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Mari’s Tween Mix

November 18, 2009
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Laura’s Blog Entry

Mari and I spend a good bit of time in the car. We drive to and from school, as well as across town to dance class twice a week. We listen to podcasts and music to pass the time. Lately she has been mentioning when a song comes on that she likes, so I asked her if she wanted me to make a custom mix for her MP3 player. She said, “Yes!”

I wanted to give her a good smattering of my favorite music, choosing songs that I thought would appeal to her as well as have a message appropriate for her age.

It’s not that easy, folks! Just try to find a song by The Smiths that’s OK for an 11-year-old. Here I present to you:

Mari’s Tween Mix

“Love Song”
Sara Bareille
She requested this one. It’s a favorite with her and her friends. Gotta grab her attention right off the bat, don’t I?  This is a good pop song. Fun to sing along to. I like that we both can belt it out as we drive along.

“Bryan Sometimes”
Venus Hum
She asked for this one, too. It’s off their new album Mechanics & Mathematics. I’ve gone on and on about this album already, so I’ll spare you now. But we love it! Best line: “And that miserable mouth. It needs a washout.”

“Cornflake Girl”
Tori Amos
When Mari was a baby, there were a few bits of music that would stop her colicky screaming. Tori’s album Under the Pink was one of them. Another was opera. Go figure. Now whenever I put Tori on she always says, “What’s this?” I think it got planted deep in her subconscious.

“Let’s Dance to Joy Division”
The Wombats
I didn’t think Joy Division was right for this mix, since I was keeping it light, but I snuck in a reference to them with this song. It’s fun and has a children’s chorus at the end. What’s not to love?

“Good Tradition”
Tanita Tikaram
Neil and I played Tanita’s first album, Ancient Heart, to death back in the 90’s. It was a very fresh sound at the time. I really like her low, deep vocals. She sounds wiser than her 20-some years on that record. I thought Mari would enjoy this little quirky gem.

“Only You”
Is it wrong to put a song on a mix for your child from an album given to you by an ex-boyfriend? Aw, why not. Not that many tween-safe love songs out there these days. Thanks Vince and Alison.

“Bellevue Hill Park”
Satellite City
This is Tony Miracle’s (of Venus Hum) solo project. This is where he does more experimental and off-the-beaten-path kind of stuff. The song is from his Cincinnati Modern album. I put it on because Mari got to be in a video that was shot for Tony to use when he plays live. They shot it in Bellevue Hill Park, which has amazing contemporary architecture.

“Tom’s Diner”
Suzanne Vega
What a classic. A little a capella is good for the soul. I adore Suzanne Vega and her narrative writing style. Mari should learn to love her sooner rather than later, if you ask me.

“Is It Really So Strange?”
The Smiths
After listening to about 10 or 15 songs by The Smiths I deemed this one acceptable. It says something about killing a nun, but it’s the best I could do. I wanted something like this with a catchy tune to get her hooked on them.

“Happy with Myself?”
Over the Rhine
This is vintage Over the Rhine, off their album Eve. The gist of the song goes like this: “I’m happy with myself. Cause I don’t have what it takes to please you.” I am hoping I can get this message deep into Mari’s brain before the dating begins. Wish this song had been around when I was 11.

“The Way I Am”
Ingrid Michaelson
Yes, the propaganda is in full force at this point. Mari marches to her own drum, and I want to keep reinforcing that. Stick with the people who “get” you and dismiss the opinions of the rest.

“A Good Thing”
Saint Etienne
Gotta keep the electronic stuff in there. If you can resist singing along to this one I question if you have a pulse. This is the music I put on if I am dragging and need to get stuff done.

“Bizarre Love Triangle”
New Order
Dance why don’t ya? This song from New Order is one of my best memories from clubbing in the 80’s. Plus another way to tie to Joy Division. Perfect.

“A Little Respect”
Oh yes, I like the direction this is going! Synthpoppy goodness. What could be next?

“The Meaning of Love”
Depeche Mode
You knew this was coming. Finding a Depeche Mode song is almost as tricky as The Smiths. So I went with the early works of Mr. Gore. I always liked this song. It makes me happy. It’s only the slightest bit cynical. Cause love is “something like wanting a scar.”

“Friday I’m in Love”
The Cure
Can’t leave them out. This is lighthearted and happy. And contains one of my favorite Cure lyrics: “Always take a big bite, it’s such a gorgeous sight, to see you eat in the middle of the night.” Oh Bob, you say the sweetest things.

“Reflecting Light”
Sam Phillips
Sam is one of my all time favorite songwriters and vocalists. The song is from the wonderful album A Boot and a Shoe. The lyrics just sum up what I hope for my child. That she continues to make her own way. May she always be reflecting light.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. November 18, 2009 1:16 pm

    What a lovely mix of tunes. I *love* Over The Rhine and Sam Phillips!

  2. November 18, 2009 1:28 pm

    Some of my favorite vocalists! I like chicks that can hit some low notes.

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