carrying around a notebook and writing down my thoughts, it was the first time a girl I liked liked me back, and I started listening to The Mountain Goats. This mix was made in the early stages of that turbulent relationship, so the songs are all sweet, sexy, upbeat. The Zombies and Sondre Lerche start it off with a confession of budding romantic feelings, then my raging teenage hormones kick in with picks like Mirah and Her Space Holiday. Even “Dance Music”, with its serious theme of growing up in an abusive household, has a certain dark romantic feel that really appealed to the 17-year-old me. I specifically remember dramatically texting lyrics from “Dance Music” to this ex-girlfriend when we were having one of our many break-ups: “Okay so look, I’m seventeen years old, and you’re the last best thing I’ve got going.” Yeah, I was kind of a shit head. But I’ll stand by this mix. “Boston” is one of my favorite Vampire Weekend tracks, and the Sam Cooke and Donovan tracks are both examples of really sweet, well-crafted 60s pop songs. 2009 – Age 17 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14.
“Electric Feel” by MGMT “Black” by Okkervil River “Hand On Your Heart” by Jose Gonzalez “I’m Into Something Good” by Langley Schools Music Project “Baby” by Gal Costa “By Balloon Or Sinking Ship” by Jordan O’Jordan “Undeclared” by The Dodos “Eyes” by Apollo Sunshine “Love Is All Around” by The Troggs “Daylight” by Matt & Kim “Skinny Love” by Bon Iver “Forever Now” and Then by Clem Snide “I Never” by Rilo Kiley “True Love Will Find You In the End” by Daniel Johnston
Here comes the heartache: Okkervil River, Jose Gonzalez, Bon Iver, Rilo Kiley. This mix was clearly made during one of the bust cycles of a relationship. “Eyes” and “Undeclared” feel like pleas for clarification, and the end of the mix, while hopeful, is not rooted in certainty. It’s “True Love Will Find You In The End”, not “True Love Is With The Girl On Your Speech Team Who Likes Poetry You’re Dating.” But besides that undertone, this mix has some really good sections. “By Balloon Or Sinking Ship” is one of my favorite love songs of all time, while “Baby”, a free-floating Tropicalia tune, and the Herman’s Hermits classic “I’m Into Something Good”, covered here by a choir of children, are just plain fun to listen to. And of course, any mix from 2009 would sound incomplete without songs from Matt & Kim and MGMT. I also really like the jarring effect the last two songs can have if you’ve never heard them before. The pause at the end of “I Never” fools people every time, and the rawness and openness of Daniel Johnston voice can be startling when you first encounter it. I still play this mix on long road-trips. It’s a good emotional release for both sadness and anger, equal parts “how can I go on” and “fuck you, I can do better.” 2010 – Age 18 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9.
“40 Day Dream” by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes “Rush Apart” by The Rural Alberta Advantage “Kickin’ Jams” by Theo Zumm “I Saw Lightning” by Telekinesis! “Never My Love” by The Association “Parade of Punk Rock T-Shirts” by Maritime “Tonight You Belong to Me” by Bernadette Peters and Steve Martin “Shape of My Heart” by Noah and the Whale “Woozy With Cider” by James Yorkton