When I compiled the 2020 Christmas mixtape, I did so with an eye toward highlighting the year’s biggest stories, namely the pandemic and widespread efforts of social justice. I also added a bunch of songs that were just there for fun. However, the final playlist was a bit lengthy, so I pushed a few of them into a folder for this 20th mix.
Twentieth? Yes. I first gifted Ray Ray a mixtape when she turned – well, we won’t give exact numbers out of courtesy. Suffice it to say, I don’t think either of us thought it would become such a permanent fixture in the adventure. But here we are. Mixtape XX. Dos equis, which, if you’ve been paying attention, explains the its title and attendant image. It’s an homage to one of my most favorite ad campaigns and applicable to what awaits us for the remainder of the year.
Any day now we will, oxalá, welcome our second child. Shortly thereafter, we pack up and bid farewell to Central America. After a summer at home, we head to Mozambique for the next few years. Interesting, não é? We’ll do our best to keep this space up to date with stories and photos.
But what about the songs below? How did they make the cut? As usual, Larina, either directly or indirectly, informed some of the choices. For example, she blasted Bonnie Tyler’s Holding Out for a Hero during one of her 80s-fueled cooking sessions, which led to a discussion about 80s and 90s female groups and solo artists. Hence the addition of Tyler, Stevie Nicks, Kim Carnes, Mariah Carey, and the Go-Gos. I also added a personal favorite: 90s indie darling Mary Lou Lord, though this is not the first time I’ve brought her into the mix.
The list grew as we plowed through TV and movies before the baby arrives. Uptown Girl, Polk Salad Annie, and Sh-Boom crept into the mix thanks to The Crown, Ford v. Ferrari, and Disney’s Cars (Luca loves that movie), respectively. Somewhere along the line, INXS and The Cure came into conversation, very likely while we watched The Wedding Singer for the 47th time.
In February, we took our first weekend away from Luca. Well, it was more like 30 hours. Still, we did it and, judging by the disinterested expression on his face during our check-in video calls, we should have gone away sooner, more often, and for longer windows of time. That said, during our brief excursion I “shazammed” various tunes playing in the background here and there. Hence Mayonesa, Nweti, and Grab Yu Lass, adding a nice hint of the international.
And, to no one’s surprise, some new gems, courtesy of KEXP, are in the mix. I had to go back to The Dip for their clever She Gave Me the Keys. Seriously, check these guys out. And while I could have sworn they were a vintage band, Joey Quiñones & Thee Sinseers are a modern-day group that perfectly channels an old school Chicano R&B sound. Give them a deeper listen when you have a moment.
Then there are the tracks I included simply because I like them or because they provide further musical education. Hence Rose Royce, Spring Heeled Jack, Elvis Costello, Less Than Jake, King Harvest, Mad Caddies, and The Alessi Brothers.
There you have it. This year’s birthday mix is in the can. We’ll do our best to chronicle the impending whirlwind here, so check in early and often. In the meantime, you can give these tracks a listen at our Spotify station.
Rose Royce – Car Wash
The Cure – Just Like Heaven
INXS – What You Need
Mary Lou Lord – Martian Saints
Joey Quiñones & Thee Sinseers – Voo Doo Man (Live at KEXP)
The Chords – Sh-Boom
Billy Joel – Uptown Girl
Spring Heeled Jack – Pop Song (Green)
Kim Carnes – Bette Davis Eyes
Chocolate – Mayonesa
Mad Caddies – Good Intentions
King Harvest – Dancing In the Moonlight
Stevie Nicks – Stand Back
Amoya – Nweti
Mikey Spice – Grab Yu Lass
Mariah Carey (feat. Jay Z) - Heartbreaker
The Alessi Brothers – Driftin’
The Go-Gos – Vacation
Elvis Costello & The Attractions – Every Day I Write the Book
The Clash – (White Man) in Hammersmith Palais
Bonnie Tyler – Holding Out for a Hero
Tony Joe White – Polk Salad Annie
Less Than Jake – Hell Looks a Lot Like L.A.
The Dip – She Gave Me the Keys – The Dip (Live at KEXP)