I did it last year, I'll do it again this year. These are the official liner notes for the 2008 Beukemix. If you get a hard copy of the mix, it comes in a paper sleeve with a track list in ten-point Courier. So if you're wondering where the hell the music came from, here's your info. Again, many of these videos are just fanmade stuff I picked because it had the song in full. Caveat Spectator.
1. Foux Du Fafa - Flight of the Conchords
Nels had given me the heads up on the Conchords' stage performances just before they got their own HBO show. This year I got their EP, their album, and their first-season DVDs. This song is especially charming if you've ever taken high-school French. The video linked above has optional English subtitles.
2. A Well Respected Man - The Kinks
The movie Juno reminded me of this fine song's existence. Somehow I'd missed it in my participation in the massive David Beukema Oldies Download Project of 2005-2006.
3. The Laws Have Changed - The New Pornographers
People have been recommending the New Pornographers to me for years. After "The Electric Version" showed up in Rock Band I decided to download their album and give 'em a whirl. Co-ed power pop at its finest.
4. Don't Make Me a Target - Spoon
Spoon's Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga came out last year, I finally downloaded it at the beginning of this one, and decided it would be an appropriate listen en route to the band's hometown of Austin in January.
5. War Pigs - Cake
This Sabbath cover was a b-side to something or other. This was the first song I listened to this year that immediately made the Beukemix. Bonus points for giving the anthemic guitar line at the end of the song to the trumpet. I spent an evening early this year figuring the line out on my own. (Horn section count = 1)
6. With the Dark - They Might Be Giants
I've been deeply disappointed with TMBG's new output for nearly a decade. A shame, because they'd long been one of my favorite groups. Anyway, I was delighted by this new mini-suite from their otherwise largely underhwelming most recent album. I think this clay-mation confection is an official video, but I'm not sure. (Horn section count = 2)
7. Run (I'm a Natural Disaster) - Gnarls Barkley
I love how frantic and menacing this song is, that the refrain is mostly "Run, children! Run for your life!" I also love how unrepentantly nerdy Gnarls Barkley are, in general, which especially comes across in their videos and performances. (Horn section count = 3)
8. New Shoes – Angelo Badalamenti
Got the second soundtrack to Twin Peaks this year. This cut is a moody, atmospheric standout.
9. I’m Not Crying - Flight of the Conchords
Rarely do I include two songs by the same artist, but this time I just couldn't decide. When Melissa and I watched the series for the first time, I think this was the song that hooked her. Anyway, this is on the Conchords' EP, The Distant Future.
10. Paper Planes – M.I.A.
Melissa's brother David was way into M.I.A. when we visited for Christmas last year. Understandable. Nels subsequently highlighted a couple of her videos on his blog. This song was used to great effect in the Red Band trailer for "Pineapple Express."
11. You Don’t Understand Me – The Raconteurs
I don't know what makes some songs appeal to me and others not, but I find that a strident song in a minor key with interesting instrumentation doesn't hurt.
12. Regulate – Warren G feat. Nate Dogg
As explained in episode 7 of Yacht Rock, this smooth Death Row Records jam samples from a somnambulant 1982 Michael MacDonald cut.
13. Polite Dancing Song – The Bird & The Bee
Another band I'd first heard of from Nels. Heard this song on The Current and liked it. (Horn section count = 4)
14. Moonage Daydream – David Bowie
Appears as a downloadable track in Rock Band that was included in a track pack for the Wii. Is excellent, but I had largely overlooked it in my previous listening to Ziggy Stardust. (Horn section count = 5)
15. Nel Cimitero Di Tucson – Gianfranco Reverberi
Music from an obscure spaghetti western. If you're wondering why it's familiar, click here. (Horn section count = 6)
16. Tell Me – Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings
Melissa got really into Sharon Jones late last year and early this. This song jumped out at me this fall. It's like someone at Motown forgot to release an album back in 1965, and it was found in 2007. (Horn section count = 7)
17. My Iron Lung – Radiohead
Apparently every song from The Bends, or a cover thereof, is destined to end up on a Beukemix. Next year, will it be High and Dry, or Fake Plastic Trees? Played this song in Rock Band at Joe's on Labor Day. The bridges are difficult as hell.
18. Technical Difficulties – Dr. Octagon
Ex-roommate Dan Hetzel hooked me up with Dr. Octagon, one of Kool Keith's many alter egos a couple years ago. This popped up immediately before that Sharon Jones cut one morning on my commute. This album was produced by the same team behind the superior Deltron 3030. Absent Deltron II, it'll have to do. If you want to know what a truly crazy person would do with a rap career, look no further than Kool Keith. I don't mean he's a weird, wacky guy who sometimes behaves badly. I mean he seems literally insane.
19. Surfin’ Snoopy – Vince Guaraldi
"'Find the true meaning of Christmas. Win MONEY, MONEY, MONEY. Spectacular, Super Colossal Neighborhood Christmas Lights and Display Contest!' Lights and display contest? Oh, no. My dog, gone commercial. I can't stand it. Oh!” (Horn section count = 8)
20. Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours – Stevie Wonder
You probably know this song as the theme music of the Obama campaign. It made the cut this year because of that, but also because it has a special sentimental significance for me and my lovely wife. Aw! (Horn section count = 9)
21. Gamma Ray – Beck
Beck's been singing with a peanut butter sandwich in his mouth since Sea Change, so I haven't felt the hook of his bizarre lyrics since Midnite Vultures. But this beat is great.
22. Powerhouse – Raymond Scott & His Quintette
Another musician Hetz flagged for me. If you've ever seen a Looney Tunes cartoon set in a factory, there's a good chance you'll recognize the bridge. (Wow.) (Horn section count = 10)
23. Frontier Psychiatrist – The Avalanches
Heard this on the Current a couple weeks back, and loved it immediately. The video is greatly entertaining. (Horn section count = 11)
Enjoy. Same time next year...