The folks on the Hold Steady fan board arranged a Mix CD exchange recently, and I agreed to take part, putting together a playlist of stuff and sending off a bunch of electronic files a couple of weeks ago (I don't know if the drive on my desktop can even burn CD's any more, even if I had blank CD's on which to burn songs). As there's basically zero overlap between there and here, it's probably safe to share the track list.
The title I used for it was "Bright Lights and Up-Tempo Tracks," a reference to this Hold Steady song:
(Including this on the actual playlist would be a little too obvious...). The vague organizing principle behind this was "Hold Steady characters and situations in songs by other artists"-- a lot of drinking and drugs, obviously, but Craig Finn also has a great way with character sketches, so some of these are selected because they remind me of that. This also deliberately skews a little obscure even by the standards of my playlists, because it was headed for one of a bunch of people who are way more involved with music than I have time to be. I thought about trying to find YouTube links for all these songs, but I did a spot check of the most obscure, and it's not out there, so there's no way to get the complete set.
So, the songs, and a brief explanation of why I thought they fit:
- "The Girl I Can't Forget," Fountains Of Wayne. A really cheery song about getting blackout drunk on a date.
- "Beautiful Wreck," Shawn Mullins. A friend worrying about the drunk at the end of the bar.
- "Hover Near Fame," The New Amsterdams. The drunk at the end of the bar is pissed about poseurs.
- "Woke Up This Morning," Alabama 3. After three days of drinking, I just got an inkling to go on home...
- "Conrad," Jets To Brazil. One of the most incongruously upbeat songs about a suicide you'll ever hear.
- "Drowned," Halloween, Alaska. Fits well musically after "Conrad," and is a bit more uplifting.
- "The World Without Logos," Hellsing. Random cool anime theme; the lyrics are just word salad, alas.
- "Romeo Had Juliette," Lou Reed. The only way you can tell that Craig Finn didn't write this is that the characters have last names.
- "bad sake," kingsley. One of those character-study sort of things; lots of great little shorthand in this.
- "Manhattan," Visqueen. A song about the sweet part of The City, with the bars and restaurants.
- "Dishrag," Wide Right. This would be kind of creepy if a man were singing it, but as it is, it's kind of funny.
- "Champaign, Illinois," Old 97'S. Rhett Miller gets Dylanesque.
- "Somerville," The Pernice Brothers. A bitter homecoming that's only slightly less awkward than "I Hope This Whole Thing Didn't Frighten You."
- "Sun In an Empty Room," The Weakerthans. John Samson is another great one for character-study stuff.
- "The First Single (You Know Me) (Album Version)," The Format. I love the lyric "Let's make a list of who we need, then let's throw it away, 'cause we don't need anyone."
- "Red Letter Day," The Get Up Kids. How could you do this to me?
- "Hyper Enough," Superchunk. A song that I've been known to replay several times in succession on long road trips.
- "Miracle Mile," Cold War Kids. I really like the plaintive energy of this.
- "Torch Singer," Buffalo Tom. Probably my favorite song of theirs, and "There's salvation in her band" is the most Craig Finn lyric not actually in a Craig Finn song.
The "cover art" up top (reproduced below for the RSS crowd) is, of course, from this classic song by SteelyKid and The Pip:
Because, really, you can't expect me not to work in a cute-kid reference somewhere...
So, there's some fun musical stuff to enjoy at the end of a long and trying week.