I should probably warn you in advance that parts of this are kind of a downer. It’s a collection of drug songs, most of them of the cautionary variety. Some parts are funny and others go to dark places. I’m not really sure what compelled me to make such a thing — maybe just to feel better about my own bad habits — but I did, so here it is.
Everything on here was originally recorded onto some kind of magnetic tape in the studio, then pressed onto vinyl. I recorded that vinyl onto a cassette in 1999; converted the cassette to mp3 a few weeks ago; then uploaded it to the miraculous Mixcloud. You’d think after all that it would sound tired, but it still sounds pretty great to me.
This was my tribute to vinyl and also, I thought, a fond farewell. At the time CDs had been the dominant medium for a decade, and there was no way of knowing vinyl would make the comeback it has. I’m happy for it, though I find the whole phenomenon surprising and a little confusing.
As for the artwork: I honestly can’t remember. I was smoking a lot of weed at the time, that may have had something to do with it.
Today my country celebrates its birthday, and the way things have been going, my inclination is to throw its cake out in the rain and give it a swift kick in the posterior followed by a big two-finger salute. I mean, for fuck’s sake, America — get your head out of your ass.
When I made this mix back around Thanksgiving 2017, I wrote:
American dimness has reached its apotheosis this year. Is it possible that the wave will soon break and roll back?
Hilarious! Since then, things have just kept getting worse, of course. In the last few weeks we’ve tumbled several levels down the slippery slope to theocracy, and there’s not a whole lot of reason for optimism about the future.
But hope doesn’t require reason, so I hold out hope nonetheless, because what choice is there really? Better to make a playlist than to curse the darkness, isn’t that what they say?
This once could just as easily be called “Thanks for Nothing America” or “Fuck You America.” It’s a little cathartic, a little sarcastic, a little bittersweet. For whatever reason it seems to help.
Over the years I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about freedom. Everybody wants it but nobody really knows what to do with it. It’s perplexing and troubling and mysterious but, as someone once said, I like the trouble and I like the mystery.
There’s a sort of narrative here: an extraterrestrial lands; is initially welcomed; meets a woman; is pursued by sinister forces; and in the end decides to return whence he came. It bears some resemblance to the plot of the John Carpenter/Jeff Bridges movie Starman, which I haven’t seen for many, many years. Apparently the Starman comes in response to the Voyager Golden Record, but at no point is he heard to say “Send more Chuck Berry.”
What’s “happening” here is that the aliens are landing, or revealing themselves, or whatever. 26 years later, it hasn’t happened yet. I remain hopeful that I’ll live to see it, but I’m not holding my breath.