Great Moments In Mixtape Transitions

All this mixtape monkey nonsense has got me thinking about, well, mixtapes.

I am gradually sliding into putting the Green Monkey Music Project mixes into heavy rotation. Honestly, I don’t necessarily have the whole mix listened to as soon as it’s published — it takes me a while. Don’t be surprised if a couple weeks after the mix has been made, I say to you, “Wow, I really like that fourth song on your mix selection!”

Anyways, I was taking the Speed It Up mix for a test drive. I was struck by how much I enjoyed the transition between two songs selected by Tim. The exit from Pixies’ “Planet of Sound” into the Police’s “Deathwish” was really aesthetically pleasing. “Planet of Sound” is a really in-your-face song. It abruptly ends, and is immediately followed by a nice, laid-back drum intro by Stewart Copeland in “Deathwish”. I don’t know, it’s hard to explain exactly what makes a transition from one song to another work, it just works.

There is an art to crafting a mixtape. The overall flow of mood is a more obvious component of a satisfying mix. I find getting really potent transitions between individual songs as a more elusive art. Sure, you can have a good transition, but a great transition is something that doesn’t occur that often. I’d say that normally a mixtape won’t even have a great transition — it’s that rare.

I remember a mixtape I made in high school, that went from Simon & Garfunkel’s “Scarborough Fair” into Lou Reed’s “Walk On The Wild Side”. A few months later, I was in the car with a friend of mine who was playing his own mixtape. My friend had used the exact same transition. I took that appropriation of my song order has the highest compliment (he had heard my mix before).

I was wondering about you folks in the business of making mixtapes, have you ever had a great transition, and if so, what was it?

Green Monkey Music Project

In an attempt to achieve maximum synergy with beth’s popular Friday mix tape feature, I’d like to announce a new endeavor in which I hope I can interest at least three people in taking part.

Some Background:

There are a few guys at work (I’ll call them sb, mf and ag) that have musical tastes that overlap with my own. We got to talking at one point, and one of us came up with the idea of doing a collective mix. We thought it would be cool if each of us came up with an idea for a mix, then the other three came up with songs that would fit in with that person’s mix.

For absolutely no reason whatsoever, I dubbed this the “Green Monkey Music Project”. You might think I’m sucking up to some apes or green amphibians I could mention, but that’s honestly what I called it. The image on this post was also created for the original project.

The Concept:

Here’s the basic rules of this new endeavor:

1. Each person will have an allotment of 20 minutes for each project. You can go under 20 minutes, but try not to go too far over. Try to get at least 10 minutes worth of music.
2. The originator of the project will set down any rules of the project that need to be followed.
3. The project originator’s songs will come first in their respective project.
4. At this point, if you want to be part of this project, I’m just asking for people to provide song titles. Let me worry about obtaining the songs you come up with. If I can’t provide them, I might ask you for the song if you have it.
5. Once a project is completed, I’ll post the project’s songs on this here blog.

Some Examples:

We ended up only doing one round of these mixes, but it was a helluva lot of fun. Here’s the results of our efforts.

Green Monkey’s Anatomy [sb]

1. Song titles must include a body part, like ‘finger,’ ‘kidney,’ or ‘artery,’ for example.
2. The body part need not necessarily be human or simian.
3. The body part should not be part of another word. For example, you can’t use ‘ear’ from ‘earth’ to satisfy the requirement.

01 – David Bowie – Sweet Head [sb]
02 – Les Fleur De Lys – Mud in Your Eye [sb]
03 – Fun Boy Three – Our Lips Are Sealed [sb]
04 – Johnny Thunders – You Can’t Put Your Arms Round A Memory [sb]
05 – The Come Ons – Red Lips And Fingertips [sb]
06 – The Cramps – Rockin’ Bones [sb]
07 – Sun 60 – Out Of My Head [ag]
08 – Superchunk – Pulled Muscle [ag]
09 – The Replacements – Tommy Gets His Tonsils Out [ag]
10 – Bette Serveert – Leg [ag]
11 – Oingo Boingo – Skin [ag]
12 – Golden Smog – He’s a Dick [mf]
13 – Beck – Cold Brains [mf]
14 – The Flaming Lips – Chewin the Apple of Your Eye [mf]
15 – The Flaming Lips – You Have to Be Joking (Autopsy of the Devil’s Brain) [mf]
16 – The Flaming Lips – Slow Nerve Action [mf]
17 – Beastie Boys – Shake Your Rump[splotchy]
18 – Echo and the Bunnymen – Heads Will Roll[splotchy]
19 – The Velvet Underground – Andy’s Chest[splotchy]
20 – Lambchop – my face your ass[splotchy]
21 – Robyn Hitchcock – The Bones In The Ground[splotchy]
22 – The Feelies – Raised Eyebrows[splotchy]
23 – Ritchie Valens – Ooh! My Head [sb-bonus]

Common Ground [mf]

Songs by adult artists aimed at adults but also loved by kids. You can ride in the car and play this and the kids actually listen and enjoy, maybe even sing along, might even get requested by the kids. No lyrics you’d rather not explain. Funny words and situations OK.

I could have filled this whole thing with White Stripes so if someone else is hesitating adding more becuase I put in two, don’t, the White Stripes seem to have struck a chord with my kids.

01 – My Bloody Valentine – When You Sleep (dance party song) [mf]
02 – The White Stripes – Hotel Yorba [mf]
03 – The Breeders – Full on Idle [mf]
04 – The Breeders – Huffer [mf]
05 – Eels – Flyswatter [mf]
06 – Eels – I Like Birds [mf]
07 – The White Stripes – We’re Going to Be Friends [mf]
08 – Jonathan Richman – Back In Your Life[splotchy]
09 – De La Soul – The Magic Number[splotchy]
10 – The Breeders – Saints[splotchy]
11 – Talking Heads – Pulled Up[splotchy]
12 – Feelies – Doin’ It Again[splotchy]
13 – Wire – Outdoor Miner[splotchy]
14 – John Cale – Bamboo Floor[splotchy]
15 – The Apples in Stereo – Signal In The Sky [sb]
16 – The Ramones – Spiderman [sb]
17 – Komeda – Boogie Woogie_Rock’N’Roll [sb]
18 – Buddy Holly – Rave On [sb]
19 – The Von Bondies – Cmon Cmon [sb]
20 – The Ramones – Sheena Is A Punk Rocker [sb]
21 – Pizzicato Five – Twiggy Twiggy [sb]
22 – Marc Bolan & T. Rex – Ride A White Swan [sb]

Girls Girls Girls [ag]

1. Song titles must include a female name.
2. No duplicates allowed. A duplicate is a name spelled the same as another name. For instance, Anne and Ann are two distinct names.

01 – The Left Banke – Walk Away Renee [ag]
02 – The Hollies – Carrie-Anne [ag]
03 – TripleFastAction – Anna (Get Your Gun) [ag]
04 – The Muffs – Oh Nina [ag]
05 – Poster Children – If You See Kay [ag]
06 – Concrete Blonde – Tomorrow, Wendy [ag]
07 – Nirvana – Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge on Seattle [mf]
08 – Jeff Kelly – Kissing Alma Mahler [mf]
09 – The Dandy Warhols – Cool as Kim Deal [mf]
10 – The Rolling Stones – Sweet Virginia [mf]
11 – Bob Dylan – Corrina, Corrina[splotchy]
12 – The Velvet Underground – Stephanie Says[splotchy]
13 – King Missile (Dog Fly Religion) – Margaret’s Eyes[splotchy]
14 – Ramones – Judy Is A Punk[splotchy]
15 – Magnet – Julie[splotchy]
16 – Neil Diamond – Cherry, Cherry[splotchy]
17 – Suicide – Cheree[splotchy]
18 – Stereolab – Cybele’s Reverie [sb]
19 – Scissor Sisters – Laura [sb]
20 – The Kinks – Lola [sb]
21- The Reverend Horton Heat -Jezebel [sb]
22 – Frank Black – I Heard Ramona Sing [sb]

No Words [splotchy]

1. Songs must have no discernible words. Oohs, ahhs and humming are okay, even whistling, but… no words.
2. No jazz or classical instrumental songs, if you can help it. C’mon, that’s just too darn easy.

01 – Dead Milkmen – KKSuck2 [splotchy]
02 – The Police – The Other Way Of Stopping [splotchy]
03 – Young Marble Giants – Zebra Trucks [splotchy]
04 – Duke Reid Group – Soul Style [splotchy]
05 – Luna – Egg Nog [splotchy]
06 – Ennio Morricone – Farewell to Cheyenne [splotchy]
07 – The Residents – Theme For An American Tv Show [splotchy]
08 – Bo Diddley – Untitled Instrumental [splotchy]
09 – Rock-a-teens – Woo-Hoo [sb]
10 – Bill Justis – Raunchy [sb]
11 – Flat Duo Jets – Sing, Sing, Sing [sb]
12 – The In Crowd – Ramsey Lewis Trio [sb]
13 – Booker T. And The MGs – Hip-Hug-Her [sb]
14 – The Greenhornes – Pigtails And Kneesocks [sb]
15 – Los Lobos – Wrong Man Theme [ag]
16 – Bob Mould – Sunspots [ag]
17 – Elvis Costello – Stalin Malone [ag]
18 – Aimee Mann – Nothing Is Good Enough (Instrumental) [ag]
19 – The Smiths – Oscillate Wildly [ag]
20 – Goo Goo Dolls – Kevin’s Song [ag]
21 – The Pixies – Cecilia Ann [ag]
22 – The White Stripes – Aluminum [mf]
23 – My Bloody Valentine – Touched [mf]
24 – Pelican – Aurora Borealis [mf]
25 – Bardo Pond – Lull [mf]
26 – Pearl Jam – Brother [mf]
27 – The Hollywood Persuaders – Drums A-Go-Go[splotchy-bonus]
28 – Dave ‘Baby’ Cortez – The Happy Organ[splotchy-bonus]
29 – Clinton – Sing Hosanna[splotchy-bonus]
30 – Jonathan Richman – Egyptian Reggae[splotchy-bonus]

The Shark Mix – Now In Liquid Form

After the initial test drive of the Shark Mix, I think the kids have no major complaints. The big winners were Captain Groovy And His Bubblegum Army, Gartloney Rats, and Bubble Gum Music.

However, my eldest son and I actually spontaneously sang a couple lines of the Donovan song. My daughter dug the Beastie Boys song, which wasn’t a big surprise to me — she’s got the feeling of rhythm in her, by golly.

beth recommended I share the Shark Mix with all y’all in its natural state (songs), so here it is.


01 – R.E.M. – Stand

02 – Captain Groovy And His Bubblegum Army – Captain Groovy And His Bubblegum Army

03 – The Who – I Can’t Explain

04 – Can – Moonshake

05 – The Stooges – No Fun

06 – Clarence “Frogman” Henry – Ain’t Got No Home

07 – Donovan – There Is A Mountain

08 – Everly Brothers – Illinois

09 – VU – Sweet Jane

10 – David Bowie – Heroes

11 – Shonen Knife – Top Of The World

12 – The Pogues – Gartloney Rats

13 – The Smiths – Ask

14 – CCR – Bad Moon Rising

15 – The Rock ‘N’ Roll Dubble Bubble Trading Card Co. of Philadelphia 1941 – Bubble Gum Music

16 – Beastie Boys – Shadrach

17 – The Primitives – Crash

18 – Pylon – This, That

19 – Jimi Hendrix – Crosstown Traffic

20 – R.E.M. – Disturbance At THe Heron House

21 – Method Actors – Halloween

22 – Buddy Holly – Learning The Game

23 – Cat Stevens – Tea For The Tillerman

24 – Eric Weissberg and Steve Mandel – Dueling Banjos

Shark Mix, ‘Cause I’m Just Happy With How It Turned Out

So, I’m happy to report, the mix tape is alive and well.

I have a couple things in mind to post regarding the magic of mix tapes, but this one is just a throw-off ’cause I’m happy how my latest mix tape for the kiddies turned out.

This is the 8th mix tape I’ve made for the kiddies, which I started making for them sporadically after the initial “Birthday CD” for the twins’ second birthday.

After the Birthday CD, there was the Super CD. And then the Rainbow CD. Then, we moved into the world of the “Mix.” There was the Monkey Mix, then the Lemur Mix, the Hippo Mix, the Tiger Mix.

Which brings us to the Shark Mix.

Here it is (just song and artist names at this point, but I could post the actual songs at some point if anyone’s innerested).

01 – R.E.M. – Stand
I have heard this song so many times, but it’s still damned good.

02 – Captain Groovy And His Bubblegum Army – Captain Groovy And His Bubblegum Army
It was on a 60’s bubblegum music compilation. My kids heard it, and immediately started saying they were the Bubblegum Army. How can you fight a Bubblegum Army? The answer is, you don’t. Besides, they let me be Captain Groovy.

03 – The Who – I Can’t Explain
I always loved this simple pop song.

04 – Can – Moonshake
Sneaking in a little Krautrock.

05 – The Stooges – No Fun
I played this for the kids a few times recently. My wife informed me when I got home from work that our two year old, after being told not to do some mischief, loudly stated “No FUN!” to her. What a damn punk!

06 – Clarence Frogman Henry – Ain’t Got No Home
This one was courtesy of Johnny Yen. Thanks again!

07 – Donovan – There Is a Mountain
Kinda profound and childlike at the same time. And it mentions caterpillars and butterflies!

08 – Everly Brothers – Illinois
My kids are going to know about the Everly Brothers.

09 – Velvet Underground – Sweet Jane
And this is the full version off the somewhat recently-released Loaded double-disc, by golly.

10 – David Bowie – Heroes
This song is great. And it really fits after Sweet Jane. It’s one of them magical mix tape transitions I never question, I just accept.

11 – Shonen Knife – Top Of The World
My kids loved the Shonen Knife song I put on from the Powerpuff Girls album. They recognized the band when they first heard this song.

12 – The Pogues – Gartloney Rats
My elder son in particular goes freaking crazy when this song comes on. It’s like he is being possessed by the Lord of the Dance himself.

13 – Smiths – Ask
Another sweet song, and a sweet mix tape transition. I played the video for the kiddies before, and they liked it.

14 – CCR – Bad Moon Rising
I played the hell out of a 45 of this when I was a kid. Hopefully they’ll like it too.

15 – Some Ridiculously Long Artist Name – Bubble Gum Music
I’m too lazy to look for the real name of the artist of this song, but it’s the same guys behind Ohio Express. I am a total sucker for 1960’s bubblegum music. And yes, “Chewy Chewy” was on the very first mix CD I made for the kiddies.

16 – Beastie Boys – Shadrach
I don’t think there are any swear words in this song. I don’t think there are. I hope there aren’t.

17 – The Primitives – Crash
Great 80’s pop song.

18 – Pylon – This,That
Continuing with some more catchy 80’s pop.

19 – Jimi Hendrix – Crosstown Traffic
I’m wondering if this will be too heavy. Hopefully not. I have had to re-edit some of the later mixes, mostly due to my daughter having a severe reaction to a song or songs on the mix (note to self: NO MORE SUFJAN STEVENS).

20 – R.E.M. – Disturbance At The Heron House
Prolly my favorite R.E.M. song. I don’t know why. It just clicks for me.

21 – Method Actors – Halloween
I have thought about including this on a mix for a long time, and finally broke down.

22 – Buddy Holly – Learning the Game
A mix tape for the kids, without Buddy Holly? Surely, you jest. Holly got a lot of play in our house when the kiddies were younguns, but this track wasn’t on the CD I had. This was actually put together posthumously — Holly’s bandmates laid down some tracks to complement the original recording which just had Holly and his guitar.

23 – Cat Stevens – Tea For The Tillerman
My daughter is going to love singing with the chorus kicking in at the end, I’m certain.

24 – Weissberg, Mandell & Brickman – Dueling Banjos
I was thinking the kids might not like this in the thick of things, being an instrumental where the first large chunk of the song is just a slow buildup. Thought I’d slip it in at the end.