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!)
Theme: Counting 2.0
ONE by Sean Price - The music sample is far and away the worst part of this song. So out of place, so momentum killing.
The rest of it is pretty…ok. Nothing that would make me come back for a second listen.
Two Timin’ Woman by Johnny Cash- This is a sad song. Someone should let Cash know that.
I guess that BLACK SNAKE MOAN is an adaptation of this?
The Big Three Killed My Baby by The White Stripes- Look, you know the White Stripes is a good band, right? So you know this song is good, too, right? It is.
Four Winds by Bright Eyes- A bit surprised that I ended up liking this as the countrified opening left me fairly certain it would not be my bag. Past the overlong intro though, it is a bouncy, fun tune. Albeit with some rather bleak lyrics.
Five on Five by The Raconteurs- The second Jack White offering in 3 songs? I’m not complaining, mind you, especially as this is an even better offering to the earlier one.
Noisy and messy but still expertly constructed. Great.
Sixpack by JEFF the Brotherhood- This is a good summer mix song. I know I’ve said this before, but you need some filler tunes on a solid mix, the kind that don’t blow the doors off your car, but are still enjoyable enough not to bring the mix down. This is that kind of song.
Song Seven by Interpol- So close. I like the lyrical content, the music was good, but…I’m just not sure after 3 listens. I wish the singer allowed a bit more variety to creep into his voice, depicting some emotion perhaps. Still, I have to grade it on the basis of what is there, not what I’d like and on that front, I’m conflicted.
A tentative recommend. Drop it on a more up tempo mix though so the singer’s drone is made something different by the songs surrounding it.
8 Iz Enuff by Big L- “More funky than an African cab driver?” Is that a stereotype I’m not aware of?
Anyway, this is a song very much of its era: the stripped down production that exists mostly to keep the beat and little else, the constant rhyming that the music gets even more minimal during so the vocals are even more front and center. They’re all clichés now, but that doesn’t stop this one from being a strong offering of that time period and style.
Drivin’ On 9 by The Breeders- I assume this is about Route 9 in Connecticut, one of my favorite routes in the United States. Sure, no of the other evidence supports this, but it makes the song richer for me so I feel pretty good in embracing that interpretation.
Slight and repetitive, this offering still had something to it. I’m not sure it is “good” per se but it won me over.
10 x 10 by Yeah Yeah Yeahs- I feel similarly about this song as I do the one above, but less enthusiastically.
11 O’clock Tick Tock by U2- I can’t believe this is U2. I cannot! There’s a reason this is on their Rarities disc, let me say that.
Little Twelvetoes by Bob Dorough- Am I in a dorm room with some substance friendly classmates? Because this musing feels like the kind of thing that would’ve happened there. Sadly, it is also the best part of the song. Any real singing and the music is…ugh.
Thirteen by Elliott Smith- I really like this song but on this mix, it just does not work for me. I need something to put adrenaline in my bloodstream at this point and this is not it. It’s sweet and pretty and wonderful though. It just would’ve been better served somewhere else.
14 by Paula Cole- I’m a sucker for numerical age songs, a subgenre of the list songs. I don’t know why really, except for my F. Scott Fitzgerald-esque addiction to nostalgia. Anyway, this appeals to that weird thing of mine. Also, “my heart is a POW in my chest” is the kind of melodramatic brilliance you can only get away with in song.
Oh, and Cole sings in more than one register in this song and though it is brief, her belting was a nice jolt.
15 Step by Radiohead- Like, don’t love. There are moments Yorke verges on whiny, but the musical accompaniment is quite strong.
16 Horses by Soul Coughing- Weird. Off-kilter. A relief in this tracklist. Even though it is repetitive.
On a related note, it’s a shame Soul Coughing blew up so badly.
(She’s) Sexy + 17 by Stray Cats- Remember when swing came back? That was weird, right? It happened and ended so quickly.
Anyway, if you liked that brief moment of the 90’s, I have a song for you. A kind of creepy song, depending the age of consent in your state.
She’s Only 18 by Red Hot Chili Peppers- I sometimes forget that I like a lot, if not most, of the Chili Peppers discography. This is a nice reminder.
I Gotta Feelin (Just Nineteen) by Eagles of Death Metal- Couldn’t get my attention, couldn’t do anything with it when it had it. I do like that it has a bit of a filthy mind though. If the music and vocals could showcase that better, we could’ve been in business.
Twenty Questions by Beastie Boys- This, on the other hand, is weird and off kilter in a way that did not land with me. The rare Beasties song I don’t enjoy.
21 Jump Street Theme- Before the “Jump…down on Jump Street,” part, I was going to write, “So this is obviously a theme song in search of a tv show,” but it actually is a theme song! (And, yes, I apologize for lack of Jump Street knowledge. I’m actually a bit too young to have caught the TV show in its heyday.)
It’s thin, but it’s also quick. It’s pretty goofy too, but it is bright and poppy so I can figure that.
She’s 22 by Norah Jones- Although most of this mix feels like sadness, this is legitimate sadness here. I can actually feel Jones’s mournfulness. The best “sad” song on this whole set. Let’s just pretend it’s not a Norah Jones’ tune, ok?
Strawberry Letter 23 by The Brothers Johnson- My tolerance for the music of the 70’s is limited and mercurial. This falls on the wrong side of that tolerance. Very much of the era. Too much of the era. Yuck.
24 Hours to Lie by Mase- I think everyone in this song is overly ambitious. Twenty-four hours is not that long. These are pretty intensive lists. Also violent.