Wednesday, June 6

Mr. Dogg Says - Summer Play Lists

Apologies to everyone expecting a review of the Gaslight Anthem today. There was a snafu, and the review will hopfully be going up sometime tomorrow, followed by a maroon 5 review on friday. In the mean time, cats and kittens, dig on this fresh jive!


Cars are packing up and heading east as soon as Friday hits, hotdogs are flying off the shelves faster than grocery boys can stock them, and people who have no business going shirtless in public (like myself) are showing the general populous more skin than they’d care to see. Yes, children, summer is once again upon us. And, as any good red blooded American worth his or her patriotic salt well knows, barbeque season is also upon us. This year, however, will be different than other years. This year, you (yes, you) will be known around the block as King of the Charred Meats. Not because of your great uncle Chet’s super secret burger recipe, but because you are going to have the most excellent summertime BBQ play list. And I am going to help you make it.

Step One: Come Out Swinging

The first song on your BBQ play list is arguable the most important song on the entire damn thing. The right song will draw people in from across the street, next door, or anyone who is in earshot. The wrong song will start things off with a thud, and insure that your BBQ will suck some serious ass. It’s best to start off with a classic song that will be instantly recognizable to anyone passing by. This song should also scream “PARRRRRTY!”, but with a little more subtlety.

Mr. Dogg Recommends: Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen - Almost everyone with a pulse can get behind this song, especially if you’re in NJ.

Avoid: Don’t Stop Believing by Journey – My deep hate for Steve Perry aside, this is more a drinking song than anything else, and will send the wrong message. I’m not saying don’t use it later on (people go ape shit for this song), just don’t kick things off with it.

Step Two: Appeal to the Golden Age

This step requires that you know who is coming to your BBQ. If you have an idea of what the people are like, you’ll be able to better design a face melting play list. For example, if its going to be a younger, (arguably) hipper crowd of people, I would recommend some classic 90s songs, in the vein of “Hey Jealousy” by the Gin Blossoms or “Good” by Better than Ezra, or even something like “Pepper” by the Butthole Surfers. However, if the crowd skews slightly older, something like “Goodbye Stranger” by Supertramp might be in order.

Mr. Dogg Recommends: Circles by Soul Coughing (90s), Come on Eileen by Dexi’s Midnight Runners (80s), anything off of Jailbreak by Thin Lizzy (70s), Tighten Up by Archie Bell and the Drells – Any one of these songs will do very nicely in the core of your mix tape.

Avoid: The Cherry Poppin’ Daddies, Duran Duran, The Scorpions, Momma Cass.

Step Three: Train in Vain by the Clash

Just fucking put it on there. Trust me.

Step Four: The Climax

Good play lists, like good movies and literature, work on a scale of rising and falling action. Ideally, the best play lists build and relieve tension, culminating in one massive, grand musical statement. This should be at the point when everyone has had their food, and everyone has had at least two beers. Now, it doesn’t have to just be one song, but it is important that people realize (maybe not consciously) that this is the high point of the mix.

Mr. Dogg Recommends: Layla by Derrick and the Dominoes – arguably the best song of all time, it has a place on any play list.

Avoid: Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin – I love Led Zep as much as the next, but this song is as played out as any song. Besides, chances are good you could find this song on the radio at any time of the day. A good mix should offer something familiar, but still unique; kind of like a mango.

Step Five: Hey, who is this band?

This one isn’t set in stone, but it is my feeling that every good play list should have at least one song on it that is new to most people. Falling in love with a new song is always a great experience, and there is a certain satisfaction that comes with showing someone a new song. It’s like a good deed, without actually having to help someone. This is a good spot for deep cuts from established bands, or your friend’s sick demo tape.

Mr. Dogg Recommends: Nosebleed by Illinois, A Sweet Summer’s Night on Hammer Hill by Jens Lekman, Let Me Go by Cake, Dig for Fire by Pixies – These are all relatively unknown songs that come pre packaged for summer ass kicking.

Avoid: Radiohead – Radiohead is just not summer music. Get over it, nerds.

Step Six: Get the fuck out of my yard.

It’s not a party if your doing it alone, so you should find a song that will quietly urge the stragglers to move on to the next free meal. You don’t want to go overly abrasive, but you should go for something with a slow tempo and a mildly offbeat rhythm to it. Remember, people will never leave a place when they can dance there.

Mr. Dogg Recommends: Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd – You run the risk of stoners saying how beautiful it all is, man, but this is as good a song as any to end a play list to.

Avoid: The Final Countdown by Europe – Sorry, but this song at the end of a play list will just kick start the party all over again.

Step Seven: Give the people credit

Don’t ever be afraid to take a chance on a deep track or a lesser known band. Chances are good that someone else at the party has heard it before, and even if they haven’t, mot people will be having fun playing Frisbee or whatever. And remember, the perfect play list is a never ending quest, so don’t get upset if you don’t get it on the first time. Finally, always ask the people what they want to hear. This mix isn’t for you, it’s for the world at large.

With these hints, you are sure to be the Cat’s Meow around the fire pit.

Mr. Dogg’s Summer Play list

1) Born To Run – Bruce Springsteen
2) Wayward Son - Kansas
3) Better Man – Pearl Jam
4) Hey Jealousy – Gin Blossoms
5) July July! – The Decemberists
6) Back and Forth – The Dismemberment Plan
7) Let Me Go – Cake
8) Substitute – The Who
9) The Jack of Hearts – Bob Dylan
10) Girls Like Status – The Hold Steady
11) Take on Me – Aha
12) Flagpole Sitta – Harvey Danger
13) Sunflowers – Everclear
14) Rapper’s Delight – Sugarhill Gang
15) Lola – Kinks
16) Come On Eileen – Dexi’s Midnight Runners
17) Only in Dreams – Weezer
18) Hard To Explain – The Strokes
19) Getting Better – The Beatles
20) Float On – Modest Mouse
21) You Can’t Always Get What You Want – Rolling Stones


Zilla Rocca said...

Great list my man.

Anything with "Flagpole Sitta" is worth at least one listen.

I'm shipping your Clean Guns poster today--sorry for the delay.

Paul Tsikitas said...

Uhhm. Rapper's Delight is in fact the Sugar Hill Gang. Ya got the wrong gang there.