More Reasons Why Being Deaf Sucks/Rocks

Ok, it’s actually a MixCD, but “Mixtape” just flows so much easier.

I actually used to make banging mixtapes. They rocked! Every summer when I would go home, work and spend all my money on music. Then before I went back to school I would make a tape of all of my favorite songs from the albums that I purchased. I would usually have a “What I Listened To This Summer – Hip Hop” tape and a “What I Listened To This Summer – Alternative” tape. They got much love.

I had it down to a science. I would time everything out and put instrumentals at the end of each side. I would usually start out slow and build up from there. Man, I was nice. My “Chill Mix” (which is essentially my version of the ever popular “Slow Jams” mix) was sick. I had songs that would slay the ladies.

But then came the burning of CD’s. I was against it for the longest. I had my mind set on creating a vibe for 45-minute intervals. I had perfected that. The idea of making a continuous mix of music for 80 minutes probably seemed daunting to me on some level, but I basically chalked my up my anti Mix CD mentality to the idea that technology was moving way too fast.

I finally got a computer that was able to burn I toyed around the prospect of burning mixes. I made way too many CD’s for my ex. But I can’t really complain about that because it allowed my the opportunity to create a storyline using songs, that lasted the entire CD.

When I moved to Las Vegas I made my best friend a three disc set of songs that I either knew that he enjoyed or that we shared memories to. It was a bittersweet endeavor. Most recently I’ve made some mixes for some coworker that were curious about Hip Hop.

Now when I make a mix, I have three basic rules that I follow;

1) I don’t like having the same artist on more than once.

2) I don’t provide a track listing.

3) I don’t take requests.

The reason for #1 is that it’s a mix, I don’t want one artist to dominate the entire thing. I don’t like to show favoritism, and it makes sure that the best songs make the cut.

The idea for #2 is that I actually want the person who gets the mix to listen to it. If I give a track listing, they might see an artist they don’t like and avoid that track, which takes away from the experience I was trying to create. They could also look at a name a and have any negative association they have with the name taint the song. Without a track listing, they at the very least enter into the listening experience with an open mind.

The rationale behind #3 is simple; if they want to hear that song so much they should go out and buy the album that it’s on.

So all this brings me to the topic at hand; a couple of coworkers asked me to make them a mix. I had been ragging them about their taste in music, so they challenged me to give them music worth listening too. Of course I accepted the challenge.

Now when I get into the frame of mind for making a mix, I start with the aforementioned three rules, but I also add a theme. At first the theme was going to be that there wouldn’t be two songs from the same type of music. Rock would be there but you wouldn’t have two songs with the same type of Rock.

But since my coworkers are both relatively young and, well, shallow, I decided that instead of the “no two songs from the same genre” rule I’d limit my song selection to songs from before they were born. I don’t think that they have a good grasp on the concept of music that actually means something, as opposed to music that is produced to be seen in videos.

Thus we have Hodgepodgeatorium: The Mix CD.

“The Jet Song” – Westside Story

I’ll admit it; I’m a sucker for musicals. All that singing and dancing really entertains me. I also figured that a big song and dance number would be a great way to start things off, because no one would be expecting it. Plus it’s a great song.

“Precious and Few” – Climax

Who doesn’t love a cheesy song? This song has “ballad” written all over it. I can’t explain why I dig this song. Maybe I put it here to counter the gang violence of the previous song. Maybe I just long for a simpler time when pop songs weren’t risqué.

“Brandy (You’re A Fine Girl)” – Looking Glass

This song rocks! It’s got that tragic story of love lost. It’s got that cool 70’s sound. It’s a song about a player, and I know how much my coworkers dig Usher, so I figured they would enjoy this.

“A Dream Goes On Forever” – Todd Rundgren

I was going to put “Can We Still Be Friends” on, but it was used in Nip/Tuck last week, so I had to drop it. Again this is a song that really captures the 70’s sound, and not that disco sound.

“Interjections” – School House Rock

I had to toss in a curveball. I knew that I wanted something from School House Rock, but I couldn’t decide which song. “I’m Just a Bill” and “Conjunction Junction” are probably the most well known, so they were out of the question. I’m a writer so that ruled out Math, Science and America. My writing also pushed me toward this song because it tells three stories. You gotta love that.

“Golden Brown” – The Stranglers

How do you follow up School House Rock? With a song romanticizing heroin. I’m no junkie, but I dig this cut. It’s almost haunting, yet soothing. It’s certainly never been heard by my coworkers.

“Just What I Needed – The Cars

When you hear this song, you can really hear what Ric Ocasek gave to Weezer when he was producing them. It’s a simple rock song that works so well. It’s got that great chorus, and that Cars sound. This song is a classic.

“I Wanna Be Your Dog” – The Stooges

This is punk. It’s menacing and threatening. It’s jarring on the ears and fuzzy. It’s perfect. I know for a fact that my dainty coworkers aren’t up on the Stooges. This serves as their introduction.

The Underdog Theme

I guess I was going for a “dog” theme. I needed another curveball and longtime readers know of my love for theme songs. This song is haunting and exciting. It’s creates a suspense like no other cartoon theme song, ever.

“Sara Smile” – Hall & Oates

This song was a joke between my best friend and I, and honestly it’s a karaoke favorite of mine. This song makes me want to date a girl named Sara, just so I could serenade her with this song. I love this track so much, that’s why I was so heated when Evocator beat me to the punch with referencing it over at 411. They better dig this song.

“Don’t Let The Sun Catch You Crying” – Ray Charles

This song is beautiful. I decided that they should have an idea about what the loss of Ray Charles meant to the world of music. He is death was a major event, and I doubt that they gave it a passing thought. So I selected this song to represent him to their ears.

“Bernadette” – The Four Tops

I don’t know why this song resonates with me so much. But it hits me. Maybe it’s the name, as this is the third song with a name in its title to make the mix. I’m also a huge fan of Motown. And you cannot front on the genius of Holland, Dozier, Holland.

“Use Me” – Bill Withers

This dudes voice is no joke. Withers has one of those distinct voices where he emotes so much that you believe every word he sings. This is also a throwback to a time when songs had some form of substance, were still an art, and weren’t just mass produced product.

“Strawberry Letter 23” – Brothers Johnson

This track is smooth. If you can hear this song and not feel anything, you’re dead. That melody will get stuck in your head for days, but it won’t drive you crazy. It’ll soothe you. It’ll rock you sleep. They don’t make songs like this anymore.

“Jungle Fever” – Chakachas

This is the groove. I remember way back when Jeff was still doing “The Dirty Dozen” we discussed this song. He was telling me how when he would spin this record the crowd would react appropriately. Words don’t do this song justice.

“Glowin'” – The Rationals

This is a cool little track that just makes you want to sway. It’s definitely one of those 70’s chill out tracks.

“Band of Gold – Freda Payne

I honestly love this song. I can’t explain it. Maybe I heard it at a pivotal moment of my life and it stuck with me. I can’t say. I do recall hearing it on the 70’s station back home, and I grew attached to it immediately. I’m obviously attracted to the storytelling element.

“God Only Knows” – The Beach Boys

This is another classic song, from a classic album. I did cheat by putting the stereo mix on this cd, because I didn’t want my coworkers to think that something was wrong with their stereos. I really dig the sentiment of the song. But I’m a romantic guy.

“I Walk The Line” – Johnny Cash

Here’s another late musician that I doubt is missed in their minds. I picked this song to show the contrasts between now and days gone by. Here is a song about commitment, where Usher has gone multi platinum of infidelity. This track is stark and practically barren, where everything today is over produced and heavily mixed. Plus I’m a huge Cash fan, so he had to make an appearance.

“Fly Me To The Moon (In Other Words)” – Frank Sinatra

This song just sounds classy. Maybe it’s because of a romanticized notion I have of Frank Sinatra. Maybe it’s Quincy Jones’ lush arrangements. Either way I put this on as a throwback to an era when Las Vegas actually had modicum of class as opposed to the cultural wasteland it is now.

The Odd Couple Theme

Like I said, I’m a huge fan of TV theme songs. This is one of my favorites. It’s a classic theme from an equally classic show. I’d be surprised if they have any clue about this one.

“Take Five” – Dave Brubeck Quartet

I tried my best to shy away from the beaten path up until this point. But I figured since I was venturing into Jazz I should probably go for something kind of recognizable, if only to keep their attention. This song has been in several movies, so I’m sure they’ll give it a listen.

“In A Sentimental Mood” – John Coltrane & Duke Ellington

Oh My God, do I love this song. This cut really evokes something within me. It’s like a stereotypical Jazz song, in the way that it’s what I would put on to unwind after a hard day. It’s just music for listening, beautiful. It makes me happy and sad, at the same time.
To me this is the perfect Jazz song.

“Everybody Sleeps” – Joe Raposo

What says “final curveball” more than a song from Sesame Street? Not too much. This song keeps the vibe going, but is out place enough to keep your attention. And seriously who doesn’t dig this song? This is the definition of “mellow.”

“Sleep Walk” – Santo & Johnny

Keeping with the sleep motif, I ended with this instrumental classic. It’s well known track, but it captures the vibe that I wanted to close on. There are few sounds greater than that of a steel guitar.

So there you have it. That’s the Hodgepodgeatorium Mix. It’s not quite the hodgepodge I hoped it to be, but it does what I set out to do.

By now you’ve realized that everyone was too quick in declaring me a great writer. But if you’re looking for great writers look no further than;

Aaron is holding a contest. But you should just read him because he’s always got the goods.

Jeff has an innovative new way to link, plus he’s working himself too hard.

Gloomchen expounds the virtues of walking and music. The two really do go hand in hand.

Joe has all your answers.

Phil is full of news and has some late breaking Pete Rock and CL Smooth developments.

MSD is full of theories and has something positive to say about Hip Hop.

Five CD’s I’ve Got To Pick Up, Soon

1. The Foreign Exchange – “Connected”
2. Frank n Dank – “X-Tended Play”
3. Brand Nubian – “Fire In The Hole”
4. Diamond – “Grown Man Talk”
5. Little Brother – “Chitlin’ Circuit”