Spring & Summer 2015 Mix
“Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end” wrote Seneca the Younger (also featured in the song, “Closing Time” by Semisonic– the quote, not Seneca).
These are seasons of ends and beginnings. Over the past couple and within the next few months, my family will have gone through the following changes: moving countries and states, changing residences, leaving old jobs, looking for new jobs, starting new jobs, packing up boxes and furniture, traveling long distances, GETTING MARRIED(!), celebrating birthdays, meeting new people, finishing final projects and dissertations, graduating (hopefully), and figuring out where life is headed next.
This mix first started as a couple songs I heard on the radio and enjoyed– but then as time went by and I finalized the collection, I realized how many of them had to do with moving, going, traveling, ending things and starting something new. Yes, there’s a couple songs that are just plain fun and sugary sweet, i.e. “Sugar” by Maroon 5. But altogether the mix carries this message, heard in the last song by Christina Perri: “This is not the end of me, this is the beginning.” There are many ends in the season of life, but many great beginnings too. So, here are the songs.
The End & The Beginning
1. Bojack’s Theme- Patrick Carney
A Netflix animated series about a horse who starred in a 90s sitcom, now dealing with the loss of fame and wrestling his own psychological and relational issues. Yeah, pretty weird. But somehow it resonated with me as Bojack dealt with depression, anxiety, loneliness, ego, selfishness, overeating, gluttony, and loss of identity. This theme is played over shots of Bojack moving in and out of scenes, showing how he feels like he is just drifting through life. It’s a musical, visual, figurative hangover– perfect place to start.
2. Centuries- Fall Out Boy
“Some legends are told, some turn to dust or to gold– but you will remember me, remember me for centuries!” The theme of being remembered, idolized, held up for centuries reminds me of the loss and pursuit of identity that IS your 20s. I want to be remembered, known, loved. But somethings must crumble away. Still, some things die and come back to life– like the intro to this driving, energetic rock song, which is a sample taken from “Tom’s Diner” by Susanne Vega, a song that was popular in the mid-80s.
3. Shut Up and Dance- WALK THE MOON
I like the image of this song shouting at the previous one– “Quit whining about being remembered and worshipped– shut up and dance!” This fun alternative-rock song with shades of pop and dance music is just an altogether fun experience– I would sing along anytime I heard it on the radio. But still the theme of moving forward and taking risks (“Don’t you dare look back, just keep your eyes on me”) and pursuing your life’s purpose (“This woman is my destiny,” “Deep in her eyes, I think I see the future.”)
4. Uptown Funk- Bruno Mars
So we decide to listen to the girl in “Shut Up and Dance” and we dance to this funky, pop/rock song sung by Bruno Mars delivering his best Michael Jackson homage. A song that sounds like it’s straight out of the 80s, now on the radio, giving Evan something to sing/scream along to on long/boring drives. Just plain fun. “Don’t believe me? Just watch!“
5. Sugar- Maroon 5
Another fun pop song with Adam Levine and his motley crew. “I really don’t care where you are, I just wanna be there where you are…” Though I don’t have a “sugar” in my life, these words are true of my family and friends in Texas. I look forward to the days where I’m with them all again.
6. Geronimo- Sheppard
A folk-rock song by a band with awesome vocals. Kinda deceiving, because I always remember it having much more adrenaline and energy than it really does– but it’s still very enjoyable as they go from shouting lyrics “SAY GERONIMO!” to harmonizing “Can you feel my love?” then “Bombs away!” Sometimes it’s time to jump out of the airplane and land somewhere! “Well I’m just a boy with a broken toy, all lost and coy (at the curtains of the waterfall) / So it’s here I stand as a broken man, but I’ve found my friend (at the curtains of the waterfall).”
7. Rise- Glee Cast
A song written by Darren Criss, who went from doing Starkid to being a star on “Glee” to who knows where next? Glee is certainly a story of endings and beginnings– with characters, storylines, fame, actors, actresses, popularity, etc. They’ve risen and fallen more times than a toddler in a mud puddle. I’ve gone from loving the show to hating it to liking it ironically and everywhere in between– but still here they are singing “When the world will not believe us, we will rise above the ashes.’ (Nice phoenix imagery, death, birth, ends and beginnings.) This fun pop choir anthem makes gives you just enough optimism to keep going for a little bit longer. Or it does for me at least.
8. Elastic Heart- Sia
“And another one bites the dust– oh why can I not conquer love?” So starts this elegant song by Sia (paired with a strange, strange, strange, strange video featuring Shia LeBeouf and mini-Sia [Maddie Ziegler, from the previous Sia music video “Chandelier”]). The two battle each other in a cage— yeah, I know weird– but it’s a visual portrayal of the elements of life: winning, losing, fears, escape, being trapped, falling down, rising higher, surviving. “I’ve got thick skin and an elastic heart.”
9. Blame- Calvin Harris feat. John Newman
Sia’s music video featured a battle of wits and an enveloping cage– this Calvin Harris song has one enemy, foil, scapegoat. “Blame it on the night, don’t blame it on me.” If the first song in this mix is like a hangover, this dance-pop song is something like the feeling you get when reality hits you (not that I speak from experience– the idea of getting drunk and having a hangover does nothing for me). But there have been plenty of other times that “the night” has gotten the best of me– decisions made due to hunger, loneliness, greed, lust, fear, anxiety, etc. that I had to live with or ignore. “Can’t be sleepin’ / Keep on waking… Guilt is burning / Inside I’m hurting / This ain’t a feeling I can keep” In many ways, I have been in a season of “Night” for a few years now– which is why I hope to find new light of day as I re-settle in the Lone Star state.
10. Uma Thurman- Fall Out Boy
I honestly just loved this modern rock song for it’s weird mix of sounds– dancing piano chords, intense vocals, clap-tracks, heavy percussion, and a sample from “The Munsters” theme song. (Another “back from the dead” example.) It’s an homage to Uma Thurman (obvs) and her character in Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction. But before I knew the sample was from “The Munsters,” I thought 50s-surf-sound was supposed to remind the listener of 50s-60s spy movies or kung fu flicks (very Tarantino-ish), and that certainly might be in the range of their intentions. I don’t agree with some of the lyrics, but love some of the lines, especially the beginning: “I can move mountains, I can work a miracle, work a miracle, I’ll keep you like an oath– may nothing but death do us part” Another rise in optimism and hope.
11. Move- Audio Adrenaline
This band. It’s gone through many iterations and styles and sounds over the years– including Kevin Max (from DC Talk) as the lead singer. However, as I was doing some random web reading, I found out that he left the band a couple years ago! They reformed again and had just released a new album– and they sound completely new with . But if Audio Adrenaline can reinvent themselves over and over again, surely you can and I can too! But seriously, I wonder if they wrote this song while observing me over the past couple months and years. “You’ve got to move, if you’re ready or not, give it all that you’ve got, turn it up now / You’ve got to move, it’s your chance to fly with your head held high right about now.” “Somewhere deep inside a voice is dying to be heard / You got a spark inside your heart, go on and let it burn / You’ve been living in slow motion.” “Don’t let your fear keep you frozen.” Okay, I’ll try my best.
12. Take On The World- Rowan Blanchard
Samples from the 60s and the 80s. A TV show about an actor from a 90s sitcom. A song that sounds like an 80s MJ classic. A 90s band that’s still reinventing themselves today. And now this? When I first heard that there was a “Boy Meets World” spinoff happening, I was hopeful. And I held out hope until I watched the show… and found it to be another Disney Channel schedule filler. At first. As I’ve continued to watch “Girl Meets World” (featuring Cory and Topanga’s daughter, her friends, brother, and parents, and random BMW guest stars), I’ve found it to be kinda awkward, but beautiful. Like a gosling (no, not Ryan Gosling, a young goose). It has stumbled along, but slowly and surely found its balance and found its place– though not without “meh” episodes and bland storytelling from time to time. But we all grow up. “Boy Meets World” ended 15 years ago. We never expected to see these characters again– but Disney breathed new life into the Cory-verse and made it happen. We can never know what new beginnings might sprout from the ends that sink into the dirt today– but we can wait and see. “I feel alright, I’m gonna take on the world, Light up the skies, I’ve got some pages to turn…” A fun Disney Channel pop song, but with a little more instrumental and lyrical substance.
13. Get Ready For It- Take That
Surprises are always around the corner. Saw the movie Kingsman: The Secret Service with a friend and found it somewhat poor but pretty amazing by the end. Watched the credits and saw that it was directed by Matthew Vaughn, who made Kick-Ass and some other great films. Liked the song that played during the credits (this song), and did some research, only to find out the band once featured Robbie Williams, who I remember hearing as a kid in England and Norway! It’s amazing how some things unfold and change and return. “You said whatever you put out there, whatever you put out there is gonna come back.” “The night is young until it’s over.” “You said every life is a lesson.” “Together we can save the world tonight.” Energetic, rising, grandiose pop song.
14. Make You Better- The Decemberists
The Decemberists have morphed over the years from 16th century shanties to folk-country to rock opera to Americana and more. This song really pulls you in with a classic rock sound, interesting instrumentals, and engaging lyrics. They go over the loss of innocence, the hope for reunion, the necessity of change, and the pursuit of love. All in 5 minutes and 8 seconds. “Cause we’re not so starry eyed anymore” mourns the band. But perhaps all these changes and the ebb and flow of life, can truly “make you better.“
15. Is It Like Today?- Eliza Gilkyson
I loved the TV show, “The Finder”– featured some fun characters, wonderful actors and compelling storytelling and character development. Sadly, it aired on Fox, which meant shhhckkkk (make slicing gesture with finger across neck) eventually it got canceled. It was a cool spin-off from “Bones” that really… ok, never mind. I’ll save this for another post on canceled shows. But this song was the final song of the first season– and the series, in the end. It played as all the characters went off on different paths– and then you always wondered what happened to them. (Along with Earl, the crew of Serenity, the characters of “Revolution” and a thousand others). The singer’s voice floats above the lovely country guitar sound and tells a story that somehow relates to both The Finder’s finale (or lack thereof) and the questions that arise on the journey of life. You’ll just have to listen to it to hear some of the beautiful lyrics.
16. Budapest- George Ezra
The previous song about a man’s travels across the planet and the galaxy (What, you didn’t listen to the song? You should!) is counterbalanced by this acoustic song with George Ezra’s promises and lyrics about returning home to the one he loves: “My house in Budapest / My hidden treasure chest / Golden grand piano / My beautiful Castillo / You / You / I’d leave it all // My acres of a land / I have achieved / It may be hard for you to / Stop and believe / But for you / You / I’d Leave it all // Give me one good reason / Why I should never make a change / And baby if you hold me / Then all of this will go away.” Some things will fade away, but some things are worth surrender and loss– like love.
17. I Lived- Glee Cast
This mix is full of beginning songs and ending songs, both figuratively and literally. Especially when it comes to TV. There are intros/themes to TV shows (1, 12, 20) as well as songs that ended off episodes, seasons and series (15, 17, 18, 19, 21). The next three songs are songs that ended off TV series– this song is the last song sung on “Glee” by a huge crowd of characters from all six seasons of the show. It starts off like any Glee song, with tinny, high pitched vocals, but it is soon rescued by Matthew Morrison’s awesome voice and the vocals of a dozen other excellent Glee stars. The Glee band is there, getting you pumped up, and the lyrics are truly encouraging. It’s emotional for a long time fan– I followed Glee from when the pilot aired in April 2009 all through the good years, the alright years, the bad years, the terrible years and more. Still, the show survived– and at times, thrived. “I did it all! I owned every second that this world could give. I saw so many places, the things that I did– yeah, with every broken bone, I swear I lived.”
18. End Of The Line- Traveling Wilburys
This was the last song played on “Parks and Recreation,” over B-Roll bloopers from the entire series. I picked up this show from my sister and watched it long after she stopped. The characters, the drama, the comedy, the storytelling, the arcs, the atmosphere of Pawnee– it was a fun ride while it lasted. But every good ride, every good story, every good show eventually comes to a stop. But “it’s alright,” as they sing over and over again through this classic folk song. You can “sit around and wonder what tomorrow will bring” or you can “remember to live and let live“– but either way, “it’s alright“
19. Everlong- Foo Fighters
This one is an odd bird. A song from 1997 that David Letterman requested The Foo Fighters to play to end off his final episode hosting The Late Show. Apparently, it’s been his favorite song for a long time, and the final moments of the episode were quite touching as they showed recurring characters, bits, jokes, and guests during the hard, alternative sound of this song. But it’s an odd bird. As the days ramped up to this final episode, people celebrated his life and career on late night television, but also reminded others of his ugly behavior and treatment of women over the years. So, do we honor him? Do we vilify him? I don’t know. “You either die a hero, or live long enough to see yourself become the villain” Which one is Dave? But this song is about the hope that you could freeze time and live within a moment forever, everlong. “And I wonder / If everything could ever feel this real forever / If anything could ever be this good again / The only thing I’ll ever ask of you / You’ve got to promise not to stop when I say when.” After listening to the lyrics, it makes you feel for Dave. What do you do when everything you built up over 30 years is being packed up and thrown away? But still, every end is a beginning…
20. Swamp Water- John Fogerty
So after that intense bittersweet song above, we all need a little Southern bayou rock to settle down. This song was the “The Finder” theme song, written and performed by the legendary John Fogerty. There are no lyrics to break down (other than “Oh yeah”), but it’s a nice transition to the final songs of the mix.
21. Back in the 90s- Grouplove
This is the closing theme to “Bojack Horseman.” Weird song, right? I certainly could have ended the mix right here– but once again, every end leads to a new beginning…
22. 12-17-12- The Decemberists
HARMONICA! I honestly couldn’t find any other song to precede this one because the jump was so abrupt into a harmonica solo, I didn’t want it to be jarring. Hopefully the Bojack credits song is a nice segue– into some real deep subject matter, this slow folk song, apparently inspired by the Sandy Hook shootings. It’s somber, sad, reverential, but hopeful. Which is what we all need when things come to an end. “What a gift, what a gift you can give me / Here with my heart so whole / while others may be grieving / Think of their grieving.” And of course, the name of the Decemberists album shows up: “And oh my God, / What a world you have made here / What a terrible world, what a beautiful world / What a world you have made here.” I could almost end it here, but no, one more song…
23. I Believe- Christina Perri
This song was featured in the trailer for Pan, the new reinterpretation of the Peter Pan lore. It’s amazing– the source material came out around 1904 and since then there have been a whole slew article full of homages, interpretations and “spin-offs” from the first books (I counted 95 examples in this Wikipedia article.) Surely Peter Pan would have died off years ago– but no, he is the puer aeternus, or the “eternal boy.” Somehow, he always returns as something new. In a way he never dies, but is always being reborn. Can you hear these themes in the lyrics of this pop piano anthem?
I believe if I’d knew where I was going, I’d lose my way
I believe that the words that he told you are not your grave
I know that we are not the weight of all our memories
I believe in the things that I am afraid to say
Hold on, hold on
I believe in the lost possibilities you can see
And I believe that the darkness reminds us where light can be
I know that your heart is still beating, beating darling
I believe that you fell so you can land next to me
‘Cause I have been where you are before
And I have felt the pain of losing who you are
And I have died so many times, but I am still alive
I believe that tomorrow is stronger than yesterday
And I believe that your head is the only thing in your way
I wish that you could see your scars turnin to beauty
I believe that today it’s okay to be not okay
Hold on, hold on
‘Cause I have been where you are before
And I have felt the pain of losing who you are
And I have died so many times, but I am still alive
This is not the end of me, this is the beginning
That last line is true for so many of these songs– samples, homages, TV show theme songs, pop and rock and folk and EDM. Every song ends and another begins. So goes this season of life. I am moving, leaving my home of 3 years, looking for a new, finding my way again. So much is ending, but for every end, there is a new beginning.
Here is the entire mix via YouTube Playlist. You can click through or just play it here on the site. Enjoy!