04 June 2010

Mixtape Madness #1: The What's 2010 Summer Party Mix

According to the novel High Fidelity the making of a good mix tape, like breaking up, is hard to do. Furthermore, a good mix is never finished. You never know when you will come across a song that changes the dynamic of the mix you just completed. There is a litany of intricacies to crafting the ideal mix no matter what the mix’s intended purpose should be. This feature is merely a guide on the cosmic highway of mix making, and while experienced, the writer does not claim to be an expert.

2010 Soundtrack of Summer
Each year toward the end of April/beginning of May I find myself yearning for summer weather and its associated activities. It is at about that time that I begin work on the 120 minutes of music that will define the season. Following is the track list for this year’s soundtrack of summer, an ideal mix to play at your summer kick-off bash.
1- “Rastaman Chant” by Bob Marley and the Wailers
This song is the opening track off of a live Wailers CD I picked up at a Starbucks. A British gent introduces the band, and after some applause, the drums bring you into a perfectly chill groove. This song is ideal for summer activities such as drinking a rum-based drink near a body of water or driving nice and slow down the street hoping to catch the eye of the cute guy or gal sitting on their front stoop.
2- “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes” by Crosby, Stills and Nash
I am somewhat embarrassed to admit that after years of enjoying CSN (even seeing them live once) that I never noticed the final part of this suite was in Spanish. For those who are not aware, a suite is a piece of music broken into several smaller parts. This four part song details the break up of Stephen Stills and his girlfriend at the time. The acoustic guitar and classic CSN harmonies make this a great song to play at a BBQ, especially when followed by this next song.
3- “Armada Latina” by Cypress Hill featuring Marc Anthony, Pitbull, and Stephen Stills
After the previous song builds towards its Spanish finale for six and a half minutes, this song continues where it left off. With Stephen Stills playing guitar and providing backing vocals, Marc Anthony singing the chorus, and Pitbull adding a verse, Cypress Hill may have created the perfect summer song. The percussion really adds to the summertime feel of the tune and Anthony is doing what he does best, singing in Spanish. If you can picture yourself poolside downing Coronas and/or tequila when this song comes on, you must be a winter person.
4- “Stunned Out” by Paula DeAnda featuring Young Joc
While I am not a big fan of people trying to bring back the eighties, I do really enjoy this song, which practically samples the entire decade. This is the type of summer jam that conjures images of a bunch of people dancing on a deck somewhere. It’s a fantastic party song that is sure to be enjoyed openly by the ladies at your fete, and secretly by the lads.
5- “Bedrock” by Lil Wayne and Young Money
Guys, before you pass judgment on this song you need to realize it combines two things you probably love: sex and video games. The lyrics are all about promising the lady in your life an evening she’ll never forget. Now, listen to the beat and tell me it wasn’t made with Mario Paint! This song was made to play toward the end of a party so you can remind your significant other what they’re in for once the party’s over.
6- “I Want You” by Savage Garden
I promise you that if you play this mix at your party this summer, the party will be remembered as epic and a lot of the reason for that is this song. This mix has been constantly spinning in my car for over a month now and every passenger falls in love with this song. The song delivers a simple message in a complex way, which is to say the singer pretty much rattles off a bunch of nonsense, including something about Cherry Cola, all to say that he wants you. This is a fantastic tune for any summer dance party.
7- “Little Secrets” by Passion Pit
This song has a fantastic beat and high-pitched singing, what else could you need? Besides being a great dance song, this song will help bring your party together. Your party-hardy friends are already on the floor at this point, and this song will keep them there as your hipster friends join in. This is the song that throws your party into full swing.
8- “Ambling Alp” by Yeasayer
The bubbly noises that kick this song off will remind everyone to rehydrate, and then thirty seconds later the synths and drums show up and reinvigorate the dance floor. Aside from keeping your party going, this song has a good message about looking out for number one and is the perfect catalyst to shedding those cold-weather blues away.
9- “Audience” by Cold War Kids
I must admit that the dance party will wane a bit when this song comes on, but don’t worry, it’ll pick up again in about three minutes. In the meantime, this awesome song will allow for some conversation, giving people a chance to get to know each other a bit more. So while this doesn’t necessarily fit the mold of a summer dance party, it’s a catchy song that will have people trying to sing along by the time it fades to the end.
10- “The Opposite of Adults” by Chiddy Bang
With a sample of MGMT’s “Kids,” this tune is going to send your party into the next gear. Pay careful attention to the lyrics when these two Philly boys slam suburban schlub Asher Roth and his terrible song about college. The kicking beat and fantastic rhymes in this song will make it a winner amongst your friends, who will all be amazed by your ability to find the best songs ever. For the record, this is another great song to rock out to while driving slowly and showing off your indie cred.
11- “Bullet Proof” by La Roux
Once this song plays, you will have a full-fledged dancing party that will not end. This is a fantastic dance groove guaranteed to get your guests singing and dancing their butts off, and really, isn’t that the goal of this party?
12- “California Girls” by Katy Perry and Snoop Dogg
Like “Bullet Proof,” this is a hot club song right now that will serve as the musical fuel to power the fire that is your party. Seriously, take a listen and close your eyes, I know you can picture people in swimsuits dancing and singing along to this. Unless of course you are the aforementioned winter person, and should that be the case, I’ll have plenty of those mixes for you in about six months.
13- “Giving Up the Gun” by Vampire Weekend
I realize that not everyone is into the type of music in the last two songs, so this should appease them. It’s another great tune that will bridge the gap between your guests’ varied tastes in music. The echoey vocals conjure up visions of summers past, and in the future when this song comes on, your guests will think of you and your awesome party.
14- “Lollipop” by Mika
Flamboyant vocalist? Check. References to candy? Check. Thinly veiled sexual innuendo? Check. Sing-along chorus and a booty-shaking beat? Check. I really don’t know what else needs to be said about this song.
15- “Kiss, Boy” by Kate Nash
Every dance party needs a song with a decent brass section, and here’s yours. At this point, you’re an hour into the party and people are having so much fun, that you just may get the kiss that Kate sings about wanting.
16- “Lay Me Down” by the Dirty Heads featuring Rome
Normally, this song wouldn’t really be one for dancing. But at this point in your fiesta, it will do the trick. Besides, no summer mix is complete without Sublime, or in this case, a Sublimesque song featuring their new singer. Also, if you’re talented like that, this wouldn’t be a bad song to play on the boardwalk with an acoustic guitar and your stoner friend playing his djembe.
17- “Sweet Dogs” by Trolle//Siebenhaar
This sweet, relaxing song is a carried by a simple, yet kicking drum beat. Likewise, it’ll carry your party along nicely, allowing your guests to slow down and dance a little closer without a vibe-killing slow jam being brought into the mix. Plus, it will add another point to your indie cred scoreboard, if that’s your thing.
18- “Story of My Life” by Social Distortion
I heard recently that people either love or hate Social D with little middle ground. Despite that, the guitar riffs in this song have the summery vibe necessary to carry this mix onto its coda.
19- “Only the Good Die Young” by Billy Joel
This could be a regional thing, but I’m pretty sure everyone loves Billy Joel. This tune is all about a guy convincing a girl to get frisky with him, and let’s face it, half of your guests are doing the same thing. Impure intentions aside, this song is a fun way to cap off the summer mix.
Now that the mix is over, pop on any local radio station that broadcasts a DJ set from a club, and that will carry your party well into the night. Feel free to leave suggestions for other themed mixes in the comment box. Until next time, that’s your Mixtape Madness.

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