WARMER MIXTAPES #262 | by Star Quach and Harrison Russell of le Verita
SIDE A | by Harrison Russell
1. Prince | Little Red Corvette
A nice little dark pop song. I probably first heard this back on the Mom's tape deck when I was too young to appreciate it. Years later I listened to it and appreciated the dirty, sweaty feel of the track. The whole song really tells a story - something modern pop music has lost the ability to do - and Prince displays conflicted emotions over the whole ordeal. A lot of people hate on Prince without actually listening to his music, or they just hate the hype around him. Even if you don't like his music, respect the fact that he plays all the instruments in his songs, which he writes, and then on stage does a guitar solo wearing a purple cape and 4 inch heels.
2. Nas | Life's A B****
Everyone, at some point in their life, has related to the chorus of this song on some level. The track is so effortless and breezy, even though the chorus is rather nihilist. I love the saxophone outro - it's got this great sense of despair and longing.
3. Common | Faithful
I started getting into rap/hip-hop after high school. A misconception is that it's all guns and ho's - that's the crap on the radio because that's all companies know how to sell. This song talks about the way men tend to treat women, something I've always been intrigued by. I also think Kanye's production has always been overshadowed by his public hijinx, which is a shame cause he's a good producer.
4. Baustelle | La Guerra E' Finita
I first heard this song on a trip to Italy my first year in college. It's funny to me most people claim they don't listen to lyrics when they listen to music, but don't like foreign music. When I listened to the song (which was all over Italian MTV) I loved the marriage of classical music with the rock/pop format. It's such a sophisticated track. Francesco's baritone was also a strong influence on my singing style.
5. Björk | Harm Of Will
The sparse arrangement and instrumentation on this song is really beautiful. The lyrics, on paper, are very opaque, but when you listen to the track, the marriage of the music and the words, the whole thing comes together. The track is very sexual, not in a vulgar or vapid way at all, but in a very sensual way. The first time I listened to it was back in high school, and I would play this song on repeat, trying to dissect it and unravel it.
6. Kent | Kevlarsjäl
Kent has probably had the biggest impact on me in terms of songwriting and song arrangement. The attention to guitar tone is impeccable, and the way they treat the instrument is something I've tried to emulate. This song combines a lot of different styles (country, electro, pop, rock), which is something I strive for myself. Their singer, Joakim Berg, once said that the way he knows a song is good or not is if it raises the hairs on the back of his neck. Again, this litmus test is something I've adopted.
7. The Beatles | A Day In The Life
The Beatles did this trick a couple of times, combining two or three songs into one. John's part is so typical John - the somber mood, the dry opaque lyrics, abrasive chord changes, the 20th century modernist influence. Paul's part is just a perfect folky story-telling pop song that's stuffed there in the middle. This song opened my mind to how to compose a song. The way it closes the album too is brilliant, with that big swell and monstrous piano chord. The whole thing is a four minute piece of art.
8. Radiohead | Talk Show Host
I heard this song when I was 14 or 15. What 15 year old has not identified with the lyric: I want to, I want to be someone else or I'll explode? Really, the music you listen to when you're 15 or so is the stuff that really sticks with you. Every note is imprinted on your heart, every lyric resonates with you in this way that you'll just never replicate. This song was my theme music for being 15. That guitar line is so simple and effective - every instrument and sound on this track is so understated and perfect. This song was on the Romeo And Juliet remake soundtrack, too, so again, it's the perfect song for being 15.
9. Marvin Gaye | Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)
This song reminds me of hanging out with my Dad (who is an interesting character) and going to Oakland A's games, taking the bus, walking the streets. My Dad always loved soul music, and probably had some influence in steering me in that direction. The song, and the whole What's Going On album, is about looking at the world and just saying, what the hell happened?... Funny thing is Motown didn't want him to put it out, cause they thought the content wouldn't sell (funny how little things have changed) but it was really successful critically and commercially.
10. Joy Division | Love Will Tear Us Apart
It took me a while to understand and appreciate Joy Division. This song is what cracked the shell for me. Ian Curtis's robotic monotone has this unique soul to it, and the track has this infectious dancy energy to it, which is interesting for a song that's about the guy's failing marriage. I think a lot of people have listened to Joy Division and realized that you don't have to be a great singer to lead a band, as long as you're doing something unique and genuine people will understand that.
SIDE B | by Star Quach
1. Kent | Chans
I heard Chans for the first time back in high school. This track was given to me by a guy I liked and I remember listening to it over and over to try to grab any feelings he was trying to show me through this song. I love this song because I knew it was given to me out of genuine feelings. And because (the singer) Joakim's cry feels so genuine it makes me weak.
2. Kent | Whistle Song
It's too bad Kent is not well-known outside Scandinavia because their music and lyrics are quite poetic. They did two English version albums, but they never really caught on in the U.S. This song is the last track of one of those English version albums, Hagnesta Hill. This song fuels my fascination of obsessive love and what it can do to people. The honesty in the song undoubtedly infects my ears every listen.
3. Kent | Hjarta
(Last Kent song, I promise.) Kent has had such a major impact on my musical taste and style. This music video is beautiful, exquisite and effectively hits the right chords. Not only that, but the song's subject matter makes me feel such melded physical and emotional pain, I'm literally fighting tears by the end of the song.
4. UNKLE | Rabbit In Your Headlights
This song and its music video gives me shivers - extremely stimulating and empowering. All my senses are satisfied all at once. I feel I can accomplish anything with this soundtrack. This music video is also one of my top 2 favorite music videos to date - Jonathan Glazer executed this so well, I wish I had thought of it.
5. Travis | The Humpty Dumpty Love Song
Probably one of the best love songs in my book. The opening children's book imagery makes the heartache in the song so much more pure and sweet.
6. Bloodgroup | My Arms
If someone forced me to get into a trance, this is the song I would request they play before I dance my limbs off. As a good friend of mine says, it's a swirling swirly swirl within a swirly swirling swirl.
7. Björk | Jóga
I heard Jóga when I was trying to find who I was at the start of college. At that time I couldn't put my emotions in any communicable or understandable form, but once I heard this, I experienced the this is exactly how I feel and what I think moment. I was so happy to find someone else who had felt the same way.Jóga helped to teach me that taking the time to know myself is the best thing I can do for myself.
8. Coldplay | A Rush Of Blood To The Head
I like seriousness and people who know what is truly important to them. This song is like someone begging or threatening humanity to return to its serious state. A Rush Of Blood To The Head realizes that there are fewer good, genuine people out there.
9. Baustelle | Groupies
Part opera, part western tale - I love that it makes me think of a fantasy landscape. It's as if a man is caravan traveling across unrealistic desert terrain to escape tragedy-inflicted women. Great theatrical imagery!
10. Baustelle | Andarsene Cosi
A song that sounds like a soundtrack for the end of the world or end of one's lifetime. Every time I listen to this song, I am left feeling incomplete because it sounds like the music should go on, but it doesn't. It just ends... perhaps like things should.