WARMER MIXTAPES #238 | by Drew Sullivan [Slow Dancing Society]
1. Mazzy Star | Fade Into You
There are far too many things that take place in my heart and soul when I hear this gem. Sonically everything is right. A simple 3/4 waltz, acoustic guitars, atmosphere and Hope Sandoval's haunting, haunting voice. The lyrics are simple but abstract enough so that it isn't allowed to venture into a tacky realm. I really find myself just speechless when I put this on. Really romantic sounding too!
2. Over The Rhine | Latter Days
This is one of those songs that I'll never forget when I first heard this. It really wasn't all that monumental of a moment, but it was a moment nonetheless. I feel that's the one thing we forget in life is that we try to label moments as more important than other moments. When really, every moment of our lives is a moment. I feel that's why this song is so important to me. It was just this beautiful, honest & rich tune that floated into my head one idle weekend. I was actually at a rooftop party that was held in this cultural/art museum in Pasadena, CA. I decided to venture around the museum and check out some of the installations and happen to come across this photographers' work that was being displayed and he had this tune playing on repeat. I just heard this song reverberating in the hallways until I finally reached the room and couldn't help but move toward it. Like I said about it being on repeat, it's strange in that this song can be put on repeat and never feel like the song gets old. It's structured as such where it never really builds but rather floats like a feeling that you can't quite shake. Furthermore the lyrics are really beautiful about coming to the realization that someone may in fact be better off without you. This song will change your life!
3. Def Leppard | Hysteria
Let me start by saying that I understand why people are of the opinion that certain bands or music from a certain era is/are considered lame or cheesy... But that doesn't mean that I agree or even think that its an educated way of thinking… Rather, it's shallow and shut-off and quite frankly just moronic. What makes music great in the end after we talk about all of the sonic goodness or, if we must, the public's opinion, is the way it makes us feel. Unfortunately there are far too many folks that fall under this description and I feel are really just fooling themselves in addition to missing out on a lot of wonderfully beautiful music. Again, music doesn't have to be cutting edge, revolutionary, hip or anything else to be good. It just has to be what it is… A piece of music that makes you feel. So, now that I've gotten that out of the way… Def Leppard was one of my first exposures to music. Although my Mom played a plethora of music at a young age and many years before I heard Def Leppard, this band just seemed to stick. I do feel that this tune is their best, or at least one of their best. It's got this amazing dual guitar sound that only few bands have been able to capture (let alone, perfect), along with some really great production qualities (thank you Mr. Mutt Lange), and most importantly, it's got a fantastic melody. Now, I know it's not doing anything great in this song (see above statement), but there's just something about this song that makes me think of my childhood and the times when life was just a little simpler, the days were a bit longer and the rest of my life seemed laid out before me…
4. Hammock | Losing You To You
I probably listen to this song more than any of their other songs. This song is SO beautiful and chock full of emotion it's hard to not become emotional when hearing it. Not only are Hammock great at sonically painting pictures and doing everything in such a grand and excessive way yet remaining completely subtle, they're really masters of great melody. I dig how they let melody move songs forward and be the building blocks rather than turning up the volume, adding distortion etc… And all of the other tired clichés of music. Anyway, this song just hits me right between the eyes and almost evokes that hurtful compressing feeling your heart can produce when our lives are reflected upon. Beautiful stuff. Really beautiful stuff.
5. Prince | Money Don't Matter 2 Nite
PRINCE can do no wrong in my book. He's really a genius of all things funky, sexy deep and moving. This tune is really simple but has this infectious groove and almost philly-soul sound to it that just makes me move. The message is damn good too about our beliefs regarding status, issues and well... Money. Again, like Def Leppard, this tune just reminds me of a younger time in my life and for some reason this time in my life (late 80's/early 90's) is very VIVID in my mind. Matter of fact, this era of music has probably been the most impressionable on me as an artist... All music out of that time really.
6. Queensryche | Silent Lucidity
This is one of my all time top favorite songs. It hits all the right notes of what makes a song great... It's emotional, beautiful, dark, hopeful, emotive and most of all honest. The lyrics and or subject could get lost on some as deep just to be deep or rather pretentious. But I dig this subject matter. The idea/notion of controlling your dreams and astral projections... Etc. Vocally Geoff Tate can stand toe-to-toe with some of the best Metal singers and musically it doesn't get any better talent wise with these guys. I've always thought of Queesnryche as a more Metal version of Pink Floyd. Listen to their album Operation Mindcrime and tell me it's not up there with The Wall as a powerful concept album. Anyway, this tune again is just so musically rich and beautiful. As I'm sure you can tell so far, I'm very much into texture, layers, depth… When it comes to music. There's always something new to take or absorb from music like this. The journey is always different. This also has a nice place in my heart as one of the first concerts my father and I went to was this particular album tour (Empire). I'll never forget it!
7. R.E.M. | Nightswimming
Great, Great, Great tune by these fellas. Again, a really simple piece. Vox and Piano with some nice strings for good measure. Obviously it's got a great melody and just seems to flow really well… But it's the subject matter that I can't get enough of. Total summer bliss and all the memories that are fostered this short but sweet time of our years. The line in the song…September's coming soon….Ahhh, it gets me every time. That feeling of knowing summer is fading and making way for the slow decline of life (Fall), where eventually everything dies (Winter) and then on to Spring and back into Summer where we get to do it all over again. The other line…Nightswimming, deserves a quiet night…Well said!
8. The Red House Painters | Have You Forgotten
One of the last songs that I can remember where I was brought to tears. I feel like lyrically this song keeps slugging you with hit after hit like a champion boxer. Sentimental and contemplative lines about innocence, regret, childhood and defeat just keep coming and coming at you. Coupled with the slowest shuffle and rhythm track and lulling voice that only Mark Kozelek can deliver. There is an original version, but the one I'm uber-fond of is the one that is on the Vanilla Sky soundtrack. Totally different version both emotionally and production wise. It really is a gorgeously heartbreaking tune.
9. Third Eye Blind | The Background
Another band I'm sure a lot of folks have written off as a one hit wonder or teenybopper type of band, but really their debut album is quite amazing and deep both musically and lyrically. This tune in particular is quite haunting about a relationship got wrong in every way and for every reason. I remember this tune not hitting home with me until roughly 10 years later from its initial release. I was going through an odd time relationship-wise but more so because I was somewhat lost at the time. I know it sounds esoteric and all but it was true. This song was a friend at a really strange time in my life. Like I'd said in another way earlier, music can be that one thing that pulls you through it all in the end. There's this part right before the solo where he shouts…Cuz I felt you long after we were through!... Just in the way that the vocal fades off and the solo kicks in, it's pure emotive elegance.
10. U2 | With Or Without You
I'm sure I don't need to do much explaining about this tune... But I will anyway. By now this song is in the very fabric of what makes us human. Matter of fact Bono made a great comment one time about this song that it's only because we've heard this song so many times that it sounds normal to us, when in actuality it's a rather strange tune. There's this sort of reliable/normal drum beat and baseline that guides the song, but everything else about is it so ethereal and strange. This haunting and almost whispering guitar and string section just float into your psyche and Bono's vox are about as mysterious and truthful as they've every been. It goes without saying that The Edge's infinite guitar part in the beginning and throughout most of the song is what all drone and ambient shoegazer's strive for along with the staccato-like guitar delay that kicks in right before the line and you give yourself away... Pure bliss. Also, I dare anyone to NOT get goosebumps right when after the chorus Bono leads into the ever-famous OHH, OHH, OHH part. Finally after this song has built the way it has growing and growing only to drop into that simple D-Dsus chord progression and the song fades out…Ahhh, more gooesbumps. It's such a subtle way to end the song. It could be epic... A big guitar solo or synth could've taken over, but no... Just pure restraint. It just ends so emotionally at that last part... Very haunting. I really have to say this is my favorite song of all time.
+11. Tears For Fears | Woman In Chains
Quite provocative sounding and rich with lyrical issues about domestic violence. Layers and layers of sounds, and percussion move this song along. It's really too often that I overuse the word beautiful to describe music, but most other words escape me and it's all I can say about such a tune as this. Every instrument has it right place and moment to keep this sounding honest and powerful. The chord change at the end of the song is really quite fantastic and something to experience. Lastly this tune was a favorite of my Mother and I feel like it was played so often at a young age that it just stuck.