DJ for a day

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Benoit is fixing the window. He's knocking out glass and applying mastic. The sun is shining bright through the window and I can't work on anything. My brain is flying on an impossible dream. And so I made a soundtrack for the day:

1. Freight Train - Elizabeth Cotten
An 80 year old woman shows us how finger-pickin' is really done.

2. Insensatez - Luis Bonfa, Maria Toledo, Stan Getz
I lied, I know. I still listen to bossa nova. How insensitive.

3. Tonight you belong to me - Patience and Prudence
Children singing to a walking a piano, 'my honey I know, it won't be long before you are gone, but tonight, you belong to me.'

4. Play the Hits - Hal
A song I discovered through Sonic Eric and the DJ Nerds. It's like the perfect mix between Weezer and the Beach Boys. I was sure I had heard the song before, the way the silvery pop hooks carve so perfectly in my buttery soul... but no, it's an original.

5. Love, Love, Love - The Organ
From Canada, her voice is almost Benatar, almost Morrissey... somewhere in-between. The music, pure Brit Pop Cure-style. All girls, all-time. I saw them in the audience to my old band's concert. The lead singer, an adrogynous skinny mod girl with a large handle-bar moustaced taped onto her upper lip.

6. Gracias a la Vida - Violetta Parra
Yuri's CD, which I don't know why I kept because I kind of dislike the rest of the album. Think he got it from his ex-Peruvian girlfriend. Too world music...but this song... a simple rattling tin banjo and her hollow voice, repeating over and over again... haunting.

7. Water Music: Bourée, Handel - Wendy Carlos
I never make any soundtrack without a little touch of Wendy Carlos. I know the story is sensational but beyond that, it is my perfect marriage between pop and classic. You know... like when you suddenly saw an Eames chair and everything seemed right in the world.

8. You Give Me Fever - Peggy Lee
Yes honey, we all suffer for a little love. But let's not think about the messy stuff and get depressed. Let's think about the seduction, girls in short mini-skirts, pale lipstick and dark eye-liner.

9. Honey and the Moon - Joseph Arthur
A surprise addition, thanks to the OC. Yeah, it's back. How they can understand bitter-sweet folk songs while sailing around on daddy's gigantic yacht, those are the real mysteries of life.

10. Bluebirds Over the Mountain - Ronnie Hawkins
I like me some Hawk, Canadian style. The Hawks used to back up Ronnie Hawkins, before they moved to upstate NY, met Bob Dylan, and became The Band. This is a classic, redone by the likes of Ritchie Valens and the Beach Boys no less. But the way the Hawk does it, so slow, like he's been hungover for two years, makes you want to order an extra large beer so you can cry into the empty glass. "Bluebirds over the mountain, seagulls over the sea, bluebirds over the mountain, bring my baby back to me."

11. Bengawan Solo - Rebecca Pan
A sexy old-school Hong Kong crooner song, sang by a little oriental princess. Featured in the film In the Mood for Love, this song makes me think of late evenings, in some expat tropical bar, wearing a cheogsam, a flower behind the ear, and making sad-eyed sailors fall in love with you.

12. Sleepwalk - Ritchie Valens
Ritchie Valens true masterpiece. A song that if it could be transformed physically, would be the world's tightest strung silvery harp string, that could cut with a glance. Notable for it's appearance at the end of La Bamba, when Ritchie's brother screams with remorse and grief.

13. Waltz #2 - Elliott Smith
The XO album is a classic. A dark little waltz across some forgotten town hall by the footlights as the band plays carefully on in wine-coloured shabby velvet suits.

14. I've been near the Sun - The Folks
A young french band I was introduced to thanks to a friend. Instant Nick Drake flashback.

15. Things Behind the Sun - Nick Drake
The original. True beauty rarely exists... true beauty in a voice is as rare as anything. Nick Drake left this last album as his legacy to all that he had to live for. A month later, he was gone.

16. After Hours - The Velvet Underground
The Velvet are one of those legendary bands who have influenced everyone and anyone... you know, the same way now all the dancers are doing riffs on Michael's old moves. I chose this song because it's so quiet inside. Moe Tucker almost never sings, but her voice is so clean and unaffected that it's a shame Lou didn't write more for her.

17. Dance me till the end of Love - Leonard Cohen
My very first concert was at the age of 15. I went to see Leonard Cohen play at the O'Keefe Centre. After the incredible concert, I went to the back alley to wait for his exit. It started to rain. All the other fans, which were much older than me, sagely crept under the eaves of the building. But I stayed stubbornly in my spot, transfixed by expectation. Suddenly, there he was, in person, in his signature black suit. He took one look at me, the lone drowned rat, and came straight. "Oh, you poor thing."

18. Not Going Anywhere - Keren Ann
I'll tell you once and I'll tell you again: I'm bloody fed up with sugary french pop. But that's a lie. I'm no Keren Ann groupie, but I'll tell you that this is one damn sweet song. Bittersweet acoustic chords at their best. You can almost see the sun setting over the lake as her brown hair whips carelessly in the wind.

19. We've never met - The Sadies + Neko Case
I had a big crush on Dallas from the Sadies, but could never say it because I knew it would anger my at-that-time boyfriend, Yuri. They worked together in some music factory. Dallas was a coffee drinking, cigarette smoking legend of underground rock'n'roll. His dark lanky hair covered up a gaunt face, which could crumple into a smile.

But it's Neko Case who steals this show, hands down. "Oh my darlin', oh my darlin', how can you forget, all the love we had between us, now it's like we never met, oh it kills me, when I think I gave you up, you were golden, I was blind, with your poison, in my blood."

20. Harvest Moon - Neil Young
My sweet love, one day, when we're old and grey haired and have earned all the crumples in our faces, I'll throw you a party on a fine summer night, under floating paper lanterns. And we'll dance to this underneath the stars which have always winked at us since the night we first met.