24 April 2011

Mixtape Madness #5: April Showers

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.

April Showers Mix
As the old saying goes, "April showers bring May flowers." All talk about pilgrims aside, that saying certainly has described this past month. April has saturated us with a number of rain storms, including the thunderstorm that is making me second-guess sitting at a computer right now. But I could not let a little bit of rain get in the way of providing you with the April Showers, the ideal mix for a rainy day.

1- "The Rain" (Supa Dupa Fly) by Missy Elliot
Well, this is the obvious choice to begin with, is it not? This super slick track is a rainy day standard, and my choice to lead the charge on this rainy day. However, if the rain is not your thing...

2- "No Rain" by Blind Melon
Again, a pretty obvious inclusion to the April Showers mix. This song evokes images of a sunny day, helping you picture the exact opposite weather to what is actually happening outside of your window.  

3- "Feeling Good" by Muse
This cover is one of my favorites to rock on a rainy day. Something about the distortion used on the synths and guitars just seems to compliment the drops pelting my window.

4- "Is Anybody Home? (LIVE)" by Our Lady Peace
I have always enjoyed this song, but this particular version from a Y100 Sonic Sessions CD really stands out. The vocalist of this and the previous song sound just similar enough to let these tracks flow together.

5- "Ten Years Gone" by Led Zeppelin
For whatever reason, the grungy feeling of this song always gets it play during storms in my abode. It is one of many oft-forgotten gems from one of the greatest bands of all time.

6- "Mad World" by Gary Jules
After a gradual build in volume and general rockiness over the first few tracks, the mix slows down with this hauntingly awesome piano and vocal driven record. If your drowning some sorrows on your rainy day, this is the song to accompany you.

7- "She's A Rainbow" by the Rolling Stones
Being the positive person I am, I like to put a pick-me-up such as this after the previous slightly depressing tune. To copy verbatim what I wrote about Zeppelin, this song is one of many oft-forgotten gems from one of the greatest bands of all time.

8- "Cop Stop (LIVE)" by Gavin DeGraw
Whatever happened to Gavin DeGraw? He came up with catchy tunes like this one and was a great live act. And live is the only way I've found this song, and that is a-ok with me.

9- "Happier" by Guster
This song is ridiculously catchy and fun to sing along to, and will always remind me of being caught in the rain, but more on that later. In the meantime, just enjoy this upbeat song that happens to be full of some good advice.

10- "Don't Speak" by No Doubt
I love it when it starts pouring during an outdoor concert. The first time I got to experience that was with No Doubt. Also, break up songs and rainy day songs can often go hand in hand.

11- "Shiver" by Maroon 5
As Gwen and the boys fade out, this awesome intro kicks in. Many may hate on Maroon 5, but the fact is that they are damned catchy and talented, and this particular song is a great driving in the rain tune.
Buy this album.

12- "Ancient Voices" by the Gabe Dixon Band
This three piece jazz ensemble of classically trained musicians combine exquisite musicianship with pop lyrics and sensibility for a winning recipe for success. Now if only more people would buy their stellar records. Regardless, this is one of many GDB songs I can be seen rocking through a rainstorm.

13- "Backyard" by Guster
Guster, along with Led Zeppelin, is one of two bands that appear twice on this mix. The reason for Guster's double-dipping comes from a memorable concert in the rain experience in which we were drenched while grooving to the sounds of this sweet band. Fun fact: Sometimes their drummer forgoes the sticks and opts to just play with his bare hands. 

14- "Overkill" by Colin Hay
Sometimes there's nothing better than a good book and relaxing music on a rainy day. When that is the case, this is one of the songs I turn to. 

15- "Fool in the Rain" by Led Zeppelin
My all-time favorite rain song. Pay attention to the lyrics for an amusing story about a guy thinking he got stood up in the rain. It's a mistake anyone could make, I know I have been the fool in the rain waiting on the wrong block.

16- "Wishin' and Hopin'" by Ani DiFranco
I cannot claim to own many Ani DiFranco tracks, but I love all of the ones that I do have. This song begins the three-track arc of music that helps you and your significant other find a fun way to keep yourselves occupied on a rainy day. Like a board game, or a puzzle, or...

17- "Sexual Healing (LIVE)" by Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals
This live cover sets the mood right off the bat. Guess what, it's raining outside, so let's get our own storm brewing inside. Try not to let that overly-cheesy sentence ruin the mood.

18- "Say Goodbye (LIVE)" by the Dave Matthews Band
Find a copy of the 6.23.06 version of this from Hershey, PA because it is far and away the absolute best version of this song. The song is the story of two friends caught inside during a storm taking the suggestion from track 17 and bringing the friendship to the next level. And the drum solo is ridiculous.

That's it for April Showers! Next month we'll be bringing you the What's official Cinco de Mayo mix, which just so happens to be the perfect combination of songs to play when cooking up a delicious Mexican Meal.

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