Art of the Mixtape is proud to feature a guest mixtape from Pete Willett. While not rooting and endlessly researching The Yankees; Pete enjoys playing ridiculous amounts of jazz guitar (Pat Metheny is an unfortunate favorite) and being inspired by the non-sequitur lyrics of Matt Berninger, 80’s pop, and plenty of 90’s and 2000’s melodramatic music. I kid, sort of, but here’s his mixtape after the jump.
The original was a disco meets new wave stylized single, this cover breathes new life into the melody and arrangement with mandolins banjos upright bass and a sublime guitar solo. I’d never thought I’d hear a man cover Blondie so well.
I found this band by way of covers its lead singer (Eef Barzelay) had done. Yet this original shows they are capable of more than just cover band fare, like a less grating R.E.M. with some vintage Rolling Stones guitar thrown in, this song builds and builds, your enjoyment growing along with it.
Most of you might recognize this song as being in the Fender myTouch commercial, and its a sweet song. Clapton made a career of sunny eyed blues numbers like this, the hook is undeniable and the lyrics are heartfelt.
This song starts like a behemoth, the harmonies and organ and guitar providing an airy landscape, one of those songs meant for headphones, where you can be in your own world.
The guitars draw you in, the vocals keep you, and the arrangement keeps it interesting for multiple listens. Don’t sleep on this one.
It’s a cover of a Ritchie Valens song, but this reading is so beautiful that it goes far beyond the label, the arrangement conveys heartbreak and the lyrics break your heart.
Theeere Back! I just can’t get enough of this band, with their endlessly endearing vocals, creative and ever changing arrangements and strong hooks.
Both are masters of the laid back acoustic vibe, so its no surprise how the arrangement plays out, whats special is their harmony, tight and organic, you can tell these guys really respect each other and they play off each other really well.
I’m not one to give DMB credit where they’re not due but this song is great. The melody is classic, its sung beautifully, soft and understated with lyrics to match.
Phoenix covering one of the greatest songs Bob Dylan ever laid to tape, a late night brood of a song, they stay faithful to the original but its nice to hear someone else take it on.
Swagger, this band has it, from the arrangement to the singing down to the lyrics. Think of an updated version of Some Girls era Rolling Stones, except straight from the heart of NYC.
The Kooks had so much energy on their debut that it was no surprise success caught on quickly, but the Kooks aren’t a flash in the pan, their melodies are tight their dynamics are perfect and they single-handedly carry guitar rock on their backs with the riffs in this song.
Culled from the Curtis/Live album, MM S &W is a lesson in band dynamics with the drummer so deep in the pocket of the groove he makes Mitch Mitchell seem like an amateur, the harmonies are wonderfully placed with the guitar and this whole track just moves. The beauty of Mayfield isn’t that his melodys go to crazy places, its the movement and inspiration within them, and on those terms theres no one better.
Why this one in particular? In terms of its dreamy psychedelics and melodic fluidity, this song was the Holy Grail Pink Floyd chased their entire careers.
Weighing in at a little over a minute, its one of the catchiest songs The Beatles ever wrote.
Why this song? Well Martin Luther King Jr. using it as inspiration for his civil rights goals is a sure good reason, and Curtis Mayfield greatly inspired Jimi Hendrix’s playing style on guitar, if you even needed another one.
Before Kanye West released Touch The Sky, there was the original song, the horns bright, the rhythm breakneck and the melody unstoppable. Pure inspiration at its finest.
As I’ve been awfully bad at updating this old blog of mine for the past couple weeks I’ve decided to start a new kind of weekly post, a mixtape not dedicated to showcasing new artists all the time, but getting back to the roots of what a mixtape meant, which is to hold a theme through a variety of different artists and songs. This inaugural mixtape theme is Escape.
The feeling of escape in music is one of the strongest themes in rock and roll, we find ourselves transfixed by the places it can bring us to, the painful emotions it can mute, the happy emotions it can bring out in sad times. This mix doesn’t count on containing unknown songs by artists you’ll hopefully like, rather I composed it to enhance the feeling, to get lost in the world of music and somehow through it all the songs meshed together perfectly, as if the order was supposed to be this way.
One of the most perfect escaping anthems ever put on paper, Bruce Springsteen was writing more than just a song when Born to Run came to be. He had been the unknown maverick, a little known musician compared to the likes of Bob Dylan and Van Morrison in his poetry and story telling but had yet to find his sound. But from the snare intro till the end, this song provides the escape he needed to make it big, and the escape of the American Dream that’s in all of us
From the beginning the guitar transfixes you, her voice takes you away
Sometimes escape isn’t always about going somewhere but about remembering the good times, and September is just that a remembrance of good times you had
Because dreams don’t always come true, but sometimes its just making the effort that makes it all worthwhile
For the literal escape from our lives (if you’re a criminal)
For the escape that love can provide, even when its done by a bond that brings people closer
No matter how many years have passed by, this song will always bring you back to the innocence of your childhood and how you can take comfort in your imagination
For even if you do something bad once in a while, live a little, just live in the moment and have fun
Sometimes you just want to take that wrong turn out of your driveway forget it all and never come back, it’s the essence of youth, the young and the restless
For escaping the barriers of your own perception
Sometimes the quickest way is not the most satisfying, theres always the road untaken waiting for you, when the time comes
Because sometimes it isn’t what you’d think, Life especially
For the inner rebel in all of us
Some songs in their stories become almost surreal in how real they feel, how you identify with the characters and the beauty within
The story isn’t just in the words, but in the music that surrounds it as well
When an artist covers another, it gets deeper because it shows where they escape to, outside of their own music, and what really influences them
Another escape, a mental journey expressed as physical
Because no matter how great the escape, everything is fleeting
Because the change you want, the escape you long for, is sometimes just up to fate
Because the message is so powerful, and the voice just carries over everything, it’s no longer an escape, it’s an escape realized