Songs for wallowing: Heartbreak Kid, a mixtape

I was watching a TV show earlier today which reminded me of this playlist I made a few months ago with a text and everything that I had never shared.

In the show, the girl, who had recently broken up with the dude, was trying to stay busy 24/7 in order to move on while people were telling her she should sit with a pint of ice cream for a little bit. She said she didn’t want to be that kind of girl who acts as if her life is over just because of a guy, which is a sentiment I’ve shared one too many times.

But anyway, this isn’t a relationship page, it’s a music one. And although music & feelings are forever intertwined, I’ll move on to the playlist bit now.

It was another Friday that inspired a playlist…we were listening to a re-worked track at work which had turned from a happy tune with sad lyrics to a sad tune with sad lyrics!

While the previous playlist had been all about happiness and inspiration, this one is pretty wrist-slitting, I’m afraid.

But that’s life, hey! Some days we eat salad and go for a run, other days we eat pizza and binge-watch Netflix. And there’s nothing wrong with wallowing in your sadness sometimes…if we were constantly happy, life wouldn’t be as exciting (although I’m pretty cool with some chilled times if life feels like sending some my way…#justsayin).
I could’ve just combined The OC and Dawson’s Creek‘s soundtracks and thrown in a bit of Coldplay with a dash of Iron & Wine. But I didn’t. This mixtape’s got all kinds of heart-wrenching lyrics and melodies to see you through your blue phase. Apparently Mars was retrograde when this came about. That explains!

 

Ps: if your “blue phase” seems to be lasting a tad bit too long, please seek help! ❤️
Ps [2]: if you just need a bit of cheering up after this, here’s that old booster playlist I mentioned before.

The value of soundtracks

I’ve been meaning to write about soundtracks for a long time but there’s just so much to consider, I never thought I could do the subject justice, but Synchtank recently shared this Mental Floss article on Facebook on how important soundtracks are for movies that it inspired me to share a few other thoughts about it.

Last month I went to a special preview of Richard Linklater‘s latest movie “Everybody Wants Some” followed by a Q&A with the man himself at Brixton’s Ritzy and somebody asked IMG_1777him about soundtracks and how he goes about putting them together.

He talked about how the one for this movie in particular was made of mainly the songs he used to listen to when in college in the 80s – where and when the movie takes place – and that they usually start with about 200 tracks, but since licensing is both expensive and sometimes not approved, that helps the team narrow it down.

The funny thing was when he talked about the need to change a song because the one originally picked is too above the budget

“You can’t get Michael Jackson, so you get Jermaine Jackson!”

Picking a song for a scene, whether it’s a movie, TV show or even an ad, is as important as casting the right actor. A song is paramount to conveying a certain message or emotion to the audience and it is often more memorable than anything else in the video.

Another gem from Synchtank was this episode of their SynchStories podcast I listened to a few months ago where they interviewed music supervisor Thomas Golubič (Breaking Bad).

“Many people who tried to get into music supervision but don’t quite make it is because they are ultimately champions of music but not of storytelling”

He reveals the process of understanding a character/story and finding and picking the right tracks to match them:

“if you can really think in terms of the story and the characters and get a sense of what is really truthful to those characters…as you get to know them [characters], you hope that you can kind of navigate the truth of who they are with music”

There’s a lot more to it and I highly recommend you actually listen to the whole interview if you’re interested in the subject.

From an audience point of view, not only it helps us connect with a scene, a character, a storyline, but it often introduces us to new music we might otherwise never hear about. How many artists have you discovered through soundtracks? I don’t know about you, but my list is pretty endless.

Dawson’s Creek, The Craft, Romeo + Juliet, Cruel Intentiotheocns (can you listen to Bittersweet Symphony and NOT picture Reese Witherspoon driving away?), The OC and its gazillion Mixes, Gossip Girl. These are just a few of the most popular soundtracks that had some of its songs be as important as the actors playing the scene they soundtracked.

Recently a dear teenage human in my life made me watch Pretty Little Liars (I tell ya, getting hooked on a show that is already going to season 7 is a big mistake if you had any kind of life plan, even if it’s just showering and going for a Sunday brunch!). As the episodes went on, I realised my constant Shazam‘ing was getting in the way of helping the girls find out who pll-introA was (sorry, you’ve got to watch it to get this one), so I went on good ol’ Spotify and quickly found a playlist with pretty much all of the songs featured in the show. That’s  two of my favourite things in the world – soundtracks AND playlists – coming together and beautifully making life sweeter. But I’ll leave the playlist subject for another day as it deserves a whole other long post of its own.

For the moment I’ll leave you with ABC‘s PLL soundtrack, which also inspired this post but I’ll try to put an “OST” playlist together at some point as there are many other shows and movies also deserving of the spotlight.

More on soundtracks:

Sweden National Day requires a special playlist

As the title says, it’s Sweden National Day and this blog couldn’t let it go blank…I mean, “I ♥ Sweden” is actually a category here!

Sweden National Day

I’ve loved Swedish music pretty much for as long as I’ve loved music, even if unknowingly. And it probably started with Ace of Base and Roxette (happiest gig I’ve ever been to back in 2011 at Wembley Arena!). Although it was “Lovefool” and my brother’s First Band on the Moon CD that  The Cardigans - First Band On The Moon (1996)made me listen to The Cardigans at first, I’ve long transcended that underrated gem of a song and have loved pretty much everything they’ve released since, even going into Nina Persson‘s no-longer-in-existence parallel project, A Camp and, most recently, her solo album, Animal Heart.

Sweden is not only a stunning country with a cool hippie vibe, IKEA and Pippi Longstocking, but it’s always been one of the main exporters of music, whether it be bands, singers or songwriters. I mean, having written numerous hits for some of the biggest popstars in the world, Max Martin is probably one of the most important pop songwriters of all times.

To celebrate Sweden Nationaldag, I put together a selection of tracks of some of the country’s most popular artists ranging from obvious classics such as Abba and my dearest Cardigans to iconic Robyn and the latest up-and-coming gems such as Matilda Gratte (with whom I’ve been in love since I first heard her at Camden’s best hidden treasure, Spiritual Bar). Sadly, she’s only got two songs on Spotify, so I’ve added a video down here too.

Although all the artists are deserving of more than a mention, I’ll keep this brief but give you a heads up on this one great musician I was introduced to on a trip to Stockholm: Tingsek. It was love at first listen and I was lucky enough to get to see him play East London’s Cargo a few years ago when opening for Allen Stone. I can’t exactly describe his music…it’s just stunning! And he recorded probably the best version I’ve ever heard of Depeche Mode‘s “Shake the Disease”.

I’ll stop here so you can carry on to more important matters: the actual songs!

If you feel like I’ve missed someone important or want to suggest some new artists, please do feel free, comments are very welcome!

Mixtape Mondays #2

Last week I had another playlist featured on the awesome Postmodern Mixtape website. It was very cliche, very overdone and very much necessary.

Monday Morning Boost feels like sunshine!

Head over to their website to read more about it and, most importantly, get this gem of a kick to raise your morning routine game.

Aaaaand…more playlists!

Slowly I’ve been updating this website with more music news, soundtracks and the latest pop culture tips (I’ve been meaning to talk about the Another Round podcast for 2 months now!) but I’ve got a Master thesis to write so it’ll take some time.

However, this whole weekly playlist thing I’ve been doing for work has got me really pumped and reminded me of this project I did for Far Out Recordings a few years ago when the BBC broadcasted the travel show “Brazil with Michael Palin”.

It was a 4-episode series where Michael travelled around Brazil and talked about a particular region each episode and, the morning after every show, I wrote about the music scene of said region and made a playlist with the songs that featured on the previous night’s episode and added others by artists from the same area.

You can now read all full texts and check out the playlists right here!

It was one of my favourite things to do during my time at Far Out, we got amazing feedback at the time and even The Telegraph’s Rob Fitzpatrick retweet one of our texts saying something along the lines of “loving it!” – it made my day!

I’d like a job that pays me for playlists, please

Dear Spotify, I hear you’re looking for a music programmer…and I’m looking for my dream job!

So about 3 weeks ago I started a temporary position at a well-established music publisher and I’m loving it so far! Every time I’m there I’m completely oblivious to the outside world and, although I’m responsible for a variety of tasks, I live for Friday’s playlist! Well, the whole social media management is very much up my street, especially blogging, but making a weekly playlist…I don’t think I’ve ever done anything with so much love and consideration. I HAVE, after all, been making mixtapes, playlists, mix CDs and such for about…26 years maybe?! Lots of love for mixtapes!

The past couple of weeks have been great as we had Easter and April Fool’s (right on a Friday!), so I actually had a chance to make special extended edition ones.

http://https://open.spotify.com/user/aandgsongsltd/playlist/34Pjjr7RYJtbWbQMvls6ie

But, also a couple of weeks ago, I was invited by the lovely Postmodern Mixtape blog to curate a playlist for them as part of their Mixtape Mondays section.

It didn’t take two seconds to settle on a theme! And you can hear and read all about this girl power [*hint hint*] mixtape over at www.postmodernmixtape.com. (Thanks a lot for the invite, guys!)