Sunday, May 07, 2006

Mix CD #1: The Book I Read

Longtime readers of Short Schrift know that I sometimes blog about music, but that this has never been a music blog. This week and periodically hereafter, I'm going to try to mix things up a little bit by including links to some of the mix CDs I occasionally tinker with and distribute to friends. The first project is my most recent completed mix, but one I've been fooling around with for a long time: a collection of my favorite songs about books.

The Book I Read -- named after a favorite song by Talking Heads (included here) -- mostly foregoes songs referencing individual books ("Romeo and Juliet," etc.) in favor of songs that contain notable but passing references to books, writing, or reading. I'm especially fond of songs that physically describe reading or use books (or a book, or reading) as a well-framed/-phrased conceit to describe or make an analogy to something else.

Also, there are two songs on this version of the album that don't use the word "book" or mention books at all in the lyrics. One is "Read, Eat, Sleep" by The Books. (How "books" figure here is I think self-explanatory.) The other is one of the New York demo versions of Bob Dylan's "Idiot Wind." The album version features the line "I can't feel you anymore, I can't even touch the books you've read." It isn't included in the demo, but you can imagine that line here as present in its absence, keeping close company with "Someone's got it in for me, they're planting stories in the press" and "Idiot wind, blowing through the dust upon our shelves." Ah, intertextuality. Gotta love it.

Of course, the disc skews towards my musical likes -- virtually all of my favorite bands and artists are represented, and some of my favorite songs. There's blues, soul, folk, and some acoustic-electronic stuff, but it's mostly filled with classic pop and indie rock. I broke mix CD form a little bit by including two Beatles tracks, but they have two different primary singers, and c'mon -- it's The Beatles. Not including more than one Belle and Sebastian track was tough -- I think they have more songs mentioning books or with the word "book" in the title than any other band -- but in the end, it was easy to choose "Put the Book Back on the Shelf" as both the B&S selection and album closer.

An earlier version also had The Decemberists' "Song for Myla Goldberg" -- I struck it in favor of Joanna Newsom's "This Side of the Blue" both because I was including "Myla Goldberg" on another disc I've recently completed all about New York City, and because my good friend Brandon Kelley reminded me that Newsom's line about Camus was better than I remembered it being.


1) "John the Revelator" -- Son House
2) "The Book of Love" -- The Monotones
3) "The Book I Read" -- Talking Heads
4) "The Way You Do the Things You Do" -- The Temptations
5) "Picture Book" -- The Kinks
6) "My Book" -- The Beautiful South
7) "Everyday I Write the Book" -- Elvis Costello
8) "Paperback Writer" -- The Beatles
9) "Cemetry Gates" -- The Smiths
10) "The Obvious Child" -- Paul Simon
11) "This Side of the Blue" -- Joanna Newsom
12) "Read, Eat, Sleep" -- The Books
13) "The Book Lovers" -- Broadcast
14) "A Day in the Life" -- The Beatles
15) "Some Kinda Love" -- The Velvet Underground
16) "Idiot Wind" -- Bob Dylan
17) "Pink Bullets" -- The Shins
18) "Poor Places" -- Wilco
19) "The Book of Love" -- Magnetic Fields
20) "Put the Book Back on the Shelf" -- Belle and Sebastian
Most of you are probably familiar with how RapidShare works, but in case you aren't:
1) follow the link above,
2) Scroll down and click the button marked "Free",
3) Wait around 60 seconds for a download-ticket to clear,
4) Enter the three-character security code,
5) Download and unzip the compressed file,
6) Listen on your computer, mp3 player, or roll your own ~80-min CD.
Also note: I believe the file for "Some Kinda Love" lists the artist as "W.E.B. Dubois" instead of "The Velvet Underground." It's an easy fix; I was, uh, thinking of something else. Enjoy.


Andrew said...

Excellent. I now have a soundtrack for my evening's work.

Did you ever consider including "My Baby Loves a Bunch of Authors" by Moxy Fruvous?

I suppose it's probably a little too, well ... silly to fit with the collection as whole.

Brandon said...

Hurray for Joanna! Now everyone must go fashion a hat from a page of their favorite high school required-reading material. Ralph Ellison: consider yourself duly warned.