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11:45 a.m. - February 12, 2007
The Love Mix!

First off, thanks to EVERYONE who has offered to help a Smed out. I need a few days to take stock, inventory, etc. of what people have sent and what I need, but when I do, I'll get back to you all!

You know, it's just a couple of days before everyone is SUPPOSED to get their hearts, flowers, candy and other accoutrements from their sweeties. And what else would be better than a mix of some great songs?

Well, just in time for you to seek, buy, and burn, I offer to you Smed’s Love Mix, 2007 version.

Candlelight, a fireplace, and this CD may make the mood, well, moodful, or something!

Now what I've tried to do is not to have the songs be off the beaten path, a bit. I mean, sure, there may be some obvious choices (well, obvious for me) but I think you’d agree that these songs are great to tell your sweetie (man or woman) how much you (love, like, care) about them.

Shall we? Of course, we shall. And let me just say that this is dedicated to Liz. Darling, I love you.

1. Words Of Love - Buddy Holly. The Beatles covered this one on Beatles For Sale, so you know it's got to be a good one. There's a gentle, intricate guitar line, some great harmonies by Buddy Holly himself recorded one voice at a time (the engineering on his tracks were impeccable, especially given WHEN they were recorded). This has a very warm sound that elicits tenderness.

2. Because - The Dave Clark. Sure, it might be lightweight lyrically, but this track has a lot of things going for it. The instrumentation is cool, with the typical bottom heavy bass, an interesting organ sound and great harmonies by the group. And yes, the lyrics may be simple, but they are heartfelt. This was a pretty major hit that's really not played on the oldies stations, for whatever reason. In the UK, it was a b-side only.

3. Everything That Touches You - The Association. From the opening bass line, to the harmonies, and the building production, this is a clear classic love song that I think runs circles around "Cherish" because of the sophistication. Yeah, they were pretty safe and vanilla, but when the results are this appealing it's good to be vanilla once in a while.

4. Because - The Beatles. The Beatles wrote a lot of great songs about love and relationships, but I chose this one because of the stunning harmonies, the brilliant production and arrangement, and the sentiment and mood. While it isn't a song that's totally about a love between one person and another, the mood of what the nature of love brings me to tears and its spot on this mix is justly deserved.

5. Our Sweet Love - The Beach Boys. Again, Brian Wilson and his crew wrote a lot of love songs, but this, from Sunflower, is one of his most touching productions. Al Jardine helped out with the lyrics, Carl Wilson sings a perfect lead vocal, and Brian's production is first-rate, with groaning cellos and a great string arrangement and a chord structure that lifts up and up. The harmony vocals are, well, just like any other classic Beach Boys song. That is, to day, perfect.

6. Sweet City Woman - The Stampeders. Every once in a while, when I'm shopping at Kroger, they play this song over the PA, so while I’m deciding which bunch of bananas to buy I bop along to this song. It's a bit cheesy and campy, sure, with that gosh-darn banjo just infecting your soul. And who can't smile about someone that feeds you "love and tenderness, and macaroons too." The guitar solo at the end is well played, as well, and you want to scat along to it just like the lead singer did. (Personally, I'd pass on the macaroons. A Lorna Doone, though, would be nice).

7. Miracles - Jefferson Starship. I have the long version of this one, which may be a bit 'controversial' lyrically, but I think it evokes the tone and feeling better than an expurgated version. Marty Balin re-joins the band, for real, and while the results aren't 'radical', they fit the strengths of this group as well. Despite all of their hippie-dippie trappings, in the end Starship / Airplane were strongest when they wrote rather straight-forward pop and rock songs that utilized the strengths of the group as a whole, no matter what the subject matter.

8. Her Eyes Are A Blue Million Miles - Captain Beefheart. Wait? What? Yes, the good Captain, on the Clear Spot album, wrote and recorded a few 'straight forward' love songs, and this one is very tasteful and elegant. Sure, it sounds a bit off kilter (I mean, Air Supply wouldn’t cover it) but it's just lovely and elegant in its own way.

9. I’m In Love With A Girl - Big Star. Alex Chilton sings this simple, yet direct love song with great feeling and emotion. This one is all about the discovery of a new love, and it's heartfelt.

10. Kiss On My List - Hall and Oates. Whatever you say about them (as in, what's up with that hair, and what exactly did Oates DO anyway?) Daryl Hall has some great pipes, and he can write some great pop songs in conjunction with his girlfriend and her sister.

11. I've Been Waiting - Matthew Sweet. Oh, when I first got the Girlfriend album, I was immediately enthralled by it, and especially this cut. This one just reaches out and grabs you with its great hook and melody, tasteful guitar, and those sweet harmonies. Sure, there may be a subtext here, but you know, I still love it.

12. I Built This Garden For Us - Lenny Kravitz. Yeah, it may be a bit hippy-dippy and idealist, but heck, it's a great song. The arrangement is great, with a haunting cello, and the feeling is sentimental AND sincere.

13. I Am Stretched On Your Grave - Sinead O'Connor. A very unique song, with a haunting melody (almost a cappella), a simple drum pattern, low rumbling bass, and haunting violin at the end. This is a poem from Frank O'Connor that is set to music, and is a winner.

14. Delirious - Prince. This infectious little ditty from 1999 (I blame that tinkly winkly keyboard part). I still get delirious once in a while with Liz, and no, that's not the medication.

15. Kiss - Tom Jones (with the Art of Noise). Sure, Prince did the original, but this song was MADE for Tom Jones and his grandiose pipes and his Welsh sex-god persona. The Art of Noise came up with a perfect arrangement for this, as well, but the star is Tom Jones, being Tom Jones. And my Mom still luuuurves him.

16. Supernova - Liz Phair. Say what you want about Ms. Phair's later records (and the less said, the better, really) early on she was pretty darn hot and clever. Even though Whip-Smart was disappointing, this is the highlight. It's a celebration of love and lust and everything about someone special.

17. It's Love - King’s X. This is a very pretty song. It's also a very rocking (in a mid-tempo way) song. The harmonies are excellent, and the guitar work is also tops. I don't know why they were bigger - perhaps it was too early to blend Christian rock with heavy metal - or perhaps it was Doug Pinnick's mullet-hawk.

18. I Got To Let You Know - Los Lobos. When I first heard some of the non-hits by Los Lobos, I was taken aback. "It sounds like polkas", I said to myself, being quite ignorant of Mexican musical styles. Stoopid young Smed. This is mostly in a semi-traditional musical form, with an accordion driving the song behind a fast polka beat. You'll definitely dance with your honey to his one.

19. Love Is - I Love You. Yeah, it's pretty obscure, and the lyrics are a bit obtuse, but this is a pretty straight forward rockin' song that should have been a big radio hit, or SOMETHING, really.

20. Sugarcube - Yo La Tengo. An eerie, dense song with some loud, feedbacky guitars and an rumbling bass line, this illustrates all of Yo La Tengo’s strengths. The lyrics are a bit odd, but in their own way, they definitely fit a 'love' CD.

21. My Heart Is A Flower - King Missile. Now, for the most part, they were known of inane rambling and just off-the-wall songs, and while this one may also be a little off-the-wall, I think it definitely fits the mood and theme here. I love it after the first repeat of the chorus and the band jumps into the instrumental break complete with cheesy, yet evocative organ.

22. Cowboy Love - The Reverend Horton Heat. OK, this is probably a big ol' joke, but you know, so what. It was also recorded well before Brokeback Mountain and it's not entirely PC. But did you expect the Rev. to be PC? No? OK.

23. Wedding Of The Bugs - Robbie Fulks. Ok, what better way to end this love disc with a wedding? And of course, in perfect Smed style, it's an atypical wedding song, but you know, we all can't be mushy all the time can we?

Well, there you go, a love mix for you and everyone else no matter what way you swing, or if you are just telling your cat that you love him/her/it. Stay tuned for the ever-popular hate mix, coming tomorrow, so you can also have time to smite yer enemies with style and panache.

Because we all like to smite with flair! It's just so much better, isn’t it?


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