A regular contributor to the Singles Jukebox and See Magazine, Renato Pagnani blogs at Until the Train Stops. He is currently vying with Cadence Weapon and Michael J. Fox for the throne of most awesome Edmontonian.
1. The-Dream, “Walkin’ on the Moon (feat Kanye West)”
2. Miniature Tigers, “Dino Damage”
3. A.C. Newman, “There Are Maybe Ten or Twelve”
4. Project Pat, “I Be Fresh”
5. Phoenix, “1901”
6. Ryan Leslie, “Quicksand”
7. The Whitest Boy Alive, “Courage”
8. Wale, “Penthouse Anthem”
9. Kid Cudi, Kanye West and Common, “Poke Her Face”
10. Death Cab for Cutie, “My Mirror Speaks”
11. Harlem Shakes, “Strictly Game”
12. Metric, “Blindness”
13. Röyksopp, “The Girl and the Robot”
14. Little Boots, “New in Town”
15. DJ Quik and Kurupt, “Hey Playa!”
16. Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band, “Difference Is Time”
17. Franz Ferdinand, “Ulysses”
18. Gorilla Zoe, “Echo”
19. Yeah Yeah Yeahs, “Zero”
20. Junior Boys, “The Animator”
Glance at the tracklist for my entry in this year’s Summer Jamz series and it might appear the least creative of the mixes submitted thus far–which it probably is. But I’m totally cool with that, because, well, that’s sort of the point. Hear me out: I started making summer mixes four years ago with two goals in mind: a) compile mixes to soundtrack my summers while chronicling what listening habits during that period and b) introduce my friends–who in real life love music just as much as I do, but might not share the same unhealthy obsession–to music they might not be exposed to otherwise. Which isn’t to say my taste is any superior to theirs or anything like that, but simply that I listen to more (and more “obscure”) music than most of my close friends do — partially because it’s sorta kinda my “job” (so I tell myself) but mostly because I spent most of the day at work (or class) reading music blogs instead of, you know, actually working (or paying attention to my profs).
Anyways; if you’re reading this fine blog you probably also read other music blogs and publications, so you’re probably familiar with at least 47.82% of the included tracks already. But my friends, who don’t know the difference between a Weiss and a Wale, have on average heard of maybe seven or eight of the included artists in total. Hopefully, the mixes intent is becoming more apparent, or at least slightly less foggy. These songs represent what I’ve been listening to over the last month or two, and they meet the two criteria that songs must in order to crack the roster of one my summer mixes: they must be from the year of a mix (note: a song from a 2008 album released as a single in 2009 is eligible, but as far as I’m aware this doesn’t occur on this year’s mix) and must, in some way, evoke “summer” in some way.
Of course, the previous stipulation is incredibly subjective, and open to interpretation, and I definitely take advantage of that. Most years I attempt to avoid selections and big singles, but this year I said, “Fuck it,” because the obvious inclusions here (The-Dream, Phoenix, Röyksopp, Yeah Yeah Yeahs) are pretty undeniable. I like to instead dig for deeper album cuts for my summer mixes, and this mix has a few of those (Ryan Leslie, Project Pat, Metric, The Whitest Boy Alive). Really, it’s all a balancing act. What’s most important is flow — not in the rap sense, but in the pacing and sequencing of the mix sense of the word. It has to progress logically and naturally, magically and with a sense of abandon and celebration.
If I’ve done my job right, when I revisit this mix in ten years, I won’t even need to look at the title written in orange Sharpie on the disc—it will simply, utterly and completely, feel like being alive in the summer of 2009.