This is a portmanteau for “music, stupid.”
Marilyn Jackson/Michael Monroe
This is my 2nd contribution to a CD exchange group (the first was many years ago and may be lost to history). My inspiration for this disc is The Bird and the Bee’s Interpreting the Masters, Vol. I which is the highlight of this mix, imo. From that I spun onto the idea of making a mix of songs that were better than the originals; not objectively better per se, but better in terms of contemporary music/top 40 and my personal musical tastes right now. While Pink Floyd’s “Comfortably Numb” stands as a seminal piece of rock, I’ve heard it so many times that I just can’t really hear it anymore without effort. Consequently, I’d rather listen to Scissor Sisters’ version right now. Conversely, while the Cowboy Junkies’ track is a great interpretation, it’ll never surpass the Beatles’ original. Overall, however, these are the versions I would rather listen to right now.
Early on in the project I thought it would be prudent to include the original work, so the listener can form their own opinions on which they prefer right now. While I included the original artists’ work, I don’t feel that that album stands on it’s own. The covers CD is the purpose of this contribution; the rest is novelty.
I split the album into two parts, “Side A,” “Side B.” The tracks formed themselves into a natural separation of electronic/up-tempo vs. acoustic/down-tempo. This is obviously not a strict separation; it’s more about the feels. All tracks were ripped from original sources as FLAC (lossless) files and converted directly to CD, allowing for original source quality: no compression was used to make these CDs (with the exception of Electrelane’s “I’m On Fire,” which was sourced from an MP3). Each CD was burned at a slow (4x) speed to ensure accuracy. (The skipping that can be heard at the beginning of Feist’s “Inside and Out” exists in the original release.)
There are a few tracks that didn’t make the cut, because I truly desired the album to stand as a piece that could be listened to in its entirety. As a result, brevity and continuity matter. Unfortunately omitted is the Smiths’ version of Cilla Black’s “Work is a Four Letter Word.” While the song itself is mediocre for the Smiths (although I firmly believe it’s head-and-shoulders better than the original), it’s noteworthy for the fact that it’s the song that broke up the Smiths. I also wanted to include Prince’s version of Joni Mitchell’s “A Case of You,” but it didn’t quite fit with the rest of the tracks, despite the fact that it’s a gorgeous cover.
As for packaging: I endeavored to put together a package that both makes fun of and honors cover songs. The jacket sports Andy Warhol’s iconic image of Marilyn Monroe, but her face is replaced with Michael Jackson’s latter years’ plastic surgery visage. The image cast on each CD is Sandro Miller’s remake of a famous photograph, using John Malkovich as the subject, while the original artists’ CD bears the original photo. Sandro Miller’s work can be found here. The typeface on the tracklist is Veteran Typewriter. Just ahead of mailing out my first copy, I noticed that Feist was listed as “Feisty” – serves her right. This typo was fixed for the second run.
If you would like a copy of this album, I might be cajoled into making and sending you one (especially if there’s trade or cash involved). Pro’ly, you would rather just listen to the songs on your own. Here’s the track listing:
Here are the rest of the songs I considered, but didn’t use:
Talking Heads………………Take Me to the River…………………….. Al Green
The Smiths……………………Work is a Four Letter Word………………Cilla Black
Prince……………………………..A Case of You……………………….Joni Mitchell
Death By Chocolate………If You Want to Sing Out……………………….Cat Stevens
Fiest……………………………..Tout Doucement………………..Blossom Dearie
Low……………………………………Nowhere Man…………………………..The Beatles
Saint Etienne…………..Only Love Can Break Your Heart…………Neil Young
This Beatles covers album has some real gems, imo.
Here are pictures:
My first run netted 6 copies, and there are 7 people in our CD exchange group. So, perfect, right? Nope, I’m a dope. I gave two copies away to friends and had to make another run to fulfill my obligation to the group. In the meantime, I word-vomited into the group chat and made an ass of myself. Not uncommon, I know. Anyhow, I had to make a second run, and this time I made 4 copies. I fixed my typo (“Feist” not “Feisty”), and I made better use of my CD printer. So, all-in-all, the second run went better, and I’ve already mailed my first copies.
Here are pictures:
I’m the first to admit that I have an obsessive personality; my bestie, Tyler, mentioned a cd exchange group, and I can’t stop thinking about making mix cds: there is an endless number of topics I could make mixes around…
The eclipse on Monday inspired me to make another mix to send to the group. Since I already have the cases, I decided that it should be a double cd (which goes against the “one 80-minute cd” rule AGAIN). I made a “Sun” disc, which is comprised of male artists’ songs, and a “Moon” disc, made up of female artists’ songs. Each song has “sun” or “moon” in the song title, respectively, with two exceptions: the Sun cd ends with The Flaming Lips’ version of Pink Floyd’s “Eclipse” and the Moon cd starts with Electrelane’s “Long Dark” from their Rock It To The Moon album. I was going to open the Moon cd with Lindsey Stirlings “Eclipse,” but the song was unworkable into the rest of my selections; there was no good transition songs, which made it unlistenable, imo. Arguably, the overall result is still unlistenable, but trust me when I say that it’s better than it could’ve been…
I had originally set out to make each cd less than 45 minutes (preferably 30 minutes), so they could be listened to in one sitting and would hold up individually as well. What I ended up with was over an hour on each. D’oh!
The cover is a NASA photo of an eclipse – it’s the sight I was hoping to see from our park; we’re in a 99.5% shadow zone, so I thought we’d basically see an entire eclipse. Turns out that .5% makes a big difference – it didn’t get as dark as I expected. First-world problems, right?
All of the tracks were ripped from original sources to lossless (FLAC) files and burned at a slow (4x) speed to ensure accuracy. Having said that, I was in a bit of a rush, so errors may have occurred anyways.
I printed Sun and Moon images on the respective cds; I used Eurostile font for the tracklisting and printed it in a way that’s basically illegible, continuing my trend of novelty over content. For user-friendliness, here is the track listing:
Random notes: On successive listens, I found that the abrupt ending of The Beatles “Sun King” is a little disconcerting… I began this page on the heels of my covers mix; an insert of this website came as an afterthought to this Eclipse mix; consequently, I may have put two inserts in one cd and none in another… Listening to the cds on my laptop with Fubar, there are some rough edges that make some track transitions awkward (like The Beatles song mentioned above); if I’m lucky, they won’t ruin the mix for listeners… Listening to the Moon cd in my car, there were some errors at the beginning of the Electrelane track – hopefully this is an issue with my car (stupid Prius), not a result of my haste to get these in the mail on the day of the eclipse… The final track on the moon cd is instrumental only, because one can only take so much Tori Amos (you’re welcome, Tyler)… I’m still undecided on the overall listenability of this mix. The louder I listen to it, the better it gets, tho I’m not sure what that means…
I endeavored to ensure that if both discs are played at the same time, the listener will be consumed in darkness. Can you hear the crickets chirping? It’s deafening…
Here are more pics: