8) Eddie Vedder – Longing To Belong

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For a while there, I was learning to play ukulele. I was paying for lessons and everything. Eddie Vedder’s – ‘Ukulele Songs’ album was a source of inspiration and a measurement of what I had hoped to sound like when I became a ukulele master. It was a doomed attempt. I can’t even figure out how to properly strum. My ukulele band dreams are pretty much dead. I had costumes and music videos planned out, I just couldn’t figure it out!

I like the simplicity and the sound of the ukulele. This album gives a different perspective on uke music that isn’t all ‘Somewhere Over The Rainbow’. It’s an homage to this tiny instrument.

This is a beautifully simple song. When something so simple is done with the right sound and executed perfectly, you get things like ‘Longing To Belong’. (I learned lesson from watching a lot of Top Chef, it applies to music too.) I listen to this song a lot when I’m pining after someone. They are rarely pining back, but that’s ok. This song helps me wait it out until I find the next object of my affection.

‘And when the time is right I hope that you’ll respond, Like when the wind gets tired, The ocean becomes calm, I may be dreaming, but I’m longing to belong, to you.’

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7) John Newman – Love Me Again

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I recently binged/became obsessed with ‘Lovesick’ on Netflix. It’s kind of like a hipster version of ‘Coupling’ (this early 2000’s British sitcom) that I used to love. All your biggest dating/relationship insecurities and personal failures are manifested in these four characters. Sometimes you love them, sometimes you want to hug them, sometimes they disappoint you, sometimes you hate them, but they’re perfectly flawed and silly and it somehow all makes sense. It’s romantic realism with some grit and humor.

And I love realism. Therefore, I love ‘Lovesick’. It also has a really great soundtrack with only British musical representation.

It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I really dug it.

This song got stuck in my head from one of the first episodes. It falls in line with the Romeo and Juliet theme of the previous song and keeps the dance party alive. Plus there’s some awesome clogging in the video.

 

6) Dire Straits – Romeo and Juliet

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This is one of my favorite, saddest, perfect, ballad love songs. You might remember it from a somewhat quiet moment in the movie ‘Empire Records’ where they pan around the record store.

‘There’s a place for us, you know the movie song, when you gonna realize it was just that the time was wrong, Juliet.’

I like songs that tell a story and this song references some great stories. Heart break is sad. This kind of heart break leaves you gutted, but makes for really great music.

‘And all I do is miss you, and the way we used to be. All I do is keep the beat and bad company. All I do is kiss you, through the bars of Orion, Hey, Julie, I’d do the stars with you anytime.’

5) Pat Benatar – Love Is A Battlefield

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Pat Benatar was definitely right about love being a battlefield. However, she was kind of wrong about her weird, apocalyptic, Moulin Rouge style, lady of the night outfit. It’s like the costume department got high and went to a Toulouse-Lautrec exhibit.

Girl power is strong with Pat Benatar and her posse. They supported each other and stood up to ‘the man’. You don’t need romantic love to conquer the world, you just need the love of your friends. Appreciate the people that lift you up and make sure you lift them up in return. ‘Heartache to heartache we stand.’ 

At the same time, try not be too much like Pat Benatar. ‘Believe me, believe me, I can’t tell you why, but I’m trapped by your love and I’m chained to your side.’ Doesn’t exactly sound like the most fun time ever.

This video also reminded me of my favorite Julia Robert’s lesson – ‘Hooker with a heart of gold’. This concept can apply to dating, single life, couples that appear to be perfect, couples that appear to be a hot mess, and all around romantic turmoil – don’t judge a book by it’s cover and you never know how it’s going to end. You could be riding off into the sunset with a young Richard Gere or riding off into the sunset, like a bad ass, on a Greyhound bus.

Our stories have so many endings, don’t dwell on the not so great ones.

 

 

4) Erasure – A Little Respect

IMG_8219I don’t sing karaoke very often. Actually, hardly ever. But that doesn’t mean I don’t have a repertoire of songs that I will embarrass myself in public to.

This is one of them. (Other songs include: ‘The Boy Is Mine’ duet style, and Vanessa Carlton ‘1000 Miles’. This is why I never sing.)

If you couldn’t already tell, I love the 80’s. There’s something about 80’s pop music that makes me happy. It’s easy to bop to. Requires NO coordination of anything – hips, legs, arms – you can just flail and it looks appropriate.

Why is this song worthy of a Valentine mix? It’s so synth pop and fun and has electronic tones to it, but it’s also kind of sad. ‘Soul, I hear you calling, oh baby please, give a little respect to me.’ With references of the soul, I’m inclined to believe it comes from deep emotion. And then there’s this: ‘I’m so in love with you, I’ll be forever blue, what religion or reason could drive a man to forsake his lover?…’ 

Even if you’re a sad Valentine, you can listen to a super awesome 80’s pop song and dance around your bedroom while waiting for your friends to come over to play a round of Mall Madness.

3) U2 – I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For

photo 2This song has followed me throughout my life. It was the theme song when I was trying to figure out where I wanted to go to college and what I wanted to study. It has coached me through jobs, uncertainty, 2 – quarter life crises, heartbreak, loss, “soul crushing” solitude, and that weird internal feeling that can only be described as untethered.

This song has applied to so much in life and has made it ok that I don’t have the answers, that they’re not right there, and that it might be a while before I find them. It keeps the search alive and well. It’s like a motivational speech.

This Valentine’s Day, if you find yourself alone, listen to Bono. I have decoded his subliminal messages for you:

  • Girlfriend, pick yourself up. If Bono is still searching and doesn’t have his shit together, it’s ok if you don’t either.
  • Girlfriend, pick yourself up. Bono says the person you’re looking for is worth the wait. Maybe he’ll show, maybe he won’t, but Bono is confidant it’s going to be ok.
  • Bono would totally refer to all genders as “girlfriend”, but in an Irish accent.
  • Trust in Bono. He’s a rockstar. You can be a rockstar too (in your own way)!

‘But I still haven’t found what I’m looking for’ and that’s ok!

2) Mariah Carey , Jay-Z – Heartbreaker

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No Valentine’s mixtape is complete without Mariah Carey. I remember in her ‘Unplugged’ album she dedicated ‘Someday’ to anyone whose ever been dumped. From that moment on, Mariah became an authority on heartbreak for me.

I’ve always liked this song. (A lot of people don’t. Including wedding DJ’s, they really don’t like to play it, BUT it’s so good. Disregard the occasion dude.) It’s clever, it’s funny, it’s incredibly 90’s.

Here’s what this song/video gets right:

  • wind machine usage
  • crochet halter crop top
  • satin japanese fabric
  • great mix of pop and hip hop
  • Parent Trap style – 2 characters, 1 actress
  • the ability to make me believe movie theaters aren’t gross, sticky, dirty, and a cesspool of germs

‘She call me “heartbreaker”, when we apart, it makes her, want a piece of paper, scribble down ‘I hate ya’, But she know she love Jay because, she loves everything Jay says, Jay does.’

 

1) Deee-Lite – Groove Is In The Heart

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This may be the perfect opening song for a Valentine’s mixtape. Nothing says ‘I want to spend a romantic evening with you’ like a psychedelic, trippy music video.

I sometimes wish I was just a few years older. I would have been an amazing early 90’s club kid. Every once in a while, in my 20’s, we would hear this out at the bar and dance our faces off.

Not exactly high on the romance scale, but potentially high on something else. Literally.

Groove it out this Valentine’s Day.

“I couldn’t ask for another…”

Love Is A Mixtape

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Valentine’s Day. Some people love it, some people hate it, some people are indifferent. I have a strong LIKE for Valentine’s Day. (Love is a pretty serious description here. I save LOVE for Halloween in the holiday hierarchy.)

I don’t like it for the flowers or the candy or the presents or because I know someone is going to pamper me. Honestly, my best Valentine’s Days are the single kind. Celebrated with friends, a glass of wine, and zero expectations on how the night’s going to end.

This February I’m going to give you an awesome 14 song Valentine mixtape. It’s imperfect (not all are love songs), complex (not all are sappy), and will bring a smile to your face, whether your celebration style is romantic, chill, or sloppy drunk.

I don’t find Valentine’s Day to be the holiday to go ALL out. It’s also not the holiday to be down in the dumps about. I think you should show your love and appreciation year round and, more importantly, just because. And not just to your partner, but to your friends, family, and most importantly YOURSELF. You shouldn’t just do this on the day the calendar tells you to. Then again, I might be biased – I don’t like getting gifts, they’ve always stressed me out, so that may be why as well.

Posts will be relatively short. I’m short on time, and this go around, I was mostly just inspired by the music, not so much the ‘Behind The Music’. There aren’t a ton of personal connections, just songs that I love and jive together. Theoretically uncomplicated.

And yes, the picture above is my collection of vintage Valentine’s. They’re from the 50’s and 60’s, I think. I “rescued” them from my Grandma’s house in my childhood. They’ve moved everywhere with me. Some might call it a weird obsession. I call it LOVE!

Enjoy the mixtape!

First Lobster – Final Thoughts and Happy Holidays

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Happy Christmas! I hope all of you reading the blog have enjoyed the Christmas Countdown. I hope it has brought you a fun, crazy, upbeat soundtrack to a season that is full of jingle bells (literally), stress, and sometimes sadness. Thanks for joining me on this emotional journey of stories and songs.

Creating daily content was tough and at times I was uninspired, but I’ve enjoyed the process and the Mixtape of it all. I’m really proud of myself that I didn’t fall behind and was able to get a post in every day. (Thank goodness for post scheduler.) Plus it gave me something fun to put together for friends and family. I wasn’t sure how this was going to shape out, or where I wanted to go with it, but I’ve enjoyed it and I’m glad you guys have stuck through 24 days of crazy music.

Personally, I might consider this a year round song for me, I love it, but I know it’s very polarizing song, which is why I didn’t include it on the Mixtape. I think this version could make even the Scroogiest Mariah fan smile. No December is complete with out it.

I hope the end of the year is full of laughter, family, friends, experiences, delicious food, and nostalgia. I can’t wait to introduce you to the projects I have in the works for 2018.

Much love to all! Enjoy!