Tuesday, September 14, 2010

mix it up

I have always loved making mixes. In high school, I would make a mix CD for the particular purpose of driving around with my friends, smoking cigarettes and listening to it. My boyfriend and I embraced old-school traditions after reading The Perks of Being a Wallflower and exchanged mixtapes when we were about 16. Yes, it was adorable.

Nowadays, I still love taking a bunch of songs that may or may not be related and putting them together for listening pleasure. Whether it's a gift for a friend or just intended for listening while driving my Ford Ranger around town, the mix is great.

Currently on rotation in my truck are burned CD's labeled Annika's Sexy Mix, Some Good Dave, and Some Golden Oldies. These were intended for a trip to Dallas that I didn't get to take this weekend; I was planning to see Dave Matthews Band, hence the Good Dave mix.

Anyway - there are all kinds of good mixes!

  • the Best Of mix, in which you put together the best songs from a particular band or artist, year, decade, or anything else you can think of!
  • the Totally Random mix - pretty self-explanatory
  • the Mood mix: this can go from "Autumn Leaves" (another Perks reference, sorry, but that book has one of the best damn mood mixes everrr) to just plain "Melancholy."
  • the Love mix. You make this one for the object of your affection. It is to be filled with obnoxiously cute songs that the two of you have labeled "our song." You know you've done that, so don't pretend you're too cool to claim ownership over Blink-182's "I Miss You" because it just describes your relationship SoOoOoOo well. (In my defense, it was 8th grade. and I'm still with the guy!)
What kind of mixes do you like to make? Was there a particularly masterful mix you're super proud of? TELL ME ALL ABOUT IT!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

race & doo-wop

Right now one of the classes I'm taking is "Development of Popular Music, 1954-1979." Ah, the beauty of a liberal arts education. Because of this class, some of my posts may align slightly with the material we cover in class. But! History of music is important in order to understand music of today! RIGHT???

So since the semester has just begun, my class is covering the pre-rock-n-roll early 1950s. A time of innocence, poodle skirts, and complete racial insensitivity. Case in point: until they changed the name to "rhythm and blues," the charts for 'black' music were called "race charts." RACE CHARTS! THAT'S OFFENSIVE!

Okay, I'll cool it. We all know of various white artists throughout the years doing what Eminem sums up so nicely in his 2002 hit, "Without Me."

I'm not the first king of controversy/I am the worst thing since Elvis Presley/To do black music so selfishly/And use it to get myself wealthy.
Back in the day, it was actually common for an artist to cover another artist's hit song only weeks after its initial release. I guess it was a good way to capitalize on a hit and make some money for yourself, no matter how shady. White artists would cover the songs from the 'race' charts, clean up the lyrics a bit, and release it in their own white-bread way.

I don't know if anyone is as into doo-wop as I am (probably not), but here's a good example of this phenomenon:

"Sh-Boom" by The Chords (original)

Aaaand the Crew Cuts release it in the same year (1954)

See how AWESOME the original is, and how TERRIBLE the cover is?

So there you have it. Just wanted to share some delicious doo-wop with y'all...but you learned something too, didn't you?