Let’s do a Whatever.
(And you’re more than welcome to go back and do the old ones, too.)
What five songs do you have to put on every mix-tape you make?
These don’t have to be your favorite five songs of all time. They just need to be songs that you absolutely have to share with other people when you make them mix-tapes.
1. “Never Say Never,” by that dog.
You can watch the video right here. Please do. It rocks, and it’s ridiculously, deliriously fun. People always comment on this one. Anna Waronker’s lead vocal = hot. And the harmonies by the Haden sisters? Delicious. Moog AND violin on the same song? Check. Truly one of the greatest tracks of all time.
2. “Thankful,” by Glen Phillips.
Glen wrote and sang the songs for Toad the Wet Sprocket. “Thankful” comes from his monumentally awesome Winter Pays for Summer album, zooming along on smart lyrics with whirling instruments that could power a space shuttle. Plus it clocks in at under three minutes, which is good for a mix-tape because you can fit more songs on it.
3. “Summertime,” by The Sundays.
Music video here. The punchy horns. Harriet Wheeler’s voice. This song is like being on a ferris wheel with someone you love … in the summertime.
4. “Beautiful in Los Angeles,” by Garrison Starr.
An atmospheric power-pop rocker from a gal who sounds like no one else who’s ever made music. Backing vocals by our old buddy Glen Phillips.
5. “Think Bad Thoughts,” by Kay Hanley.
Two bands ruled the 1990s for me: Toad the Wet Sprocket and Letters to Cleo. Kay wrote and sang the songs for the Cleo gang; for my money, she’s got the best voice in rock music. “Think Bad Thoughts” is from her most recent solo album, Weaponize, and when I tell you that you need it in your life, you know I’m telling the truth.
A few others: “Bring Me Up” or “Let’s Forget About It” (video here) by Lisa Loeb, “Question” by the Old 97’s, “Delirious Love” by Neil Diamond, “F.N.T” by Semisonic, “We’re the Same” by Matthew Sweet, “The Morning Sad” by Veruca Salt, “Sweetest Decline” by Beth Orton, “All I Can Do” by Chantal Kreviazuk, and “I Want You” by Rachael Yamagata. That’s a lot more than five.
And every mix-tape I make from now on will probably end with “Sweetest Angel,” from the new Jonatha Brooke album, The Works, that I got in the mail yesterday. You should go to her store and buy one, too, because it’s awesome. “Sweetest Angel” is a duet by Jonatha and Glen Phillips; it’s a lovely, simple little acoustic number with effortlessly gorgeous harmonies by two of my absolutely favorite voices of all time. “So let me come as close as I can, lay me down beside you. Here’s a word I’d like to whisper; I’d like to have you listen.” Amazing.