My Wedding Playlist

Wednesday, May 21, 2008
I try to keep the personal real life stuff to a bare minimum on this site, and I'm not about to change that now. But I'll just say that my wedding was awesome and I wouldn't change a thing about it, and I wanted to post the music playlist I put together for the reception, since I labored over the selection of these 101 songs for pretty much the whole time we were engaged. It was really the one little thing that was my domain, since Jennifer did an amazing job organizing virtually every other aspect of the wedding, and she still contributed a good 10-20% of the song selections on here (including all of the classical stuff for the ceremony):

Lumiere String Quartet - "Aria" (strings)
Will Taylor - "Ave Maria" (strings & guitar)
Will Taylor - "Julie" (strings & guitar)
Will Taylor - "Beau Soir" (strings)
Lumiere String Quartet - "Air from Water Music" (strings)
Lumiere String Quartet - "Largo from Concerto for Two Violins" (strings)
Elaine Bejjani - "Trumpet Voluntary" (harp & flute)
Elaine Bejjani - "Allegro Maestoso" (harp & flute)
Elaine Bejjani - "Trio Aus Dem Oratorium L'enfance Du Christ" (harp & flute)
Elaine Bejjani - "Thais Meditation" (harp & flute)

Lumiere String Quartet - "Bridal Chorus from Lohengrin"
Lumiere String Quartet - "Ode to Joy from Symphony No. 9"
Lumiere String Quartet - "Canon in D"

Lumiere String Quartet - "Allegro from Brandenburg Concerto"

Willie Hutch "I Choose You"
George Jones with Tammy Wynette "Ceremony" (mp3)
Talking Heads "This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody)"
U2 "Sweetest Thing"
Madness "It Must Be Love"
Al Green "Let's Get Married"
Pete Townshend "Let My Love Open The Door"
Mike Doughty "27 Jennifers"
Say Anything "Alive With The Glory Of Love"
Prince "She's Always In My Hair" (mp3)
Lil Mo with Fabolous "4 Ever"
Ciara "Promise"
The Posies "You're The Beautiful One"
Bruce Springsteen "Hungry Heart"
Coldplay "Yellow"
Sloan "Last Time In Love"
Little Feat "Easy To Slip"
Alicia Keys "Wreckless Love"
Nas "Getting Married"

The Dropkick Murphys - "The Gang's All Here"

Social Distortion - "Ball & Chain"

Ken Stringfellow "Here's To The Future" (mp3)
Aaliyah "At Your Best (You Are Love)"
Ella Fitzgerald "I Wished On The Moon"
Norah Jones "The Nearness Of You"
Thin Lizzy "Dancing In The Moonlight"
Jack Johnson "Banana Pancakes"
Tom Waits "Picture In A Frame"
Raheem DeVaughn "Mo Better" (mp3)
Prince "Forever In My Life"
Big Star "Thirteen"
Queen "You're My Best Friend"
George Jones "Walk Through This World With Me"
Willie Nelson "Hands On The Wheel" (mp3)
Aqualung "Brighter Than Sunshine"
The Beach Boys "God Only Knows"
Curtis Mayfield "So In Love"
War "That's What Love Will Do"
Otis Redding "I've Been Loving You Too Long"

They Might Be Giants "Another First Kiss"

Bob Dylan "Forever Young"

Jimi Hendrix Experience "Little Wing"

The Contours "Do You Love Me"
The B-52s "Love Shack"
Van Morrison "Brown Eyed Girl"
Etta James "At Last"
Frankie Beverly & Maze "Before I Let Go"
Justin Timberlake "Rock Your Body"
Brick "Dazz" (mp3)
Percy Sledge "When A Man Loves A Woman"
Paul Simon "You Can Call Me Al"

The Ray Gelato Giants "Recipe for Making Love"

Pat Benatar "Hit Me With Your Best Shot"

Peggy Lee "Fever"

Tommy Tutone "867-5309/Jenny"
"The Chicken Dance"
Little Feat "Dixie Chicken"
Peter Gabriel "In Your Eyes"
Danzig "Mother"
Bon Jovi "Have A Nice Day"
Billy Idol "White Wedding, Pt. 1"
Queen "Somebody To Love"
Thin Lizzy "The Boys Are Back In Town"
Ted Leo "Where Have All The Rude Boys Gone?"
Al Green "Let's Stay Together"
R. Kelly "Step In The Name Of Love (Remix)"
Billy Joel "Allentown"
Amos Lee "Sweet Pea"
Marty Beech "The Way You Look Tonight"
The O'Jay's "Love Train"
Prince "Adore"
James "Laid"
Tom Petty "American Girl"
The Cure "Close To Me"
U2 "One"
Steely Dan "Peg"
Van Halen "Dance The Night Away"
Michael Jackson "Don't Stop Til You Get Enough"
Rod Lee "Going To The Chapel"
Rob Base & DJ E-Z Rock "It Takes Two"
The Clash "Should I Stay Or Should I Go"
The Pretenders - "Brass In Pocket"
The Four Tops - "I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)"
Hues Corporation - "Rock The Boat"
The Temptations - "My Girl"
Wilson Pickett - "Land Of 1000 Dances"
Billy Idol "Dancing With Myself"

My brother and best man, Zac, worked as a wedding DJ a few years ago, and he warned me a little about the hubris of trying to pre-program the whole music selection on my iPod with no room for spontaneity or requests, and got me a little nervous. But after a couple early audio issues got worked out (thank lord Zac and one of my groomsmen, Mat, were handy enough to get the speakers up and running), everything sounded great and was received better than I could've expected. I tried to limit the really indulgent selections to the cocktail hour (when most people were outside taking pictures anyway), and really strike a balance between crowd-pleasing and stuff I personally love for the reception, and it actually worked. I knew my people were down to party when they stayed on the dancefloor and went nuts for a jam as obscure as "Dazz." Thank you all for making it such a great night. I'm gonna go off on my honeymoon now, see you in a few weeks.

Thursday, May 08, 2008
I'm getting married this week, to my girlfriend of the past 6 years, Jennifer, and a couple of weeks later we're going off on a nice long honeymoon. So I'll be taking a little break from both Government Names and Narrowcast for the next month or so (although I'll be keeping up with my paid writing for Noise and Idolator in at least a limited capacity during that period). And really I'd probably have to take a vacation about now even if this wasn't happening: I've spent the past year and a half straight working a full-time desk job, writing at least 1000 words for pay almost every week, and blogging daily, and basically burning myself out, especially lately leading up to the wedding. I still love doing all this stuff, I just haven't felt like there've been enough hours in the day for a while now. Hopefully disappearing from blogging for a few weeks and cashing in all my PTO at work will do me some good and I can come back for the summer all rested and refreshed, and switch shit up and try some new things. I might pop up here and there to post something I feel like saying at the moment, or a flyer on Gov't Names (and maybe a couple bigger things I'm planning if I have the time), but for the most part GN and Narrowcast won't be updated regularly until probably mid or late June. Those of you I'll see this weekend, I hope you have a great time at our wedding, everyone else, I'll see you later.

The 2008 Remix Report Card, Vol. 5

Tuesday, May 06, 2008
"Bye Bye (Remix)" by Mariah Carey featuring Jay-Z and Jermaine Dupri
On the posthumous remix of Aaliyah's "I Miss You," Jay-Z took a generic R&B breakup ballad that had taken on a poignant context, and made it even moreso with an uncharacteristically heartfelt, sincere verse directed at the late Aaliyah herself. The original "Bye Bye" shoots for a poignant tribute to unnamed lost loved ones, and still lands as bland and calculated, especially with Jay on the remix and Jermaine grunting in the background. Jay's double-time was no less awkward on "I Miss You," but it's almost too aggressive for the beat here.
Best Verse: n/a
Overall Grade: C-

"Can't Help But Wait (Desert Storm Remix)" by Trey Songz featuring Rick Ross
Time for another comparison to a semi-classic Jay-Z remix! DJ Clue gives Trey's hit almost the exact same makeover the Trackmasters gave Mya's "Best Of You" for Clue's Backstage soundtrack, except with the drastic downgrade to the beard that hip-hop has aligned itself with (unsuccessfully) avoid seeming gay. If you think you've already heard a remix of this song with Plies, you're right, but this one seems to be official, too. Go figure.
Best Verse: n/a
Overall Grade: C+

"Customer (Remix)" by Raheem DeVaughn featuring R. Kelly
When I wrote about DeVaughn's The Love Experience a while back, one of my main criticisms of the album was that, if I may quote myself, "the bland metaphors of songs like 'Love Drug' and 'Customer' are reminders that there are worse ways to liken everything to love or sex than the broad, ridiculous but sometimes inspired way R. Kelly approaches that formula." Turns out R. himself made a similiar connection in a more favorable light, stating affectionately on this remix that "this song reminds me of something I would do," in that tone that you just know means the only way he knows how to flatter a peer is to compare them to himself. The song has actually grown on me a lot in the past couple months, although more as an album track than as a single, so I was kinda primed for the remix and surprised by how right Kells sounds over that beat. For the most part, though, it's nothing special, with R. generally still weirdly obsessed with biting his latest stylistic descendant The-Dream (the whole "you should tip us" bit), filling bars with borderline nonsense ("ya-aah, you be screaming ya-aah"), and setting a new high/low for holy-shit-is-he-kidding controversy-baiting insanity ("if you thirsty, I got some good good lemonade").
Best Verse: n/a
Overall Grade: B-

"Drifter (Remix)" by Shawty Redd featuring Snoop Dogg
Considering that Snoop took the original "Drifter" as inspiration to collaborate with Shawty Redd and make the similiar "Sensual Seduction," it's pretty much redundant for them to get back together and make a remix of the former track. Shawty Redd's singing has always been the weak link of the track (his voice is almost as unpleasant when Autotuned as Lil Wayne's), he probably should've let Snoop sing it in addition to rapping.
Best Verse: n/a
Overall Grade: C

"Love In This Club, Part II" by Usher featuring Beyonce and Lil Wayne
Make no mistake, this is a remix (Wayne even declares, as annoyingly as ever, that "it's the remix, baby"), but the subtle "Part II" distinction makes Billboard chart it as a seperate entry from the original "Love In This Club," which should score him a 2nd big advance hit for his new album where a mere remix's airplay would otherwise be counted towards the first version's numbers. You'd think the addition of R&B's alpha female to make this a duet would be enough, but perhaps Ursher realized that his rival Timberlake already did the same thing with the "Until The End Of Time" remix and had to one-up him somehow, and of course the ubuquitous Weezy was the answer. His verse on this is awful. Worse that the most stomach-turning groaning wheezing moments of "Lollipop," even. I really hope most of the songs that make it onto Tha Carter III were recorded before the syrup fried his brain and destroyed his voice.
Best Verse: n/a
Overall Grade: D

Monday, May 05, 2008
Rich Boy f/ 334 Mobb - "Supafly" (mp3)

As I've said a couple times lately, major label rappers' mixtapes have been better than the major label rap albums coming out so far this year, mainly because most of those mixtapes are being treated like independent albums, with mostly original production. The only one that really exceeded my expectations, though, was Rich Boy's Bigger Than The Mayor. Like a lot of people, I took a primary interest in his self-titled debut because of the involvement of ascendant super-producer Polow Da Don, and chalked up the moderately enjoyable album to the work of a great exec producer molding an otherwise one-dimensional MC. And while Rich Boy doesn't totally step his game up on the mixtape or go further into the conscious territory of "Let's Get This Paper," Bigger manages to be a better overall listen than Rich Boy even without Polow's magic touch, which bodes well for his next album.

Although Gucci Mane and Yo Gotti and Shawty Lo are all over the mixtape with guest verses, my favorite collab is by 334 Mobb on "Supafly." 334 Mobb (who are, in the parlance of Trendsetting P, "EXTRA DICK RIDER"), are a group from Alabama that got a little buzz a few years ago before Rich Boy, I remember back then when Ethan was repping them really hard, and getting hyped when they got signed for a minute and then it never panned out, just like I get hyped whenever someone from Baltimore gets signed for a minute and then it never pans out. So it's been nice to see them keep popping up now and again, singles in my inbox here and there and now on my favorite track on one of my favorite rap releases of the year so far.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Once again, my questionable judgement is in high demand, and The Unstoppable Nuklehidz have asked me to be a judge at their 295 Heat event at Sonar on May 16th.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Some of my new stuff over on the City Paper's Noise blog @ The Club Beat with Dukeyman, I talk about the new series of Baltimore Club Classics records that I had a small role in the origins of. On the show review side, I posted about my latest judging experience at the Word War 1 @ 5 Seasons (congrats to the winner), and also reviewed PenDragon and Profound @ Suite, Soul Cannon/Grand Buffet/J-Roddy Walston and The Business @ The Ottobar (I was so wrong about those guys), Carla Bozulich's Evangelista @ the Velvet Lounge, and Thee Lexington Arrows/Fishboy/The Up Set/Markitect @ the Charm City Art Space.

Thursday, May 01, 2008
My 13th Corporate Rock Still Sells column for Idolator went up today, and I have to say, it's by far my favorite installment of the series that I've done to date, probably the happiest I've been with something I wrote in a while. The comments section is getting to be pretty fun, too.