The Sunny Mix – Part One

I’ve already explained more or less why the Sunny Mix was created.  Now I’ll go into a little more detail as to why I chose THESE tunes and not others.  I know few of you were really dying to hear this, but the few who were are really interested, I think, plus I think it’s fun.  So read and enjoy, or ignore and come back when I shaddap, it’s all good.

So much of my enjoyment of music is tied to specific instruments that I decided that I’d use the Rock Band instrument symbols to mark which instruments I really love about this song.  Then I decided that would be hugely image-intensive and obscenely unfunny after the first time or two.  So I’ve decided to mark them with (V, G, B, D) for Vocals, Guitar, Bass, Drums.  If a song is marked with a (G), that means I really love playing the guitar part of that song.  Or really wish I could.

Like the It Came from the 80s disc, this is going to be pretty long.  I’m going to try to break it up into three pieces, but that means each will be pretty huge.  I’m just sayin’.

And now:  The Sunny Mix.  Arranged as the discs are, more or less:  Alphabetical by song title (with a few irregularities)

1.       Aerodynamic – Daft Punk

This song should be on Rock Band.  Funky guitar line over funky bass line over funky drum beat.  I dig it.  I especially like the intro when you’re thinking “damn, this is weak, I should crank up the bass a little bit” and then WHOOM it hits you.  “Fooled you!  Mwuhahah!”  (B,D)

2.       Alive – Pearl Jam

A funky song with a decidedly weird vibe – is it negative or positive?  I always thought the major-key chorus and the bluesy outro were decidedly “up” so I always get juiced by this song.  As a side note, this is one of a very few songs which I’ve ever played before a live audience.  (G,D)

3.       Already Gone – The Eagles

This one brims over with self-confidence.  “You thought you were gonna leave me?  Too late.  And I ain’t lookin’ back.  Sucks to be you, rocks to be me, see ya.” (B)

4.       Are You Gonna Be My Girl – Jet

Well, are ya?  Simple question, no?  This song is just a quick upbeat blast.  Similarly a blast to play on Rock Band.  (Even though I prefer “Cold Hard Bitch.”  But we’ll come to that.)  (B,D)

5.       Are You Gonna Go My Way – Lenny Kravitz

This is an awesome all-around rock song.  It was on my Top 5 list of “Songs that, by god, should be on Rock Band” so just guess how happy I was when it finally WAS added to Rock Band!  And I was right – it’s beyond fun.  I’ve been playing the guitar part for years, now I get to (well, kinda) rock the drum part too?  WOO!  (G,D)

6.       Arrow – Candlebox

Definitely not the most well-known track from Candlebox’s self-titled album, but I like it.  A bunch.  A whole big bunch.  Even though I think the lyrics are downright huh-worthy.  “Someone’s got arrow?”  Huh? Especially when you’re slurring it or ramming it together so it comes out like “sheengarrow!  Sheengarrow!”  Yeah.  Whatever.  Badass guitar riff, fellas.  (G)

7.       As I Lay Me Down – Sophie B. Hawkins

This one is not really attached to an instrument, but rather a moment in time.  This song was on the air in those unusually warm days in February 1995 when Dys and I reconnected after losing touch for a few years, and when we first began to talk about having feelings for each other.  So when “It felt like springtime on that February morning…” comes on, I can picture the spot on the sidewalk where I was walking when I first decided that I really did indeed love this woman.  (Aww.)

8.       The Audience is Listening – Steve Vai

Have you not heard the song?  Or especially seen the video?  Ultimate.  Schoolkid.  Guitar.  Fantasy.  (G)

9.       Baby Got Back – Sir Mix-A-Lot

If you don’t think this song is a whole ton of fun, I don’t think I know you.

10.   Back in Black – AC/DC

Issued standard to all rural redneck white boys in my neck of the woods, along with acid-washed jeans and mullets.  Still awesome.  (G)

11.   Bad to the Bone – George Thorogood and the Destroyers

Three seconds in and you know exactly what’s coming.  And you’re amped for it.  Strangely I still remember a Disney cartoon thing from the mid-80s in which this was a compilation of Pluto moments.  See?  Geek.  (V)

12.   Ball and Chain – Social Distortion

As I said when I took this for a Monday Music, I’d forgotten I knew and loved this song before I was preparing to buy the CD and previewed all the songs.  Simple rhythm and melody paired with fantastic lyrics equals one awesome tune.  (V,G)

13.   Beautiful One – Jonny Lang

When it comes to love songs, this one is almost perfect.  There is very little in this world that I wouldn’t part with for the chance to stand on a stage just once and belt this song out like only Jonny can.  The guitar work is understated and all the more beautiful for it.  The little guitar line from 2:52 to 3:00 is so simple and yet executed so perfectly and with so much feeling that it gives me chills every time.  (V,G)

14.   Beautiful World – Colin Hay

Such a simple statement of life’s joy amidst problems.  This alone was worth the purchase of the Scrubs soundtrack.  (V,G)

15.   Best of Both Worlds – Van Halen

Classic good-time party music.  I can’t hear the song without picturing Sammy, Eddie, and Mike doing the walk.  (G)

16.   Bleed to Love Her – Fleetwood Mac

One of the many songs off of FM’s “The Dance” album that I absolutely adore, both in songwriting and performance.  John McVie is unbelievable.  (B)

17.   Blister in the Sun – Violent Femmes

My graduate school classes were all held in the conference room of the department offices.  The department offices were in an old Victorian house two doors down from an apartment building that had a bar on the ground floor.  The bar was named “Chuggers.”  Naturally, many of our classes adjourned more or less directly thereto, as arguments were carried on over wings and drinks.  During my first year there would often be a guy playing an acoustic guitar and singing on Wednesday nights when Jonathan, Rick, Vanessa and I hung out there.  The singer would try to make a little time with Vanessa (with reason, she was a cutie) and hang out at our table a bit.  He’d play “Blister in the Sun” in his set and of course everybody in the bar would pound out that double snare hit.  Good times.  (B)

18.   Blooze – Junkyard

Heather knows this tune, do any of the rest of you?  “I ain’t talkin’ no lightweight candy-ass weekend warrior, I’m talkin’ ’bout drinkin’.”  How can you not love that?  Speaking of which, I swear, there’s a liquor store about two miles from my house with the following slogan on their billboard out front:  “BEAT THE WINTER BLUES WITH BOOZE.”  I shit you not.  (V)

19.   Blue Sky – The Allman Brothers Band

This is probably the song that got the whole Sunny Mix idea started in my head to begin with.  This song always, always makes me feel good.  Great lyrics, wonderful guitar work, just a happy mood altogether.  (G)

20.   Blues Before and After – The Smithereens

I know this song is actually a little bit of a downer, but it’s major-key and upbeat and I love it.  The “11” album was on the air soon after I got my Mustang, so I heard it a lot while I was installing new stereo equipment and got to love this song.  The guitar work is great, but I personally find the bass line stellar.  (B)

21.   A Boy Named Sue – Johnny Cash

It ain’t easy…but it sure is funny.  (V)

22.   Brickhouse – The Commodores

Dys’s unofficial theme song!  (Naturally.)  Can you get over how funky this song is?  It’s the shit.  Hell yeah.  (B)

23.   Buddy Holly – Weezer

Hope for geeks everywhere.  And, for me, fun memories of one of my best years ever, senior year in college.  (G,D)

24.   Burning Like a Flame – Dokken

A little cheesy (particularly the video) but I like it.  And Dys likes it a lot.  So here it is.

25.   Bust a Move – Young MC

Honestly?  This is another one that I think should be on Rock Band.  This came out when I was still in a bit of a white-boy-rap phase in high school and that funky beat and bass line rocked my world.  Still does.  (B)

26.   Camelia – J Minus

One of the more obscure tunes on the disc.  J Minus is a Seattle band that Dys discovered through Myspace somehow or another.  She was immediately captivated and when she played some of their music for me, I could see why.  These guys are damned talented.  (G,B)

27.   Centerfold – The J. Geils Band

Just good old early-80s fun.  I think I’ve already told the lesbian story, right?  Okay, I won’t repeat myself then.  (G)

28.   Change Your Mind – Sister Hazel

I’ve already scored a hit with this one, according to Laura.  I adopted this as something of a minor theme song during the spring and summer of 2006 when I, well, wanted to be somebody else and so changed my mind.  (Hence its inclusion on My Soundtrack.)  It’s a good uplifting tune.  The vocal harmonies on this song particularly impress me.  (V)

29.   Cliffs of Dover – Eric Johnson

This song represents a shift of gears in my thinking about my guitar playing.  I’d never heard it before I got to college in 1991, and my first introduction was via a dude visiting his sister in our dorm for the weekend, sitting on my roommate’s bed, grabbing his guitar, and playing this almost note-for-note as I attempted to put my jaw back on my face.  I’m not proud of this, but there were moments in the next month in which I put this song on “repeat” on the CD player and thereby tortured my good-hearted roommate.  It remains my own personal Mt. Everest – if I ever get to the point that I can play this song, note for note, with the right speed and the right feeling then I will feel like I’ve done what I want to do with a guitar.

I’m not holding my breath.  (G)

30.   Cold Hard Bitch – Jet

Now this is just a cold hard blast.  It’s like modern-day AC/DC, all amped up and wired for sound.  I can’t hear this song without itching for my bass in my hands.  I know the guitar is prominent, but I just connect so solidly with the bass line in this song that I can’t help myself.  It’s one of my favorite songs to throw on the cd player downstairs, crank up my bass amp, and play until the windows rattle.  (B)

31.   Cowboys from Hell – Pantera

And the riff from hell!  I say it’s not quite dark or aggressive enough to remove from this list.  And just hearing that riff makes me grin.  Therefore, it’s in.  HELL yeah.  Horns up, muhfugga! (G)

32.   Crazy Train (Live) – Ozzy Osbourne/Randy Rhoads

I can’t hear this without thinking of my old buddy Tommy, who introduced me to heavy metal through lending me a dub of Motley Crue’s “Theater of Pain” and this album, the Ozzy/Randy “Tribute” live album.  I still prefer the live version over the original, it’s just got a more laid-back feel.  And yes, one of the best guitar tunes EVAH.  (G)

33.   Cult of Personality – Living Colour

Living Colour don’t get the credit they deserve.  Racial-barrier-breaking aside, they put out some damned good records in the late 80s and early 90s.  This song is an absolutely great hard rock song from all angles.  And another one that I wish I could successfully sing at karaoke or something. (V,G)

34.   Dance the Night Away – Van Halen

A VH song without a guitar solo, and I love it anyway!  The chorus is just one of the most happy-go-lucky things in my entire record collection.  Awesomeness.  (G)

35.   Dani California – Red Hot Chili Peppers

Honestly?  Great song, but I almost cut it because I didn’t think it quite fit the mood.  Even though I really, really like it.  But Dys lobbied for it, and she’s gonna be in my car a whole lot while this disc plays, so it stays.  (G)

36.   Desert Rose – Eric Johnson

“Ah Via Musicom” didn’t make #1 on my Desert Island list for nothing.  This song, coming immediately after Cliffs of Dover, is ridiculously awesome as well.  Some of the best guitar solo work that I’ve ever heard on an album.  Ever.  The section from about 4:05 to about 4:45 always wows me.  (G)

37.   (Don’t Fear) The Reaper – Blue Oyster Cult

This was the song that headed my list of “Songs to Lose Your License To.”  For good reason.

38.   Don’t Shed a Tear – Paul Carrack

This is probably a weird inclusion, but similar to “Already Gone” I always think of this song as an expression of self-confidence the likes of which I didn’t really have much experience with in the 80s when this song was on the radio.  (V)

39.   Don’t Stop Believin’ – Journey

Any questions?  I refer you to the Family Guy.  (V)

40.   Dragula – Rob Zombie

This is what passes for “dance music” in the mind of TB.  Loud, aggro, rhythm of doom.  THIS you can get me to shake my ass to.  (G,D)

41.   Drive – Incubus

This is a fantastic song of hope.  I don’t know what more praise I could give it.  (V)

42.   Enter Sandman – Metallica

Heh.  Maybe a little negative for this list, true, but the fantastic musicianship of this song always gets me amped up.  Add to that that ye olde university football team exits the tunnel to this music and it has a lot more kickass association in my head.  Like when the ushers used to yell at me for banging out the beat on the back of the seats in front of me.  (G,D)

43.   Everybody Wants to Rule the World – Tears for Fears

I’m a sucker for songs that have a driving, pulsing rhythm and more languid chords atop it.  (See also:  Led Zeppelin, “Achilles’ Last Stand.”)  This song has that in spades.  Plus it’s playing over one of my favorite movie scenes, the popcorn-house bit over the end of Real Genius. (The song starts at about 5:05.  And is shifted up a in speed…and therefore a key or two.  Hmm.) Richly deserved comeuppance delivered by outsmarting your teacher and destroying his most beloved possession via the means of something he utterly hates.  And making all the neighborhood kids obscenely happy.  What could be better than that?  (V)

44.   Fire Lake (Live) – Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band

I would probably have never been a big fan of this song had it not been playing in the car on a recent road trip, and hearing Dys sing it and just get into it won me over.  Now?  I think it’s pretty damned cool. (V,G)

45.   Fire Woman – The Cult

I’ll take “Badass Hard Rock Songs of the Late 80s” for $500, Alex!  I know Love is generally considered The Cult’s masterpiece, but I really really likes me some Sonic Temple. Yes, I like this song better than “She Sells Sanctuary.”  (V,G)

46.   Fuel – Metallica

If you want a good balls-out song to get you fired up, this is an excellent choice.  I can still see the towering pyro flames as Metallica played this song at the Virginia Beach Ampitheater in July of ’98, not long after Dys and I got married.  The next day was the first time I’d been to the beach since I cut my long hair off.  A severely sunburned scalp is gross. (G)

47.   Gangster of Love (Joker mix) – The Geto Boyz

This is easily the most offensive song on this disc, which is part of why I love it. Its misogyny and ludicurous sexuality are so far over-the-top that I personally find them hysterical.  Combine that with the Steve Miller sample and I think it’s as much comedy gold as an early-80s Eddie Murphy routine.

48.   Get Yo’ Feet Back on the Ground – Tower of Power

This is from my early days as a bass player, when I was getting my feel for the range of the instrument.  The self-titled Tower of Power album was considered a great record for bass players, so I bought it.  Uh, yeah.  You can say that.  Holy pumping-16ths, Batman!  “What Is Hip?” is the most well-known song off that album, but I like this one even better – it’s a little slower, and IMHO a lot funkier.  Aw yeah.  (B)

49.   Gimme All Your Lovin’ – ZZ Top

Let me go ahead and ruin the suspense:  all of the famous “Eliminator trilogy” songs are on here.  Why?  If you were older than age 5 in the early 80s, you know why.  And boy am I pissed…here I am, 35 years old, and I still don’t have a Dusty Hill beard… and can’t spin a guitar like that, either.  Bummer.  (G)

50.   Gimme Three Steps – Lynyrd Skynyrd

Is there any doubt about my redneck heritage?  No?  Good, then I don’t have to do too much explaining.  I’ve played this one before with my uncle’s old Southern Rock outfit, but that was on guitar – boy, would I love to have a shot at this on bass sometime.  Leon Wilkeson is the shit!  (G,B)

51.   Gin & Juice – Snoop Dogg

Ah, reminiscences of my senior year of college, one of the best times in my life.  I lived the last three years of undergrad in Lambeth Field, a big dorm complex on campus.  During finals every year at UVA there were “quiet hours” enforced in the evenings so people could study.  It was customary in this dorm complex during exams to have the “Lambeth Scream.”  That is, at midnight every night during finals everybody in the dorm complex went out onto their balcony and yelled their guts out.  By the time I was a senior, there was the occasional streaker (a UVA tradition of sorts…not that I’d know anything about that, uh, no way, cough cough), people would play music, it would turn into a weird sort of 20-minute party.  I lived on the 4th floor of one building, and in the winter of my senior year we actually threw one of my apartmentmates’ big-ass speakers in our windows and blasted the living shit out of “Gin and Juice.”  The head RA for the entire complex lived a few buildings over.  We could see her emerge from her apartment, making a beeline for our building.  “oh shit oh shit,” we all said, as we scrambled to turn it down.  Uh, no…she got just outside our building and made several “Crank it up!” gestures with her arms.  Awesomeness.  (V)

52.   Girls, Girls, Girls – Motley Crue

“Hey Tommy, check that out!”  “Where, Vince, where?”  “Hey, right there!  *whistles*  Hey baby, don’t we know you from somewhere?  *wolf whistle*”  Yeah.  To an adolescent boy, that’s the epitome of cool.  Add the Harley cranking in the intro and cruising off in the outro and I was set.  (G,D)

53.   Go Your Own Way – Fleetwood Mac

Another one of those “We’re breaking up, huh?  Well, gee, that’s too bad, but methinks I’ll be just fine” songs on the list.  The whole song is fantastic, of course, but in particular the outro jam is just pure Buckingham/Fleetwood/McVie gold.   (B)

54.   Good to Me – Eric Johnson

There’s something about the almost R&B beat of this song and the funky guitar lines behind it that just makes me smile.  But the real winner here is that soaring guitar line from 3:07 to 3:27.  The phrasing, the timing, even the pinch harmonics are all perfect.  Beautiful.  (G)

55.   Hey Hey What Can I Do – Led Zeppelin

This was always one of my favorite Zeppelin songs to play back in college (second only to “Over the Hills & Far Away”).  Thank God for the remastered set – this was a B-side and not widely available until those CDs were issued.  (G)

That’s the first third; more Sunny Mix to come!  (Operators are still standing by in case any who didn’t get a copy change their minds!)

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15 Responses

  1. I’m actually listening to “Beautiful One” as I read this. Le sigh… all warm and fuzzy and shit.

    (there she goes, ruining the mood with her potty mouth)

    Heh. You said it more or less exactly as I would have!

    • Hey, I always meant to ask you, what do you think of Robert Plant’s solo work, particularly his Manic Nirvana album?

      Honestly, I’m not familiar enough to feel comfortable commenting. I might know some of the “Manic Nirvana” songs if I heard them, but reading a track list does nothing for me. (I had mostly turned off the radio after about 1988 and was firmly entrenched in thrash and early grunge.)

  2. I was listening to it when shoveling and when Gangster of Love came on I was knee deep in snow and didn’t mind. The laughter took my mond off the frost bite.

    As much as I’m going to like reading about it I must admit to enjoying listening a whole lot more.

    I hope so. Otherwise I’d worry about you. Well, I’d worry more about you.

  3. Mond? I’m not even sure what dialect I was typing in. It would give all new meaning to keeping my mond on my money, money on my mond though.

    Just put on a big floppy dread hat and it’s all good.

  4. See? I told you that you could probably save your postage on me! Because I own almost all of that stuff.

    I dug out some of my Junkyard stuff recently. I had some old promo copies of Sixes, Sevens & Nines they sent us when I contributed to The Chicago Rocker. Fun, fun stuff.

    I always loved ‘Fire Lake’. ‘Shame on the Moon’ too. Ah hell. I love Bob Seger even though I am sick to DEATH of ‘Old Time Rock n Roll’. 😀

    I figured.

    I’m not such a big fan of “Old Time Rock & Roll” myself. I recognize it as a good tune, but it never really moved me all that much before it was overplayed.

    • “…even though I am sick to DEATH of ‘Old Time Rock n Roll’…”

      I sang that at karaoke (sp? I never get that right and I’m too lazy to look it up) a couple of weeks ago and BUSTED IT OUT. 😀

      Busted it out? Or busted out? 😛

      • Really? ‘Old Time Rock n Roll’ at karaoke? I don’t believe anyone does THAT song at karaoke!! ::groan:: 😉

        As long as it’s not “Ken Lee!”

  5. Aaah, these songs are so great, it makes me want to beat myself with a blunt object for not making them a regular part of my commute until now.
    Back in Black is so riding around with the top down drinking Boones Farm, looking for boys and finding them.
    Baby Got Back – Brian keeps his Sir Mix A Lot cd close at all times and we just listened to some of it on the way home from a party the other night. It just doesn’t get old.
    Fleetwood Mac – We saw them on their reunion tour back in the mid-90’s and somehow got amazing seats; that concert remains in my top five of all time.
    You did good and I’ve just barely begun on the best cd mix I’ve heard in years!!!

    Awesome! Especially that Fleetwood Mac show, I bet that was beyond fantastic. My buddy Michael says Sir Mix-A-Lot is also a live act you should see at least once. He said it was just a whole ton of fun.

  6. Ohhh…TB…the CD won’t play in my car, I am so sad!

    Ian says he can fix it, though, and it’s “on his list”, which means I will be hassling him BIG STYLE until he sorts it out. I guess it’s some kind of formatting issue between the US and UK.

    I can’t wait to hear it though because you got LOADS of my favourites on there, and I think it will be perfect for our holiday in Donegal next month. Thanks SO much for the effort and time you’ve put in- you ROCK!

    If Ian can’t get it fixed, let me know and I’ll see if I can try to figure out another way to work it out!

  7. Sometimes the cd has to be ripped and re-burned to be able to play in some cars. Even older cd players in American cars don’t play nice with some mix cds depending on how I’d burned them.

    Hmm, one potential fix…thanks, Heather!

  8. […] you’re just joining in, this is the second of (hopefully) three.  Part one is here, in which yours truly explains what the hell I think I’m doing here.  Good luck […]

  9. […] Taoist Biker, one of my favorite readers/bloggers, sent me a “sunny mix” CD. He said one song in particular reminded him of me, “Camelia” by J Minus, […]

  10. […] hereby present to you the successor to the Sunny Mix, TB’s Rainy […]

  11. […] was available for Rock Band.  Not even for the guitar, for the drums.  I was listening to Sunny this morning and as soon as I turned it on, “More Than A Feeling” was just starting […]

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