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The Memory Mixes – Part 7: Foreign Affairs

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Hipper Campus Memories (Fall 2003 – Spring 2004)

In the Fall of 2003, I started taking classes at Temple University.

This was one of the best times of my life. 

I was getting deeper into psychology and neuroscience courses. Meeting and befriending more people than I ever had known, and enjoying arts, culture, and great food whenever I could.

Shoutout to the Temple food trucks…

So what else could I do: but make an obnoxiously jubilant mix to commemorate those great days in the big city. 

But on a national level, I felt so alienated by the policies and rhetoric that were taking hold.

The Bush administration itself was only partially to blame. I’ll never forgive their unchecked hubris with respect to foreign policy, but the scary climate was largely due to media figures like Sean Hannity and Anne Coulter whipping their audiences into a frenzy.

And, more importantly, due to the everyday people who began to lap up authoritarian gestures like flecks of blood in the air.

Everyday people like my family.

I had nursed a dream of studying abroad long before George Bush Jr became president… but his time in office certainly strengthened my longing to get away.

I looked into my options, and I submitted an application.

The following year, I would successfully get away.

Here’s my mix for undergrad year 3: 

  1. “Neon Meate Dreams of a Octafish” — Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band
  2. “Love in War” — Outkast
  3. F-ck the Pain Away” — Peaches
  4. Joote Dedo Paise Lelo” — Lata Mangeshkar
  5. “I’m Wild About Horns on Automobiles” — Billy Hays and His Orchestra
  6. Torn Green Velvet Eyes” — The Magnetic Fields
  7. “Deep Fried Frenz” — MF DOOM
  8. “Government Center” — The Modern Lovers
  9. “Simple Man” — Klaus Nomi
  10. “House of Jealous Lovers” — The Rapture
  11. “Lucky Star” — Basement Jaxx w/ Dizzee Rasal
  12. “Don’t Touch Me Tomato” — George Symonette
  13. “On the Surface” — Pere Ubu
  14. “Souvenir” — OMD
  15. “Love Is Only a Feeling” — The Darkness
  16. “The Second Line” — Clinic
  17. “The Man Who Loved Beer” — David Byrne
  18. “I’ve Got My Car and My TV” — Faust
  19. “Don’t Dare to Tell Me” — Teresa Teng
  20. “Michael” — Franz Ferdinand
  21. “Resolution” — John Coltrane
  22. “Frijoles” — Aesop Rock

And the bonus:

  1. “Fix Up, Look Sharp” — Dizzee Rascal
  2. “Love Is the Drug” — Roxy Music
  3. “Weeping Chandelier” — The Tiger Lilies
  4. “Jing Jing” — Shoukichi Kina & Ry Cooder
  5. “Stupid Man” — Lou Reed
  6. “Vitamin C” — CAN
  7. “Invisible” — Ornette Coleman
  8. “13 de Maio” — Caetano Veloso
  9. “No Letting Go” — Wayne Wonder
  10. “Go To Sleep” — Radiohead
  11. “Without You” — David Bowie
  12. “Blinded by the Lights” — The Streets
  13. “What is the Light?” — The Flaming Lips
  14. Why” — Yoko Ono
  15. “Baby” — Os Mutantes
  16. “Saint Mary” — Sparklehorse
  17. “Float On” — Modest Mouse
  18. “Rain Dance” — Herbie Hancock
  19. “M’Bifo” — Rokia Traore

Look to the East (Fall 2004 – Spring 2005)

I spent this next academic year studying in Tokyo, Japan. This was my first time in a foreign country, as I’ve written about previously.

For this playlist, I wanted to capture the whole experience:

It’s a mix of excitement…

Novelty…

Charm…

Fun…

Wonder…

Disorientation…

and also some frustration, some moments of disconnection.

Capped off by sadness at the prospect of leaving! 

I’m sure others who have lived abroad can relate. 

You’ll also notice that my hipster gatekeeping walls are starting to erode.

And I start to embrace tunes that grab me, no matter where they come from. I guess Tokyo made a poptimist of me. Can you keep up?

  1. “Who Could Win a Rabbit” — Animal Collective
  2. “Figaro” — Madvillain
  3. “Sunrise” — BENNIE K
  4. “A Minha Menina” — Os Mutantes
  5. “Us” — Regina Spektor
  6. “Mr. Clarinet” — The Birthday Party
  7. “My Pal Foot Foot” — The Shaggs
  8. “Lose My Breath” — Destiny’s Child
  9. “Sugar Daddy” — Frank Black
  10. “Smoke and Mirrors” — The Magnetic Fields
  11. “Gunjou Hiyori — Tokyo Jihen
  12. “Staring at the Sun” — TV On the Radio
  13. “Koko Kuduchi” — Rinsho Kadekaru, w/ Seijin Noborikawa
  14. “The Imposter” — Elvis Costello
  15. “Stinking Drunk” — Big Black
  16. “Sakura Drops” — Utada Hikaru
  17. “The Red House” — David Byrne
  18. “Hospitalsische Kinder / Engel Der Vernichtung” — Einsturzende Neubauten
  19. “Golden Streams” — The Hidden Cameras”
  20. Tinsagu no Hana” — Kaori Futenma
  21. “Worry Wort” — Radiohead

And the bonus:

  1. “I Just Want to Play Piano” — Mark Mallman
  2. “Matsuken Samba II” — Ken Matsudaira
  3. “Maps” — Yeah Yeah Yeahs
  4. “Atavu Chanda” — Vijaya Anand
  5. “No, No, No” — Yoko Ono
  6. “Get Low” — Lil Jon & the Eastside Boyz
  7. “Brian the Vampire” — Xiu Xiu
  8. “He Woke Me Up Again” — Sufjan Stevens
  9. “Come Sta, La Luna” — CAN
  10. “MILK” — Rip Slime
  11. “Tapr” — Autechre
  12. “Pattern Recognition” — Sonic Youth
  13. “Terminator X to the Edge of Panic” — Public Enemy
  14. “Real World” — Pere Ubu
  15. “Entenraku, Norigaku Sanben” — The Imperial Court Ensemble
  16. “Can’t Get You Out of My Head” — The Flaming Lips
  17. “JOY” — Yuki
  18. “20 Jazz Funk Greats” — Throbbing Gristle

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Phylum of Alexandria

Committed music junkie. Recovering academic. Nerd for life.

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Virgindog
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February 1, 2024 8:50 am

All over the map, literally and figuratively. I love that you have The Shaggs next to Destiny’s Child. That’s the kind of schizophrenic juxtaposition I like. Bonus points for George Symonette.

rollerboogie
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February 1, 2024 10:00 am
Reply to  Virgindog

The Shaggs as a concept is fascinating, in that it’s a rare opportunity to hear what music could sound like if it is was made by someone with what would appear to be no knowledge of conventional ways music is made and no influence from the outside world. That said, after hearing it once, that was enough for me. I also can’t get the backstory out of my head regarding the girls and their relationship with their father, that led to this music being made. That’s just where I’m at with the whole Shaggs thing.

Last edited 18 days ago by rollerboogie
rollerboogie
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February 1, 2024 9:52 am

I knew very few of these, but 3 of the ones I do know have major significance. Anything off of Coltrane’s A Love Supreme, Franz Ferdinand’s self-titled or the Lips’ The Soft Bulletin is foundational text for me for different eras of my musical awakening. If you had thrown in Big Star, I would start to feel stalked. Been a bit swamped, but I will need to dig into these playlists at some point, as I would imagine some great music awaits. It has been fun accompanying you in the wayback machine on this musical journey.

Last edited 18 days ago by rollerboogie
rollerboogie
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February 1, 2024 12:41 pm

No it does not, but it does give you a hint at how influential they were on so many beloved 80s and 90s bands. Just about any jangle pop/power pop band in the 90s can trace their lineage back to Big Star. That is not an exaggeration.

cappiethedog
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February 1, 2024 8:50 pm
Reply to  rollerboogie

I told you this before, rollerboogie, but it bears repeating. That time you wrote about wanting to kick a box because somebody equated Big Star with the Barenaked Ladies made me LOL for real.

rollerboogie
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February 2, 2024 6:22 am
Reply to  cappiethedog

I was thinking about that yesterday.

thegue
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February 1, 2024 10:49 am

I admire that your playlists are all over the place, genre-wise. I’ve essentially given up on expanding beyond what I’m currently discovering because there is just SO. MUCH. OUT. THERE.

It gives me a sense of helplessness, staring into the abyss. By focusing on a few select genres, I feel as if I have some knowledge/control over it…and that began in February 2005 when Y-100 went off the air.

My family is as culturally shallow as yours, and they never understood my yearning to leave, though my stepmother always assumed I’d leave the country, never to return.

As for the sadness of leaving, ventures abroad to me are a microcosm of life:

  1. When I arrive in a new place, I experience “new” things in that place with people who have arrived around the same time I did, usually with wondrous excitement.
  2. Then, as I’d settle in, we’ve developed deep relationships with those we’ve joined the “world” with.
  3. As we get closer to the end of our stay, I’d look with bemusement at those just arriving, and noticing the same feelings I experienced when I arrived, but with a hint of sadness, knowing I can’t feel euphoria the way I did.
  4. I also realize my group of friends is shrinking, as one by one they leave to move on. Eventually, I leave as well.
JJ Live At Leeds
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February 1, 2024 12:37 pm

It’s been a pleasure joining you on your journey and seeing how your tastes have developed and changed. Seems like kids grow up so quick these days.

It’s about 50/50 on songs I’m familiar with this week.

Thinking about stages of development, I reckon there’s a standard 4.

First stage; listen to everything with no preconception or sense of what you’re supposed to like. Everything is awesome.

Second stage; get into music, become aware of genres and pick a favourite that blocks out the rest and develop preconceptions about the lack of worth of those compared to your own favourite

Third stage; get over yourself, realise life is too short to worry about what is considered worthy, broaden your horizons and open yourself up to the world

Fourth stage; too much to keep up with, retreat into the comfort of familiarity.

I’d put myself at around stage 3.25. Of course, your mileage and own experiences may vary.

JJ Live At Leeds
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February 1, 2024 2:11 pm

Theres a genre i never knew i needed in my life; Japanese chicken yodelling. Takeo has a new fan in my 12 year old, she’s now sharing it with all her friends.

Low4
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February 1, 2024 2:15 pm

Holy moly, The Shaggs!

JJ Live At Leeds
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February 1, 2024 2:57 pm
Reply to  Low4

The album title that never was; Holy Moly, Its The Shaggs!

Low4
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February 1, 2024 3:08 pm

My work here is done.

cappiethedog
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February 1, 2024 8:46 pm

Stephin Merritt is an inspired lyricist.

On a ferris wheel
Looking out on Coney Island
Under more stars
Than there are prostitutes in Thailand

I was absolutely obsessed with this couplet. I thought it was just so incredibly brilliant.

Nobody writes at that level.

On “Swinging London”, I encountered the word “grok” for the first time.

His legacy is secure. But I would love another album.

Merritt references Hawaii from time to time. The engineer Eric Masunaga is Oahu-born and a member of The Dambuilders, who was even less popular than Poi Dog Pondering. What I didn’t know, something I learned this year, was the Hawaii connection to …And You Will Know Us By the Trail of the Dead.

I’m listening to “Sugar Daddy” for the first time. That’s a deep cut.

Great mix of the familiar and unfamiliar, as usual: A Roxy Music song I recognize.

Pauly Steyreen
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February 2, 2024 1:16 pm

You know what they used to say about the 20 Jazz Funk Greats album by Throbbing Gristle?

They’re not jazz.
They’re not funk.
There’s not 20 of them.
And they’re not great.

Pauly Steyreen
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February 2, 2024 1:21 pm

I had no idea that David Byrne had covered “The Man Who Loved Beer” — I just love the Lambchop original.

https://youtu.be/0vTjGZzMXCM?si=T-9Gb2uPRbXqFEOx

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