I find music can have a very calming effect. Listening to the right song, at the right time can take one from the pits of despair, and raise them up into a much more pleasant mood. Music, has a way to touch a person on an emotional and psychological level, that I do not find in any other media. My tastes in music, can be very eclectic, and when listening to my collection it is not uncommon for a slow song to transition into a fast song, and back again.
Recently, I decided to take some of my purchased MP3's and place them onto a new CD, so that I don't have to use my phone as the means to scratch my particular musical itch. Below, is a list of the songs, as well as a quick blurb about each track. The tracks will be in their play order below, and one should immediately see just how strange, the list actually is.
"From God's Perspective" - Bo Burnham. For me, this is probably one of the best Bo Burnham has done. It is darkly humorous, and manages to have just the right bit of irreverence to make it a supremely appealing starter to a CD. I find it rare that I ever create a playlist that doesn't have at least a little bit of comedy. And starting up the CD with a little laughter, is the best way to go.
"Crazy Bitch" - Buckcherry. This is an unnatural follow-up to Bo Burnham, to be sure. This song ends up on the list, because it reminds me of the first major concert I ever went to. To be honest, up until that time, I had absolutely no idea who Buckcherry was. I have gone on to see them several times in concert, and it is always a high-energy situation. Memories of that are a great mood-lift.
"Mack the Knife" - Bobby Darin. To be perfectly honest, this is very likely my favorite rendition of one of my favorite songs ever. The song is upbeat, with a good energy, and on top of all that, it is fucking psychotic! The entire song is about a serial killer, and seriously... how awesome is that? The song reminds me of happy moments from my child-hood, not because of the song itself, but because of an ad-campaign run by McDonalds in the mid to late 80's. As much as I hate to admit it, Mac Tonight was a fond memory from my childhood. Thus, this tune is a definite mood-elevator.
"Short Change Hero" - The Heavy. I had never heard of The Heavy until very recently, when I went on a furious search to figure out what the song in the opening cinematic of "Borderlands 2" was. My Google-fu was strong, and I found the song. The song always acts as a great reminder of the frenetic energy of the Borderlands series, and as such, brings a smile to my face. A great song to listen to on the way to work.
"Bob Ross vs Pablo Picasso" - Epic Rap Battles of History. The Epic Rap Battles of History, are some brilliant bits of internet video genius. If you aren't familiar with Nice Peter and Epic Lloyd, you need to get yourselves a computer, and sit down for an hour or two, and catch up with this series of rap battles between just about anyone you can imagine. Pitting the mellow Bob Ross against a rage-filled Picasso, was a beautiful combo, and is one of my favorite battles to date.
"Lift Your Head Up High (And Blow Your Brains Out)" - Bloodhound Gang. Songs about suicide, on a CD meant primarily to elevate my mood? You bet your ass! Many times when I am listening to a song, it isn't always the lyrics that are important. It is a strange confluence of lyrics, melody, and honestly what I was feeling at the time I heard it the first time. I first heard this song during my very brief stint in college, a time that to this day sticks out as one of the happiest times in my life. This is a song that reminds me of friends that I haven't seen in years. As such, despite the suicide-encouraging lyrics, this song makes me smile.
"When Can I See You Again" - Owl City. By far, the most popular post I have ever done, was my review of "Wreck-It Ralph." The movie was fantastic, and the soundtrack was enjoyable, not necessarily as original as the old Disney classics like "Aladdin", but a nice fit for the film which was full of references, and in-jokes that are lost on people unfamiliar with the source materials. This song was featured in the end credits, and as such has the distinction of being the culmination of all the feelings that the movie inspired.
"Tubthumping" - Chumbawamba. This is a song, that many I have talked to loathe with a fiery passion. A sort of loathing that seems to well up from the pit of their being and spew forth as a sort of virulent venom at the mere mention of its name. For me, the song is again a reminder of a simpler time. It brings to mind time in college, or even at times a bit of the happiness that was my Junior year in high school. The song, can be grating... but the memories, are all that truly matter.
"Suicide is Painless" - Johnny Mandel. This is the second song that is directly related to suicide on this disc. The song itself is farcical in nature, and a simple listen to the song should reveal that. On top of that, a simple listen should also reveal that the underlying tune also happens to be the theme song to one of the most beloved TV shows about a fictional army field hospital. If thoughts f that show do not bring a smile to your face, you probably have no sense of humor. Or more likely the show just wasn't your type of show...
"Shut Up and Drive" - Rihanna. Did I mention I loved "Wreck-It Ralph"? Because if I haven't it deserves mentioning. If I have mentioned it, it is worth repeating. I have seen the movie more often than I care to admit. The song, naturally reminds me of one of the really happy moments of the film, it also reminds me of the time I convinced a co-worker that I thought a "Rihanna" was a type of Toyota... There is a joke in there, but I think it might offend some, and it is not necessarily appropriate...
"#Deep" - Bo Burnham. The songs from Bo Burnham's latest comedy special make several appearances on this disk. This is simply because Bo's stage persona is pretty hilarious, the fake arrogance that he exudes is amusing, and this song epitomizes that arrogance. It is almost as if it was specifically written to mock that stage persona. Suffice to say, it is amusing, and since I seem to have a theme going, it also has a line that encourages suicide! Bonus points!
"Gandhi vs Martin Luther King Jr." - Epic Rap Battles of History. Full disclosure, I am not Key and Peele's prime demographic... What I have seen of them, has not particularly tickled my fancy, except for a bit they did about racist zombies... that was pretty hilarious. When they starred in their own Epic Rap Battle, I watched, and I laughed my ass off. Laughter, being the best medicine, this song is a great way to get a few good chuckles in before I get to wherever I am going.
"Can you Picture That?" - Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem. The Muppets... seriously, what more needs to be said about this song? Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem's introduction was one of the best moments from the original Muppet Movie. This particular song was practically perfect, and helped introduce the movie-going audience to a large group of the Muppets. To this day, this is still my favorite Muppet song, and beat out "Man or a Muppet" for a spot on this disc.
"Mr. Jones" - Counting Crows. Yep, taking a trip back to the early 90's with this one. Honestly, the time this song came out was one of the worst times of my life, yet it still manages to make its way onto just about every major playlist I create. I suppose the underlying message of wanting to be someone else, might have struck a cord with me. Or perhaps, the tune is the right amount of upbeat to make me smile. Either way, this song stays stuck in my head a lot, and as such it will always live on a playlist or 2 of mine.
"Go Kart Racing" - Garfunkel and Oates. So, I will assume that not many people are familiar with Garfunkel and Oates. This is not a group formed when Art and John decided to ditch Paul Simon, and Daryl Hall. It is instead a duo comprised of Kate Micucci, and Riki Lindholme, two talented ladies that manage to make some seriously funny songs. The set up in this song is too good to spoil. Look the song up, take a listen, and understand why this song is so great.
"Want You Gone" - GLaDoS. The game Portal, and its sequel are two of the best puzzle-centric games I have ever played. Elevated to a new level by the character GLaDoS, a "mildly" psychotic A.I. that spends the games trying to kill the protagonist. She happens to be one of my favorite video game villains of all time, and the songs she has at the end of each game are brilliant. With the mind of Jonathon Coultan behind them, would you expect anything less than perfection?
"The Diary of Jane" - Breaking Benjamin. A song, tossed in because I love it. No real story behind this one, I just really enjoy listening to this song. Couldn't for the life of me name another song by this band right now... So, to spice up this blurb, according to Wikipedia this song is based on the story of Jane Eyre... Can not confirm the validity of that statement, but it's amusing either way.
"Gangsta's Paradise" - Coolio. The song served as the inspiration for one of my favorite Weird Al songs. For that reason alone, it deserves to be on the playlist. Also of note, I have never really included the original version, opting always for the Weird Al song, instead. So, I decided it was time to make this CD a little more Coolio. Interestingly enough, because I included this song instead of Amish Paradise, this may be one of the few CDs I have made that has no Weird Al at all on it.
"Repeat Stuff" -Bo Burnham. For years, I have claimed that there is some sort of dark sinister machinations behind pop music. This song appears to espouse that same notion. Going so far as linking those awful little teen magazines in with the success of this brand of music. I can easily see this song drawing the ire of the legion of fans of He Who Shall Not Be Named... Especially since Bo Burnham explicitly states his name in the intro to the song.
"99 Problems" - Hugo. This song was one of the best parts of the 2011 Fright Night remake. A strange bluegrass-y sounding tune, that has very little at all in common with the Jay-Z song that gave rise to this song. It is an enjoyable listen, and makes for a great end to the CD. A fitting place, considering that the placement of these tracks on the CD was done entirely by random.