The Serpico Mixes: The Love 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!)


Mix #23

Theme: The Love Disc

(image from

(image from

I Love Bosco commercial- I’ve never actually seen Basco in the wild. Have you?

I Love Trash by Oscar the Grouch- Oscar’s not a great singer, but he’s a bit better than I expected. I cannot decide if I like that or I would’ve preferred he confirm my expectations.

A perfectly fitting tune for the cranky prince of the can, but not one that I can imagine having much relistening value for me.

I Love It by The Beatnuts- Like the song says, I love it. I don’t necessarily feel morally good about it, but the whole song is just…undeniable.

I Love U In Me by Prince- There is nothing that sounds sexy in the statement “When she’s making love it’s like surgery.” Nothing.

I do appreciate the song’s frank discussion of mutual fulfillment (“I promised myself not to come until she does”) in a sexual relationship though.

Overall, the music of the piece really kills a lot of the enjoyment I might take in it. It sounds almost lullaby-esque, like something playing from a jukebox. Prince can do better, we all know that.

I Wish You Love by Gloria Lynne- There’s nothing “wrong” here per se, but it’s just not a song that I liked or connected to. It kind of reminds me of my grandparents house though, so it is not a sensory experience devoid of warm feelings.

I Used to Love H.E.R. by Common- A line that must be recognized, “not a church girl, she was secular.” Anyone who listens to hip hop and does not have or end up developing an impressive vocabulary is not listening that closely. Not that “secular” is an obscure word, but when’s the last time you heard it in a rock song? Or a country one?

Lyrics are the draw here as the simplistic musical loop does not offer much to sink your teeth into. The fact that I didn’t mind the repetition is a sign that the words did save the day. The sense of scope in the song and its holistic view of love and what time can and can’t do to it was also appreciated.

I Got A Love by Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth- On the other hand, there is this entry which I just didn’t lyrically connect with, but I really enjoyed the brassy horns and record scratches that underlined the chorus.

Let’s Fall in Love by Frank Sinatra- I appreciate that Skip chose a Sinatra song that I have not heard 100,000 times in other media. The guy recorded songs for years, surely he did more than My Way and Summer Wind.

Fall in Love by Slum Village- Does this song feature an intentional Kermit the Frog imitation? I can’t decide which answer is weirder. If yes, then someone decided to drop Kermit in the middle of this track. If not, someone’s voice sounds an awful lot like a poor Kermit impression.

That’s the only part of the song that engages my curiosity until the last 30-45 second vocal solo which is a grace note to end on that only highlights how bland the rest of the song is.

Friday, I’m in Love by The Cure- A dose of sugar shock nostalgia right to the brainstem and not a moment too soon. I’m pretty sure it is a good song on its own merits too, but combined with being a song I’ve known and enjoyed for years…this one comes highly recommended.

Act Too (Love of My Life) by The Roots- The song’s lyrics proclaim hip hop is the love of the singer’s life, but the only passion he conveys sounds more like anger than adoration. If it’s a love song, it probably should sound like one.

I do like that this is the second song Skip has put on one of these mixes that personifies hip hop though. I find myself wondering how often that occurs and how it compares to other musical genres. For instances, is there a show tune out there about romancing a Broadway musical? If not, there’s an idea for you Great White Way. You’re welcome.

Chains of Love by Ryan Adams I like it. It’s nothing amazing but the song writing is solid, musically it is good, and the vocals aren’t too shabby. The very definition of a solid offering.

Breakin’ the Chains of Love by Fitz & The Tantrums- A modern throwback song; that is a song of our era engineered to sound like it was made 40 years ago. I’m a sucker for this when done well (see also: The Heavy’s “What Makes a Good Man”) and this one connected with that sweet spot.

Digital Love by Daft Punk- For some reason, while listening to this song I couldn’t make the feeling that it was about to break into Steely Dan’s “Peg” which is a song I both hate and am endlessly fascinated by. This may have impacted my reaction to it.

Overall, I’m a sucker for robot voice so I enjoyed listening to it but I’m not convinced it is actually any good.

This Modern Love by Bloc Party- A very British sounding song which, for me, is not a problem. It’s rather simple but it has a sense of musical texture and momentum so it holds one’s attention. The background exclamations are a little odd, but not too intrusive.

If I ever adapt T.C. Boyle’s short story “Modern Love” I’d throw it over the end credits.

Tainted Love by Soft Cell- What can I say about Tainted Love that hasn’t been said? If you existed in the 80’s, this song is basically encoded on your DNA. Born later than that? I suspect it might not make as much sense.

The Love Boat theme- A perfect marriage of theme song to show content. Both so cheesy that they can only be appreciate as artifacts of a time past. I refuse to accept people truly liked either of them during their heyday.

A Love Bizarre by Sheila E.- I’m not crazy, right? This is sampling a funked up version of “Living in America,” right?

Even if I’m wrong, it has Prince. It’s good.

lovecrimes by Frank Ocean- The embedded background (from EYES WIDE SHUT if I’m not mistaken) is a weird complementary choice for the rest of this song. Even if you suggest that the clip ends with her murdering whoever she’s mad at (which it does not), the song is so much more subdue and gentle than her monologue, especially when it hits its peak. The song seems strong enough on its own that I find myself wondering how the artist expected that the Kidman speech as a sort of bed would improve it.

In Love by Fear of Pop- Shatner is powerfully weird here. He makes impressive choices. I don’t know if it makes for good music, per se, but it is mesmerizing and not just in a “hey, isn’t it ironic that I’m listening to William Shatner speak-sing” kind of way.

Love Out of Lust by Lykke Li- This feels like the kind of track I’d hear on the pop station in Hartford while driving home at 12:30 AM on the weekend, remixed over some club beat. It leaves me cold.