Wednesday, August 18, 2010

What You Should Have Heard #23

My Mix CDs

I’ve got a lot of music but limited space to hold it in, especially in my car. So I’ve gone the old tried-and-true way of making mix CDs to have access to as many bands as possible while driving. I’m going slightly old-school since I’m a bit backwards and have no iPod.

Most of the songs will be more upbeat, with probably only the occasional ballad or slower song included. I like to sing in the car, and the more upbeat songs are more fun to sing.

I’ll be going in alpha-numeric order with these, so if you’re wanting to argue with me about what Weezer songs should be included, you’re going to be waiting for a while.

My only limitations are that I use 80 min. discs, and I’m only going to use one disc per band/artist. I will make exceptions for only my most favorite bands with huge playlists (Foo Fighters and Self, off the top of my head), but I’d really like to boil everything down to just one disc.

Here’s the list guide:

Track # - Song Name - Album Name [Artist if album is by a different artist]

Billy Joel Mix CD

  1. Big Shot – 52nd Street
  2. Zanzibar – 52nd Street
  3. Easy Money – An Innocent Man
  4. Careless Talk – An Innocent Man
  5. Christie Lee – An Innocent Man
  6. Keeping the Faith – An Innocent Man
  7. She’s Got a Way – Cold Spring Harbor
  8. You May Be Right – Glass Houses
  9. Don’t Ask Me Why – Glass Houses
  10. It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me – Glass Houses
  11. Piano Man – Piano Man
  12. We Didn’t Star the Fire – Storm Front
  13. And So It Goes – Storm Front
  14. The Entertainer – Streetlife Serenade
  15. Movin’ Out (Anthony’s Song) – The Stranger
  16. Scenes from an Italian Restaurant – The Stranger
  17. Only the Good Die Young – The Stranger
  18. Summer Highland Falls – Turnstiles
  19. Prelude/Angry Young Man – Turnstiles

The first CD I ever owned (can’t remember if I bought it or received it as a gift) was Billy Joel’s double-disc Greatest Hits collection. My enjoyment of the man’s music was passed down from my mom, whose cassettes of Innocent Man and 52nd Street I’m pretty sure I played so much that I ruined them. And as I pour through my Joel collection, it’s really those two albums (and one collection) that I really, really like. Sure, he’s had a couple of good songs since, but he’s put out nothing since those two albums that I’ve fully enjoyed.

Now, my first cut netted me 25 enjoyable songs, and most of those can be found on the greatest hits CDs. I’d whole heartedly recommend those for any passing fan as his singles were actually his greatest hits. Sometimes fans of an artist might feel a bit cheated with greatest hits or best of compilations because really, they’re just collections of singles; they may not actually represent the artist’s best work. Not the case for Mr. Joel. There are very few non-singles that I’ve come to like or want to listen to more than once (if that).

I imagine it’s my early exposure to Joel that ignited my affection for piano-oriented rock/pop. The guy can play the crap out of a baby grand. Sure, you might have heard “Piano Man,” “She’s Got a Way” or “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant,” but there are two less well-known songs that really get me. The first is “And So It Goes,” the final track on Storm Front. It’s a hauntingly beautiful serenade about lost love, and while there’s the hint of keyboard backing, it’s just Joel’s vocals with a simple but effective piano accompaniment. The second is the exact opposite of “And So It Goes.” Found on Turnstiles, “Prelude/Angry Young Man” is a frantic, fingers-flying piece backed by a rock band.

Is it irony that some of Joel’s most memorable songs focus on nostalgia, and it’s the memories I have of listening to his music that I find more appealing than most of the music itself?

I could have included the video for “We Didn’t Start the Fire,” but I assume most people reading this are probably around my age and probably saw it a number of times when it was new and relevant. How about “And So It Goes” instead?


Kate said...

You taped the first of the two discs for me, I think before you moved away. It was YEARS before I ever knew there was a second disc. And no "Always a Woman to Me?" I hate the flute backing on that, but those words followed me around for years.

I listened to Innocent Man on 8-track, yet I am younger than you.

Rob Rosenblatt said...

I like the song, but I like almost all the songs on these mixes to be upbeat to make the drive to and from work a bit more bearable.

I think the only time I ever listened to 8-tracks was on the way to track practice while riding in Nick Werne's car, which he got from his grandpa, I think. I even had separate cigarette lighters in both of the backseat doors.

Kate said...

We had ('s still in the basement) a stereo with radio, record, and 8-track. Actually it has really good sound on the records, I listen to The Nutcracker on it over Christmas just about every year. The Big Brown Van also had an 8-track player, and that's what we took on every vacation we ever took. The only 8-tracks I remember though are the Billy Joel and Fleetwood Mac, possibly a couple of their albums. Oh, and Kenny Rogers.