The Serpico Mixes: The Hypothetical 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!)

"These questions put us in a grey area." "How gray?" "Charcoal."

"These questions put us in a grey area." "How gray?" "Charcoal."

Mix #39

Theme: Hypothetical

Deep thoughts for a dinosaur. (image from

Deep thoughts for a dinosaur. (image from

“If It’s A Lie Then We Fight On That Lie”: Dialogue from The Wire- Sounds like someone recorded the Bush Administration, am I right people? OOOOOOOOOOO, cutting political commentary from this guy!

If I Were President by The Pharcyde- A germ of a song. Fun but barely there.

If I were President?: I’d be constantly frustrated by an obstructionist opposition party and get little to nothing done. So, like, completely different than now.

If I Was Your Girlfriend by Nicole Wray- There’s something about Wray’s voice throughout most of this song that just hit my ears so wrong. The exception is when she goes breathy or speak sings as in “I will be your number one supplier.” I like the vocals better there and I get a kick out of the simple rhyme.

If I was your girlfriend?: There would be so many things confusing about that situation.

If Your Girl Only Knew by Aaliyah- Competent, if uninteresting, R&B driven by a Aaliyah. There’s nothing wrong here, but there’s nothing that really goes the extra bit either.

If your girl only knew?: She’d think, wow, my guy has a really cool friend. I had no idea he was cool enough to hang with Tim. I may be misinterpreting what this song is about.

If I Was Your Girlfriend by Prince- I want a mashup of this and the Counting Crows “If I Was A Girl.” It would be a musical disaster but so worth it.

Anyway, this song is all about the speak song at the end where Prince tries to negotiate himself into a hookup. It is a thing of spectacular desperation. I find myself super intrigued by how the guy’s mind works though.

If I was your girlfriend?: I don’t think it would work anything like this guy in this song seems to think it would. I assume it would be a lot less nudity and a lot more, “I don’t know…where do you want to go tonight?” and occasional discussions about Ryan Gosling.

If You Don’t, Don’t by Jimmy Eat World- Love, love, love this song. This whole album is the soundtrack of my first visit to Phoenix, the childhood home state of my then girlfriend and current wife. I mean, it is good besides that, but the emotional connection means it has an indelible place in my heart.

If you don’t, don’t?: I’m not even sure what you’re saying right now. Why can’t we ever just talk clearly to one another?

If I Had a Tail by Queens of the Stone Age- A strangely menacing offering from Queens that sounds like a Talking Heads b-side. I dig their vibe and I dig it hear, even if there’s a bit of wall of sound swallowing the vocals at points.

If I had a tail?: I have no idea. Is it prehensile or vestigial or just for decoration? I need clearer parameters here.

Although, regardless of the answer, I think I feel safe saying hilarity would ensue.

If You Want Me To Stay by Sly and the Family Stone- A fun offering from the deep 70’s. I’m not sure it is funk, per se, but I enjoy the beat and the sense of playfulness in Sly’s vocals.

If you want me to stay?: You need to speak up. But like, before now. I have other responsibilities, you know. Oh, come on. Don’t cry. Of course I’d love to hang out, but I need more notice, dude.

If I Ruled the World by Nas- Wait, did he just say “no welfare supporters”? What the hell is that supposed to mean, Nas? How the hell did I miss that until now? I mean, I always thought the “no rubbers” line was pretty problematic but this isn’t great either.

Problematic or not though, this is awesome. You know it is. Everyone knows it. The message is a mess, but the song is undeniably compelling.

If I ruled the world?: Oh, you’ll see. In time, all of you will see!

If You Like Fluff, Fluff, Fluff by the Horror that is the Disembodied Voice of Marshmallow Fluff - Speaking of problematic messages…

Fluffernutters sandwiches are gross. I couldn’t get past that reality to feel anything besides that about this song.

If you like fluff, fluff, fluff?: Unless you are talking in your hot chocolate than you sir are no friend of mine.

If I Am a Stranger by Ryan Adams and The Cardinals- I experience a discord between the music and the vocalist here. It does not make a lot of sense but they don’t “fit” together in my head. I can’t reconcile them.

Odder still, I do like the song. I’m just not sure I wouldn’t like it more if the two elements fit better together.

Oh, and it is definitely too long. I sort of zoned out at one point and thought we might’ve gone on to another song because that much time seemed to have passed.

If I am a stranger?: Then I probably shouldn’t be here. I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to crash your wedding. Congratulations to you both though. Beautiful ceremony.

If You Can’t Sleep by She & Him- Is she pitching this as a nice thing or threatening me? Is she more Sandman or Freddy Krueger?

Either way, not for me. I don’t care for the “oooo” chorus, the minimalistic music, or her barely singing vocals.

If you can’t sleep?: Then just lay in bed and read quietly. You don’t have to nap but you do need to spend an hour, at least, of quiet time. Mommy and Daddy need a break, ok?

If I Die Tomorrow by Joe Budden- Speaking only for myself, I’m fairly scared of dying. Not like actively, it could happen any moment (although it could. Never forget that. The Grim Reaper stalks us all!), but in the sense of “yeah, any way I could not do that?” So, I have a tremendous respect for Budden’s attitude here. It’s admirable, especially because it’s not resignation. It’s not “well, whatever, it’s going to happen so why not now?” it’s “I don’t want to, but if it does happen, I’ve lived my life in such a way that it’ll be ok.” That impresses me.

But oh my God! 6 minutes?!?!? SIX?!!!! Never ok. NEVER!

If I die tomorrow?: Look can we may not talk about this right now?

If You Leave me Now by Chicago- Ugh. No. Terrible. TERRIBLE!

If you leave me now?: Oh, I should be so lucky.

If I Could Change Your Mind by Haim- I get a definite Castle in the Sky vibe here. Or mall pop. But better.

I definitely get a nostalgia contact high off it.

If I could change your mind?: Then we could totally get a laser tag course in the basement, right? Oooo, or an in-ground pool? Or maybe both? No, no, seriously, hear me out.

If You Could Read My Mind Johnny Cash- “You know that ghost is me.” Whoa! Spoilers there, Cash! Damn!

Admonishments aside, this is a cover that’s good, but not great. It spends the entire time in second gear when I really wish he’d bite into it and give it some angst or anguish. This seems more like a drive-by.

If you could read my mind?: I am so sorry in advance. I’m not normally this much of a mental trash bag, I promise.

If You’ve Got the Time by Miller High Life’s Advertising Company- Decent jingle. It’s not Saint Ides though.

If you’ve got the time?: Can you please take out the trash? It’s such a mess.

If I Could Believe by Elvis Costello- I like my Elvis Costello a bit more sarcastic and biting. His voice even sounds a bit off to me here.

If I could believe?: And what, be a sheeple like the rest of you. No thanks. I’m a lone wolf. I make my own way.

If It Makes You Happy by Sheryl Crow- Rememeber when Sheryl Crow sang “All I Wanna Do”? I miss that Crow. I didn’t even really like that song, but I’m still nostalgic for it. The ravages of age, I suppose. This offering from her second album is another lukewarm one for me, but I think that might just be because I don’t love Sheryl Crow.

If it makes you happy?: I suppose that would make you a bit of freak, wouldn’t it? I mean that will all due respect, of course.

If It Wasn’t for You by Handsome Boy Modeling School-The opening if this song is good. It gets me. About damn time someone or something did.

Sadly, I lost interest in the song quickly after that. It seems like a sweet song but not all that engaging.

If it wasn’t for you?: Oh man, where to begin?

If it’s The Beaches by The Avett Brothers- Mournful but I’m never really sure what I’m mourning for. The song nicely conveys the sadness but the plot, as it was, never seems to sink in. It’s a bit emotionally hollow or emotionally facile as a result.

If it’s The Beaches?: Well, it’s actually just Beaches. No definite article. And if it is Beaches, well then you better prepare for a powerful performance from one Mayim Bialik.