Thursday, November 13, 2008

Once, In A Lifetime: The Birthday Disc 2008

Each year, I invite a group of friends out to lunch for my birthday and several years ago, I hit upon the idea of creating a CD for each guest, a party favor/placecard hybrid. Each disc includes each guest's name as well as a note on the cover and a collection of songs, which sometimes center around a theme and which sometimes, like this year, are a merely a collection of tunes I like for various reasons.

The cover of this year's CD reads:

The birthdays, they keep on coming.
This disc is the fourth in a series.
I hope to make and share many more.
I love spending part of the day with you
because each of you hold
a special place in my heart.
My life is richer for knowing you.
Thank you for being a part of
the tapestry.

The songs are ordered very particularly, for flow from one track to the next. Try to listen along in your head. Here are the songs and my reason for choosing each:

1. Technicolor/Vida, Coldplay
This tune is actually Life in Technicolor and Viva La Vida from Coldplay's latest disc. On the album, they're separated by several other songs, but they follow each other quite naturally, so I asked Dave to edit them together for me. I can edit on my iMac, but I can only splice songs together, not do nifty crossfades like Dave can – and did – on his souped-up gear. In any event, it's a combo I've been listening to all year and it makes a nice ramp for the rest of the disc.

2. Promises, Promises, Naked Eyes
I toyed with the idea of doing a entire disc of '80s tunes, but then thought the better of it. Not everyone in my life is as much an '80s geek as me. But this song more than stands the test of time. I loved it then, I love it now. I'll probably love it when I'm 60.

3. Meg White, Ray LaMontagne
I first heard this song when I heard Ray perform it earlier this year at the Chicago Theater and I was hooked immediately. I love the driving rhythm. It drills its way into your head. Right after the "High Noon" open.

4. Won't Stop, OneRepublic
Yes, yes, it's poppy. But I love the guitar in it and I especially love the chorus. And the vocal. I love the whole song.

5. Insight, Depeche Mode
My friend Chris put this tune on a compilation CD he made for me and I've loved it ever since. I was a huge Depeche Mode fan in high school and Dave Gahan's voice still delivers. Very atmospheric open.

6. Something Got Me Started, Simply Red
Another throwback to an earlier time in my life. I've always loved Mick Hucknall's voice and I find this song especially cool for the way he tags out of the song on a single note. I'm a sucker for keyboards.

7. I Wanna Be With You, Bruce Springsteen
Classic Bruce.

8. Roll With The Changes, REO Speedwagon
Earlier this year, I heard an REO tune and thought to myself, "You know what's missing in my life? REO Speedwagon." I own High Infidelity on vinyl. (I'm pretty sure it's still in my office closet in a hefty stack of albums.) But the time was nigh to go digital.

9. Drive, The Cars
Ooh, I love this song. Moody.

10. Superstition, Stevie Wonder
Go ahead. Turn on this tune and try to sit still. I dare you. I double-dog dare you.

11. Burrito, Pete Yorn
Yes, that's right. A song about a burrito. Except it's really not about a burrito. Because that would be silly. But whew, this baby rocks!

12. Buses, Bo Pepper
Happy, bouncy, dance-y tune that posits that boys are just like buses. As in, we girls are never quite sure when they're going to come along.

13. I've Been Thinking About You, London Beat
This is one of those songs that I hadn't heard in years that suddenly popped into my head and seemed like a very good idea for inclusion on this disc. It's peppy!

14. Wise Man, Liam Finn
Liam opened for Eddie Vedder this year and knocked me out. Usually, I want most opening acts to get off the stage, but every once in a while, an opening act presents itself as a true gem. Liam is one such gem.

15. Hard Sun, Eddie Vedder
This track is from the Sean Penn movie Into the Wild. I love Eddie's voice.

16. I Believe, Robert Plant
Because Robert Plant deserves to be represented everywhere, all the time.

17. A Thousand Beautiful Things, Annie Lennox
Annie is one of my all-time favorites, so it stands to reason that she'd be a fixture on these discs. A beautiful song, beautifully written, beautifully sung.

18. Happy Girl, Beth Nielsen Chapman
What better song to wrap up a birthday CD for my friends? With them in my life, I am indeed a happy girl.


Anonymous Alison said...

That seems like a very cool compilation. Happy Belated Birthday!

12:33 AM  
Anonymous Alison said...

PS: I'm singing "Promises, Promises" in my head now. :-)

12:34 AM  

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