2018 Summer Mixtape: Volume 7
Sunny August Days
The next volume brings the drama, the wacky, the uplifting, the intense, the sultry, the rock, the roll. As always, I reckon it brings the Bonnie through my “sun” theme!
If you are a long-time follower, you know that La La Land changed my life. (Really — story here.)
I was about to hit the publish button and realized that there was only one way to start this story! Voila — “Another Day of Sun” got added and has the honor of jump starting my mixtape!
My mixtape? Your mixtape! Our mixtape!
“Video Sunshine” feels like a late California summer day. Night’s closing in and expectation hangs in the air.
Airy and frothy. Oh, that drag underneath — relaxed sultriness!
My dear neighbor, CZ, exposed me to The Swing. I remember borrowing her tape and playing it religiously.
I preferred the first side, which included “Melting in the Sun.” Good grief! This is still a sexy, rockin’ endeavor. It holds up REALLY well!
T Rex delivers its unique groovy rock ‘n roll sound on “Mambo Sun.” Catchy and instantly recognizable as belonging to Marc Bolan et al.
I discovered some live performances of the Violent Femmes from the Hacienda and was floored! I had no idea how awesome they would sound live. They totally bring it!
(The Hacienda performance of “Blister in the Sun” is a bit odd, so I’ve pulled this one instead.)
So, here’s the thing: Although my tolerance for the Violent Femmes is limited, I think their significance in the alternative scene is huge. I mean, really sit back and imagine if these guys had never existed. The skating scene, the post-punk scene, mid-80s alternative-rock scene, high dances would not have been the same without “Blister in the Sun”!
I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say these guys were on just about EVERY high school student’s soundtrack from the mid-80s.
The Fixx always stood out among the new wave bands. Those heavy-handed synthesizers (courtesy of Rupert Greenhall), especially spiky on “Sunshine in the Shade,” some sexy guitarwork, and an ever present distinct vocal by Cy Curnin come together perfectly. The cherry on top: This quirky video which only gets weirder and wackier with repeated viewings!
I’ve been fortunate to see some of my favorite 80’s band, including The Fixx, for the first time in the past few years.
I’ve long been attracted to a lanky Brit. Cy Curnin fit the bill! He wore the early- to mid-80’s look particularly well.
Actually, he’s still svelte and rather cocky — he’s still go it! The whole band sounded fantastic at 3Ten ACL Live a couple of years ago!
Last fall the acoustic cut of “Take On Me” brought renewed attention to a-ha. But it was THIS stripped down performance of “The Sun Always Shines on TV” that captured my heart.
As a 30+ year fan I’ve always known the depths of a-ha, so these acoustic performances weren’t a surprise. They were simply a surprise to everyone else who never delved beyond “Take On Me.”
The strings feel so natural. I had the immense joy of seeing a-ha’s Royal Albert Hall performance in London in 2010. They performed their debut Hunting High and Low followed by their sophomore effort Scoundrel Days with an entire symphony. It remains a highlight of my musical life!
This performance from 2017 recalls the 2010 interpretation. The song was always delicate yet bombastic. Regardless of the version, it’s a sweepy, dramatic piece of music.
I’m dedicating this favorite of mine to one of my favorite people, the epitome of class, beauty, and authenticity, Annie. Happy birthday to my long-time pal!
Somehow I never heard this song until 2015. Once it was on my radar, though, I haven’t stopped listening to this song or to the extraordinary Scott Walker!
There was a familiarity to it and upon researching I quickly figured out why I was responding to it so strongly: It’s written by the superb writing/producing duo Crewe and Guadio (of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons fame). I’m a huge fan of the Four Seasons, which has as much to do with the songwriting/production as the singing.
As for “The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore”, I prefer this UK #1 hit from the Walker Brothers. This has the stamp of the mid-60s: big, sweeping melody; lush harmonies; and a “Brit-pop” sensibility (though the Walker Brothers were LA-based). It’s glorious!
I’ve mentioned elsewhere that I’m a big Rick Astley fan, including 2016's 50. He combines a gospel-tinged vibe on several of the songs from this album. “I Like the Sun” booms and uplifts!
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