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Ah, New York.  My hometown, my lover, my absolute enemy.  New York will be the death of me, I’m sure, but I just can’t let go.  Maybe it would be easier to leave if I didn’t grow up in New York’s shadow, taunting me to try to survive on my own, laughing at my misfortune, turning a blind eye to my achievements.   There are many reasons so many artists pay tribute to this beast.  Here’s a few to get you started:

Van Morrison – Glad Tidings
We send you glad tidings from New York!

PJ Harvey – You Said Something
Justin and I covered this song, just so you know.
There are two other New York songs on that album that Justin wrote (Central Park Resevoir and Dirty New Amsterdam).  Ch-ch-check it out!

Luscious Jackson – City Song
“When I’m about to go crazy/ Cuz I’m still living here/ I just get my friends together/ And dance dance dance”.
A couple years ago, Bryan and I ran into LJ bassist Gabby Glaser on Ludlow.  Without thinking, B goes “hey Gabby” and then she talked to us for a while thinking she knew Bryan.  It was awesome.

Bob Dylan – Talkin’ New York
Dylan has a lot of songs that reference New York.  I chose this one because he talks about coming to New York and then finally escaping it. 
Here’s a WBAI New York “your peace and jusice community radio station” interview from 1962:

De La Soul – um, every song
Such a quintessential New York band, Long Island born and bred.  Grooves to make you feel good, even when this town brings you down.

Beastie Boys – Open Letter to New York
This song makes me appreciate the pretty and gritty city. 
ps I almost put “Hold It Now Hit It” simply because I find the video hilarious. “I live in Manhattan/ But I’m not a bum”. Gah, I wish I had been old enough to hang out with the Boys in the 80s.

The Pogues – Fairy Tale in New York
Classic Irish ditty with twisted lyrics.  Best to sing while sloppy drunk and slightly angry.

KRS-One – 5 Boroughs
This song might be called 5 Boroughs, but he also name checks towns on Long Island.  Holla!

Company Flow – Vital Nerve
“New York is number one today!”
Underground hip-hop at its finest.

Project Jenny Project Jan – Brooklyn
These guys are hilarious.  Also check out their song “Negative”.

Steely Dan – Hey Nineteen
Steely Dan brings me back to childhood, the beach, riding in the car with my oldest brother when he first got his license.  Basically growing up in Stony Brook, Long Island.  Why this particular song gets picked for the New York mix: “Moved down to Scarsdale/ Where the hell am I?”

Rufus Wainwright – 14th Street
So full of feeling, makes me want to stroll the streets listening to Rufus, his piano and the sweet sounds of his backing chorus.

Mercury Rev – Empire State
Hearing this epic song in concert becomes a religious experience.  For reals.  I don’t need church with Mercury Rev.

Billy Joel – New York State of Mind
Hell’s yeah this song makes the list.  This song makes me pause and tear up.  Damn you New York.

Sesame Street – Subway

Listing only eleven Dylan songs I love became the Sophie’s Choice of my day.  But I did it anyway.
My favorite album happens to be Nashville Skyline, so I have omitted those songs from this list.

In alphabetical order:

Abandoned Love
Driving down a winding country road, putting more distance between you and your lover, contemplating all the good and all the gut wrenchingly bad aspects of this love.  Let it go, let it fade away, your heart  will be fine.  Better than fine.  And once you’ve found the proper distance from the supposed One, you can reminese fondly and then let it go. 

Baby Let Me Follow You Down
“Can I come home with you?”
Yes, 1964 Bob Dylan.  You most definitely can follow me down.

Don’t Think Twice It’s All Right
Such a great kiss off song. 

PS: Mike Ness does a great cover.

I Shall Be Released
This song gives me shivers.
This video makes me wish I was both alive and old enough in 1976 to have gone to the Band’s Last Waltz and hang out with, well, all these people:

It Ain’t Me, Babe
Dylan tells it straight, you’re looking in the wrong place.

It’s Alright, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)
My first exposure to rap:

“Money doesn’t talk/ It swears/ Obsenity, who really cares/ Propoganda, all is phony”

Lay Lady Lay
One of the sexiest songs ever written.
“His clothes are dirty/ But his hands are clean/ And you’re the best thing/ That he’s ever seen”

Positively 4th Street
The ultimate song for backstabbers, fakers,  and frenemies.
“I wish that for just one time/ You could stand inside my shoes/ You’d know what a drag it is/ To see you”

Queen Jane Approximately
Falling from grace leads you to the beggers and thiefs.  And boy do they have much more fun.

Simple Twist of Fate
Curse the heavens, kick the ground, life takes us in confusing directions.
Thank the stars, kiss a stranger, maybe that’s not such a bad thing.

Subterranean Homesick Blues
Sums up the 60s (to this young mind).  Plus, it’s upbeat, catchy, and has crazy harmonica.

To Ramona
Sweet and sad and oh so personal.  Dylan’s songwriting at its best.

You’re a Big Girl Now
All I’m gonna say is this is one of my favorite songs to make out to.

(Okay, so this list actually goes to thirteen.)

There are Top 40 songs that I loved as a child of the 80s, scorned as a teenager of the 90s, and rekindled my love for as an old person of the Aughts.
In no particular order, here are a list of awesome 80s songs that made an impact on my little life.

Belinda Carlisle – I Get Weak
Mark my words: I will cover this.

this is the 12″ version since, alas, all the official videos have “embedding disabled by request”. LAME

Milli Vanilli – Baby Don’t Forget My Number
I never liked New Kids, Tiffany, Debbie Gibson, yet I was obsessed with Milli Vanilli.  When the news broke in 1990 that they didn’t sing their own songs, I wasn’t thrown off.  I could care less about the men of MV – I was all about the music, man.  My sister and I even made my dad tape various MV television appearances, including on the show Sister Kate.  I still have my Milli Vanilli cassette tape.  Love is stronger than thunder.

Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam – Head to Toe
I remember being super annoyed with Lisa Lisa’s voice so I would sing loudly over her.  Her voice still sounds super annoying to my older ears.  Still rad, though.

Journey – pretty much every song they ever did with Steve Perry
I went through an I-hate-Journey-with-every-beat-of-my-heart phase from about 11 until maybe 19.  I have no real explaination, I was just an angry teen who was disgusted by most things.  Thankfully, I came out of that stage to come back to the sweet, sweet mullet sounds of Don’t Stop Believing, Faithfully, Any Way You Want It, and it goes on and on and on and on. . . .

Klymaxx – Meeting in the Ladies Room
I was most definitely a product of MTV.  Unfortunately, we can never again capture the first decade of music televsion.  But you can always youtube the 80s and Klymaxx exemplified the 80s.
ps No, I did not get the references at age 6. I just liked the jam, yo.

I encourage all of you to look up the music video for this – youtube has disabled embedding for the official video (thanks Universal – jerks).

Terence Trent d’Arby – Wishing Well
Holy shit this song is amazing.  Plus, Terence was so darn pretty.

Paul Young – Every Time You Go Away
I only vaguely remember this video, but listening to this wonderful drivel in my dad’s Ford Pinto seems like yesterday.  I recall my dad disliking this song.  However, he would indulge his *favorite* daughter (see Milli Vanilli above).

Taylor Dayne – Tell It To My Heart
My 15-year-old self would vomit if she knew I was admitting to loving crappy eurotrash I thought was hot shite when I was 7.  B-o-o-h-o-o teenage Rita.

Stay tuned for more soul crushingly bad 80s songs that rocked my young self (and therefore rock me now).

just an old fashioned love song. . .

just an old fashioned love song. . .

Your heart flutters.  Your pulse pumps faster than a hummingbird’s wings.  A permanent grin shellaced to your face.  You are in love.  Here is the very incomplete soundtrack to your real life romantic comedy.

Built to Spill – Reasons
“You arrive and I’m on fire” starts this ode to that someone with attractive pheromones.  The clincher?  “Stay with me until I die/ There’s nothing else I want to try.”  Only heartless jerks wouldn’t melt to that line.

Van Morrison – Crazy Love
He’s foundt he right one and wants the world to know in a sweet, lilting falsetto.  This song makes me want to roll around in grassy meadow.

Bloc Party – This Modern Love
“Do you wanna come over and kill some time/ Throw your arms around me.”  Energetic guitars calmed by Kele’s vocals perfectly capture the first hundred steps into a new relationship.

Yo La Tengo – By the Time It Gets Dark
Beautiful harmonies, beautiful song.  “And it matters to me to see you smiling/ Why don’t we blow all your cares away.”

The Cure – Close To Me
Giddy, upbeat music with panflute-sounding keyboard notes. . . from the Cure.  The lyrics might not be the loveliest but the emotion behind them is what gets me.  “I never thought tonight could be/ This close to me.”  I know Love Song is a better fit, apparently Robert Smith wrote it for his wife as a wedding present, so it gets a mention.  I have sentimental leanings toward Close To Me.  Le sigh.
Also hear: Just Like Heaven

Sarah McLauchlin – Ice Cream
Cute and sticky sweet – just like the bowels of love.  “Your love is better than ice cream/ Better than anything else I’ve tried.”

The Ramones – I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend
Awwww.  Let’s hold hands and cuddle to this catchy, three-cord heart-warmer.

Bill Withers – Lovely Day
The Master of Motown (in my humble opinion) created a song that will always push the happiness button in my brain, located between the cloud of frustration and the thunder of rage.  I can’t stay upset at my love when this plays.  “Then I look at you/ And the world’s all right with me.”

Islands – Jogging Gorgeous Summer
You just want someone so bad.  Guess what?  They want you too.  Joy!  “Millions of sunsets but the one I’ll remember/ Is the one where you said you’d love me forever.”

Pixies – La La Love You
Simple and to the point.  If the apple of your eye can’t appreciate the Pixies, find a tastier fruit.

Sufjan Stevens – Chicago
Might be the most overplayed Sufjan song but I still love it’s rising chorus, it’s lush use of string instruments and layered backing vocals.  Plus he mentions New York.  “I fell in love again/ All things go all things go.”  Then again, the repetition of “I’ve made a lot of mistakes” could direct this song to the soundtrack of love lost.

Voxtrot – Missing Pieces
We can’t bear to be apart!  Let’s get jobs together and live together and no minute shall pass when I utter the line “And I miss you.”

Bob Dylan – Tonight I’ll Be Staying Here With You
Since I was twelve, this song got me swirling.  Hasn’t lost its luster yet.  “Throw my ticket out the window/ Throw my suitcase out there too/ Throw my troubles out the door/ I don’t need them anymore/ Cause tonight I’ll be staying here with you.”

Jesus and Mary Chain – Just Like Honey
The intro sets the tone by borrowing the drum line from Be My Baby.  No trademark distortion and feedback on this song, just slow dripping vocals like honey.

Neil Young – Harvest Moon
Neil Young broke my heart in tenth grade when I saw him for the first time.  He only played four songs and then abruptly left the stage.  I turned to the album After the Gold Rush for my aches, but Harvest Moon is the best love song he ever penned.  “I’m still in love with you/ I want to see you dance again.”

CoCo Rosie – By Your Side
Get past the weirdness of helium-tinged vocals and interesting uses of creative intuition.  Let the undemanding sentiment of unbridled loyalty sink in and fill your tiny heart with adoration.  Also overlook the line about spousal abuse.

The Smiths – Ask or Morrissey – Whatever Happens I Love You
Yeah, yeah I know.  Technically the Smiths and Morrissey are two different musical entities, but I’m combining them anyway.  Ask is my go to for happy-sappy-dancey-pantsy-Smiths-on-a-mixtape-for-my-luva, but perhaps on Mix #3 (if it gets that far), I’ll throw in Whatever Happens I Love You. 

Mercury Rev – In a Funny Way
This song makes me long for a spontaneous road trip that ends on a mountain top tangled in my lover’s arms and legs and breath.  Only magnificent grandness from this band.

Tom Waits – I Want You
Wedding song, anyone?

sad songs say so much. . .

sad songs say so much. . .

Oh, but the good times do not always last.  An indiscretion, a falling out, an open window through which your clothes are thrown.  Heartaches need music too.  Perhaps even more so than their annoying, patronizing cousin called love.

Feist – Let It Die
For when you’re crying but resigned to let your love go.  It’s for the best.

The National – About Today
You know your relationship is ending, but you don’t know how to hold on and you don’t even try.  About Today, with sad violins, sparse lyrics, and drum beats like a scared heart, throws the listener into tales of regret.  “You just walked away/ And I just watched you/ What could I say.”

Bloc Party – Two More Years
“I said of course we could never make this love last/ The only love we know is love for ourselves/ This pain won’t last forever.”  Modern love is so easy to break.

Echo and the Bunnymen – Lips Like Sugar
This is a tough one.  Initially, I had this pop-goodness under Love Songs but changed direction like a wandering eye due to these lyrics: “Just when you think she’s yours/ She’s flown to other shores/ To laugh at how you break/ And melt into this lake.”  But the chorus!  This chorus is sung with a rush of powerful lust, “Lips like sugar/ Sugar kisses,” making me squeal.  Ack, who am I kidding?  Lust is fleeting and most definitely expires.

Maximo Park – Kiss You Better
Is breaking up really for the best? How could your lover want out?  They don’t!  You know they don’t.  They’re scared, confused, and you know they want you back.  Confident, upbeat stalker song when you just can’t let go.  “And if it comes down to me or him/ You know I’d kiss you better.”

Rachel Yamagata – Be Your Love
Adoration unreciprocated?  Look no further than Ms. Yamagata’s piano-driven burst of longing.  “Everybody’s saying how I can’t, can’t be your love/ But I want, want, want to be your love/ Want to be your love for real.”  I feel your pain, girl, and I like to sing it at the top of my lungs.  “How I try to be just okay/ But all I ever really wanted/ Was a little piece of you.”

Glen Hausard – Once
Okay, the getting back together plan didn’t work.  Bring out the acousitic guitar.  Back to sulking.  “Part of me has died/ And won’t return/ And part of me wants to hide/ The part that’s burned.”

Pet Shop Boys – What Have I Done to Deserve This?
“I don’t know how/ How I’m going to get through.”  Enough said.

Squeeze – Is That Love?
Questions, questions, questions pound the brain and keep you awake.  “You’ve left me ring by the soap/ Now is that love?/ You’ve cleaned me out you could say broke/ Now is that love?”  Squeeze relays no answers but bless my heart, what a great ditty.  “Beat me up with your letters/ Your walk out notes.”

Elliot Smith – I Didn’t Understand
“There’s nothing here you’ll miss.”  Elliot was the champion of the depressig ballad and this song sounds all the more depressing since it’s a capella.  Every heartbroken soul needs an Elliot Smith song.  Or several.

The Thrills – Not For All the Love in the World
Time really doesn’t suck the poison from teh sting of rejection.  This well-crafted song will get you through unrequited love.  “Guess that everybody/ Went to a better party.”

Mountain Goats – Woke Up New
Not yet feeling hatred toward the one who’s wronged you?  Woke Up New is melancholy and reflective.  “on the morning when I woke up without you for the first time/ I felt free and I felt lonely and I felt scared/ And I began to talk to myself almost immediately/ Not being used to being the only person there.”  After a break up of a long relationship, who doesn’t feel strange, different in both positive and negative ways?  It’s nice to listen to a song utter our sentiments, “What do I do/ What do I do/ What do I do without you?”

Ryan Adams – La Cienenga Just Smiled
“and I hold you close in the back of my mind/ Feels so good but damn it makes me hurt.”  Ryan Adams just spits ’em out, doesn’t he?  But he does write some brilliant songs.  La Cienenga stops me in my tracks, forces me to well up with bittersweet memories of the past, paralyzes me with a guitar bridge that sneds shivers down my spine.  Curse you, Ryan Adams, for making me reminisce when I thought I was past my past.  God, I love this song.

Grizzley Bear – Don’t Ask
I sort of prefer the Final Fantasy version compared to the first release on Horn of Plenty.  The remix gives a slight twist to the fuzzy mellow folk of the original.  “I just wish you had a little faith/ But I’m learning not to ask.”

Keane – We Might As Well Be Strangers
Ah, Keane.  You can be irritatingly Coldplay-esque.  Yet, this song (almost) makes me want to end my fantastic relationship just so I can cry big fat tears and blubber along with lines like these: “I don’t know your face no more/ Or feel the touch that I adore.”  “We might as well be strangers in another town/ We might as well be living in another time/ We might as well be strangers/ For all I know of you now.”  Damn you, Keane.

Arcade Fire – Crown of Love
No musical heartache list would be complete without this epic waltz of mourning.  “If you still want me/ Please forgive me/ The crown of love is falling from me.”

Mountain Goats – No Children
So wonderfully brutal.  If hurling magnificent, stabbing disgust at your ex still has appeal, this is your jam.  “And I hope if I find the strength to walk out/ You’d stay the hell out of my way.”  Hold on, it gets darker.  “I am drowning/ There is no sign of land/ You are coming down with me/ Hand in unlovable hand/ And I hope you die/ I hope we both die.”  I really wanted to write all the lyrics because it’s just so exquisitely wretched, but I’ll leave it up to Google to fill in the rest.  Enjoy the video!

Gossip – Your Mangled Heart
Starts off slow, almost sweet, confused then gets angry with a danceable beat.  Oh Gossip, you know exactly how to make me feel better.  “Your mangled heart/ Your battered love that’s hanging on to memories/ You’re letting go of everything that used to be/ I’ve had enough/ You’ve built me up to let me down.”

Lush featuring Jarvis Cocker – Ciao
Come on!  You’ve done enough wallowing!  You were dating a complete loser!  “Cause you were nothing but a big mistake/ And life is wonderful now that I’m rid of you.”  Hello moving on, sayonara misery.  This smack-down should become a karaoke duet classic.

Cake – I Will Survive
He uses fuck in a Gloria Gaynor song!  This man has been burned but will hold his head high!  Guilty pleasure, sure, but this is a fantastic anthem to move your ass away from the past and back into the cold world of dating.