Every year (since Eli turned 1, at least), I make the boys a CD on their birthdays. It has all their favorite songs of the year, plus bits of them singing or telling jokes or just babbling. A few weeks ago I realized I had amassed a bunch of free downloads that I loved or found songs on Pandora that I loved, and that maybe it was time to make myself a birthday CD (without, however, me singing or telling jokes). Basically I just wanted to listen to all these good new songs in the kitchen while making dinner.
Here’s what I’ve got:
1. Belated Promise Ring – Iron & Wine. Oh, I love this song. This song is the whole reason I made the CD, really. I got this as a free download at some point, and just wanted to listen to it over and over. Only took me about 700 listens to realize it’s about a guy who is in love with his lesbian friend.
2. Longform – The Dodos. Another free download. Somehow I can never remember how this song goes, but when I’m listening to it, it seems like the catchiest thing ever.
3. I Don’t Know What It Is – Rufus Wainwright. Love this. I have absolutely no idea what it’s about. Mysterious bruises? Trains? Trying to get your life in order? Love it anyway.
4. All My Days – Alexi Murdoch. Dave and I watched “Away We Go” wondering how there could be so many Nick Drake songs we’d never heard before. Turns out it was Alexi Murdoch. I like the whole soundtrack, but this is my favorite song.
5. Stray Age – Daniel Martin Moore. A guy and a guitar. I’ll confess I’ve never actually listened to the lyrics. Could be about eating high fructose corn syrup for all I know.
7. Hallelujah – Rufus Wainwright. I think I tried to download this song once, and you had to buy the whole Shrek soundtrack to get it, so I didn’t. But then it showed up as a free download on Amazon. I love this song, as well as the original, as well as pretty much every other version I’ve ever heard. Leonard Cohen is a god.
8. Hideaway – The Weepies. Who are The Weepies? If all their songs are this good, I need a whole album.
9. Friends – Lightning Love. A peppy little song about binge drinking and blackouts.
10. Hug the Harbour – Emma Pollock. Hypnotic and Beth Orton-y.
11. Turn Cold – Cut Off Your Hands. This song doesn’t quite go with the others, but it sounds like the Cure and New Order, and therefore I nostalgically love it.
13. 10,000 Stones – Adrianne. This song sounds a little like the music from a pharmaceutical ad, or maybe the theme song for an hour-long drama about women in their 40s. But maybe that’s the mindset I’m in right now. I like it.
14. Comin’ Up Roses – Zeile August. Zeile is a bona fide friend of mine. When she made her first album, Orion’s Belt, I was suddenly gripped by an unnatural fear that I would hate it. What do you do when a really good friend of yours makes an album you don’t like? But within four notes of the opening song, I knew all would be ok. “Comin’ Up Roses” is from her second album (Lucie’s Hobo Package) — I first heard the song when I went to hear her at what used to be Javanet. Afterwards I think I said something semi-coherent like, “I really liked that song about Papa not believing in magic” and she remembered that, and months later when the CD came out told me it opened with that song I liked (note that it’s the opening song because it’s a great song, not because I like it). I like all the songs, honestly, but “Comin’ Up Roses” and “Big Red Truck” from the first album are my perennial faves. I am especially loving the line in this one lately about “Give me a drink of water/or maybe something stronger.” Sounds good. New CD out in April! Can’t wait!
15. Buckets of Rain – Redbird. This was one from Pandora. I am usually massively against Bob Dylan covers, because, I mean, come on, are you really going to do better? But something about this one I really, really liked. After I downloaded it, I saw that Redbird is a band with Kris Delmhorst in it, who is not a bona fide friend of mine, but she is someone I’ve met in person before, and she’s super duper nice, plus I like her music. Anyway.
16. You and I – Ingrid Michaelson. How can you not love a song with the chorus, “Let’s get rich and give everybody nice sweaters and teach them how to dance”?