Sunday, February 28, 2016

Ultimate Playlists 1: Modest Mouse

Have you ever been to a concert and wished the band had played certain songs? I know I have. The reality is, you'll never get exactly what you want. However, you are free to build any playlist you like. I have decided to write a series showcasing the Top 20 songs from some of my favorite bands. The obvious first choice for me is Modest Mouse because I have been almost unable to listen to anything else for the best part of two years.

For those of you who are old enough to remember cassette tapes, you'll know the terrible anguish of trying to fit the songs together. How annoying when the last song you picked was still playing as the tape ran out! Those days are over and it's now a simple task to throw together a playlist using your computer, iPod or a USB. I know that having USB capability has enhanced my driving pleasure because it's so easy to update a list of songs.

But there's also more to creating a playlist than simply deciding which songs to include. Like an actual concert, or even a single song, a good playlist features changes in mood and tempo. If a band opens with the three songs that the audience most wants to hear, the rest of the performance might fall flat. My own particular method of creating a playlist has a number of considerations:

  • Mix up the duration of the songs
  • Put space between songs from the same album, unless the two are better when played in sequence
  • Build to a natural high, slow it down again, and finish with a real flourish
  • Put in some newer songs close to the start, assuming there are newer songs worthy of inclusion
  • For bands with more than one vocalist, mix up the sequence depending on who is singing
  • Speed and style matters, so mix it up unless there is a good reason not to
  • Albums often have a great choice of opening and closing song that work best in that particular spot 
  • The final three or four songs might resemble an encore if it was a real concert
  • Leave the listener satisfied and wanting more

If you are familiar with my blog, you'll know that I have counted down the Top 100 Modest Mouse songs according to my rankings, so my main consideration for this opening installment is the sequence in which my Top 20 should be played. The reasons for the choice of songs is included in the Top 100 series already mentioned.

Without further ado, here is my ultimate Modest Mouse playlist. My YouTube playlist includes fan videos, live versions and extended versions of Cowboy Dan and Spitting Venom: 

3rd Planet
Heart Cooks Brain
The Whale Song
The Tortoise and the Tourist
Cowboy Dan
White Lies Yellow Teeth
Parting of the Sensory
Lounge (Closing Time)
Bury Me With It
Never Ending Math Equation
Steam Engenius
Trailer Trash
The Stars Are Projectors
Exit Does Not Exist
Fly Trapped In a Jar
Doin' the Cockroach
Dark Center of the Universe
Teeth Like God's Shoeshine
Spitting Venom

That's it. If you are a fan, I hope you give it a listen.

Next up, Sonic Youth. 

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