Monday, May 16, 2011

And I See

This mix was a long time in the making. (And I wrote this entry once before and it got deleted so it's been an extra long time.)

It all started in the asscrack of winter, when you wake up in the cold/dark and spend a total of 15 minutes out side all day, thanks to the miracle that is the Chicago Pedway system. Days and commutes seem to blend into one another, stepping over the same puddles, running down into the same underground station, crowding onto the same train car, emerging at Washington to the smell of freshly fried donuts (never indulge), trek through the basement of a fancy shopping mall, back into the cold underground, then sucked into the belly of Marshal Fields (refuse to call it Macy's) where you see the same three homeless people every day (wonder if they are friends), more hustle and bustle and endless escalators until you reach the elevator that whooshes you up to the 24th floor most unsettlingly where it's time for a day of work. The ride home brings the same, in reverse, plus hunger, plus the shadow you cast on the apartment buildings when you're so close to home--there's three, so you're always one step behind, in front of, and beside yourself. 

And then one day there's this.
And it's spring. And you can cut one stop out of your commute to breathe the not-so-fresh Chicago air as you saunter through the main skyscraper-lined arteries of the city, past Yankee Hotel Foxtrot towers, compare the clock on the Tribune Tower to the clock above the 7-11 (they're both wrong), curiously fantasize about exploring the abandoned Motor Club Building up for foreclosure auction, then back into concrete playground...

I guess my point is, we all do a lot of hustling around the world with our ipods/phones/pads, and not a lot of pure, unadulterated Looking and Seeing. These are all songs about those two concepts.

(Not that I don't do my fair share of ipodding, but I do think it's important to stop and take a look 'round every once in a while. I should do more of this.)

Standard 8track disclaimer: Due to weird copyrighty things, you can only listen to the mix in its intended order once. So basically, if you're going to listen to it, you should try to sit down and listen to it all the way through or you won't get the full experience.

Running Time: Aprox. 42 min.
Track List:
01. Buffalo Springfield - For What It's Worth
02. Iron & Wine - Walking Far From Home*
03. Bright Eyes - A Song to Pass the Time
04. Simon & Garfunkel - The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy) (Live)
05. Animal Collective - Summertime Clothes
06. Atlas Sound - Walkabout (feat. Noah Lennox)
07. High Places - A Field Guide
08. Ani Difranco- Cradle and All (Live)
09. Bob Dylan - A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall (Live at the Gaslight in 1962)*
10. The Books - Free Translator*

*Indicates Track Picks
It's a bit unusual to have three track picks on such a short mix, but I swear those are all crucial songs.  Had to start with some Buffalo Springfield, the ultimate look + see song, before I got into the Iron & Wine track that inspired the entire mix. Sorry to include the Bright Eyes, but before Conor Oberst starts whining about his girl problems, he actually gives a pretty stirring narration. 

My mom used to sing me "The 59th Street Bridge Song" way before I knew what "feeling groovy" meant. Had to have some feel good walkabout songs before I moved into Ani's gritty retelling of NYC. This naturally leads us to Dylan's post-apocalyptic hellscape that is "A Hard Rain" (my favorite version), and finally to the Books tune, with its hauntingly ear-teasing hook that inspired the name of this mix. The lyrics sound pretty random, but apparently it's a much translated folk song.
MLE walking far from home...
The inside of my eyelids look the same... matter where my feet are.