My iPod was having a love affair with the ladies the other day — which is a really good thing! Not all the songs in the shuffle were the ones featured here, but it did give me a good idea for a mix that, well, is pretty much a celebration of the double x chromosome. Now granted, I didn’t skip all over the genres to feature the many musical styles of women, but in true Mix Six tradition, I found six songs that mix well together. So, as Gene Wilder said in the Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, ” I hope you enjoy it. I think you will.”
“Unbound,” Suzanne Vega (Download)
Suzanne Vega spikes in this electronica drenched tune on her excellent Beauty & Crime. It’s an atypical composition in an otherwise meditative album. Vega has one of those voices that’s easy to get lost in, and even in this song –which balances the electronic flourishes with some nice guitar work — Vega’s smokey voice adds the right amount texture to what could easily be a rather robotic tune.
“Pa’ Bailar – Siempre Quiero Mas (featuring Julieta Venegas),” Bajofondo (Download)
About two years ago, I got to see Bajofondo play a free concert in San Francisco (I even wrote up an album review for Popdose after seeing the show). I gotta say, I was really impressed by their playing and the energy they brought to the stage. So much so, I thought: “Boy, these kids have a real future in the music business.” Flash forward to 2010, and “Pa’ Bailar” is one of the songs on my “workout” playlist on my iPod. The hypnotic 4/4 drum beat leading off the track really makes for a perfect mid-tempo workout tune (go ahead, try it). Plus, Julieta Venegas’ voice is just scratchy enough to add a nice bit of passion to Bajofondo’s electronic tango music. And just when I think “Hey, this song would sound great on a soundtrack, or even a commercial,” Acura steals my thunder by using part of the song to sell their cars.
“Get Him Back,” Fiona Apple (Download)
All the drama surrounding the release of this album makes for good soap opera fun, but was the album worth the wait — even with all the tracks that surfaced on the Internet? Absolutely! Much of Apple’s music has a very musical theater quality to it, but it’s really great when she chucks all that and just delves into a solid pop song. “Get Him Back” has some really dark lyrics, but the song’s irresistible groove makes me kind of gloss over all that anger Apple is channeling in the lyrics.
“Tennessee,” The Mimsies (Download)
Originally from Norman, Oklahoma, the Mimsies has a good 10 year run in the club scene — which culminated in a couple of years on the Warped Tour. The band broke up in 2004 and pretty much went their separate ways. Nowadays, former lead singer, Casey Castille, lives in Oakland, CA, and from what she wrote on her My Space page, she’s been doing a lot of non-musical things like building a law firm, working on archeology projects, and event baking cakes for people at the Pentagon. I know, “Huh, Wha’?” But what about the music? Well, if you own any of the Mimsies’ three albums, consider yourself lucky because they are not really available out there in Internet land. Sure, you can grab a few tracks from a My Space page started by a fan, but “Tennessee” is not an easy one to find. I was lucky enough to find it years ago, and I’m glad I download it when I did because this song is solid.
“People Got A Lotta Nerve (Live),” Neko Case (Download)
An album that made many “Best of” lists for 2009, Neko Case’s “People Got A Lotta Nerve” is certainly one of the more radio friendly songs off of Middle Cyclone, but I really prefer this live version — that was a bonus video on the iTunes download. I can’t say that I’m a Neko Case aficionado, but for those of you who are, you tell me if you think the live version of this song is superior to the studio recording.
“If The Stars Were Mine (Orchestral Version),” Melody Gardot (Download)
I was surprised by the lush orchestration Gardot used on her third album — but in a good way. Worrisome Heart in 2008 was a real treat with its spare arrangements and David Lynchian jazz style, but it’s easy to see how a follow-up that essentially gives listeners more of the same could easily result in a dud. Thankfully, Gardot had the good sense to expand her style in such a way that her fans wouldn’t be alienated by her new direction.