WARMER MIXTAPES #1426 | by Selwyn Walsh and Duncan Walsh of The Watanabes

SIDE A | by Duncan Walsh

1. Joy Division | Love Will Tear Us Apart
I remember it distinctly. I must have been 10 or 11 years old. It was a sunny Saturday morning. I was watching the Chart Show on ITV. Each week they played a classic retro video from the Past. This video came on from the 80s: A weird, kind of uncomfortable looking band in an industrial hall, with this slightly awkward lead singer. It was a happy melody, but the vocalist seemed sad. It was beautiful, but it was confusing. Even as a young lad, I sensed that this song had more meaning to it than the average Pop Music. For 3 minutes I was in Music Heaven, but before I’d looked for the band name, the video was over and the song was gone. I didn’t have pocket money to spend on Music mags and records. There was no Internet. I couldn’t jump on YouTube and find it within an instant. The song was gone. All I had was the memory of this joyful melody and rather awkward lead vocalist. About 8 or 9 years later, I went to my first Indie night at University and the DJ played Love Will Tear Us Apart by Joy Division. As soon as that famous bass line kicked in, I knew I’d found that lost song from my childhood. Magic.

2. The Kelly Family | I Can't Help Myself
When I was 14 I went on the School German exchange. It was my first real trip abroad and it was the start of a Love affair with foreign culture and people. I had a brilliant exchange partner called Ines, and, although at the time we couldn't say much to each other, we certainly shared a love of Music. Perhaps that explains why we're still in good contact over 20 years later. Ines just happened to be the World's biggest fan of The Kelly Family. These guys were probably a bigger culture shock to me than Germany itself: A huge multi-national, multi generational Irish gypsy family band playing Folk Music, who were top of the German charts with this little number I Can't Help Myself. It was probably just a tad too cheesy to ever be successful in the UK, but it was a monster of a hit in Deutschland, and whenever I hear it, it transports me back to my week with Ines. Incidentally, Ines recently came to Tokyo with the Bremen orchestra, and dropped by a Watanabes' gig. We couldn't resist singing a few Kelly Family tunes together, and having a giggle. It's true what they say, Music is an international language.

3. Bryan Adams | (Everything I Do) I Do It For You (Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
We had a Disco at Primary School. It was held at the local village community center and a few generous parents would give up their time to serve soft drinks to the kids from a kitchen window, usually whilst puffing away on a fag. A young and affordable DJ was hired, with his own impressive kit of flashing Disco lights. It took place once every 2 or 3 months, and it was the talk of School for weeks in advance. Are you going to the Copeman Center Disco? my friends would excitedly ask. We had a ritual. When a slow song came on, you’d get your friend to ask the friend of your favorite girl, whether she’d be interested in sharing a slow dance with you. If you were shy and a bit frigid, you’d gently attach your arms to their shoulders with a visible space between you and the young lady. If you were a gentleman, but a bit more adventurous, you’d bring yourself closer and put your arms on their hips. And if you had a much older brother or sister who’d educated you in the ways of the World, you’d hold them tight, and cup your hands around their… For want of a better word… Ass. My girl was Katrina. Our song was Bryan Adams - Everything I Do. And if you’re wondering, I was a gentleman.

4. R.E.M. | Near Wild Heaven
It’s a bit cheesy, but we all do it: songs that we associate with people we had feelings for. I remember discovering R.E.M. when I had a huge crush on a girl called Ellie at High School. She was really good fun but such a vicious flirt, and needless to say I thought I had a chance with her – along with every other guy in the School! I remember listening to this particular song, belting it out on the School bus, not a care in the World. It was the summer, the holidays were near and I was convinced Ellie would soon be mine. R.E.M.’s Near Wild Heaven seemed so apt at the time. Heaven was near! Of course, it never happened and Ellie went off with an older guy, who had a car, but the dreaming was blissful and I forgive R.E.M. for encouraging me.

5. The Smiths | I Know It’s Over
So many people seem to think The Smiths are depressing. They’re not depressing. They’re hilarious! I remember going to a club at Uni with a load of friends and a bunch of nice girls. The bouncer let everyone in except me. I showed him my University ID. That’s not valid, mate. I got a taxi back to the Halls of Residence, picked up my passport and then went back to the club to prove my age. Still the bouncer refused, You’re too drunk mate. I trudged home, alone and depressed, feeling very hard done by, my Saturday night over and my chances with a certain young lady destroyed. I slumped on my bed, and blasted The Smiths through my speakers. Just me and Morrissey, lamenting our pitiable, sexless lives. As I poured my heart out to the lyrics, I felt so much better. In fact, I chuckled. Such romantic self-pity. It’s laughable.

6. Simon And Garfunkel | The Only Living Boy In New York
I was force fed Simon And Garfunkel by my parents from an early age. We used to go on family holidays up North. Dad’s very much a Classical Music lover, but sometimes he’d make a bit of a compromise with 60’s Rock instead. The funny thing is, I can’t remember if I liked it back then. All I know is, I love it now.

7. The Lightning Seeds | The Life Of Riley
Big Football fan me. Love it! And there’s nothing better than a selection of footie clips with a quality song to compliment it. The best one I ever saw was the 1993-4 Premiership Goal Of The Season clip using The Lightning Seeds as it’s Theme Music. The commentator Barry Davies’ voice and the atmosphere of the crowd seemed to fit together so beautifully with the mood and rhythm of the Music, Rod Wallace picks it up on the left… He’s past one… He’s past another… Now What? Oh, that’s Perfection. Music is an Art, and so is Football.

8. Natsukawa Rimi | Nada Sōsō (Ryoko Moriyama Cover)
The Watanabes were born in Japan, so it would be rude not to have a Japanese number in my top 10. This was the first Japanese melody that really stuck with me. I was traveling in a car through the snowy mountains of Gifu at New Year with my brother and an older Japanese guy. Communicating with each other was pretty exhausting and we were all feeling a bit sleepy. As the silence grew, he put on a CD. It was my first year in Japan, and I couldn’t understand a single word. But the melody spoke to me.

9. The Jackson 5 | I Want You Back
Remember when the Internet kicked off and everyone was illegally downloading Music? It was like Christmas. Literally any song you wanted. There, available at the click of a button. (Don’t do it anymore I might add!) Can you remember what the first song you wanted to download was? I can. It was Jackson 5. Pop brilliance and the theme tune to many a happy night out at University. Gets me boogying every time.

10. Neil Halstead | Paint A Face 
Our producer David Naughton introduced us to Neil’s Music. They’re pretty good friends after working together with Mojave 3, so I suppose you could call Neil a friend of a friend, and he felt like a friend when I heard his Music for the first time. Good lyricists do that. They feel like a friend. It was a grey Sunday morning in Tokyo and I had just made myself a cupper. I was feeling a little homesick for the UK, contemplating 10 years away from home. I listened to Paint A Picture for the first time and it just hit the sweet spot. Some songs are for Friday night. Some songs are for a big Saturday night. And some songs are for a thoughtful Sunday morning with a cup of tea.

There was something very magical about Music to me as a child. Songs and melodies were so fleeting. They only lasted as long as I could hear them, and then they were gone until the next time you had the fortune to hear them on TV, or on the car radio. I think that’s why songs at School became so precious to me. We didn’t have an expensive sound system at my Primary School. Our headmaster, Mr. English - a real nice fella, who seemed like a giant to us at over 6ft - used to bring his battered old guitar to morning assembly. He wasn’t a guitar maestro by any means, but he could play a few chords, which definitely livened up our School hymn for the day. They were mainly Christian songs, and many of them had the most beautiful melodies. I remember one, which I can only guess is called The Best Gift. I can remember all of the lyrics and the melody, but to this day, I still can’t find out who wrote it. I googled it the other day. Not a single video on YouTube to be seen! The only evidence I found of it was another person searching for it on Yahoo! Answers. The only way for me to listen to it now is by picking up my guitar and singing it by myself, which, to be honest, I’m rather pleased about. The Magic lives on!

SIDE B | by Selwyn Walsh

1. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart | Concerto For Flute, Harp, And Orchestra In C Major, K. 299/297c: II. Andantino (Performed by Sir James Galway & Marisa Robles with Academy Of St Martin In The Fields; Conductor: Sir Neville Marriner)
Friday nights were Classical Music nights in the Walsh household growing up. Dad would get home from work after a hard week in the office, insist the TV was turned off and the game console put away. Then the lights were dimmed, the curtains drawn, and he and Mum would commandeer the lounge with a nice bottle of red to listen to their favourite Classical Music and unwind. Teenage boys are generally not the greatest lovers of such evenings, but since I was not yet able to drive and lived miles from town, I was somewhat trapped! On the upside, while my friends were getting drunk and copping off with girls, I got to discover some rather beautiful Music. Although, none that I would admit to liking at School.

2. Belinda Carlisle | (We Want) The Same Thing
Belinda was the soundtrack to many a School run or day trip to the beach in my youth. Our mate's Mum had the The Greatest Hits on cassette in her car, and it would get a regular airing whenever we needed to get dropped off somewhere, likefooty training or the local kids' Disco. I loved Belinda, and I secretly fancied her, too. Plus, I'll always associate her with the anticipation of going somewhere fun.

3. Lynn Anderson | Rose Garden (Joe South Cover)
This was one of my grandpa's favourite tunes. He died this year so I thought I'd include it in memory of him. He was an amazing man, a real character. Warm, funny, generous, big hearted and ever so slightly eccentric. We used to stay with him and Gran during the summer holidays and go on trips together to places like London Zoo or the seaside. A good proportion of those days would be spent in the car together listening to Country Music and sucking on boiled sweets (Gramps always kept a plentiful supply in his glove compartment.) This was one of his favourites and I remember him saying how he couldn't believe someone had written a melody so beautiful.That's the Power of Music. Whenever I hear this tune, I'll always think of him. Miss you, Gramps.

4. The Beatles | I Want To Hold Your Hand
I'm positive that one of the best live shows I've seen in my life was by a Beatles tribute band - The Bootleg Beatles. They played my University end of year ball and I have hazy half-memories of jiving along to this and truly believing in my 20 year old heart that, yes, I was actually watching The Beatles! (In fairness, I had just knocked back several double shots of JD and Coke.) The likeness of these guys was incredible... The voices, accents, postures, mannerisms. Genuinely impressive. I was young, drunk, at University and watching The Beatles... Life was amazing!!! Until, that is, I awoke just a few hours later gripping my stomach and wretching into my bedsheets... Yuck.

5. Belle And Sebastian | I Could Be Dreaming 
I had a housemate at Uni who was absolutely obsessed with Isobel from Belle And Sebastian. Obsessed. He'd spend afternoons outside of lectures waxing lyrical and force feeding me B&S tunes. At first, I resisted. I found them saccharine and a little too Twee for my tastes, but it was this song which really pricked my ears up. It felt like the soundtrack to a crazy dream. Ten years later and The Watanabes would find ourselves being produced by David Naughton, who'd worked with B&S on The Boy With The Arab Strap. He tells me Isobel wasn't all that. Ian, if you're listening...

6. David Bowie | Be My Wife
I'll always associate Bowie's Music with my first year out of University teaching English in Munich. I managed to catch him on his Heathen Tour and was hooked. I could hardly comprehend that a 60 year old guy could be quite so effortlessly cool! I headed down to my local record store the next day to snap up a few of his albums (in the days when people still did that... The year was 2002!) Ziggy Startdust..., Hunky Dory, Station To Station... All records I kept on heavy rotation for months. Low was the one that really resonated, though. Maybe because I knew it'd been recorded in Germany. I loved every track on that album and still do, but this one's my favourite. Tongue-in-cheek cynicism set to a Funky beat and bass-line. Just the way I like it.

7. Die Ärzte | Manchmal Haben Frauen...
One of the many brilliant things about Music is that it can be a fantastic motivation for, and a great way to learn a foreign language. A bit like talking to girls! This is one of the many songs that inspired me to learn German... And once I could understand it, I found it genuinely quite amusing. Hilarious Music Video, too. Who says the Germans don't have a sense of humour?

8. Michael Jackson | Billie Jean 
Anybody who lives in Japan knows they need to own at least one Karaoke song. It's imperative. It's compulsory. It's part of the Culture. To be armed with that one song you can pull out at a moment's notice, at an office party or your friend's birthday, and be able to vaguely entertain or impress people. Particularly that cutie you've had your eye on. It might be something you sing well, a great impersonation, or a funny routine. This song is mine, complete with every grunt, groan and hip thrust. I've been doing it for eleven years now. It is fading a little with age, but if you've ever had the good fortune to see it, I'm pretty sure you won't have forgotten it.

9. Kings Of Convenience | I'd Rather Dance With You
I love to dance. Absolutely love it. And I will dance to just about anything. Often is the case, though, that the Music I'm influenced by (and the Music I make) is not exactly the danciest. This is one tune, however, which successfully combines my love of dancing with my love of delicate vocal harmonies and Acoustic guitar. It has me boogying around my bedroom every time. Great song, and a great sentiment, too.

10. Bob Marley & The Wailers | Could You Be Loved
While I'm absolutely no fan of the automobile per se, I'd have to admit it's a great place to listen to Music. Watching the scenery go by is like a real life slideshow for your favourite tunes. Plus there's that cosy feeling of being all safe and snug inside your own little cocoon. Totally deceptive, of course, as my driving instructor always used to remind me. Anyway, this song takes me back to road trips across Japan with mates. Summer skies and beautiful landscapes, young and carefree, a head full of dreams. There's no better way to listen to Music.