Monday, June 18, 2012

New York for Talia

Last year, I made a New York City mix for my friend Ellen. In the process, I learned that there were far too many great NYC songs for one 80-minute CD, so I shaped it to Ellen's liking--she got Prince, Harry Nilsson, Leonard Cohen and Rancid. Last fall, I Frankensteined the mix for Richard. He got Nas, Jay-Z, Bill Withers and Lou Reed. Now, my buddy Talia has moved back to Brooklyn, and she enjoys Paul Simon and Bruce Springsteen.

New York for Talia
  1. Ramones, "Rockaway Beach"
  2. Beastie Boys, "No Sleep Till Brooklyn"
  3. Elvis Costello & the Attractions, "(I Don't Want to Go to) Chelsea"
  4. The Notorious B.I.G., "Juicy"
  5. Bob Dylan, "Hard Times in New York Town"
  6. Stevie Wonder, "Living for the City"
  7. The Pogues, "Fairytale of New York"
  8. The Drifters, "On Broadway"
  9. Wu-Tang Clan, "C.R.E.A.M."
  10. Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington, "Drop Me Off in Harlem" 
  11. The Rolling Stones, "Shattered"
  12. Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, "The Message"
  13. Andrew W.K., "I Love NYC"
  14. Fountains of Wayne, "No Better Place"
  15. Tom Waits, "Downtown Train"
  16. Simon and Garfunkel, "The Only Living Boy in New York"
  17. Bruce Springsteen, "Jungleland"
  18. Run-D.M.C., "Christmas in Hollis"
I'll take any excuse to put the Beastie Boys and Rolling Stones on a mix CD, or to argue that the Apple hosts the world's finest hip-hop. Here, "The Message" follows its clearest influence, "Living in the City," and there isn't much that can top "C.R.E.A.M." or "Juicy." But to Talia's liking, I'm giving her a Satchmo and Sir Duke team-up and of course "Jungleland," honoring her Springsteen fandom and the late Clarence Clemons' greatest solo.

Ellen returned my CD with her own terrific New York mix, and  I've cherry-picked "No Better Place" and "The Only Living Boy in New York" from her choices. Over all, I avoided the decibel levels that usually distinguish my mixes, though I couldn't imagine anyone resisting Andrew W.K.'s "I Love NYC."

One of my favorite parts of Ellen's and Richard's mixes was ending each one with the Sex Pistols' "New York." What better way to pay tribute to the Capital of the World than to end with one big raspberry blown by Johnny Rotten? Yet for all of Talia's intellectual curiosity, I couldn't picture her getting down to being called a pile of shit. Thus, I'm ending New York for Talia with the less divisive but equally satisfying "Christmas in Hollis."

Download here: New York for Talia

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