This week’s list is one part eulogy to the passing of summer, one part acceptance of heading back to work and at least in my case, a shitload of rap music about school and education. While there’s a song acknowledging the way teachers like us sound by Wild Flag, Kanye rallying for more school spirit and Vampire Weekend (and I) not giving a fuck about an Oxford comma, I had to limit myself a bit. Mac Miller’s Senior Skip Day and I Love High School made it to the final round, but something about Miller praising skipping class to get high and waking up hungover before high school hit a little to close to the line where artistic expression interferes with my all too real role as a teacher who would be hella pissed to know any of my students were emulating Mac Miller’s lifestyle within six years in either direction of entering my class. (Given I interact mainly with the mid level humans, I suppose the post side of six years would be the only route to me accepting a laissez faire view toward Mac Miller mimickery.) Either way, there’s plenty of school inspired noise contained in the playlist below.
Given last week’s playlist was inspired by natural disasters, and those disasters are often times intensified by our national boner (yeah, I said boner. What of it?) for depletable sources of shortsighted energy–from carbon emissions to fracking–we thought this week’s playlist should provide some balance with a logical alternative to our current course of environmental spiral. From windmills via Wu-Tang to solar sung by Eddie Vedder, geothermal from No Age (it’s a stretch, I’ll admit it), a tidal power song from Darker My Love, homage to the source of homegrown renewable energy from Jay-Z and Kanye and even somewhat far fetched ideas like recycling air as alluded to by the Postal Service. While this list probably won’t curb our military-industrial imperilust for sketchy sources of highly profitable energy, it should make for about an our of decent background noise to wind away an unseasonably balmy Friday in Western Washington.
Over the course of the last week or so Mac’s had me listening to Graham Parker’s earliest (at least that I can find) release, Squeezing Out Sparks. To be honest, prior to this installment of the album trade, I’ve never heard of the guy. I will never lie in saying my musical erudite goes barely beyond a decade if I’m lucky. So I listened, over and over again. And between the overwhelming sound of 1979–as far as I know what that sounds like–I found instantly memorable songs, infectious melodies and pseudo anthems remniscent of Billy Bragg covering Woodie Guthrie. And as I listened, I started creating a playlist of all the free association sounds I could somehow link to Parker. The Hold Steady do that whole talk-rock thing, Langhorne Slim carries similar rhythyms from time to time, Ha Ha Tonka loves the kinda anthems, Blitzen Trapper sounds like something from a vaguely familiar era and The Big Pink’s hollowed out sound is uncanny stacked up against a few of Parker’s tracks. As evidence of my highly convoluted compare/contrast thesis (damn, school starts next week) I’ve put a playlist together with a sampling of my favorites from the aforementioned artists, staggered Parker/other and so on.
We’re lucky to have a guest writer this week, Hiley Spaet, a good friend of both my wife and mine, who only a few weekends ago married another longtime friend of ours, Tyler Olsen. Hiley’s wedding music was brilliant start to finish, and I even got the privilege of running the iPod during the ceremony. So I asked her to put together a write up of her wedding as a guest feature here at allthosewastedhours. Without further ado:
While most girls dream of their wedding dress their entire life, I’ve been dreaming of my wedding music. Since my now-husband proposed to me a year ago, I’ve been building what I hoped would be the most badass playlists for the most important day in our lives.
Putting together the music for seating, dinner and our first dance wasn’t difficult—we just picked our favorite love songs (cheesy and serious). My biggest concern was the dance party. I wanted the dance floor to be full the entire night. That meant absolutely no slow songs. My approach was to flow through different genres in chronological order. That way, older guests were able to do the Twist at the beginning of the night and the younger guests were dropping it like it’s hot until well past midnight.
Here’s a snapshot of some of our favorite songs from each of the playlists:
(1) 5 Years Time – Noah and The Whale
(2) Here Comes Your Man – The Pixies
(3) You Really Got a Hold on Me – She & Him
(4) Mushaboom – Feist
(5) Gotta Have You – The Weepies
Walking down the aisle:
(1) Let My Love Open the Door – Pete Townshend
Husband and wife:
(1) You Make My Dreams Come True – Hall & Oates
(1) You’ve Got the Love – Florence + The Machine
(2) Valerie – Amy Winehouse
(3) Just One Kiss – Raphael Saadiq
(4) Slow Dance – John Legend
(5) Girl, I Wanna Lay You Down – ALO, featuring Jack Johnson
(1) Heavenly Day – Patty Griffin
(1) Daughter – Loudon Wainwright III
(1) Forever Young – Rod Stewart
(1) September – Earth, Wind & Fire
(2) Shook Me All Night – ACDC
(3) Fight for Your Right – Beastie Boys
(4) Getting’ Jiggy Wit It – Will Smith
(5) Party Rock Anthem – LMFAO
All the songs in my list this week met the criteria of being about something to do with love in a profound, albeit not always conventional way, and being ultimately believable. Although this list is in homage to the wedding I was allowed to officiate this last weekend, some of the songs may or may not be interpreted as being definitive of ideal love, or even what most would typically characterize as a love song. This is not a wedding ceremony lineup, even if the lead song was featured during the recessional the day I got married. Nor is this a mixtape to be handed to anyone’s special someone. For sure, some songs on here would work for either list. But the unifying bind between these songs is intended to be nothing more than the honest and authentic way each song deals with pop music’s favorite past time.