Playlist: Your smile’s on fire.

This mix started off as just whatever I had been listening to that week. But, like everything else in my life, it quickly became something more than that.

I know I sound extremely dramatic and overwhelming but that’s how I felt that week. Each song in this mix made me feel bigger than my body, to borrow words from John Mayer. There were a couple days where I drove home from school under a huge expanse of bright blue, feeling like I could’ve kept driving for miles and it wouldn’t have mattered to anyone else but me.

I wasn’t exactly happy or feeling perfect — but I knew I would be okay.

Xavia, Who Will Save Us?
February 2011.

1. The Submarines – “Xavia”
“Xavia, who will save us? / Your smile’s on fire / And still my hear won’t let you down.” I first heard this song on the Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist soundtrack and wish I’d heard the Submarines sooner. The song is adorable and cute but I think what I love about it are the lyrics. They make sense and yet, not quite.

2. Miike Snow – “Song For No One”
I heard this song at Lucy’s when I was having a post-break up relationship dissection with Alisa. The song’s jaunty guitar riff catches me off guard everytime, which is probably why I liked this song so much at first. I was too busy feeling down on myself and this song picked me up again.

3. The Strokes – “Under Cover of Darkness”
Finally! I’ve been waiting for new material from the Strokes for YEARS. And that’s not even an exaggeration. The song is funny partially because it’s so very Strokes-esque, but at the same time, I can’t help but feel like they’ve fallen short of all the expectations we had drawn up for them in their extended absence. Either way, Julian Casablancas will forever look like he needs a shower.

4. Felix Cartal – “Popular Music Intro”
Felix Cartal is the DJ name of Taelor Deitcher, a sort of Vancouver wunderkind. He’s my age and strangely enough, I used to take photos of his old band, Orange Orange. Now, he’s Felix Cartal, jetting around the world, hanging with Steve Aoki and whoever else is hot in the electronic music world. A girl I went to high school with is tight with him and mentioned him a couple times but I didn’t start listening to him ’til this month. I dig it. It’s rad. Proud that he’s from Vancouver.

5. Ratatat – “Bare Feast”
A classmate and I were talking about the crossover between indie and electronic bands, music that you can dance too without feeling like a top 40 fool. She suggested Ratatat as a band that even those who were into all the subtle nuances of electronic music could appreciate. A confession though. I wathced Eat, Pray, Love the same day I heard this song so in my mind, “Bare Feast” makes me feel like I’m riding a bicycle down a dirt path in Bali or something.

6. Caribou – “Odessa”
Another friend noticed that I was on a bit of an electronic music kick recently and offered up Caribou. I’m still slowly familiarizing myself with their album, Swim, but this track caught my ears. It has a bit of a dark, club feel to it but it’s not stagnant or morbid. It’s still very danceable and moves along nicely.

7. Trentemøller – “Miss You”
I don’t want to say too much about this song since it speaks for itself. Simple, peaceful, honest.

8. Rusko ft. Amber Coffman – “Hold On”
A friend was trying to explain what “dubstep” was and sent me this as a sample. I don’t know if this exactly fits into what dubstep usually is, but Amber Coffman’s voice makes this track so much more. Without her, I doubt I’d pay attention to the track at all. Sorry, Rusko.

9. Kings of Leon – “The End”
Pained vocals over a sparse bassline, clashing guitar riffs, the obvious title… this is a break up song, dudes. It hurts to listen to and yet, I can’t stop. It’s the song they play in the scene of the movie where they’re kissing passioantely and you know it’s the last time they’ll ever see each other. And then someone dies? Yeah, that’s usually how it goes.

Playlist: The dog days are over.

While nothing extremely exciting is happening in my life right now, I figured I’d share my playlist for the week. I was feeling pretty down at the end of January mostly due to weather and the workload at school. But I was told that “all you can do in a bad situation is think of how to turn it into a really good situation.” So the way I turned a bad situation into a really good one was make myself a playlist of songs that instantly make me feel awesome. (Photo: Lissie.)

The Dog Days Mix.
January/February 2011.

1. Florence + the Machine – “The Dog Days Are Over”
This song is interesting because if you listen to it and just gloss over the lyrics, it’s happy. It’s upbeat. But if you really listen to the lyrics and try to understand them, you start to realize that it’s not a hopeful song. This girl can’t deal with love. When good things happen to her, she has no idea how to accept it. That’s the weird part. For whatever reason, I get that.

2. Gavin DeGraw – “I Don’t Wanna Be (Acoustic Unplugged Mix)”
I know Gavin DeGraw is mostly associated as a one-hit wonder for being the theme song of One Tree Hill, but I really like this song. I listen to it and it makes me feel like that’s it. There’s not a whole lot more to life than being true to yourself. There’s no huge, complicated thing to overcome… just be honest, be true, be real. (BTW. I couldn’t find the acoustic version on Soundcloud. But it is good. Trust.)

3. Natasha Bedingfield – “Unwritten”
Yes, it’s embarrassing that this is on my iPod but! I can’t help it: it’s sunny, it’s catchy, it’s bright. It’s some sort of weird girl-power anthem and even if I feel like I’m the only one in the world who feels this way, that it’s okay and I can handle it.

4. Kid Cudi – “Pursuit of Happiness (ft. MGMT and Ratatat)
This song is, obviously, a little dark when you go through the lyrics but if he can sing from that place of darkness and still be okay that “everything that shines ain’t always gonna be gold”… well. Then I really haven’t got a lot to complain about, do I?

5. The Knife – “Heartbeats”
This song is on the playlist purely for its ability to make me want to dance. Nothing else. (I also really enjoy the Jose Gonzales acoustic version. But that one’s a little more mellow.)

6. Matt & Kim – “Cameras”
I almost didn’t realize this was a Matt & Kim song when I first heard it. It’s got a little bit of a hip hop swag, combined with this “live fast, die young” chorus that makes me want to just get on the road and start driving somewhere, anywhere. But the chorus is filled with truth: “No time for cameras / we’ll use our eyes instead / no time for cameras / we’ll be gone when we’re dead.” Forget trying to get things perfect, forget trying to BE perfect. Just enjoy it.

7. The Postal Service – “Such Great Heights”
When I close my eyes and listen to this song, I feel as if I’ve been lifted off my feet and I’m flying through life at warp speed. There’s a million things happening in this world and this song reminds me that all we really have is right now.

8. Semisonic – “Facinating New Thing”
“I’m surprised that you’ve never been told before / that you’re lovely, that you’re perfect / that somebody wants you.” It’s a little crazy to think that there are poeple out there (myself included) who feel like they’re worthless sometimes. This song reminds me that I’m fine, that I’ll always be fine, that I don’t need validation from anyone or anything. I’m fine just the way I am.

9. Something Corporate – “I Woke Up In A Car”
Here’s another example of a road trip song. One day, I want to get in a car, start driving, and just having this playing at full volume. I don’t think it even matters where I’m going so long as I’m going somewhere and I can feel free. I especially love listening to this song when the sky is wide open and blue.

10. Two Door Cinema Club – “Something Good Can Work”
This song is so undeniably upbeat and catchy, it’s hard not to get caught up and carried away when it’s playing. The words themselves, “let’s make this happen, girl /gonna show the world that something good can work / and it can work for you,” is just a good reminder that everyone deserves happiness, everyone deserves joy in their life.

11. Young Love – “Discotech”
I first heard this song a few years back when Young Love opened for Lady Sovereign at the Commodore. Probably one of the first shows I saw at the Commodore and I gotta say. It was a pretty rowdy night. I remember leaving early because I wasn’t sure I wanted to stick around ’til the end. Either way, this song just gets me going and ready to head out for the night. I think I mostly love the lyrics because there’s so much ego oozing out of every word.

12. Lissie – “Pursuit of Happiness (Kid Cudi cover)”
Lissie has an insane voice and for whatever reason, this cover just works for her. Kid Cudi’s original song is very laid back and chill, but Lissie takes the song and injects a whole lot of anger and venom into it. It almost qualifies as a break-up song but sometimes, it’s just fun to scream the words out loud in your car when no one’s around.