The really long version of the 2009 mix…
Random Gum 2009 “We are popcorn nerds” (Official version)
1. Ghada Shbeir – Ahwa Kamaran
Exotic. (Not a good link, sorry.)
2. Boney M – Rasputin
"Oh, those Russians…"
3. Chromeo – Bonafied Lovin (Tough Guys)
Thanks to my brother, Kyle… and here’s to missing Nina.
5. Gossip – Jealous Girls
“Take comfort that it's over.”
6. Martha Wainwright – You Cheated Me
In Seattle in autumn 2008, I listened to this on repeat in my hideous automatic rental Hyundai (when I requested a Japanese car, the rental agent, who was from Djibouti, said, “Yes, I can give you a Hyundai.” I said, “That's Korean.” She looked puzzled, “What's the difference?”).
7. Aimee Mann — 31 Today
“I thought my life would be different somehow/I thought my life would be better by now… but it’s not, and I don’t know where to turn.”
8. Earlimart – Happy Alone
“And it’s still unknown/just how much distance means we’re on our own/and can we be happy/alone?”
9. The Searchers – Needles and Pins
“Let her go ahead/take his love instead/and one day she will see/just how to say please/and get down on her knees…”
10. Morrissey – First of the Gang to Die
“You have never been in love…” The first of many songs influenced by Bruno. “…The first to do time…”
11. Kate Nash — Pumpkin Soup
At first I did not really care for Kate Nash but the infectiousness of this song’s sound and its title (pumpkin soup being something I cook constantly, which always makes everything better) made me relent. “…but I don’t even know if we’re still friends/it’s so confusing, understanding you is making me not want to do the things I know I should do…”
12. Lily Allen – The Fear
Overplayed and not my style, this still popped up during the year again and again. “I don’t know what’s right and what’s real anymore./And I don’t know how I’m meant to feel anymore./When do you think it will all become clear?/Cause I’m being taken over by the fear…”
13. Maria Mena – All This Time
I hate this song. It just was everywhere in Norway in the first few miserable months I lived here. It is like a symbol of having survived long enough to get past the ubiquity of the song.
14. Jacques Brel – La Chanson des vieux amants
“Bien sûr tu pris quelques amants/Il fallait bien passer le temps/Il faut bien que le corps exulte / Finalement finalement/Il nous fallut bien du talent/Pour être vieux sans être adultes…”
16. Laurent Voulzy – Grimaud
And why you ask? Not because I would ever in a million years listen to this song of my own volition. At some point in 2009, Bruno told me that I “never” include his songs on my mixes (despite the inclusion of “Anita Pettersen” last year). So here it is, a song for him, of his choosing, so that he can achieve the, erm… fame and notoriety associated with being mentioned in this track listing. Now everyone will know his name and that he has somehow influenced me. There are other songs on the mix with his mark on them; he has left many marks and scars in the handful of years that I have known him. Whatever makes him feel… important. (And Laurent Voulzy, as you can hear, sucks.)
17. Sinéad O’Connor – The State I’m In
“I can’t stand myself since you’ve been gone/there’s nothing there to lean upon…”
18. Pop Will Eat Itself – Wise Up! Sucker
“You give me sixteen different flavours of hell.” I started listening to this again recently, not having heard it in probably 13 or 14 years. Thanks to a Naomi mix circa 1995.
19. The Primitives – Spacehead
Another piece of the long-distant past. “What is that boy on?/He’s a strange person.”
20. Terence Trent D'Arby – Wishing Well
My last Thanksgiving dinner party in Iceland. Thank you, dear Lóa! Takes me back to junior high.
21. The Raveonettes—The Christmas Song
I do not like this song particularly but it played in Norwegian wintertime TV commercials with this festive winter background, and will forever remind me of my first winter in Norway.
22. Sam Phillips – No Explanations
“I thought if he understood/He wouldn’t treat me this way…”
23. Tomas Halberstad – Travel as I Wait
Another Norwegian TV ad campaign… addictive song. “Cause here we go again/but it’s the last time/I travel as I wait…/I’m on my own again/but for the last time/I travel as I wait…”
24. The Fall – Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
This is just too funny.
25. Robyn Hitchcock — Viva! Sea-Tac
Oh, the lyrics, the lyrics. Hilarious. “They’ve got the best computers, and coffee, and smack…”
26. Gabriella Cilmi – Sweet About Me
Driving in rural western Sweden with my rental car, stuck only with the radio, learning a lot about contemporary music as well as the penchant for Swedish and Norwegian daytime radio to play crap like Kool and the Gang and “I Don’t Like Mondays” by the Boomtown Rats on any day of the week (which in itself reminds me of being adolescent and makes me miss my old friend Terra). “When you’re playing with desire/don’t come running to my place when it burns like fire… /Sweet about me/nothing sweet about me…” (The song also makes me think about the ever-present “kiss of death” words people always say to me, “You are so sweet, but…”)
27. Depeche Mode – Wrong
Another song discovered in the rental car… first thing I have heard from DM in years and it just stuck with me. In the end of March it hit me hard to realize that I have been wrong. Assuring a friend that she had nothing to worry about, when in fact… I was totally wrong. She did. (Depeche Mode, too, makes me think of junior high friends, Terra, Leighanne: “Let’s waste the punks!” and “Smart’n’gorgeous”.)
28. The Jack Rubies – Be With You
Nostalgia again. Junior high school, college radio. Like being in 1988 again. Tracking down long-out-of-print CDs. (I cannot find a good link for this either… it's out of print of course, so not so simple.)
29. INXS – Original Sin
Digging into nostalgia, I was listening to old INXS, thinking about junior high and all my friends from that time.
30. I Am Kloot – Stop
“You think you’re lovely, I know that you’re wrong./God made me ugly, so don’t string me along.”
31. Tatsuya Ogino and The Bunnys – My Sweet and Bitter Days
The relief-filled Friday song. Friday does not feel like Friday without it. (Cannot find a good link for this one — but it is such a great Friday song!)
32. Eagles of Death Metal – Now I’m a Fool
“And then you went Hollywood on me…” I listened to this song, thanks to Naomi, during my last trip to Seattle, and could not stop. A lot of memories tied to it. “But nothing is real, even what you can feel, is just illusion…”
33. Yo La Tengo – Pass the Hatchet, I Think I’m Goodkind
As with most Yo La Tengo, you can get lost in it… this makes me think of my long conversations with Lolla. He seems to have disappeared, but I will always remember the conversations about wagons, rugby and his singing (especially about Värmland).
34. Montée – Isle of Now
No real reason. Montée is from Norway, so why not? “Some seem to understand/the way we planned ahead/was just a definition of our excuses…”
35. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Zero
Another “thanks to Naomi” song. A wee bit addictive.
36. Thomas Fersen – Pièce montée des grand jours
Just something I stumbled on by accident and liked the sound of.
37. Arcade Fire – Neon Bible
Thanks to Gabe in Iceland.
38. Pet Shop Boys – Don Juan
“At the end of the day when everyone's resigned/to the heart of the matter and the measures in mind/King Zog's back from holiday, Marie Lupescu's grey/and King Alexander is dead in Marseilles”
40. Ultra Vivid Scene – A Kiss and a Slap
“Seven seconds of agony/seven seconds of liquid bliss/just a slap and a kiss…”
42. Sophie Zelmani – I’d Be Broken
“Ashamed to be someone/who took you for granted/who took and demanded/the whole of you…” Thanks for the intro, Gabe.
44. Morrissey – Driving Your Girlfriend Home
Because of Bruno, I started listening to Morrissey again; this song was a favorite when it was released; my Morrissey history lacks the whole last decade, as I stopped listening after the Kill Uncle album. “So how did I end up/so deeply involved in/the very existence/I’d planned on avoiding?”
45. Tori Amos – Another Girl’s Paradise
This puts me right back into the streets of Grenoble, wandering around during the lonely, strange weeks I spent there a few years ago. “Does it all come down to/the thing one girl fears/in the night/is another girl's paradise?”
46. Aimee Mann – Stranger into Starman
“With a pencil and eraser I've rewritten all your crimes…”
47. Natacha Atlas – Moustahil
No explanation; just love the song.
48. Little Boots – Stuck on Repeat
“And I don’t remember how it started/and I don’t know how to stop/but every time I reach the bottom/something pulls me right back to the top…”
49. Throwing Muses – Start
“I start at his knees/and I’ll end in his dreams…”
51. Eskobar – She’s Not Here
“It was so strange when it happened/and I did not feel a thing…”
52. Bettie Serveert – Love & Learn
For N., who is now in the dustbin of my history.
53. Gossip – Coal to Diamonds
“I think I feel a little hurt/my fists are turning coal to diamonds…”
54. Leonard Cohen – So Long, Marianne
This has long been a favorite but seemed more interesting upon learning that the real Marianne is Norwegian. Oddly the song reminds me of the Indian eatery near my old workplace in Iceland. Most of the time, the restaurateurs offended the ears of patrons with the “best of” albums of Bryan Adams and Phil “Groovy” Collins (always hideous) but occasionally played The Essential Leonard Cohen, which is better, but still entirely inappropriate for an Indian place. This also makes me think of my friend Terje; we watched the movie The Boat that Rocked together, and this song was part of the soundtrack.
55. Morrissey – Sing Your Life
“And make no mistake, my friend/Your pointless life will end/But before you go/Can you look at the truth?” Again for Bruno, the first of many to sing to me.
57. Earlimart – God Loves You the Best
I love the sound.
58. Eleni Mandell – Yellow Light
Heard this by accident and love the sound.
59. Isobel Campbell – This Land Flows with Milk
Love the slight melancholy.
62. Elliot Smith – Alameda
“Nobody broke your heart – you broke your own/cause you can’t finish what you start.” (To indecisive, selfish boys.)
63. The Stone Roses – (Song for My) Sugar Spun Sister
“She wakes up with the sun, she asks me “what is all the fuss?” as she gave me more than she thought she should./ She wakes up with the sun/I think what have I done, as I gave her more than I thought I would…”
64. Diving with Andy – Sugar Sugar
For Bruno, with love.
65. Maktub – Subtle Ways
“I ain’t asking for another chance/what have you to offer in this dance?” (Cannot find a good link.)
66. Joan Armatrading – Save Me
A song almost as old as I am, I heard it for the first time in 2009. “Immune or evasive/throw me a lifeline/save me…”
67. Martha Wainwright – So Many Friends
Always talking about and contemplating the meaning of friendships and the roles people play in our lives, this song just felt appropriate.
68. Robyn Hitchcock – You’ve Got a Sweet Mouth on You, Baby
“You’ve got a sweet mouth on you baby, but you would not kiss a frog…” Oh, wanna bet? 🙂
70. Pearl Jam – Black
Yeah I don’t like Pearl Jam, never have. But I heard this song and, surprise, liked it. “I know someday you'll have a beautiful life,/I know you'll be a sun in somebody else's sky, but why/Why, why can't it be, can't it be mine?”
71. Sinéad O’Connor – The Last Day of Our Acquaintance (Live)
One of my favorite songs; normally I don’t like live versions, but this one just adds intensity to this particular song. (The version I put here is not the same, intense version I put on the mix I sent out.)
72. Pet Shop Boys – Your Funny Uncle
It’s been ages since I listened to the Pet Shop Boys, but my brother tried to get me to go to Seattle in September in time to go with him to see the Pet Shop Boys in concert; I did not do it, but started listening to them again in any case.
73. Daniel Balavoine – Mon fils, ma bataille
Maybe one of the cheesiest songs ever, it figures prominently into a memory of one of the best weekends I have ever had, taking the wrong train and everything. One of the only times in life I felt so alive. In some ways I even wish I had left it at that, never again seen the person who made the memory possible. Why mess with something that was nearly perfect? It can only go downhill from there.
74. Chromeo – Momma’s Boy
Hilarious lyrics and totally 80s sound. “She says I remind her of her father, and I know she likes it./ She wants a man who’s got his game locked tight.”
75. Morrissey – King Leer
“You didn’t even thank me… because you never do.”
76. Mazzy Star – Roseblood
“You won’t know her/so it’s okay… funny how things change…”
77. Diving with Andy – October in May
I can’t listen to this without thinking of you. “You’re here, you’re here/and I don’t care…”
78. Arik Einstein – Ro’eh Atzuv
After all these unidentified years, I finally learned who this mystery man is.
79. Mudhoney – You Got It
One of my favorites from Seattle. “You give it away/like free samples/but I don’t want what anyone can have…/…KEEP IT OUTTA MY FACE!”
80. St. Vincent – Save Me from What I Want
Discovered by accident. “17 cold showers/couldn’t wash away…/Save me… save me…save me from what I want…”
81. Sinéad O’Connor – Someday My Prince Will Come
This Disney song is not my usual style, but there is something slightly haunting and almost tragic about this version.
82. Natacha Atlas – Ezzay
83. Emiliana Torrini – Heard It All Before
“A momentary lapse/a passion that would pass…”
84. Au Revoir Simone – All or Nothing
“Nowhere just means nothing of where you’ve been or where you’re going…/…It’s all or nothing.” Thanks to Aurélien.
85. The Melody Unit – Soviet Disco
“Now comrade, you’re one of us/never looked on a western shore…” A song I contemplated for previous mixes and am finally including here. The Melody Unit’s 2005 release Songs for the New American Century is full of great tracks; it was hard to decide which to choose a few years ago when I put “Plea Before the Scream” on another year’s mix.
86. Flight of the Conchords – Foux da fa fa
Just too funny not to include; I know how all my French do (or would) love it. “Pamplemousse, ananas, jus d’orange, boeuf, soupe du jour, Camembert, Jacques Cousteau, baguette!”
87. Beirut – Postcards from Italy
I was all set to go to Italy to visit my friend Alfa earlier this year; all my planned trips to Italy fall through, year after year. I am deeply sad that this keeps happening. Meanwhile, I just dream of sending postcards from Italy.
88. Cinerama – Tie Me Up
“It’s almost unfair that someone should be quite so stunning/when they said that you’d called for me, I came running…” Reminds me very much of PF.
89. St. Vincent – The Strangers
“Paint the black hole blacker…” Lest Bruno think he has not influenced this mix enough, I can say that though he had nothing directly to do with my discovery of St. Vincent, it was because I went hunting for Diving by Andy (his recommendation) that I stumbled on St. Vincent. He should be thrilled to learn that his influence is even felt when he is not trying.
90. Martha Wainwright – Bleeding All Over You
Around the time I was making last year's cards and CDs, I was listening to Martha Wainwright's latest album. I was in Seattle visiting my family when last year‘s cards went out… and had recently met an Icelandic man. He thought he was clever and crafty. Ignoring the fact that I long ago declared of Icelandic men “never again”, could he possibly have thought that in a tiny nation like Iceland where everyone knows everyone or at least can find out everything about everyone that I would not find out he was married? “I know you‘re married but I've got feelings too…”
91. Curve – I Speak Your Every Word
In the past year, I have started listening to these old albums from Curve — and find that I still like them, maybe even more than when they were new. “I can smell deception/in your every word…”
92. Au Revoir Simone – Shadows
“I’m moving on/I hope you’re coming with me…” Thanks, Au.
93. Hot Chip – Shake a Fist
“I’m ready to try this…”
94. Röyksopp – True to Life
Just relaxing background music.
95. Asobi Seksu – I’m Happy but You Don’t Like Me
Introduced to me thanks to Erik/Scot(t).
96. The Prodigy – No Good (Start the Dance)
Another song that reminds me of Naomi; she put this on a cassette mix for me back in 1995, and I was listening to it while suffering through my miserable time at University of Washington…
97. Flight of the Conchords – Business Time
Hilarious. “But Wednesday we make sweet weekly love.” “Making love, making love for, making love for two, making love for two minutes… when it’s with me girl you only need two minutes because I’m so intense.” “Business hours are over, baby.” HAHAHA.
98. Airport 5 – Subatomic Rain
Thanks to Naomi for introducing me to all the music of the alcoholic Mr. Rogers (Bob Pollard). “We miss you back in Germany.” Here’s a song for the nuclear engineers in my life.
99. Ute Lemper – Nannas Lied
I have no idea why. A song that I listened to a lot when I was going to university; a lot of things have come up this year that take me (painfully) back to 1994-5, which was one of the worst times of my life. Makes me think of long-lost college friends, of my friend Paul, who was such a tremendous and loving support during that hellish time. “Wo ist der Schnee vom vergangenen Jahr?”
100. Hector Zazou with Björk – Visur Vatnsenda-rosu
I love this interpretation. “Ó að við hefðum aldrei sést/elsku vinurinn góði”
101. Shelleyan Orphan – The Silent Day
A song that reminds me so much of being in 9th grade it almost makes me sick. “The life is still breathing in me/but you’re not there/you don’t need your body now/as death is larger than life/but you’re there/don’t they say that time heals?”
103. Gossip – Standing in the Way of Control
This year I discovered a lot of different music (like Gossip and Lightning Dust) by reading Carrie Brownstein's Monitor Mix blog on NPR. (Carrie Brownstein was a member of the late-great Sleater-Kinney and also a former classmate at university.)
104. Diana Ross – Upside Down
Driving through Sweden, no CDs on hand, listening to crap radio, I had to stop to buy a couple of CDs and found the most limited, terrible selection. However, I did find very cheap copies of a best of Dolly Parton (which I already had a copy of at home) and a best of Diana Ross and the Supremes; this song kept me awake during the last leg of the drive back to Oslo. As Naomi said, the song’s a guilty pleasure.
105. Morrissey – Last of the Famous International Playboys
For B, singing while driving a scooter through the streets of Paris in the middle of an August night. At once magical yet mundane. I loved it. One of those simple moments that is branded in the memory, despite its seeming insignificance at the time. “I never wanted to kill/I am not naturally evil/Such things I do/Just to make myself more attractive to you/have I failed?”
106. Hot Chip – Ready for the Floor
Another song I like just the sounds. “I am ready, I am ready for a fall…”
107. Röyksopp – The Girl and the Robot
Have to represent Norwegian bands, right? Catchy song; I relate to falling in love with robots.
109. Lloyd Cole and the Commotions – Speedboat
For years I tried to like Lloyd Cole but never fully succeeded until 2009. I later learned that other significant people in my life share this like.“It wasn’t my style/to find surf in my eye/it was much more my style/to find sand in my eye/It was just not my style to find/surf in my eye/it was much more my style to get sand kicked in my eye…”
110. Diving with Andy – You Don’t Have to Cry
All Diving with Andy songs appear because of Bruno, and he knows it. “If you really care for/I do believe that you should think about/cutting down on pop music…” “…Hope you really care for me.”
111. Jenny Lewis – Black Sand
I credit dear Shaina with making me give Jenny Lewis a second listen. Glad I did. “I have this dream where I’m down on my knees on the black sand/I’m facing the sea as the wind pushes me down to my hands/Who’s gonna mind, when the end is nigh?/Oh, on the black sand.”
112. Luna – Sweet Child O’ Mine
A mesmerizing take on a song I actually could easily have done without.
114. Jean-Louis Murat – Héautontimorouménos
Another something surprising and beautiful, overdosed on among Swedish autumn landscapes; thank you, Roxane. (No good link, sorry. Find the album, which is amazing, here.)
115. This Mortal Coil – Another Day
An eternity ago, I fell in love with this song, and it still evokes emotion. “I loved you a long time ago, you know/Where the wind's own forget-me-nots blow/But I just couldn't let myself go”