Thursday, August 30, 2007

Fun, Genius, Emotion, and Pop in Less Than 24 Minutes

The newest Green Monkey Music Project mix is now ready for download: The Under 3. Thanks to Splotchy for remembering my desire to be a part of the project; I hope I can contribute again at some point in the future.

Anyway, here's the traditional explanation of why I picked the tracks I picked. The theme for the mix was eight songs under three minutes in length; that left the participants a lot of freedom to throw on anything within those constraints. Here's what I picked.

1. Todd Rundgren: "International Feel"
This is the first track off of Rundgren's second masterpiece, A Wizard, a True Star. This was the period when Todd was experimenting with drugs, and the opening is supposed to feel and sound like a rush of cocaine. I chose it because I wanted a strong open that was arty but still fun without being boring.

2. Scissor Sisters: "I Can't Decide"
From arty fun to bouncy fun; I love this song, I love the Scissor Sisters, and I wanted to keep the pace up. They used this on the third season finale of Doctor Who, and it was so absurdly appropriate that I've had this song stuck in my head ever since. I almost went with something by Queen, either "Killer Queen" or "Seven Seas of Rhye," but this just seemed a better fit.

3. Richard Thompson: "Oops! I Did It Again" [live]
Thompson and one acoustic guitar cover Britney on some NPR radio show. There are ironic covers of Britney (Bowling for Soup, Fountains of Wayne, both boring), and then there's this: plain-faced, straight-delivered, acoustic and intimate, complete genius. And at 1:59, it stops before it gets gimmicky. Dammit, I love Richard Thompson.

4. The Zombies: "Summertime"
It's weird to think that the Zombies were only together for such a brief period of time, and yet they have such an overwhelmingly great output. I love every Zombies song I've ever heard and always crave more. This is their own soft, lovely version of the Gershwin song. It's a nice song when you start to hit the end of summer; a smile without being nostalgic or sappy.

5. Django Reinhardt: "Swing Intepretation of the First Movement of the First Concerto in D Minor"
What a mouthful. Anyway, this has a swift beat to it and proves that great music can be interpreted across the genres without losing its brilliance. The centers of my mixes tend to be gentle, reserved, and easygoing; I thought this was a good fit after "Summertime."

6. JoJo: "Times Like These" [live]
This is the song I'm most expecting taking ridicule for. But I wanted to illustrate something: especially for her age, Joanna Levesque has an astonishingly good voice; it's just the songs written for her that suck. If she can get herself a decent song--such as this nicely acoustic version of a Foo Fighters classic--she can rock it down to the ground and all the way back up. You should listen to it just once and see what she could do if she wasn't trapped in this juvenile mode that she's much too talented for. Stupid music industry.

7. Adam and the Ants: "Jolly Roger"
Back to some fast moving rock music. It's typical Ants; heavy on the bass and percussion, seemingly endless, but also jaunty and fun and, frankly, awesome. I wanted to begin and end with something bouncy, so here it is.

8. David Bowie: "Bombers"
An unreleased track from Hunky Dory, one of my favorite little Bowie oddities. And I liked the way the song is fast, snotty, rude, and then a lamentation, and then--nothing. A good place to close, I thought. And then it goes into J.D.'s mix, so my explanations stop here.

Anyway, the whole thing is up for download on Splotchy's blog. Click the link above. I love this project; I've been hearing a lot of music I'm unfamiliar with, and that's one of my favorite things to do.

Everything's coming up Splotchy this morning. I'm pleased to discover that my Billy Squier submission to Splotchy's Gayest Video Ever contest has tied for first! And now I'm one of two winners of the visually disturbing Schneider Award that I've been coveting for, like, a day or something.Not that anything will stop me from displaying this on my sidebar. I'm an attention whore.

I'd like to also congratulate Frank Sirmarco, whose submission, Wham's "Wake Me Up," tied with my own for very gay content. I'd also like to thank Splotchy, J.D., Beckeye, and Anandamide for voting for me; Anandamide also suggested the video, but did it after I'd posted it, so we see how great minds think alike. And, of course, I'd like to thank Billy Squier, whose flitting and skipping and writhing and extra attention to his hair and wardrobe helped me win this award. I'm sharing this with you, sir!


J.D. said...

David Bowie, then Lindsay Lohan: not planned, still hilarious.

Splotchy said...

I had never heard of JoJo before this mix.

When you first published your choices, I had first assumed you were talking about Jonathan Richman, who sometimes is affectionately called Jojo by his fans.

I don't really like the Foo Fighters all that much (although I honestly haven't really given them a good listen), but I really like her version of their song. Very nice.

SamuraiFrog said...

I didn't like the Foo Fighters very much until a couple of years ago. I'm not sure why, it just suddenly clicked with me.