Missed Music

Music you didn’t know you needed…until now.

The Friday mix: celebrating the written word

In my house we accumulate books. After decades of collecting them, today we packed my trunk and back seat with 7 boxes of books and carted them off to Half Price Books to sell or trade them. While we waited for the woman to total up an offer for the books, I got to wander around and shop for what I would be reading next. I love bookstores. I worked in one of Cleveland’s last great independent bookstores in 1991 and 1992. To this day it remains the best job I ever had. Anyway, I left with a handful of books and a fistful of money. Nice haul.

Books and music: two great tastes that taste great together.

For the mix this week, I want to celebrate the written word. And while I’m at it, I want to champion a personal cause of mine. It’s very simple. Parents, read to your kids. That’s all. I teach sometimes and I know a lot of parents just don’t do it. It’s good bonding time; they love your attention. They learn new words and new ideas. They travel to places and times they could never go in real life. They hear how inflection works and how sentences are constructed. It makes book lovers of kids. I am convinced that short of inoculation, it is the best thing a parent can do for his or her kid.

So today, enjoy music that celebrates enjoying books.

  • This Red Book – Pinback
    Pinback’s album, “Summer in Abaddon,” has many songs in it with a measured, mathematical feel but it still has soul for all its precision. This has a patient, plodding pace and appealing guitar and vocal work.
  • Every Day I Write the Book – Elvis Costello
    What a great songwriter he was. I put that in past tense because I haven’t been knocked out by a lot of the stuff he has released in the last decade or so. This is a typically wonderful song by Costello from the mid-1980s.
  • I Can’t Read – Tin Machine
    By way of contrast, David Bowie is a guy who never stopped writing great songs. I think if you comb through his 25 studio albums for dogs you MIGHT be able to put together 1 album that was merely good.
  • Reading My Mind – John Cale
    I am a fan of The Velvet Underground, but I don’t have a lot of solo John Cale. This is a cool track, built around a neat little descending piano riff.
  • Paperback Writer – The Beatles
    This was released as an A-side single with ‘Rain’ as the B-side, which makes this my favorite duo of songs released by the early Beatles.
  • Just Read the Poems – Don Was
    This is from the Backbeat soundtrack. Not the one with all the Beatles covers, but the incidental jazz score by Don Was. This is some really hip, smooth jazz. I highly recommend this album.
  • Trick in the Book – Cornell Campbell
    I can’t listen to a lot of reggae all at once, but, man, I love it when some reggae pops up on my iPod and I always like it in a mix.
  • Did You See the Words – Animal Collective
    Animal Collective is often not very accessible. Still, the more I hear them the more I like them. I love that so many of Panda Bear’s melodies have this backwards tracked Brian Wilson feel. The rotating personnel in the group nearly always bring interesting instrumentation and fat harmony vocals.
  • I Write Sins, Not Tragedies – Panic! At the Disco
    The music is good, but this one is all about the great lyrics. What a brilliant if sad song.
  • Same Page – Virginia Coalition
    Virginia Coalition writes bright, poppy songs that remind me of some of Blues Traveler’s cuddlier material. This song will make you happier when it comes on.
  • Books Are Burning – XTC
    I’ve been an enormous fan of XTC since about 1983 (after they had stopped touring, dammit). The seeming ease with which they tossed off brilliant pop melodies makes their breakup very sad. I like this anthem.
  • Empty Pages – Traffic
    Homer Simpson hates traffic – the phenomenon and the band. I love the band, particularly this track off of “John Barleycorn Must Die.”
  • All Your Words – Bleeding Heart Narrative
    OK, so this song isn’t as wonderful as ‘Colours Turn Colours‘ from the same album, but it has the same feel, a pretty melody, and a big, layered sound.
  • Here’s Where the Story Ends – The Sundays
    I love Harriett Wheeler’s voice. And not just the clear, breathy tone. I also like her diction, the way she pronounces the words. This is probably my favorite song by them.

Enjoy this mix with some Shakespeare Vodka and grapefruit juice. In fact, make it a double. Enjoy your weekend.


October 15, 2010 - Posted by | Chillout, Classic Rock, Indie, Jazz, Mix CD, Popular, reggae, Rock

1 Comment »

  1. What a great idea! I’m excited to check these songs out.

    Reading to my son & singing songs with him are my two fave things in the world.


    Comment by Jenn | October 16, 2010 | Reply

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