The Serpico Mixes: The 2-Minute Drill Disc

In a joint collaboration with my weekday roommate and Bronx ally Skip Serpico, I’ll be discussing a mix CD a week. He makes them, I listen to them and provide my in the moment commentary. You, hopefully, read said commentary and maybe open up your musical horizons. You can come here every week for the Serpico Mixes. And you should also visit Skip’s site, Fission Spaghetti, for his musings on food and Saturday Night Live (and more!)

There's a second image in this picture. You know like the one that's both a duck and a woman in a hat?

There's a second image in this picture. You know like the one that's both a duck and a woman in a hat?


Mix #7

Theme: Two Minute Drill

Tick tock. (image from

Tick tock. (image from


First, a general comment. I am stunned by how many of these songs don’t “feel” like 2 minute or under songs. Some, most, feel so fully realized that I never would’ve guessed it.

Second, in honor of the unifying theme, I am keeping my reviews to 2 sentences or less.

Feel the Heat by Mark Wahlberg & John C. Reilly- I’m on record as being perennially less impressed with BOOGIE NIGHTS than most, but I love me some Wahlberg singing terribly. Not one to include in a mix though if you aren’t familiar with the context as it is pretty bad judged as a piece of actual music.  

Fell in Love with a Girl by The White Stripes- When this came out in 2002, there wasn’t anything about it I didn’t find exhilarating from lyrics to music to even the video. Glad to see that nothing’s changed on this later listen.

Fool Says by M. Ward- A pleasant enough trifle. The backgrounded voices about halfway through are an odd choice, especially on such a short song.

Maruyama by The Joy Formidable- Oddly haunting for under 2 minutes. I have no idea about the lyrics though.

Fancy Clown by Madvillain- Love the sample. Not a great kiss-off track though as all the thoughts are pretty clichéd.

The Next Time You Say Forever by Neko Case- “The next time you say forever, I’ll punch you in the face,” is just a great bit of songwriting.

Yearnin’ by The Black Keys- Keys at their most throwback-y. Fun.

Vats of Urine by Dangerdoom- You put Moonites in a song, we’ve already won me over. “For I am a rap god from beyond the moon!”

Crazy for You by Best Coast- For a 2 minute song, the chorus is far too repetitive.

It’s a Shame by Jessica Lea Mayfield- A great opening line hooks me from moment one. It doesn’t get better but it stays good.

Bad Character by Quasimoto- Love the sheer amount of effects on this. It’s as close to novelty in feeling as you can get without actually being a novelty tune.

You Can Do Better Than Me by Death Cab for Cutie- Love, love, love this song, have since I first heard it. Remember when you thought this is what you wanted in a partner, someone who deserved better than you?

Cop by Wavves- The lightest, brightest song about murdering an officer of the law ever.

Let off A Coupe by The Beatnuts- Prototypical old school sounding hip hop track. My favorite Beatnuts song yet, I think.

One Life Away by M. Ward- This feels like a movie song to me, something that might accompany the opening credits. That’s the immediate image it conjures in my mind which is not a bad thing at all.

This Song by Badly Drawn Boy- Love how he plays with stereo sound (listen to it with headphones to really catch it [these do not count as additional sentences]). Good song to boot.

Livin’ in a New World by The Roots- Enjoy the juxtaposition between the security PA sounding verse and the more “typical” sound. Especially when it seamlessly transitions from one to the other.

At Last by Neko Case- A sweet sad song made possible by Case’s deceptively light touch voice.

Georgia, Georgia by Elliott Smith- A weirdly motivated sounding Smith moves this song along. He sounds… anxious, almost, which is not a mood be wore much in his music.

Make You Mine by Best Coast- Love the clap chorus. I vote for more clap choruses in music!

Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want by The Smiths- The Smiths can really break your heart, huh?

Friend or Foe by Jay-Z- Great brassy horn underscoring the beat. Like that the music is low enough that the spotlight is pretty much fully on Z’s lyrics.

Steadier Footing by Death Cab for Cutie- A great end of song, last few people left to pick up the mess song. It reminds me of the weekend before I graduated from high school.

You Gave Your Love to Me Softly by Weezer- Appropriately, this song always plays a bit muted to me, as though someone suppressed the noise on it. Maybe I’m giving them too much credit but it seems intentional.

My Way Home by Kanye West- The sample from “Home is Where the Hatred Is,” is the star here.

Get to the Table on Time by M. Ward- I…don’t really have a reaction. Sorry for that.

Down with Love by Blossom Dearie- Goodness, that was a good time. Like something ripped from the classic era of slapstick movie musicals.

Accordian by Madvillain- “Just keep your eye out like ‘aye, aye, Captain.” “Slip like Freudian. Your first and last step to playin' yourself like accordion.”

Let it Be Me by Dum Dum Girls- I know I said that mostly these songs felt full length but this one felt even quicker than its running time.

The Sequel by Saint Vincent- Saint Vincent is someone I need to listen to more of. This song reminds me of that, even if it is not my favorite of hers that I’ve heard..

Sandwiches by The Beatnuts- Did this song reference Park Slope as a hard neighborhood? Goodness, times have changed.

Buckle Down, Winsocki by Blossom Dearie- Feels kind of like a war propaganda tune. I hope Winsocki lived up to her expectations of him.

Tell Me What You See by The Von Bondies- Just a solid rock song with a nice call and response/ dueling male and female voices going on.

Muffin Top by Jane Krakowski- The overblown opening is a thing of beauty.

Country Trash by Johnny Cash-It’s strange how…clear Cash’s voice sounds after getting so used to him singing in his later years. The commitment to all the rhyming is sort of unexpectedly fun.

African Alphabet by Ladysmith Black Mambazo- I love the Muppet presence and the “eeeeeee” voice at 1:04. One of my favorite aspects of Ladysmith’s music, which I say while totally recognizing how dumbly reductive that is of me.