A Tornado Slide tradition continues for another year. Songs included on the disc meet relatively strict criteria. In order of importance, those criteria are:
1. Each song must evoke a snapshot of my year. For example, if I were compiling the soundtrack of my 1996 (?), I would include "Naked" by the Goo Goo Dolls, because that's the year (I think) I saw them play with Bush and No Doubt. (Of course, that song also reminds me of this year: I placed it on my 10-year reunion mix CD, and I wore a vintage Goo T-shirt to a 90's-themed party. This kind of confusion led to its disqualification from the 2007 soundtrack.) If I were compiling the soundtrack from my 1993, I would include a song from the David Coverdale/Jimmy Page album, because I insisted my country-music-loving classmate Andy listen to "Shake My Tree" during recess.
2. I must enjoy each song. (This year’s disqualifications include: Avril Lavigne's "Girlfriend", The Spin Doctor's "Little Miss Can't Be Wrong", and Scandal's "The Warrior".)
3. Songs shall not be placed in chronological order or in order of importance. They should simply fit together well – one song should merge into the next in a way that is pleasing, if not smooth. Audio files should be manipulated with Audacity software to this end. If you get a physical copy of the soundtrack, there might hear a slight gap between tracks that seem like they should run together. Please trust that this is a function of software, CDs, and CD players. The mp3s fit together flawlessly.
4. Songs that hold no greater significance than “I performed that at a karaoke bar this year!” or "I saw them in concert this year!" shall not be included.
5. Including two songs by the same artist is discouraged.
6. Significant songs with poor audio quality (such as live recordings or terrible bitrates) shall be pushed toward the end of the disc, if not excluded altogether.
7. One song per occassion. If several songs are reminiscent of the same occasion, the most important will be chosen for the soundtrack. (This year's disqualifications include the chaff of the Portland trip: Talking Head's "Take Me to the River" (on the radio as we drove along the Columbia River Highway -- eerie!) and The Decemberists' "Oceanside".)
8. The CD shall be as close to 80 minutes as possible. Songs can be added to up the runtime even if they don't evoke a specific memory, given that the song was a 2007 staple.
Some readers should expect delivery via USPS very soon. Now then. The tracklisting...
1. David Cross - (Edited portion of "Women, Please Rinse Off Your Vagina And Anus!", wherein he discusses electric scissors and Evanescence)
I viewed the entire catalog of "Mr. Show" in 2007, thanks to the glory of my continued Netflix subscription. This David Cross standup comes from a comedy album, but I'm counting it anyway, because it's my CD and I can choose to include whatever I want, regardless of the rules I just outlined above.
2. The Polyphonic Spree - Light to Follow
When this song began at the Denver concert, I realized that the Spree had a Macbook connected to the PA, which meant that it was highly likely that the typewriter sound effects would be added to their performance of "The Fragile Army". And they were. I played this song for Corinne on the way to Einstein Brothers bagel shop, and to anyone who would allow me to tout its great opening lines.
3. Belle & Sebastian - Women's Realm
Heavy rotation at work.
4. Elliott Smith - Rose Parade
I listened to a lot of Elliott before heading to his adopted home of Portland, and assume that "Alphabet Town" would be in my head for most of the vacation, as we were staying in its namesake, the Northwest neighborhood of the city. Instead, "Rose Parade" played in my head most often. It's not a terribly uplifting song -- "When they clean the street I'll be the only shit that's left behind" is not what most folks would like to consider while they're vacationing -- but I found it to be a relaxing soundtrack for my walks around the city. Superb, superb imagery in this song.
5. Arcade Fire - (Antichrist Television Blues)
I was in KC for a conference the day this album came out, but I drove back to Lawrence that evening and bought the CD just before our basketball game. I listened to it for the first time driving back to the hotel in KC, and this song began to play when I was near the bridge over the Missouri river. I literally heard "I don't wanna work in a building downtown" as I looked at the Kansas City skyline. (Of note: this song is about Joe Simpson, father of Jessica and Ashlee.)
6. Jay-Z - What More Can I Say?
We were waiting for our showing of "The Bourne Ultimatum", and "Gladiator" was playing on TNT. Again. "Gladiator" is really a silly movie, especially for a Best Picture winner, and it's much easier to notice this after you've heard the dialogue placed within a rap song. I provided this service immediately. Then we headed to the theater, and saw Jason Bourne almost kill a man with a book (hardcover).
7. The Shins - Australia
This might have been everyone's favorite first impression from the 2007 Shins album (although in the end, I probably listened to "Sealegs" most frequently). Barbara said she couldn't get enough of it, particularly "your shape on the dance floor will have me thinking such filth I'll gouge my eyes". Matt kept it on repeat on our trip to and from our worst, last-ever meal at Stone Creek, and requested it be replayed during the coldest Catholic School Party on record.
8. Spoon - Black Like Me
Heavy rotation in the Camry.
9. Feist - One Two Three Four
Heavy rotation in the Camry, most notably after a night with Anastasia and Erin in KC. I gave a copy of the Feist CD to Corinne. On the way to Einstein Bros, and she said it was her favorite track. Then Apple used it during their campaign for the new generation of iPods, and engulfed everyone for a month or more. When she played on SNL in November, there were 3 banjo players on stage. I fell asleep on the couch afterward.
10. Bright Eyes - Four Winds
Heavy rotation at work. It got a little airtime in the Camry as well. It was playing when I drove Molly and Casey home from the "Jesus Christ Superstar" tribute. The opening fiddle prompted Casey to ask if it was a John "Cougar" Mellancamp song.
11. Cat Stevens - Trouble
I caught up on HBO's "Extras" through Netflix, and hearing "Tea for the Timmerman" close out every episode made me look for more Cat Stevens tracks to download. I also moved "Harold & Maude" up in my Netflix queue, since Cat provided the soundtrack. I was always interested to see that movie. It's referenced a lot -- Matt Dillon uses it to seduce Cameron Diaz in "There's Something About Mary", for example. I had high hopes, but the movie pretty much sucks. Cat Stevens doesn't, though.
12. Travis - City in the Rain
This song popped up twice within a few days, an improbable result of a shuffled 18 GB mp3 library. It's an old Travis b-side, the kind of rock song that they don't make anymore. At least, I think they don't make them anymore -- I haven't bought their latest album. In a dream, I asked music critic Chuck Klosterman when it's okay to stop buying albums released by a band you had been previously devoted to. I didn't get an answer in my dream, but my conscious mind tells me, "Whenever you fucking feel like it." I love the way Fran turns "Came to see the university" into "Chme ne see the yoownivisitee".
13. The Beatles - Maxwell's Silver Hammer
Someone was playing this on the piano and Hobo's bar before we took our tour of the Portland Underground. (At least, I assume there was a real piano somewhere out of view. It seems unlikely that the unaccompanied piano was coming from the stereo.) There were several McCartney vs Lennon discussions this year, mostly versus Molly. Dave had the "Sgt Pepper's" album art on his living room wall, and he thought the idea came from John, and I remembered it was Paul's. My memory was hazy, though, so I decided I'd reread "Many Years From Now", the McCartney biography I first read in my latter college years. Turns out my memory was correct. Dave, Floyd, Bobby, Molly, Kim and I watched not one but two of Dave's McCartney concert DVDs one night after bar close.
14. Hot Chip - Over and Over
The beginning half of this video played before the Lawrence Polyphonic Spree concert, reminding me to download the song. Mike and I bobbed to the rhythm one Tuesday in November as we mindlessly entered forms into a database.
15. The New Pornographers - All the Old Showstoppers
Late September, driving back to Topeka after a conference in Wichita: I'm driving the huge rental SUV, carrying 3 additional coworkers. One of them decides to begin a discussion.
"So what happened? September 11 came and went without anything happening. I thought Al Queda was planning something? What does it say in the Bible? 'They will always fight against the Sons of Abraham'?"
"Jesus Fucking Christ," I thought, and turned up the CD.
16. R.E.M. - Strange Currencies
Prior to a night on the town, Floyd and I sang along while Dave played guitar. Dave might have learned this song after I said it was my favorite, but maybe not.
17. The Hold Steady - Stuck Between Stations
New Year's Eve. After midnight. (Well, ok -- January 1st, then.) I asked Alison if she knew anything about The Hold Steady, as I had heard this track, and was considering buying the album. She didn't know much about them, but did use the term "buzzworthy" in her response. "So it's the kind of song that MTV would play inbetween programs five years ago?" I asked. She scowled.
18. Tegan & Sara - Back in your Head
Heavy rotation at work. I discussed the video (I'd seen it online) to this song with Jeff one night at Henry's, because he knows someone named Tegan. I made Kim watch this video, while trying to find a different video to watch (the aformentioned "Four Winds"), because it was there, free, On Demand, via my recently acquired digital cable.
19. Peter Bjorn and John - Young Folks
This song was kind of everywhere in the first quarter of 2007. I was already getting tired of it, but Nick and Corinne were just getting into it, so the song was played on our drive to Minneapolis.
20. Of Montreal - Tropical Ice-Land (live Fiery Furnaces cover)
Heavy, heavy, heavy rotation at work. I like to daydream about how much money I would pay to have been at this concert, considering they covered my favorite Fiery Furnaces song, and included a snippet of my favorite Talking Heads song, "And She Was", within that cover. Maybe $100. The price is low because I don't really like much Of Montreal. But this is The Shit.