Monday, August 23, 2010

First Heard in Summer 2010 - "You Are Not A Number You Are Many Numbers"

When I woke up this morning, I wasn't planning on making a mix. My life is different now. Today, I heard my first Justin Bieber song.

I believe in maintaining a balanced media diet, consuming a mixture of high and low culture. I don't have any guilty pleasures, and I often get as much enjoyment, both sincere and anthropological, out of hugely popular entertainment as I do more "challenging" "art." I don't disparage people for being into stuff that I don't find substantive, and in fact I like to live vicariously through people who go apeshit over stuff like Twilight or professional sports. On TV, I run the gamut from Mad Men to iCarly. In a given movie-watching week, I could be taking in The Archers' "Black Narcissus" or "Step Up 3D" (make sure to grab some glasses before you sneak in).

Kelly Clarkson comes between Vashti Bunyan and cLOUDDEAD on my iPod. And I know Justin Bieber. But somehow his music eluded me. Until now.

Enter the internet meme of the week: a version of Bieber's "U Smile" stretched from its original 3:21 length into a 35-minute ambient drone. It's a funny idea, but I found the end result legitimately mind-blowing, and oddly moving. In a weird way, it amplifies, to absurdly epic proportions, everything that I love about "disposable" pop music. The original Bieber track is grating and overproduced, soulless but well-constructed. The 35-minute version moves beyond the bland sentiment of the vocals and allows you to appreciate the song on a subatomic level, to revel in its airtight construction. Its valleys and crescendos take on massive weight, it's like a Pixies song played by a choir of angels.

Above all, this song made me feel like I was on the beach in the middle of the night. And I got to thinking about the end of summer. So, Justin Bieber inspired me to make a mix of end-of-summer songs, some literal, most just appropriately wistful or angry. Plus, I included one of the best and most insane hip-hop boast tracks that I've heard in a long time, wherein Busta Rhymes uses the word "frankfurters."

001 Brian Eno - Spider and I
002 Cloud Nothings - Even If It Worked Out
003 Royce Da 5'9" - Dinner Time (feat. Busta Rhymes)
004 The Soft Pack - Down On Loving
005 The Chap - We Work in Bars
006 Tamaryn - Choirs of Winter
007 Janelle Monae - Tightrope (feat. Big Boi)
008 Arcade Fire - City With No Children
009 Gauntlet Hair - Our Scenery
010 Dum Dum Girls - Yours Alone
011 Pop Winds - Owl Eyes
012 Courier News - Empty Clouds
013 Sufjan Stevens - Heirloom
014 Justin Bieber - U Smile (Slowed Down 800%)


1 comment:

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