. The Throne: Made In America (Ft. Frank Ocean)
21. Joan As Police Woman: Human Condition
22. Cut Copy: Need You Now (Architecture in Helsinki Version)
[packaged in a baby boy blue sleeve, though come to think of it maybe they shoulda been switched]

*probably is my favorite lyric from "Kirsten," which is equally the most brilliant, heart-wrenching and hilarious lyric of the year, even if the string parts do cannibalize his past work. not sure it's a great mix title, but it's a great image, mental or actual (i drew it on some copies.) i agonized over this for a long time in isolation, and i guess i'm pretty happy with it by now. might have actually been easier to slim down to a single disc of for-sure favorites, but i like having space to include things like "Add Ends" (a more representative and possibly of-greater-wide-interest WSGM selection) and "Cloissoné" (definitely the standout of the semi-let-downish Join Us) and "The Pie Song" (hard to satisfactorily integrate, but equally hard to safely ignore) and especially "Human Condition," which I'd mostly forgotten about but does include some truly poignant lines which have made me almost cry multiple times (the opening verse, basically.)

....and then... all the end of year lists and whatsits started coming out, and i went on my usual year-end catch-up downloading rampage, and started totally jamming out to all these awesome techno/hip-hop/weirdpop/rnb songs i'd mostly not even heard previously, plus a few poppier jams that hadn't quite fit in with other iterations. and, mostly, i just wanted to dance, and jam out. so i burned this one up quick, and gave it to some of you. it's a mix of my favorite songs in the history of the world ever, circa the last week of december 2011. and i would like it to be called:

Teeth Ring, Ears Click
1. Jai Paul: BTSTU
2. Purity Ring: Ungirthed
3. Miguel: Sure Thing
4. The Weeknd: The Morning
5. Kelly Rowland ft. Lil Wayne: Motivation
6. Jacques Greene: Another Girl
7. Jamie xx: Far Nearer
8. Adele: Rolling In The Deep (Jamie xx Shuffle)
9. Soulja Boy: Zan With That Lean
10. Big K.R.I.T feat. Ludacris & Bun B: Country Shit (Remix)
11. Azaelea Banks: 212
12. Ill Blu: Meltdown
13. Blawan: Getting Me Down
14. Don Omar ft. Lucenzo: Danza Kuduro
15. Modeselektor ft. Busdriver: Pretentious Friends
16. Lana Del Rey: Blue Jeans (Penguin Prison Remix)
17. Franz Ferdinand: No You Girls (Trentemøller Remix)

okay, i give up... maybe next year i'll just make some mix tapes for the sake of making some mix tapes, and leave it at that. or maybe i'll just make spotify playlists, once i figure out what that's supposed to be, exactly? i just joined, i'm intrigued...we'll see? well anyway, hope you like the music.

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