Mix 2 : Tracks 20 — 24
Theme: Illegal Activity
20. Mashin’ on the Motorway — DJ Shadow
I’m going for a variety of crimes here. The mix is about illegal activity, after all, not “murder” or “drugs.” So, I was originally intended to put Jonathan Richman’s “Stop This Car” in this spot because it’s a great, fun song about someone driving recklessly and also because I believe any mix featuring Jonathan Richman makes for a better mix. Low and behold, Spotify doesn’t have the album (Jonathan Sings) that “Stop This Car” appears on, so I started thinking about other speeding and wreckless driving songs that weren’t “I Can’t Drive 55” and “Move Bitch.”
DJ Shadow’s second album The Private Press got a lot of flack when it came out for not living up to Entroducing, but it’s a solid album featuring the talented DJ trying out and experimenting with a lot of different techniques, moving further beyond his already influential first album. That said, this song is a bit of a goof, although I do enjoy it. As someone known for their crazy driving, I can appreciate both the attitude of the arrogant narrator, and the countless people he pasts, flipping him the bird. I also like how the music escalates, speeding and braking along with the imaginary car, with sounds flying by us like traffic right up to the unfortunate ending.
21. Come On Wreck My Car — They Might Be Giants
I often obsess over making sure I’m using as much of the 80 minutes on a mix CD as I can, and often turn to They Might Be Giants Apollo 18 for choice time-filler. There’s a long “Fingertips” song suite at the end of the album featuring tracks no more than ten to twenty seconds long. I slipped it in because I thought it was a quick, amusing follow up to the previous track. I’m weird like that.
22. Spray Paint — Black Flag
Moving the mix into a brief, punk detour, this Black Flag quickie is like a professional wall tagger; it gets in, does its business, leaves you tainted and gets out before there’s a chance of geting caught.
23. Becky — Be Your Own Pet
I’ll never forgive Be Your Own Pet’s Jemina Pearl for knocking Martin Scorsese’s After Hours (clearly, she didn’t understand it), her and the rest of this band enjoyed a good solid four years getting hyped up as a hot new thing before they imploded. This is their best song, with Pearl putting on her best, sarcastic high school juvenile voice and detailing her jealous rage over a friend choosing a girl named Becky (or, “Becky Facelift”) over her. She gets so mad about it that she hangs out after class with a new friend of hers, both of them carrying knives. “Now you know everyone hates me a whole bunch, just because I made you cry a little bit at lunch.” How did she make Becky and her former friend cry? By the end of the song, it’s become clear that she’s murdered Becky’s friend, and maybe Becky too, and is being sent to juvey for teenage homicide. The thrill Pearl lets out when she explains it was all worth it, “cuz’ in the end it was fun!” is infectious and silly and a little frightening, and cuts to the heart of the tangled mess of teenage angst, confusion and even bullying. If you were a pissed off teenager ever, you might have to think back, but you should probably find a way to relate to this song, even if you might not want to.
24. Jailbreak — Thin Lizzy
Brian Robertson’s guitar sounds like it could break us all out of jail, curt and cutting one minute, snarling and curling the next. Another song full of danger and risks that sounds like a huge kegger. Are these guys breaking out of prison or a football stadium? Even with that middle-bridge section where it sounds like they’re about to get caught, featuring that great alarm sound, this song never once lets you slip into having anything close to a bad time, and Phil Lynott’s tight, Irish snarl perfectly sells the song, and even when he sings “don’t you be around,” he makes it sound like a winking invitation. A classic worth repeating.
And that is one eclectic bunch of songs. But that’s what a mix is all about, right? Tune in tomorrow for the big finish.