WARMER MIXTAPES #57 | by Tamar Kamin of The Van Allen Belt
1. Aram Khachaturian | Adagio Of Spartacus And Phrygia
I'll start large with a full orchestra number. This piece is featured in The Hudsucker Proxy and 2001: A Space Odyssey, two excellent and bar raising films for very different reasons. I mean the song itself produces an almost sexual climax. I attribute this to the strings being used dramatically in unison and the melody’s ingenuity. Could one consider this song the greatest of all time? Well I’m sure it’s been said before.
2. Caetano Veloso and Gal Costa | Baby
This song is just pure sweetness, even if you’ve never loved somebody. This woman’s vocals could melt you to butter, and the organ really drives the point home. A wonderful woman from Brazil brought a musak version into a daycare I worked in to play to the kids at naptime. Not to be mean, but I prefer the version with the twangy guitar.
3. Pizzicato 5 | Baby Love Child
Hooray! We’ve reached Japan! I first heard the English Mix of this song while watching an episode of Futurama. It’s the one where Leela finds out who her parents are and they go through this montage of her growing up and her mutant parents always being there to help her out, even though she never realized it. This band is so excellent and this is how I first discovered them. They’ve been around forever but only some real Cornelius-loving nerds probably know who they are.
4. Yu Miyake, Katamari Company Jr. | Cherry Blossom Color Season
I had a very hard time picking only one song from the video game Katamari Damacy, but this one has all the warmth you could need in a song: orchestral strings, acoustic guitar, minimal heart-beat drums, and of course, children singing in harmony. What? You think that a big bunch of children singing together is annoying? Well so did I until I heard this song. The amazing arrangement makes The Beatles sound like a bunch of dorks by comparison. Oh and good luck finding this album, but you can hear all the songs when you play the PS2 game.
5. Namco | Katamari Stars
This pretty little ditty comes from the first Katamari game as well. It is completely instrumental and includes a full orchestra, an ocarina for the taking the melody, and a cute little farty beat to bounce along to. In case you are wondering about the word Katamari, I think it can be translated as big wad of garbage because that is the game’s objective: to make all the objects in the world stick to your ball and obtain size. The album is translated from Japanese as Everyone Favorite Lump Soul Original Soundtrack.
6. Edith Piaf | Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien
This song is only worth it if you are listening to the incomparable Édith Piaf. There is a live version that just gets you all excited because the big band sound is perfect and her perfectly timed, no-nonsense vocals belt out the message of strength despite one’s hardships. This was said to be Edith’s theme song- she was a WWII performer. I won’t get into details, but she went through a lot, and her life story is truly inspirational.
7. Yellow Magic Orchestra | Firecracker/Computer Games
The set up for this looks awesome. There has to be at least 8 synths on stage, plus they have a live drummer. It’s so meaningful to be able to see something so elaborate and that so many people were impressed by at the time, which judged by today’s standard’s would look superfluous because it could probably be accomplished by a lap top. But it wouldn’t sound as good! Don’t you people understand? Toil and passion make things worthwhile, that’s why most of what comes out today sounds lazy and like it’s all been done before. It has. Look to the past and you’ll see the future.
8. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart | The Requiem Mass
Back to the classics. This piece is tricky because only some of the movements were written by Mozart himself, the rest were finished after his death by the request of his wife. In the movie Amadeus, they show Mozart and Antonio Salieri actually finishing this movement together on his deathbed-an awesome moment in film even if it’s a bit overdramatic and fictionalized. Different moments of this timeless piece show up at climactic moments in countless films, past and present. If I had to pick a favorite movement, it would have to be the Lacrimosa. It reminds me of my adolescent love of morbid things.
9. Erik Satie | Gymnopédie No. 1 (Played by Pascal Rogé)
When I was a kid I really wanted to be a concert pianist, go to Julliard and all of that. Of course I discovered men and that sort of ruined all of my positive ambition. Regardless, I had to include a nostalgic piano tune in my top ten. This song makes me think of the fall, my favorite season. Also it reminds me of taking things slowly and appreciating simplicity. I had a really killer interpretation of it on my first cell phone too.
10. Ella Fitzgerald & Duke Ellington | It Don’t Mean A Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing)
Let’s end on a positive note! This song is just pure fun. Ella has certainly influenced me as a singer and this song showcases her scat fame in all of it's glory. I just have to say that my favorite thing about Ella is that she takes the hot songs of the time, shortens them to their most elemental parts, and rattles them off so that the effect is almost sarcastic. We’ve got the one and only Louis Armstrong on doo-wah and the whole band is cracking up on the sidelines. It’s too good, everyone is just having a great time messing around. You won’t hear a social commentary as astute as this until I get the backing to start doing it. Although, I have to say, it would help if some pop group out there could make something stick for longer than a month…Oh!