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Mix Tape 2003: Lollapalooza Road Trip to West Palm Beach

Let's not talk about Perry Farrell's merely respectable taste in arranging the 2003 Lollapalooza tour. The way I see it, The Music and Queens of the Stone Age (and of course Jane's Addiction) were true live treasures, but Incubus was mostly just good for selling tickets to teenage girls. Let's talk instead about my impeccable judgment in choosing 13 tracks for a mix tape my friends and I listened to on our way from Seminole County, Florida, to the tour's stop in West Palm Beach one sultry August day. Like Lolla itself, it was a judicious balancing of the weird and the accessible.

Something Better Change (The Stranglers, from Greatest Hits 1977-1990)
If the Mod kid of The Who's Quadrophenia hadn't been channeled through Pete Townshend and his strange Eastern dabblings, he would write a song like this. It's a giddy blast of snotfaced aggression and souped-up Farfisa organs. Get out your cheap amphetamines and dancin' shoes!

Wave of Mutilation (The Pixies, from Doolittle)
Hey, look, I included one artist who was at Lollapalooza. Two years later.

Ain't That Nothin' (Television, from Adventure)
Television could build songs on the most convoluted and bizarre riffs, or, as in this song, ridiculously simple patterns. Richard Lloyd, as usual, lays down a dizzying, bluesy solo without sounding like a failed Jimmy Page imitator.

These Days (Joy Division B-side)
People who've heard only this Joy Division song and no others might actually be surprised that singer Ian Curtis committed suicide in 1980. Compared to most of the Division's dirge-y catalog, this song is full of love and puppies - the bubbly synth being love and Peter Hook's snappy bass line being puppies, of course.

What In The World (David Bowie, from Low)
Sad thing is, Bowie would probably catch a lot of suspicion for singing a sexy song about "a little girl with grey eyes." For his music alone, though, Bowie's kinkier than Michael Jackson and R. Kelly combined.

Image Of Me (The Flying Burrito Brothers single)
"Oh I feel so ashamed/and I know I'm to blame/ 'cause I made her the image of me." Now that everybody knows what a nutty, Joshua-tree-worshipping cokehead Gram Parsons was, one has to feel sorry for the unnamed woman.

Blue Chair (Elvis Costello, from Blood and Chocolate)
That's right, 18-year-old Scott was extremely sensitive to the heartaches of 32-year-old Elvis Costello as expressed on Blood and Chocolate.

The Truth, The Whole Truth, Nuthin' But The Truth (Ian Hunter, from Ian Hunter)
Ian Hunter: Underrated ass-kicker or frizzy-haired, shades-wearing douchebag who just got a lucky boost from David Bowie and Mick Ronson? Even at his best, he often seems at a loss for good lyrical ideas. Then again, it takes a certain kind of skill to turn a cliche into a cheesy, loveable rock-monster like this.

The Endless Plain Of Fortune (John Cale, from Paris 1919)
Before 12 hours of heatstroke and straight-up hard rock, one needs a symphonic fix, preferably one that, in its own gibberish-ridden way, recalls the lush majesty of the British Empire.

King of Pain (The Police, from Synchronicity)
If Sting hadn't written it, Morrissey would have.

And Your Bird Can Sing (The Beatles, from Revolver)
For those who don't believe in God, John Lennon provides an excuse to act like self-righteous, self-denying monks. "When your prized possessions start to weigh you down/Look in my direction, I'll be round." So give all your shit to the poor and get someone to lend you a CD player, because George Harrison's punchy riffing is a must for any search for austere bliss.

Words (Between the Lines of Age) (Neil Young, from Harvest)
Jesus, I had no idea what I was doing with this mix, mood-wise. Did I really want to show up to Lolla weighed down by bucolic mopiness and tricky time signatures?

Positively 4th Street (Bob Dylan single)
Looking back on several generations of songwriters who've tried to re-create Bob Dylan's oblique, witty allegories, what's really impressive is that Dylan can do just as much with sheer personal hatred.

See also Mix Tape 1991: I'm 13 And Live In Evergreen Park and Playlist: Marfa Public Radio.


Posted on May 1, 2006

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SPORTS - Sydney's Paralympics' Legacy.

BOOKS - How CPL Books Get From Here To There.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Remembering James Randi: Hero.

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