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Mix Tape – July 9, 2020

After a brief vacation-related respite, we’re back with another Mixtape for you! This week’s list has a theme to it, and that theme is Concepts. Songs from concept albums, songs that work with the concepts of other media (TV for example), or even just songs that are exploratory of the concept of their genre.

I’ve also created a Spotify playlist embedded below that will have each track added to it weekly, so you can subscribe and follow along. So, with that said, let’s get to it!

In The Air Tonight – The Protomen

Regular readers of this column know that I loves me a good cover. In this case, I’m a huge fan of the song being covered, but knew little about the band that was doing the covering. Our own Will Attar turned me on to The Protomen, a group that mainly worked in Video Game soundtracks and Concept Records. They did an album called The Cover Up that was the “soundtrack” to a movie of the same name that didn’t exist. They had big shoes to fill with this cover, as Phil Collins is one of my favourite pop/rock songwriters ever, and they nailed it. Including one of the best drum fills of all time. The Protomen perfectly capture the gloomy feel of the song while introducing all kinds of new sonic elements. A great track from start to finish.

Somewhere Over The Rainbow – The Blanks

I am a massive fan of the show Scrubs. It combines comedy and emotion with the most heart I’ve ever seen on TV.  I’ve watched through it a bunch of times (Except season 9, which never happened, don’t @ me). One of the recurring gags on the show was that the sad sack lawyer, Ted had a band called “The Worthless Peons.” In real life, the actor that played Ted, the amazing Sam Lloyd, and the band were called the Blanks. They did a bunch of shows and put out an album featuring their versions of songs from Scrubs. Their beautiful rendition of Somewhere Over The Rainbow is a tear jerker, especially after Lloyd succumbed to cancer in April of this year, at only 56. Also an amazing listen is their sincerely emotional rendition of Outkast’s “Hey Ya.”

Public Service Announcement (Interlude) – Jay-Z

I’ve discovered a library based app called Libby recently that allows you to borrow books from your library in digital form. Over the years, reading books that weren’t comics had become something I had kinda forgotten about (due to the sheer amount of comics I had to read for work and pleasure). Now that I’ve cut way back on that, I’ve been enjoying getting back into “reading” as it were, and one of the first books I grabbed was Jay-Z’s Decoded. Part biography, part lyrical analysis and part love-letter to hip hop, I really enjoyed the way Jay wrote about it being the Warrior Poetry of the modern age. I’d highly recommend the book, as well as most of Jay-Z’s catalogue. This is one of Jay’s best tracks, but he achieved perfection with A Dream featuring fellow Brooklynite, the Notorious BIG.

Come Join The Murder – The White Buffalo

There’s a lot to like about Sons of Anarchy, but the key to that show to me has always been the music. Show creator Kurt Sutter has always been great at finding, or creating the perfect musical mood for his biker saga. Pairing Sutter’s lyrics with such a unique and soulful voice as The White Buffalo, Come Join The Murder is not only the perfect cap on the Sons of Anarchy series, it’s also an incredible song on it’s own. It’s dark, moody, but also uplifting and hopeful. With every end comes another beginning, and this song can play either ends of that thought.

Belt – Say Anything

Wrapping things up this week is on of my favourite pop-punk bands with the opening track of their pop-punk concept masterpiece …is a Real Boy. Say Anything (fronted by Max Bemis, who’s found himself writing a bunch of comic books lately) are a force to be reckoned with. Passionate, hard-rocking, and aggressive without being negative about it. This album tells the tale of a fictional singer dealing with his own anxiety about the world, his place in it and if it’s even worth it to be in a band. In doing so, Bemis and crew cut an amazing record that rocks from start to finish. It’s really worth checking out, especially the expanded edition that includes the companion …was a Real Boy EP.

There you have it! If you want to follow along, you can check out The Mixtape’s playlist on Spotify (below). I’ll be updating it with five good ones every week!

If there’s someone you think people should be listening to, or just a catchy jam that’s in your ears this week, post it in the comments and share the magic with your fellow readers!

Until next time,