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9:49 a.m. - May 03, 2006
The Best Of Smed!
As you read yesterday , I love making mixes for people.

This past week, I sent one out to Red, the Traveler, who has acknowledged its presence! This week, I get one done for Heeland Lass and ship it all the way to Scotland! Have a safe journey!

I hope they like the bounty of music.

Now yesterday, some of my gracious victims recipients gave me feedback on their least favorite songs on my mixes. Of course, not every song is going to be a winner, but they were very nice in their critiques and criticisms, and I’ll have to admit, some of their choices surprised me.

I do realize, also, that calling it “the worst” is relative. As some have pointed out, when the songs are in the mixes, they work alongside the other songs, and that’s the point of a good mix. You have interlocking songs, and they work together, so you hear the song you don’t like as much in a new light.

(Oh, and some of you mentioned didn’t send in detailed reviews, which is just fine and dandy. I mean, I can’t have others write an entire essay, can I? Oh, I could? Ah, well!)

But of course, with the ‘bad’ (or mediocre) comes the good, and these fine folks also told me what tripped their trigger the most.

Was it just a righteous selection by Smed?
Was it the fact it reminded them of good times?
Was it the fact that it gets stuck in their heads like barnacles?

Well, let’s see.

One song got a couple of mentions, and considering the controversy surrounding it, and the fact that I sent it to women, I was a bit shocked.

It was “Smack My B**** Up” by Prodigy. Both Rachel and Kat mentioned it.

Rachel, your thoughts?

“Smack My B**** Up makes me think Alias thoughts. I know, I know, but I hear it and not only does it make me wanna dance, I start creating Alias scenes in my mind - "Ok, here's where she's being all sneaky... and here's where she has to kick someone's ass!... now she bursts through double doors and starts bookin' it down the hallway!" Yes, I know - I'm a complete and total loser.”

A. You’re not a loser
B. This illustrates a point – a song reminds you of something else and good times!

Judith said this about the schlocky hit single from the early 80’s “Sausalito Summernights” by Diesel:

“I have this 45 single and was totally not expecting to hear this on my mix. Love it. It brings back very fond memories.”

Freshhell mentioned this about the notorious (?) Dead Kennedys’ song “Nazi Punks **** Off!”
“…this one takes me back. And I don't like it because it's a listenable song because it's noise, mainly. But, when I dated a punker skateboarder idiot in high school he loved the DKs and we drove from Richmond to Morgantown WV just to see them play in some club. He had NO idea where Morgantown was or how far it was (6 hours) from here to there. We arrived in M-town around 11pm just as the DKs started their set. We squeezed in the tiny club, enjoyed the show, and drove all the way back. Arrived home around 7am or so. Plus, this song just makes me laugh. It's so juvenile and ridiculous.”

Jenn (now locked) mentioned “Pouring Water On a Drowning Man” by James Carr.

“It reminded me of being little for some reason; it is the kind of music that my father would have loved.”

More good (?) childhood memories came from Andria, as she talked about “Cherry Bomb” by the Runaways.

“I love this because the Runaways were the first band I saw that were ALL CHICKS, and ALL ROCK. I never saw girls playing guitars like that before, and just being filthy rock stars. I loved it. When my mom and stepdad (who I refer to as my dad) first got married, we lived in this apartment, and above us were these two hippie guys named Chuck and Don. Chuck and Don were my first bad influences (and I was like, seven or eight). They exposed me to EVERYTHING. Like Beatles cartoons, Pink Floyd and The Runaways. I'm pretty sure I always had a contact high whenever they babysat me, too.”

The lovely Dandy had a great memory from “Love Me Tomorrow” by Boz Scaggs.

“My parents owned the LP Silk Degrees. So right away, I'm thinking about the colonial house I lived in on Orchard Street with the hideous funky green oriental rug in the living room and dancing around with my younger sister. Thinking about that reminds me what a pain dancing was in the age of LPs and how my parents would yell from the other room for us to stop jumping around and causing the album to skip. Good times. Thanks for the memory Smed!”

Dandy has written about my mixes here, here, here, and here so check it out!

Violet had this to say about “Every 1’s a Winner” by Hot Chocolate. It was a memory, but not in a traditional sense:

“Disco always held a certain mystery for me--I missed the era, but as a kid, was fascinated with the trappings--very high heeled, strappy sandals; rainbow-hued Lycra
dresses; ruby lip gloss. Flashing lights, gold chains--it was like Oz. I didn't understand the sex and drugs aspects of the craze, but I loved the music from afar. This song in particular appealed to me, maybe because of its bouncy synth line, and the way the chorus builds to a blaring choral blast, "SATISFAAAAH--EYE!" It struck me as
slightly sinister, and I had no idea what they were talking about, but woo! Party on!”

On song that Rachel also mentioned was “Things That Scare Me” by Neko Case. She put it on her list because it’s so different. That also brings me to another point about good mixes.

Good mixes should challenge the listener and get them a bit out of their comfort zone. It should try to introduce new styles, new artists, and new genres, but not foist it upon them so it’s overbearing. Sprinkle in the odd, unique and difficult stuff, like a good cook uses garlic! It makes the mix spicy!

Harri3t wrote about the wonderful (?) world of Captain Beefheart (and one of my mixes) in this entry had this to say about the brilliant “Madonna Trilogy” by the Meat Purveyors:

“This is good not just because it's funny, not just because the musical quality is so high, but because the genre fusion (bluegrass meets early Madonna) works. They've identified some fundamental similarities between the Madonna tracks and the genre of bluegrass that would never have occurred to me any other way.”

She also expounds on another Captain Beefheart track, “Tropical Hot Dog Night:”

“Love the sound, love the lyrics. A very different kind of piece than "Doctor Dark." I'd probably dub the style anarchic Cuban. I just noticed I called both the Beefheart tunes "piece" rather than "song." I think that's because there's a richness here that I usually only find outside rock genres. Beefheart's a class to itself. Both of these songs turn on the musician's part of my brain but they still pass the test that a fellow ethnomusicologist refers to as having "a good beat you can dance to."

Freshhell said this about Edgar Winter’s “Alta Mira”, which surprised her:

“I really like this song and was surprised to learn it was Winter. I never have paid much attention to him in the past because mainly he scared me in that Jackie Rogers Junior way. Scary. So I neglected to notice his music. Is it all this lovely? If so, I have much to learn.”

Some songs lead to philosophical questions, right Violet?

“For Those About to Rock (We Salute You) -- AC/DC. This song has it all: Bombast, gunfire, and a complete absence of logic. I mean, wouldn't the listener already be rocking, once it began? Is the audience assumed to be waiting patiently for the rocking to begin?
Does it matter? Angus is recognizing our potential, and saluting us for it! FIRE!”

Then of course, are part of my mix specialty – the dorky song!

“Happiness” by the Anita Kerr Singers – the song that Red and I listened to in the hotel bar, was loved by Vicki and Violet.

Vicki: “And speaking of boppy – one can not help but bop to this song. Makes me smile”

Violet: “Hey!”Hotdogs and sun and mustard all over your face!" That is one crazy party”

That’s what my mixes are, a crazy party!

Well, this was fun! I loved getting all the feedback, hearing all the memories, and listening to all of my friends and fiends that I’ve sent music to in the past six months or so. I’ll have to do this again when I send out my next batch, so be prepared!

Music week will continue tomorrow, of course! That’s why they call it music week, eh?

 

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