Hello and welcome!
Alright, here we are for Tuesday Time Machine Week 10, featuring my monthly playlist from November of 2012.
I chose this particular playlist for this week because it’s a good one, AND because 2012 saw BLUE, BLUE, and more BLUE, so I’m hoping to channel that same energy on election day.
Anyways, for those of you who are checking in for the first time, these monthly playlists which I’m re-visiting came about as a result of an idea I had back in January of 2010: an idea that would see me create one 80 minute playlist a month.
The reason for doing this was two-fold: I wanted to create and re-enforce very specific lived experiences and memories tied to music, and I wanted a rather consistent set of songs to propel me each month as I created my art.
In creating these playlists, I tried to make things flow— I wanted songs to segue very effortlessly (or abrasively) creating a sense of narrative.
Going forward, once a week, I’m going to update the Spotify playlist that you can find below.
I’d recommend not shuffling the songs, as they were sequenced the way that they were for a reason. To get the full experience, listen to them in the way in which I’ve arranged things.
Included below is a short description of the tune I’ve included, and/or a description of the specifics memory associated with it. If you’re not trying to read all of that, just hit play on the link below!
1. Super Stupid- Funkadelic
This is one of the all-time greatest songs Funkadelic ever recorded. Eddie Hazel, who provides the hell-bent, deep-fried guitar leads that scream all throughout the song also provides vocals here, and… this is fully his song.
This is great drawing fuel for my fellow artists out there, but you can boogie to it too. In either instance, play it loud.
2. Romulus and Remus- High on Fire
It’s funny, because I don’t think I’ve ever heard a Sleep song in my life, but I definitely went through a High on Fire phase in 2012.
This is both a death march and a beatdown— a sonic pummeling of the highest caliber.
Like Sabbath on steroids with perhaps a little Slayer flavor thrown in for good measure, this is a metalhead’s metal song. It’s 100% A-1.
3. Woodrow the Base Head- Ghostface Killah
Skits on rap albums are big-time hit or miss for me.
This one though, ooh, boy– coming big-time with that late 90s, early 2000s comedy energy.
As good as anything Eddie Griffin might have conjured at the height of his powers, I challenge you not to laugh when Woodrow says that someone’s who’s, “supposed to be Big Willy,” is, “acting a little silly.”
4. In Your Eyes- John Frusciante
My old roommate Noelle put me on to this, as she decided to buy John Frusciante’s latest at the time on CASSETTE TAPE.
Yes, I listened to this for the first time on a Walkmen that was probably manufactured sometime during the second Clinton administration.
In any case, blending electro stuff with the kind of guitar that Mr. Frusciante likes to play can be a tricky endeavor. He pulls it off here though, and even the scattershot drum machine bits stick the landing.
I still like this song quite a bit.
5. Burn- Usher
I’m not gonna lie, when this came out my junior year of high school, I thought it was the corniest shit in the world.
However, my other roommate circa November 2012, Meghann, helped me see the error of my ways when she put this on one night.
I’m glad she did she helped set me straight at age 25.
In any case, this is a magnificent piece of pop music, and generally excellent to boot. I’ll still jam to this.
6. Sprout and the Bean- Sholi
This is a funny little song, and its charm lies in how haphazard it sounds.
Instruments fall in and out earshot, and all throughout, it seems like everything is just a LITTLE bit off.
It’s delightful though– very earnest, and very honest.
The production is a little roughshod too, and as someone who delights in that kind of thing, I really appreciate the dimensions of the sonic space that are created here.
On top of all that, this is a very pretty song, and perfectly suited for fall.
7. Optimist (Live)- Zoe Keating
This is just pretty.
That’s an understatement of course, and if left to my own devices, I could probably wax poetic about how gorgeous it is for a great number of paragraphs.
I’m not usually the biggest classical music person, but I do appreciate things that are arranged well, and this is most certainly one of those things.
Put it on, turn the lights out, and lie down. Imagine a panorama of winter woods, and feeling warmth, despite an abundance of powder on the ground, and light snowfall.
Maybe you’ll imagine nothing like that, listening to this, but that’s what I see, and it’s wonderful.
8. Three White Horses- Andrew Bird
At one point, I was going to do a comic-book adaptation of this song that was going to be very sad.
Maybe one day, I still will. I hadn’t thought about that in awhile, but thinking back to this time period, it was the first thing that came to mind.
Everything about this song is wonderful. The lyrics, the instrumentation, and the performance in general. I don’t remember how I came across this for the first time, but I like it now, just as much as I did then.
9. Pee Wee- Miles Davis
If this isn’t the best winter-time fireplace music ever, I really don’t know what this is.
This is the sound of Miles’ Second Great Quintet 100% in their bag for just under five minutes, and perhaps, my favorite songs from, “Sorcerer.”
Come for the light earth tones found in Herbie Hancocks piano playing, but stay for the smoke that wafts with effortless grace from Wayne Shorter’s saxophone.
10. One Time- The Roots
I’d be tuned out with regards to The Roots for a few years, but then, “Undun,” came out, and pretty thoroughly blew me away.
I’m not sure why this made the playlist for November as I remember this being a spring of 2012 standby, but in case, it’s still an awesome song.
11. Been Robbed- Wu-Block
Essentially, this is Styles P, Ghostface, and Sheek Louch doing what they’ve done very well for almost 30 years now, over a pretty prime slice of 1996ish production.
Nothing that you haven’t heard before, but yeah— three dudes in the 40s who still have it.
12. (Don’t Fear) The Reaper- Blue Oyster Cult
Yes, yes, this is probably more famous at this point for being the punch line of an SNL skit, but so it goes.
I once read the guitar solo in here described as the soundtrack for a particularly epic Arabian sword fight, and I don’t think I’m going to do much better than that, so we’ll leave it there.
It’s funny too, because I don’t really hear the cowbell in here if I’m not paying attention to it, but perhaps, that’s why Christopher Walken was so very insistent.
13. Original Sin- Geographer
This is a strange piece of music, as I feel like violin and synthesizers can be a REALLY hard sell sometimes.
These folks pull it off though, and I used to put this on repeat for hours and hours.
The lyrics here are painterly, and the violin is pleading. I feel like this splits the difference between Interpol and Radiohead, which might sound strange, but it works quite well.
14. New Age- Sleepy Sun
Ooh boy, howzabout that fuzz?
Howzabout that everything, actually, as this song is pretty uniformly excellent.
Listening to this in 2020, I’m reminded that I probably need to make a deep dive with this band’s discography, as it’s probably pretty wonderful, if this song is in any ways indicative of their music as a whole.
15. Wind And Snow- Grouper
This is a haunting piece of music.
Listening to this, I see a lone candle lighting the interior of a cabin in the woods, and an elderly woman huddled amongst a pile of blankets.
Her gaze is contemplative as she looks as the candle, and a smile cracks as the corners of her lips. She’s bearing witness to a very particular, understated beauty right now, and though these may be her final moments, she finds joy in what she’s looking at.
16. If I Forget Thee, Lowcountry- Baroness
I love this song, and it transitions PERFECTLY from the previous one, allowing me one of my proudest playlist making moments.
If the Grouper track were illustrative of that women’s final moments on earth, this is illustrative of her first moments in the hereafter— tentative, but consistent, as she treads lightly, familiarizing herself with where she now finds herself.
This is a lovely piece of music.
17. What Happened to You?- Deftones
I don’t know if I should be ashamed or not, but iTunes says I’ve listened to this song 628 times since it was released in November of 2012.
Needless to say, I love it dearly.
Chino Moreno never really gives you too much with his lyrics, but here, he allows us a glimpse at something— a very specific, undying love.
8 years and 628 listens later, the hairs on my arm still stand up when the song finally breaks at 2:48.
Abe Cunningham’s MONSTER drum fill, followed by Stephen Carpenter’s laser-beam melody line that BLASTS the tune towards the stars, are as magnificent as anything the band had put to record, and I’m thankful to know such a thing.