Today let’s talk about two subjects near and dear to my heart: Music and the Apocalypse. While watching the rain pound the outside of my frail glass window in the darkness of my room today I experienced something I hadn’t experienced in a while: complete and utter silence. Well that is except for the sound of the rain as it attacked my poor unsuspecting house. But, not only was it silence but pure dis-connectivity. My power was out and my phone was dead, my laptop couldn’t connect to the Internet because the WiFi was out, my record player needs to be plugged in to work, and both my guitars are electric. And though I can play the guitars without the amp, it just doesn’t sound the same. Also I’ll never be able to perfectly recreate the mind shattering solo from Spun by Grouplove, the song I was listening to before my fuse box committed suicide. I love music, I listen to it every single day and without it I would easily go crazy. So with nothing to do but listen to rain and read I started to understand how heroin addicts felt, well minus the sweating and shaking and what not. But I was going through some crazy withdrawals. I started singing Spun at the top of my lungs in a broken baritone that probably made my neighbors fear for their lives. It was at that moment that I realized that my parents are products of the 60s and that my house contained the miracle of technology that is the Sony Walkman. It also contained the soundtrack to Guardians of the Galaxy, Awesome Mix Vol. 1, on casette. So, realizing this I quickly got the Walkman, changed the batteries, popped Awesome Mix Vol. 1 in, and got my well needed audio fix. It was at this moment that I realized that we live in a world on the brink of utter destruction. Okay, well not exactly on the brink but pretty damn close. I mean, imagine if one day our glorious leader Premier Putin drinks a bit too much Potato Juice and decides to launch a few teeny - tiny nuclear warheads at America. That would be the end of the world as we know it (cue Jimmy Eat World Song). And in an apocalyptic situation such as this all electricity would probably become non-existant, power would go out worldwide, and all over the world record players and electric guitar amps would cease to work. So it was at this moment that I realized how amazing the Sony Walkman is and I set out to make a mixtape in case of the end of the world. But this is no ordinary mix tape, no this is an END OF THE FUCKING WORLD Mixtape. This is a mixtape that would contain songs that I would have to listen to without getting sick of for the rest of my life. These songs would need to stand the test of time. So, people of the Earth, here is the complete track list to my End of the World Mixtape (All rights reserved to those individuals named and their respective agents and publishers. Please do not sue me, I have about 40 dollars in my bank account you would not get much.) and a not so short explanation of why I love each song. Also note that the average cassette holds about 60 minutes of music.
1. Spun - Grouplove:
The first song that comes to mind is the song that inspired all this. This song was first introduced to me via a friend(*cough* *cough* Verso *cough* *cough*) who put it into the soundtrack of a brilliant film that she wrote. I had never really listened to Grouplove before that film idea was brought to my attention and now I seem to listen to them on the daily. While both of their LPs are full of jams, Spun is the one that I love the most and the only one I feel I could listen to for the rest of my life. Featuring an interesting twist on the band’s usual repertoire in the way of guitarist Andrew Wesson singing the main vocals instead of the usual Christian Zucconi and backed by Hannah Hooper, the band’s second main vocalist, the song sounds completely original and incredible. Also, as mentioned above, the song features an incredible guitar solo that makes me want to ger up and dance even though I have two broken left feet.
That puts us at 56:35 minutes.
2. Dogs - Pink Floyd:
If I was going to pick one song to listen to for the rest of eternity, why not pick one that has the run time of about 4 average songs. This song is about 17 minutes long and contains 4 guitar solos and a whole lot of incredibility. It starts off very jazzy with the soft acoustic guitars fading in as Roger Waters raw, natural talented voice echoes over them. Then it gets better and better as David Gilmour’s natural talented fingers play some of the best guitar solos to ever be written. They bombard the song as the acoustics come to a climax and fade out. The songs lyrics are also a thing of majesty, this 17 minute songs contains poetry better than anything I’ve ever written, or ever will write in my entirety. And to make it even better the lyrics are loosely based on George Orwell’s Animal Farm.
That puts us at 39:30.
3. Life on Mars? - David Bowie:
First let me start by saying I love David Bowie. In fact, I have a very unhealthy obsession with David Bowie and his music. Life On Mars? is not one of my favorite songs simply because it sounds sweeter than a Muse’s harp, or because it is performed by a God in human form, David Bowie, but because of its lyrical significance. Life On Mars? is a tale about the modern world which has become too obsessed with the media and being selfish. It is about people who are hooked to silver screen, i.e. TV, Movies, Magazines, etc. The most powerful lines in the song come from the chorus. In it, Bowie wonders if sailors who are beating each other up, and a policemen who are beating up the wrong guy will ever know that they are in the best selling show. What Bowie is really asking, or at least what I think he is really asking, is if these people who are senselessly beating the shit out of each other will ever realize that they are all part of the best program in the universe: The Human Race. Bowie then goes on to ask a question that is reminiscent of Pink Floyd’s incredible song from their 1979 album The Wall, “Is There Anybody Out There?”, which is Is there life on Mars? In this question he is comparing the human race to the barren desert planet of Mars, because we have all become so disconnected and cold toward each other, Bowie is wondering if there are any real people left out there. Maybe this is just because I like to over-analyze things, or maybe it is what Bowie really meant, but either way it is a question that can still be asked of the world today. Also it sounds fucking incredible.
That puts us at 35:47
4. Feels Like We Only Go Backwards - Tame Impala
Tame Impala is the brain child and solo project of modern day Australian renaissance man Kevin Parker. He performs every sound that appears in every song of Tame Impala but delivers none as powerfully or purely as he does in Feels Like We Only Go Backwards. When I first heard this song I was sitting by the ocean and stoned out of my mind. Every single time I heard Parker’s reverb-enhanced voice say “It feels like…” I felt a chill go down my spine. This song did not just make its way into my ears, but into my soul. If weed is still around at the end of the world, I’ll be sure to listen to this while smoking it.
That puts us at 32:35.
Please flip the tape over.
5. Paranoid Android - Radiohead:
Broken into four different sections and detailing a crazy experience that Thom Yorke had at an LA bar this song comes from Radiohead’s third(and best) album, OK Computer. Many people, myself included, consider this to be a perfect record and one of the best of all time, so of course it had to be on the End of the World Mixtape. It’s a song that is unforgettable because of its complex instrumentals and the raw talent that lies within the beautiful voice of Thom Yorke.
That puts us at 26:11.
6. Walcott - Vampire Weekend:
Another song that was introduced to me by a friend who put this into the soundtrack for a film, which also introduced me to this band which I cannot stop listening to. This song is incredible and chaotic. It starts with a crazy piano part which seems as chaos filled as the inspiration for the song: A short film written by lead singer Ezra Koenig about vampires who are attacking the United States. Unfortunately, the project was abandoned and the world never got to see the majesty that would have been Vampire Weekend. But instead, we got something much better: Vampire Weekend. A band that blends classical music, rock and roll, and a whole bunch of genres. They’re one of the most unique bands I’ve ever listened to and Walcott reinforces this originality completely. It’d be especially great to listen to if the apocalypse is brought about by actual vampires.
That puts us at 22:30
7. The Jeweller’s Hands - Arctic Monkeys:
One thing that always interested me is when foreign singers sing in American accents. There has been many times where I was surprised to learn of a British singer’s origins after listening to their Americanized songs for so long. Arctic Monkey’s front man Alex Turner, however, is not one of these people. He sings with a pure and beautiful Sheffield accent that gives the band a distinct sound. This song is almost as unique as the band and singer themselves. It swaps out their usual main guitar for piano and has very little guitar in the song at all until the very end. It has a dark tone and an incredible sound that could be listened to until my ears give out.
That puts us at 16:46
8. Bullet in the Brain - The Black Keys
In terms of musical evolution The Black Keys have evolved incredibly in the past 13 years. Their first album The Big Come Up is almost exclusively blues whereas their most recent album Turn Blue is almost exclusively psych rock. Some people don’t like this and either dislike their early work or dislike their latest work but I like all of their work. I especially like this song. It has a somber and mellow beginning which turns into an upbeat,energetic melody after that. It also has lyrics that are near and dear to my heart, as I too would prefer a bullet in the brain than to remain the same.
That puts us at 12:31
9. Tomorrow Comes Today - Gorillaz:
The world’s first and best virtual band is also one of my favorites. Gorillaz have an incredibly diverse range of musical style and it is almost impossible to pin them down to one genre. But any genre the band attempts is always done perfectly, and no song is done as perfectly as this one. With its amazing percussion and harmonica paired with Damon Albarn’s wondrous voice this song is basically an anthem for my life as I procrastinate when doing just about anything. But I’ll pay when tomorrow becomes today.
That puts us at 9:18
10. Hell Frozen Rain - Akira Yamaoka:
In the apocalypse there obviously won’t be video games. Or at least not console games, there may be the occasional handheld such as a Gameboy but nothing that will allow me to play one of my favorite series ever, Silent Hill. One of the best parts of the nightmarish Silent Hill series is the music. The soundtrack for almost every game is composed by the legendary Akira Yamaoka who blends rock, industrial, and nightmares to create the perfect sound. The soundtracks get especially good after the third game because Yamaoka employs the voice of the beautiful Mary Elizabeth McGlynn to really bring the best of the soundtrack to life. While the game that this song is from(Silent Hill: Shattered Memories) is not the best installment in the series its soundtrack definitely is. Listening to this song will remind me of the good old days of getting my pants scared off in the hellish town of Silent Hill.
This puts us at 3:38
11. Time in a Bottle - Jim Croce:
The final track on my End of the World Mixtape contains a song about capturing those moments near and dear to us and never letting them go. It is also about realizing that someone is the one for you. The one you want to go through time with, the one who you would sacrifice all your time with, the one who you would bottle time with. And if at the end of the world that one is dead then I’ll remember them by playing this song.
This is the end of the tape.
Please rewind the tape.
Thank you for reading this very unnecessarily long list and feel free to tell us what your End of the World Mixtape would contain. Be sure to tag it with the hashtag: #EndoftheWorldMixtape. Sincerely - Recto
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