WARMER MIXTAPES #39 | by Thomas Deis and Jessica Martins of Via Audio

SIDE A | by Thomas Deis

1. Michael Jackson | Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'
I have a lifelong intertwinement with this song. I danced to this song when I was a baby, and during the production of a Via Audio record, we listened to the song for reference. Of course, we'd all heard the song a million times, but when we looked at the song under a microscope, those great weird percussion ideas in the song made our producer laugh out loud. I can be a fickle music listener sometimes in that I can think I'm in the mood to hear something, and then change my mind mid song. That is not the case with this song. It puts out a uniquely empowering and positive vibe, though the lyrics are sometimes negative and strange - People hate you, you're a vegetable - I personally find great joy in those lyrics. I'm sure I have cried tears of joy to this song.

2. Radiohead | Weird Fishes
In Rainbows is a sneak attack. It's an excellent album that many people I know, including myself were very critical of at first, but we all eventually realized how emotional it is. Weird Fishes is the emotional pinnacle of the album. To me, it represents falling in love. The song is not served up to you on a silver platter in contrast to a lot of popular music or even in contrast to many Radiohead songs. The melody is very slow to develop, but that makes it just that much more satisfying when it does. The moment/lyric that hits me the hardest in the song is Everybody leaves if they get the chance and this is my chance... Leaves means giving in to love, and if you ask me, it's true, everybody does leave if they get the chance. By the way, this song made me cry too, especially at the concert. So much crying.

3. The Beach Boys | All Summer Long
This is another listened to it all my life song. It makes me happy in a magical way. It's out of tune wind instruments make me laugh, and the lyrics are brilliantly simple and quirky. Sittin' in my car outside your house, 'member when you spilled coke all over your blouse?... There are so many lyrics like that in the song that are just silly, sweet and a little melancholy. And it's all set to beautiful melodies and harmonies which match the lyrics perfectly. Won't be long 'til summer time is through is sung to a melody that sounds like the tone of voice one would use when saying Won't be long 'til summer time is through.

4. Juana Molina | ¿Quien?
¿Quien? is in spanish and I could understand about 1 in 10 words Juana was singing before going to a translation website. The lyrics still hit me very hard before I knew the bulk of them. She actually introduced the song at a concert as No, Mama, please don't leave me. She explained that the song is about leaving her child at home to go on tour. The way she sings it is somehow painful and soothing at the same time. Just from her performance you can tell that she loves her child more than anything in the world, but listening to it, I always feel the pain of the child.

5. Soundgarden | Like Suicide
This song is spiritually satisfying to me in a way I can't entirely explain, but I'll try. I listened to this song/album a lot when I was about 13 on vacation with my family, in the desert of southern Utah. We were driving home from a hike one night and we saw a car stopped in front of us with a deer standing to the left of it. Then, in the other lane, where the deer was, a pickup truck came barrelling towards us going at least 70 miles per hour and killed the deer instantly. Of course, I cried. Like Suicide became painfully associated with that incident. Later, I learned that the song was inspired by a bird that crashed into Chris Cornell's house and mortally wounded it's self. He made the decision to finish the job with a brick.

6. Jeff Buckley | Grace
This seems like an obvious choice, but I can't help it. Jeff's ability to pump emotion out of his mouth is absolutely mind blowing. The lyrics are beautifully dream like, but it's actually more the way he wails the words that really gets me. The fact that they are about a vision of his own death is extremely poignant, and the melody/harmony has this desperate quality to it... It's impossible not to feel his pain.

7. Yes | Close To The Edge
Close To The Edge is one of those rare attempts at a musical masterpiece, and one of those ultra-rare attempts at a masterpiece that succeeds in everything it set out to do. In 18 minutes of brilliance, the song addresses the disgrace and eventual enlightenment of mankind all set to delicious grooves and gorgeous harmonies. It has four themes that associate with each of the four seasons, which associate lyrically with Jon Anderson's four seasons of mankind. It was inspired by one of my favorite books, Herman Hesse's Siddhartha. Both the book and the song absolutely live up to their missions to make an epic piece of art about enlightenment. Close To The Edge basically means looking over the edge of enlightenment.

8. Morphine | Take Me With You
Morphine is an amazing band. Everything is low sounding...Bari Sax, Bass, low voice. You just get dragged through a mood when you listen to them. I take cues from them often as a musician. They use notes sparingly, so every note is important, and helps to color their big picture. Take Me With You is perhaps Morphine's most emotional song. Mark Sandman lyrically cuts to the chase This town is not your friend, never mind the loose ends, take me with you when you go, don't leave me alone. Sandman died before the song was released. To me it sounds like he knows he's going to die, and he's speaking for someone who loves him.

9. Queen | March Of The Black Queen
This song is an amazing exploration. It's darker and more playful than later Queen. Queen is a fun band, and March Of The Black Queen is the most fun Queen song. The lyrics are crazy, but they paint an awesomely angelic/demonic picture. I don't know what Freddy means by lines like this: Watebabies singing in a lilypool delight, blue powder monkeys playing in the dead of night but it paints a picture and I have always loved it. It changes mood often in a way that makes me feel like I'm in on a secret by knowing the song as well as I do. It's just fun as hell to listen to, and I've been listening to it for at least 20 years. It's not going to get old.

10. Pearl Jam | Release
The energy in Release is amazing. I remember getting my first portable CD player and listening to Ten. I found so much meaning in the album. If Eddie Vedder at his most depressed of Pearl Jam's career (1990ish) could say two words, they'd be Release me!. I too, was depressed at the time I got into it, so I could identify with that.

SIDE B | by Jessica Martins

1. Michael Jackson | Rock With You
A celebrity's death has never once affected me before MJ's; his legend will indefinitely live on, but for me pop music will never be the same. This is probably one of the most perfect arrangements of a song I've ever heard. From Off The Wall.

2. Aimee Mann | It's Not
Once at a show in Boston, Aimee said this was the saddest song she'd ever written; something about the lyrics and the melody together really strike a chord within me. From her fantastic album Lost In Space.

3. The Beach Boys | Surf's Up
Since they're primarily known for their bubbly, upbeat pop songs, this one from much later in the group's career is quite interesting lyrically, as it shows them defeated by fame and time. A beautiful, sad ballad from the album with the same title.

4. Beach House | Gila
They've got a new album coming out soon, but I still really like this track from their last album Devotion. The sparse instrumentation leaves a lot of room for Victoria Legrand's vocals to spread like butter.

5. Dexy's Midnight Runners | Come On Eileen
There are certain songs that will stand the test of time due to classic instrumentation and great songwriting; I feel this song is a good example of a song that managed to come out in the 80s but not sound dated. From the album Too-Rye-Ay.

6. El Perro Del Mar | Change Of Heart
Sarah Assbring's songwriting is a great representation of what you can do with only 3 or 4 chords. This is from her newest EP, Love Is Not Pop.

7. Beulah | Fooled With The Wrong Guy
I remember having to do a project in college where I had to transcribe every part of this song, making me listen to it over and over again to the point of not being able to hear it leisurely. It's been a few years so I'm glad all that's worn off. Beulah was a great band that maybe should have never broke up but left us with a couple of great albums; this song is from Yoko.

8. Fran├žoise Hardy & Serge Gainsbourg | Comment Te Dire Adieu
I went through a French ye-ye phase and came out heavily influenced by the likes of Serge, Brigitte Bardot, France Gall, and Sylvie Vartan; but none stuck so well as Fran├žoise Hardy, probably partly because she was one of the first girls who played guitar and wrote her own songs. Girl power!

9. Dusty Springfield | The Look Of Love
I feel that Burt Bacharach's reputation precedes him but I find him to be an incredible songwriter. Dusty's thick, husky voice gives me chills; just a sexy, but not dirty love song - gotta love that sax solo.

10. Fleetwood Mac | You Make Loving Fun
This band was such a wonderful example of what happens when a lot of creative people try to work together in a band: they love each other, they hate each other, but somewhere in between they make great, solid music. This band will always stand the test of time, and it's obvious in the all the bands coming out today that are reminiscent of what these guys were doing 35 years ago. From Rumours.