Awake and Scheming

 

This mix, in its original form, started as a mere concept to show the beauty of Pop music that is purposefully arty and outwardly beautiful; the type of stuff that the form has really sought to do on a few remarkable occasions (the 1966-1967 sunshine era, the mid-1980’s jangle period, and the early 90’s post-modern boom). It started when I noticed the remarkable similarity in a melodic motif in Chad & Jeremy’s ‘The Cruel War’ (an outtake from Before and After that is listed as being from Chad and Jill Steuart) and Sagittarius’ ‘Would You Like to Go’ from 1967 (from one of the great Pop lps ever made, Present Tense). From there it was just a very loose playlist, something I’d add to every time I heard something I thought highly artful, but poppy. Then, after a few listens, a bunch of lyrical references pointed me in the direction of day and night and a concept emerged, the most repurposed idea in all of Pop: that there are conflicting natures, and artists often represent them similarity. Hopeful happiness is painted with imagery towards light and darkness sitting in for depressive melancholia. What if the mix was a Pop journey through literal darkness, a night spent tossing and turning in bed listening to a still, quiet city or township outside in complete stillness, only connected, if at all, in the minds of those who have psychosis wandering about in insomnia-induced states. The playlist then becomes where the beauty in Pop music comes from: the deep black nights of the mind and those that have optimism enough to provide the lamplight with which to brighten the shadowy recesses. At a few points you’re even able to see the passage of time in references to the slow moving alarm clock numbers. It’s then, in equal measure, the most depressive and optimistic playlist I’ve ever made. Or, in the words of a song selected here, ‘For I have the warmth of the sun/within me at night’.

Stereo effects abound, so do it with headphones. The mix is then dedicated to all those that have had sleepless nights this past year, or will have in the years to come. I salute however they’re fought and perhaps beaten.

1. Sound Collage (that includes a clip from Seinfeld and Shut Up! Little Man! and bits from ‘Prelude’ The Millennium)
2. Nobody Knows What’s Going On (In My Mind But Me), The Chiffons
3. The Cruel War, Chad & Jeremy (Chad & Jill Steuart)
4. Would You Like To Go, Sagittarius
5. Where the Rainbow Ends, Television Personalities
6. Asleep and Dreaming, the Magnetic Fields
7. Lamplight, Bee Gees
8. Come on Darkness, Camper Van Beethoven
9. 5 a.m., The Millennium
10. The Warmth of the Sun, the Beach Boys
11. Wow!! 7 a.m., Slaves

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