#mixtape is a feature in which we ask someone to send in a playlist of ten of their favourite tracks of all time and then get them to say a few things about each track – memories they associate with them, why they’re cool and so forth. The idea being to see what we can gauge from someone’s music taste whilst listening to some cool tunes.
In many ways, my music taste has barely changed in 22 years. It has undeniably grown; shifted and evolved, bringing into focus different areas of the overall pool of “Music I Enjoy” at different points in my life… but changed? I’m not so sure!
I had a phrase, around 2004-07, where I professed to only listened to indie (‘real music’, as I – and Vh2 – liked to obnoxiously call it). I now like to label my indie rock’n’roll loves, perhaps even more obnoxiously, ‘angular’. When I came out of the other side of that phrase, I felt more able to indulge the blues, dance, hip-hop, classical and pop interests that I’d kept quiet for a few years.
I like to think my taste is pretty broad now, though I’m not sure if I’ve totally warmed to country yet – but you can decide for yourself.
1. Peaches – The Stranglers
The two albums I associate most strongly with the time before I owned my own music are Crowded House’s Woodface and The Stranglers’ Greatest Hits. These were the soundtracks to mid-90s Sunday brunches in the Jamieson household, and The Stranglers in particular have remained in my life to the present day. Peaches was the first song I ever learned to play on the bass guitar (thanks, dad).
2. Milkshake – Kelis
I’ve enjoyed my fair share of female pop artists, however, I’ve chosen Kelis’ Milkshake to represent them all for two reasons. Firstly, I used to have it as a mono ringtone on my Nokia 3410. Secondly, it means I can tell the story of how I returned home from a sports trip to Perth, age 11ish, with two CD singles from a giant ASDA – Milkshake and T.A.T.U’s All the Things She Said. Looking back, this was quite a risqué combination for an 11 year old to purchase. Interpret this however you please.
3. Cabron – Red Hot Chili Peppers
I’ve come to learn that it\s not cool to like the Red Hot Chili Peppers, but I will defend them to the ends of the earth. I bought the By the Way album in 2002 and listened to it on and off for a year or so, but it really came into its own in the summer of 2003, a.k.a. The Year I Discovered Hormones. I spent endless afternoons playing Tony Hawk II on my Playstation and crying – why? I had no idea why. But the Red Hot Chili Peppers saw me through those #darkdays. I now cry less but still enjoy the Peppers.
4. Jacqueline – Franz Ferdinand
The moment I first heard Take Me Out is etched in my mind – it was like nothing I’d heard before (although, now, I can clearly see the ties with things I’d heard growing up). I bought their debut album in March 2004, and was greeted by Jacqueline. I was greeted by Jacqueline once every 39 minutes for most of that year as I looped the CD over and over. I know every word, every breath of that song – of that whole album – and I still get those feelings of excitement knowing it’s about to kick in after the opening acoustic verse.
5. Song 2 (Live at T in the Park 2009) – Blur
I’ve had a liking for Blur as long as I can remember. Though Song 2 isn’t my favourite Blur song (see: For Tomorrow or Colin Zeal) seeing them at T is still the best gig I’ve ever been to. I had just turned 17; I was by myself, having hopped on the overnight boat from Shetland, shacked up in a B&B in St Andrews and bussing it to Balado every day. Blur headlined the Sunday night, and it was touch-and-go for a while as to whether they were actually going to show up. But they did. And then this happened.
6. In the Hall of the Mountain King – Edvard Greig
Around the time when I was taking my Highers, my until-then passing interest in classical music became slightly exacerbated. I listened to a lot of Radio 3. At some point in the past couple of years I inherited a collection of records from my dad, including the Peer Gynt suites, and from that, I’ve listened to In the Hall of the Mountain King so often that it had to be my classical (well Romantic if we’re being picky) choice for this #mixtape. Close your eyes and remove yourself from all associations with the Alton Towers adverts.
7. Sandstorm – Darude
I have acquired a bizarrely niche knowledge of nineties dance music over time, but none holds the key to my heart quite like Sandstorm does. Since 1999 I have played it in cars with friends; it soundtracked a break-up breakdown; I have danced to it in the Hive (Edinburgh people – holler), and I now treat it as the measure of ideal metre when I write poetry. Universally fabulous.
8. Miss You – The Rolling Stones
When people ask me what my favourite song is, this is my official answer. I came to it quite late in my discovery of The Rolling Stones’ back catalogue – I’d been exploring their stuff gently for years, with a period where Gimme Shelter ruled all, and another where, of course, it was Satisfaction, but Miss You was immediately, a ‘like, wow’ moment for me. It’s funky, it’s disco-y, it’s rock’n’roll – so good I choose the 7+ minute long 12” version over the radio edit every time.
9. Florida Kilos – Lana Del Rey
I love Lana Del Rey. I’m not entirely sure how or when this happened; even a couple of months after Born to Die was released, I wasn’t too fussed. But at some point, something clicked. I love her music, I love her style, I love her general existence. Florida Kilos is my most recent favourite – but I feel it really encapsulates the whole LDR persona: palm-tree vibes, cola, bad boys, daddy issues, heart-on-the-sleeve romance.
10. Ima Read (feat. Njena Reddd Foxxx) – Zebra Katz
I spend a lot of my life thinking: I’ve finally found myself. My most recent period of purported self-discovery can be most adequately summed up by Ima Read. I first heard this two years ago, live at the ABC in Glasgow. The next thing I knew I was headfirst into Paris is Burning, reading pulp fiction and queer theory, attending art things, learning and understanding more about life, and about myself, than I ever had before. I still listen to Ima Read regularly, but more than that I find myself just thinking about it a lot, like I tend to think about novels, films, shows for months, years after I’ve experienced them. It’s a work of art.
Elyse Jamieson is a postgraduate research student in linguistics at The University of Edinburgh. It’s a pretty busy life: however, in fleeting moments of spare time, Elyse likes to write things – not quite poems, but not quite prose either – tweet @elyseh, and drink a lot of Diet Coke.
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