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11:04 a.m. - February 16, 2006
A Brief History of My Mix CDs - Volume I - 2005/2006
Before this essay, I’d like to make some announcements.

By all means, if you haven’t yet, do my Johari. Why? Because I’m a needy person who needs reinforcement! No, actually, I think the link was fubared for a while when I first put it up.

The white zone is for loading and unloading only. Unattended cars in the white zone will be towed away at owner’s expense, set on fire, and vaporized.

I gave Liz some carnations last night! All is well with the world!

We have reports that the brown acid that’s going around is not specifically too good. It’s your own, trip, so be my guest, but there is a warning about that. And if you need to experiment, try half a tab.

Ladies and Gentlemen: Ten Years After….

As you know, I’m a mix CD making fool. I used to be a mix tape making fool. (As opposed to my general fool-ness – I’m a special grade fool.)

Right now, after the Soundtrack to the soap Rockin’, I’m taking a little break. I have a project that will be delivered in person on March 19, and then after that I’m getting to more. I have ten people in the hopper for spring and summer mix CD deliveries, (and some don’t know they are on the list, but will know soon enough) but I want to refresh the tunes and get some fresh ones in the rotation.

Each project I do from scratch.

First I assemble the potential songs used for everyone.

After a few days of listening, I then break those songs up into playlists of similar sounds, genres, styles, and origins, as best I can. Usually, this means I have one CD of odds and ends, but that’s OK, isn’t it?

I try to max out each play list at as close to 79 or 80 minutes as I can. I then assemble the playlist for each CD in such a way that it flows from one song to another fairly seamlessly, but sometimes a jarring transition is the best.

I then burn the CDs, quality check them, make sure the proper notes and indices are attached, and send them off. I then re-collapse the individual playlists into one playlist I store. That way, if I do another mix for someone else (and one person is on the list for a repeat, well, because she’s the best and she knows it) then I won’t duplicate the songs.

So, since I’m in a little mix CD hiatus, I decided to do some stats. Why? Because that’s the kind of guy I am. And since I save all of my mixes on iTunes, it’s easy to compile this stuff.

Since last spring, I have made mix CDs for 19 people, including the wife, some conference buddies, and some internet buddies.

For those 19 people, I have made a total of 103 mix CDs in total.

On those 103 mix CDs, there are 2,268 total tracks (counting duplicates). That means each mix CD has an average of 22 per CD. (I think the record is 30 I put on a CD for Loopy. That one was chock full of pop and garage band nuggets from the 60’s, when anything over 2:30 was blasphemy.

Of those 2,268 tracks – 1,436 of those songs are unique.

Of those 1,436 songs, they are done by 617 different artists.

So what artists pop up the most on these here things?

Well, I’ll tell you. Now these aren’t unique songs, just how many times I’ve put them on the various mix CDs.

Beach Boys – 29 – almost 2 in 7 CDs contains a Beach Boys song. And mostly post Pet Sounds Beach Boys.

Captain Beefheart – 26 - (Of course, I cheated a bit there, for the Lap wanted a Beefheart CD. As you wish.

Joe Jackson – 23 - I got on a Joe Jackson kick for a while there and I think there’s nothing wrong with that.

The Posies – 23 – I’m always an advocate for them. I do believe they could have been huge. Alas, not to be, but still, the tunes live on (and they’re back together, but did they ever really break up??)

Big Star – 22 – Not surprising, since I think everyone in the world needs to buy the Big Star CDs. (The older ones, not the new one, though it’s OK. It’s just not the same).

The Byrds – 22 – Again, not surprising, since their albums are an untapped gold mine of gems that oldies radio ignore, mainly because their pigheaded and stoopid. Oh, what am I talking about – that’s radio!

Neko Case – 20 – A firecracker of a voice. (Note: this does NOT include her work with the New Pornographers).

The Jayhawks – 20 – I just have a few songs in my mix rotation, but they always seem to show up when I search for songs for people.

The Three O’Clock – 19 – Another band that deserved better than they got, though the farther along in their career you go, the less essential the records become.

If you add Ryan Adams to Whiskeytown – he leads with 33 – but as you know that’s not exactly playing to Hoyle. Adams himself has 18.

Others at 18: PJ Harvey, ZZ Top
16 each: Camper Van Beethoven, They Might Be Giants
15 each: Morphine, Roxy Music, Television, The Jam

Now for the individual tunes that I’ve put on mixes the most. Does this mean they will be retired? Possibly – I like to keep things fresh. However, some songs are so essential, so vital, yet so unheard; it’s realistic that they’ll just keep burbling up.

These songs made six appearances each:

“Oblivious” by Aztec Camera – A jaunty little pop tune from the 80’s that more people need to hear, and love and obey, and cherish.

“Way You Walk” by Papas Fritas – A cute little indie-pop tune that was converted into a commercial for Dentyne Ice (it was the one where they were on the subway and the chick pops in the gum and her breath becomes cool and she writes her phone number on the frost in the window). It’s a charming little thing that’s just right in some mixes.

“Our Sweet Love” by the Beach Boys – I’m surprised “This Whole World” wasn’t higher – but this one just spoke to more people that I was mixing for, I suppose. It’s tender and sweet and has impeccable production, naturally.

“Blue” by the Jayhawks. One of the first times I mixed this for someone (it was for the Goddess a couple of years ago, thus not in the totals above) she couldn’t believe how it spoke to her another other people. It’s a good sad song to listen to when you want to wallow in your squalor, but not sad enough to open a vein over, because it’s hopeful at the same time.

These songs made five appearances each:

“The Ballad Of El Goodoo” – Big Star
“When My Baby’s Beside Me” – Big Star
“Blue Letter” – Fleetwood Mac
“Amsterdam” – Guster
“Loved One’s Lies” – The Jupiter Affect
“Every Word Means No” – Let’s Active
“Goodbye June Fool” – Madder Rose
“Someday, Someway” – Marshall Crenshaw
“What Do All The People Know” – The Monroes
“Scratch” – Morphine
“New Kind of Love” – The Mysteries of Life
“Love Is Hell” – Ryan Adams
“Jumpers” – Sleater / Kinney
“This Whole World” – The Beach Boys
“Been It” – The Cardigans
“I’d Run Away” – The Jayhawks
“Waiting For The Sun” – The Jayhawks
“Waterloo Sunset” – The Kinks
“Genius of Love” – The Tom Tom Club
“Copacetic” – Velocity Girl

Well, there you have it, brothers and sisters. One year (give or take) of mixing. Whew! That’s a lot of tunes, to be sure, but there will be more to come out in 2006. Just you all wait.


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