I ran across this mixtape and its been on repeat with me recently.
Originally posted at This Mornin I am Born Again.
This is a Greatest Hits, so there's not a clunker in the bunch, but special attention should be payed to a few tracks. Quoting John Cusack once more, "you gotta kick off with a killer, to grab attention. Then you got to take it up a notch, but you don't wanna blow your wad, so then you got to cool it off a notch. There are a lot of rules." I began with 'When The Music Don't Come' - a 'killer' track from the Love Is Hell sessions that almost became the title of this little compilation. It would've worked well as appeasement during Ryan's sabbatical before he recently decided to begin releasing music again. I took it up a notch with 'Walls' - the country-est tune in the bunch. To cool it off, I offered 'Dear Anne,' which is probably the most touching song here. Written as a letter to Anne Frank, it asks how Anne's fate came to be, and thanks the biographer for her words, whether or not they were his to read. Leading you back into heavier music is 'Born Yesterday' with its plodding tempo and passion-laden vocals. 'Madeline' lathers some sultry piano and blues guitar on the mix with a Huck Finn-esque river song. To end side one, I used the last track from the First Pinkheart Sessions. Just Ryan and his piano, the song doubles as a sort of midway interlude, fittingly mentioning that "its been so long for just half-over."
Side B reads much the same, highlighted by 48 Hours and Swedish Session songs. 'Friendly Fire' delicately tells of how relationships often come with the casualties of war. With the harmonica-driven attitude reminiscent of Heartbreaker's opener, 'Poor Jimmy' picks thing up in the middle. One of my all-time favorite songs, 'Poison & The Pain' gives off an eerie feel with Ryan providing his own sparse backing vocals and hand claps. The second side again ends simply, this time with a softly-picked guitar accented with the low end of a piano. 'String & The Wire' is a desolate song that Ryan once said of in a live show: "it’s really long and really totally boring, so if you need to get a drink or something, this is the best song to go." Not boring at all, it's simply soothing. And that's my idea of the perfect album-ender.
Thanks to Payton for putting this together!!!