Sweet Sixteen 001 – Neoteric (What Is Life?)
I could make a dozen of these lists, and I just might have to, because theres no way I can make just one. I wanted to put a bit of everything on here. Some of them are a bit obvious. Some of them perhaps you haven’t heard, but these are songs that have really stuck with me in a big way…I give you:
What Is Life?
[DL] Sweet Sixteen 001 – Neoteric (ZIP FILE)
1. Bobby Brown – Cruel Prelude
This intro signifies to me something good is about to happen. When I was 12, for some reason my mom wouldn’t trust me to babysit my brother and sister, so in true player fashion, I convinced her to hire my girlfriend at the time, who was exactly the same age. We’d put my brother and sister to sleep and put on this Bobby Brown CD, or Janet Jackson’s ‘Janet’ and make out for hours on end. Until our faces were red and raw. Each heavy make out session started with this, and I learned so much during the way, which has shaped my prerogative. I also started a proper mix with this for Nicky Digital back in 2009, which covers many more important songs from my teenage years.
2. George Harrison – What Is Life
If I had to, at gunpoint, name the best song ever, this would be the one for me. It’s so real. It can help relate life, love and so many other feelings. The scene in Goodfellas this is used in is amazing, probably the best example of music MAKING a scene even realer. This is my song for when things get a bit crazy, and I need a reality check. Or when I need to storm through the kitchen of a busy restaurant while trying to sell guns.
3. The Grass Roots – Let’s Live For Today
This is more a message to myself. Learning to live for the day, not stressing about the future, or my never ending “to-do” list. I love the haunting vocals. They certainly don’t make music like this any more. You know that 10 disc Time Life Flower Power Collection Peter Fonda sells on TV? I got that…and LOVE IT!
4. Poets of Rhythm – Smiling While You’re Crying
For a few years, I was listening to nothing but rap, was big into Solesides, Quannum and all that. This came out on one of the labels, and I let the Poets of Rhythm ‘in’. It sounds like an old sample record I digged up, but it had some charming modern qualities about it too.
5. RJD2 – Sweet Piece
This also represents a move out of my backpack hip hop years. RJD2′s album Deadringer was a big album in my life, and I admittedly thought this album was soft at first – what is all this singing bullshit?? But it ultimately grew on me, when I decided to let it in.
6. Jonas Rathsman – Tobago
This is a really new track, and I didn’t want to include anything too new, but this has so many of the qualities I look for in a timeless track, I knew I had to include this one. This sounds like freedom. And it sounds like moving on. But more importantly I can yell this at the top of my lungs, with a big smile on my face, and feel much better after doing so.
7. Paranoid Castle – Paranoid Castle
This one reminds me of my first years of touring. 6 guys in a shitty van, hitting every city across Canaada, playing for $200 a night, sleeping on floors with no blankets, barely covering gas costs, and eating whatever was on McDonalds dollar menu. Driving 8 hours to get to the next city, get wasted, and do it all again. Around this time, my friend Factor released this project with Kirby Dominant, and it was quite a departure from what all our crews were doing at the moment. Listening to this in a Van on my headphones heading from city to city will be a memory that never leaves me.
8. Wilco – Jesus, etc.
This might be the country boy in me coming out. I grew up in a town of 500 people in rural Ontario, and certain songs always pull strings. I can’t really put out a specific memory tied to this one, but it’s always been a really uplifting track to me. I’m a bit of a romantic, and this one always spoke to me.
9. Burial – Aarchangel (Boy 8-Bit’s Simple Remix)
I didn’t want to put anything too clubby here, but this remix just happens to be uptempo. The original is amazing, and I love the simple touches Boy 8 Bit added. Such a classy way to update a classic. Holding you / Couldn’t be alone / Loving you / Couldn’t be alone / Kissing you..
10. Iron & Wine – Evening On The Ground (Lilith)
I think this song stuck its teeth into me when I travelled around South East Asia in 2005. About that time I also got really into Elliott Smith (check out this Best of Elliott Smith Mix I made). But back to this track, his voice and the music are pretty powerful. It also contains one of my favourite lyrics of all time “We were born to fuck each other, one way or another”. So true.
11. Sufjan Stevens – Too Much (Short Version)
One of my go-to zone out favourite albums is Illinois by Sufjan Stevens. I picked this one from a newer album just cuz. I think any of these lists might have some Sufjan on it. I don’t really know why I like this one so much. Write up fail – I guess this is one I hope others haven’t heard before, but fall in love with.
12. J Dilla – Nothing Like This
I admit I wasn’t a massive Dilla fan while he was alive. There was a lot of music out there vying for my attention. Plus I was a huge Tribe fan and thought at the time The Love Movement was a big fall off. Key words, at the time! I was really blown away by Donuts, but there wasn’t one stand out song over another, it worked together so well as an entire package. But this track from Ruff Draft, and it’s great video blew me away. Ok, ok, another love song. This one is so uniquely beautiful. I could listen forever. The staggered delivery is so fucking real. What more can I say, its a perfect song.
13. Jai Paul – BTSU
Another really new song, and I had to put it next to the Dilla, as it shares some obvious commonalities. The swing and the snares, the feel. This one one of those songs that you can’t copy, or duplicate if you tried to. Moments of brilliance. I’m back and I want what is mine!
14. The Chemical Brothers – Swoon (Lindstrom & Prins Thomas Remix)
This is the most amazing ‘last song’ of the night ever, whenever possible I’d drop this as the lights come on. Yet another love song. And I’ll be honest, I’m not really a lyrics guy, or a song meanings kind of person, I really just love melodies. This untouchable remix happens to be another love song. Just remember to fall in love, there’s nothing else. There’s nothing else. Best advice ever.
15. Simon & Garfunkel – The Sound of Silence
Another moody song from the mid 60′s. It was such a cool time for music. It switches moods so effortlessly. Haunting vocals. At first, I meant for this to be the last song of the compilation, and then I remembered…
16. The Moody Blues – Knights in White Satin
Wow, what can I say about this song. I’ve always loved it. But I got my first car in 2002 I think. I flew from Vancouver to London, Ontario to co-sign a loan for my dad. Yeah, ironic. But as part of the deal, I got his old car, which had 400,000 kms on it, and I had to drive it back to Vancouver. I couldn’t have given a single fuck less though, I HAD MY OWN CAR!! So the night before I left at 6am, I burned a CD for the car, and this song was repeated so many times through that ride. Down through Michigan, west through North Dakota, Idaho, and Montana. The weather was some of the craziest I have ever driven through. I stopped just one night to sleep at a motel. I played slot machines and ate shitty steaks at the worst smalltown eateries. But this song would come on, and I would scream out the chorus at the top of my lungs, in some kind of exact key that would fit with the singer. It was really powerful. Which sounds ridiculous, but it was such an honest and real moment each time. I hope you burn this CD for a road trip, and feel the same way about one of these songs. Thanks for listening!
More Info on Neoteric:
What is Sweet Sixteen? Read more about the series here.