A Session of Dance Music

A few days ago, Joanna, displaying her typical grace and tact, informed me that my last mix CD sucked. “They all sound the same,” she told me. I’ve tried on many occasions since to explain to her that that particular collection of songs is actually quite diverse, that the “sameness” she hears is, in fact, coherence, and that coherence is what makes a good mix CD good.

But rationality only goes so far in such discussions (it goes nowhere at all, truth be told), because what Joanna really meant was something closer in spirit to, “Your remarkably coherent mix CD sucks because I don’t like any of the songs on it — well, except for The Tindersticks track, which is pretty great but only in small doses, and, seriously, stop playing that Alice Cooper song or I’ll hurt you.”

And, so, one of my goals with this latest mix, “A Session of Dance Music,” was to gather some songs that wouldn’t inspire Joanna to take sarcastic jabs at my piss-poor taste. We just got back from a long drive, during which we listened to the entire disc, and her opinion seems to hover somewhere in the “Well, at least it doesn’t suck” range. So mission accomplished, I guess.

Really, though, this mix evolved a few nights ago, when a I turned off nearly all of the lights in my basement and spent two or three hours listening to songs that make me dance. By “dance,” I don’t mean that thing done by coordinated, un-self-conscious people when they hear Sam Cooke or Usher or Kool and the Gang. I mean that thing done by uncoordinated, deeply self-conscious people — people who feel more at ease, say, blogging or reading. Let’s face it: I spent two or three hours shuffling from side to side, playing air guitar, and, ahem, singing.

The longest song on this mix (“Graveyard Shift”) clocks in at 4:45; nearly all of the rest come in under three-and-a-half minutes, which, to my mind, is just about the uppermost limit for a dance song. All but two or three have really nice melodies, and most are guitar-driven. They’re pop songs, though of a louder, noiser, and certainly less-sugar-ier variety, and I love them all.

If you want a copy, drop me an email. As usual, I’d prefer to make it a swap but don’t mind sending out a few gimmes. (Oh, and I apologize to the two or three of you who still haven’t received the last mix. Send me a reminder, and I’ll drop both in the mail for you.)

1. “The Cigarette Girl from the Future” by Beauty Pill
2. “I Don’t Wanna Go Down to the Basement” by The Ramones
3. “Mr. Soul” by Buffalo Springfield
4. “Free” by Cat Power
5. “What Difference Does It Make?” by The Smiths
6. “Stroll On” by The Yardbirds
7. “Cinema Style” by Black Taj
8. “Start!” by The Jam
9. “Kool Thing” by Sonic Youth
10. “Hey Gyp” by The Animals
11. “It’s Alright for You” by The Police
12. “Wave of Mutilation (U.K. Surf)” by The Pixies
13. “Bathsheba Smiles” by Richard Thompson
14. “Graveyard Shift” by Uncle Tupelo
15. “One Time Too Many” by PJ Harvey
16. “Little Miss Strange” by The Jimi Hendrix Experience
17. “Moral Kiosk” by R.E.M.
18. “The Laws Have Changed” by The New Pornographers
19. “There She Goes Again” by The Velvet Underground
20. “Hateful” by The Clash
21. “Love Will Tear Us Apart” by Joy Division
22. “The Good Ones” by The Kills
23. “Sometimes I Remember” by The Pernice Brothers