this mix came to me very organically, the sounds melding into each other and creating this strange collection of songs. they just sound good together, a happy accident of noises that turned out to have a similar theme. i originally intended the songs to closely follow the sentiment of the first two tracks, feelings of endings and mistreatment, but the varying grooves took me into abstraction. the mix stays pretty consistent, just not as concretely as i anticipated.
“feathers” by the fantastic man man instantly set a tone of creepiness with its jangling piano keys and honus honus’ haunting voice. the song skulks along, “i won’t question why the only light that you have you give away”, an almost tearful attempt to understand how a woman can allow herself to be taken advantage of. “she feels like a stranger has come in the night” implies a helplessness to her situation. whether it be lending herself to this stranger that doesn’t deserve her or the more interpretative idea of of the stranger being the act of her suicide, the song posits a terrible sadness and fear, “i know you need to find what you thought you left behind in a past life” even if that fear comes from your own doing. (the photograph i chose for the mix lends it self to this interpretation)
islands’ “creeper” continues the ideas presented in the initial song, but with a more pop music sound. it would almost sound happy if it weren’t for all the heart stabbing and endless bleeding. the track presents a frightening story, someone coming into your home and murdering you in cold blood. looking deeper into it you can see the story as a stand-in for a relationship gone wrong, one that you weren’t expecting to turn as bad is it has. “right from the start i was stabbed in the heart” comes off as realization of how bad it actually all was. “cowbell” from tapes n’ tapes follows the poppy sound of “creeper”, but replaces the victimized tone with a harsher and angrier attitude. the song takes the air out of the intended audience and is almost furious at the state it’s in. “leave me now in solitude and stress/i’ve been a better lover with your mother” breaks the song open, showing someone who is clearly not happy with the relationship. “cowbell” is reactionary to the badness in the situation. dr. dog’s “i only wear blue” has a very different response. an organ and sharp guitar follow along with the gloom ridden honesty of the singer as he meekly strains out the first couple of lines, “i’m all bottled up/floating in the deep blue”. the song is not angry, rather it is apologetic and understanding. “well it came like a dream/but it went just as fast/like a dream/left out in the trash” edges on being sardonic on the situation, but its not. instead it’s sung sincerely and sadly.
towards the end of the mix appears one slight outlier to the theme of the mix. clinic’s lyrics are often indecipherable, not necessarily due to their complexity, but more because i don’t know what they’re saying most of the time. “the second line” at first listen sounds like mouth noises that go along perfectly with the beat, what with “diggy diggy da mona mon” acting as the chorus. sonically it matches the rest of the mix, little guitar riffs in the middle of the song bounce out playfully and the vocals are infectious. listening to the half muttered and slurred lyrics make you think there is something more, purposefully lost to the needs of the song. to attempt to type any other lyrics would defeat the purpose, which is to just listen.
“evil bee” by menomena is a decry against blind acceptance. cutting of a few words this song could have been a joyful salute to following someone forever, being married and giving yourself wholly to them. instead menomena turns that salute on its head. “oh, to be a machine/oh, to be wanted/to be useful” are not happy lines, but bitter and melancholy. i’m sure the plea of being wanted and useful is true, but the means to achieve it that are implied present nothing but rote emptiness. a little later in the mix, the walkmen’s “that’s the punchline” presents a similar argument about blindly following the crowd to feel fulfilled with a more palpable set of lyrics, “i know, that your superstitious/that you follow glamour/your so caught up they push you around, and up and down”. this song achieves the sardonic tone that was avoided by dr. dog earlier in the mix. the two songs attempt to push away from the bad influences that seep into one’s life, like those in the first songs.
the final song, a haunting cover of the pixies’ “mr.grieves” by tv on the radio brings the thoughts of death back into the mix. tv on the radio takes the already heavily apocalyptic song and slows it down, turning it to an even more contemplative song about death. mr. grieves works in the same way the stranger does in “feathers”, an insurmountable entity that holds a life in its hands. both versions of the song seem to settle on a climactic end, “you can cry you can mope/but can you swing from a good, good rope”, and offers little more than tortured hope, “hope everything is alright/hope everything is alright”. it’s the only way that this mix could have ended.
8tracks, 26.15 mins, photo by elle moss, please take note of the original track listing as 8tracks changes it up after the first time you play it.