In 2009, I went sort of crazy and made two versions of the annual Halloween mix. One was the shorter, official version. The other was an insanely extensive mix that I included when I sent the discs out. (I will post the 2009 "director's cut" separately.
Random Gum 2009 “We are popcorn nerds” (Official version)
Ghada Shbeir – Ahwa Kamaran
I love these exotic sounds. It also makes me think of meeting my dear friend Ben and our meal at Mediterranean Kitchen (my annual pilgrimage back to Seattle. I also think back on the fact that it has been over ten years since I split from the most influential (ex-)boyfriend I ever had. Without him, I would never have (or maybe it would have been delayed) eaten Middle Eastern food or experienced so many things in the world. At the same time, without me, maybe he would have missed the income-tax deadline and would have let his car run out of oil.) And now where is he? (Unfortunately cannot find the whole song to post here.)
Boney M – Rasputin
My long history and love for Russian language, history, etc., was reawakened this year. Rasputin is a nice theme. The real story behind this, though, is that everyone I know in Europe seems to be very familiar with Boney M… but I know no one in the United States who has ever heard of Boney M. Everyone looks at me like I have been living in a cave when I report that, until moving to Iceland, I had never heard of Boney M (when Philippe first played them for me). Calls to mind Iceland’s former PM, Davíð Oddsson, whose influence mirrors that of Rasputin (Oddsson just won’t die), as Iceland falls apart. “And lots of people want to kill him, I’m sure.”
Chromeo – Bonafied Lovin (Tough Guys)
Although introduced to Chromeo by my brother, listening to them also reminds me of driving from Oslo to Sweden with my lovely Croatian then-roommate Nina when I was house hunting on a beautiful early autumn day in 2008. I rented a Toyota Yaris and off we sped… in the wrong direction. My directions were very bad, and we ended up in driving back and forth about three times, hundreds of kilometers out of our way. It was fantastic, though, and she was a great roadtrip partner. (Chromeo is also MUCH better than – puke! – Josh Groban!)
Earlimart – Happy Alone
Discovered Earlimart last year in Seattle when they opened for the Wedding Present. As 2009 dawned I ask, “Am I happy alone?” “And it’s still unknown/just how much distance means we’re on our own/and can we be happy/alone?”
Terence Trent D'Arby – Wishing Well
Memories of 1987, junior high school and the friends from that period in time, and then of last year’s Thanksgiving dinner, hosted in Iceland graciously by Eygló. This album was the soundtrack for some reason. Many friends, good feast, great joy.
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.
Tomas Halberstad – Travel as I Wait
Another Norwegian TV ad campaign… very 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…”
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.)
Eagles of Death Metal – Now I’m a Fool
I am addicted to this song. No idea why. It makes me think of springtime 2009, the brief “thing” with Scot(t), being in Seattle, being someone other than myself. “But nothing is real, even what you can feel, is just illusion…”
Sonic Youth – I’m Not There
I’ve always loved Sonic Youth and this interpretation of a Dylan song sustained me through many long nights.
Tatsuya Ogino and The Bunnys – My Sweet and Bitter Days
A nice, 1970s Japanese song that is now known as “the Friday song” at my office. My colleague plays it at some point during the day every Friday, and we all breathe a collective sigh of Friday relief. (Cannot find a good link for this one — but it is such a great Friday song!)
Bettie Serveert – Love & Learn
For N., who is now in the dustbin of my history.
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…”
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…”
Arik Einstein – Ro’eh Atzuv
After all these unidentified years, I finally learned who this mystery man is.
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…”
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.
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!”
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?”
Röyksopp – The Girl and the Robot
Have to have a Norwegian band, right? Catchy song; I relate to falling in love with robots.
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.”
Luna – Sweet Child O’ Mine
A mesmerizing take on a song I actually could easily have done without.
Lightning Dust – When You Go
I simply find this beautiful; Lightning Dust is one of the most interesting bands I heard in 2009.
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.)
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”
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