By Deanna M. Murray
“The making of a great compilation tape, like breaking up, is hard to do and takes ages longer than it might seem. 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.”
— Rob, (played by John Cusack)
In ‘High Fidelity,’ (2000)
Rob (from the movie ‘High Fidelity’) is most definitely right. The art of the mix tape is a finely-honed skill. It requires patience, a clear understanding of the purpose of the mix, and of course a vast music collection.
I remember the first mix tape I ever received. It started with Bon Jovi’s ‘You Give Love a Bad Name,’ had Journey’s ‘Open Arms’ in the middle and ended with Def Leppard’s ‘Pour Some Sugar On Me’ … (and when Momma Murray heard this one, she calmly unwound all the tape from the cassette and threw it in the trash … apparently, that song’s not appropriate for a 14-year-old girl. And I’m pretty sure I was grounded from EVER talking to that boy again) …
Don’t know about you, but my iPhone is pretty much permanently attached to me at all times. And my playlists? They’re sacred. I spend hours categorizing my music and making lists I can turn on at a second’s notice. Today, I’d like to share a playlist with ya … and hopefully, my execution will make Rob proud …
We’re gonna call this list ‘Songs to Empower the Conservative to Take Action’ … No, it’s not a list of political songs. It’s a list of songs are fun to hear, and that strengthen me.
So sit back, put those headphones on and turn the volume up … because we’re ready to rock ‘n’ roll.
Song 10: Lacuna Coil
This song, with an edgy rock beat and a little anger, is fronted by Cristina Scabbia. She brings a haunting, sometimes mesmerizing vocal track to a tune about living life to its fullest, following strong beliefs and not taking ‘no’ for an answer.
The chorus brings it home: ‘I’m not afraid … to take my time. To live my life … the way I want to … to take you down … and live my life as I want to …I’m not afraid.’
So maybe it’s a stretch to give this a political meaning. But there’s nothing about this tune that’s not totally kick-ass. There’s a sense of discovering one’s strength within the angst of a not-so-kind world that demands one to take a stand. And that’s what we need, right? Give it a listen. Maybe you’ll hate it. But then again … maybe, you won’t. (As a side note, other songs on the album ‘Shallow Life’ worth listening to are ‘Spellbound,’ ‘I Like It’ and ‘Wide Awake’)
Song 9:Lady Antebellum
I can’t deny I am a little bit country – OK maybe a whole lotta country and I won’t apologize for it. But if y’all will give it a chance, I think you’ll discover really quickly why this song’s a keeper.
Lady A (as those of us who LOVE this band like to call ‘em) delivers a powerful vocal punch, chronicling a journey of self-discovery. ‘Hello World’ talks about a guy who literally doesn’t know what he’s got and is watching life pass him by. But by the end he gets it.
‘All the empty disappears, I remember why I’m here. To surrender and believe. I fall down on knees .. Oh Hello, World. Hello, World. Hello, World.’
Song 8: Adam Lambert
Call this tune ‘We are the Champions’ of today. And what’s even funnier is Adam Lambert, (American Idol’s Season 8 runner-up) would die if he knew his song was being listed in a conservative playlist! So it’s a win-win for me.
Ignore his album artwork because it’s absolutely absurd, but ‘Sure Fire Winners’ delivers and almost redeems this CD’s knee-jerk, what-the-heck-is-this-artist-about quality …
‘We are the sure the fire winners. Oh yeah, the big time hitters. We are the sure fire winners. … Never gonna stop til we reach the top. Better get out of the game because it’s never gonna be the same. ’
Song 7: Journey
Whether you know this song because you’re in love with the Glee Version or because you’re an old school Journey fan (that’d be me) … there’s something about this tune. It really does inspire us to greatness. It asks you to keep the faith in adversity and cling to your dreams – whether you’re a smalltown girl or a city boy … just believe. The only drawback to this song? On the Greatest Hits album, ‘Wheels In the Sky’ is the very next tune .. and I really don’t like that one.
‘Don’t stop, believing … hold on to that feeling.’ …
Song 6: Toby Keith
I’m really thankful for artists like Toby Keith. I interviewed him when he first hit the music scene in the early 90s. By the time his second album came out, he’d decided he was going to leave the music business if he didn’t gain momentum. But luckily for soldiers everywhere, he did. Toby has spent much of his career supporting and entertaining troops, as he believes in this country’s purpose.
“Uncle Sam put your name at the top of his list, And the Statue of Liberty started shaking her fist. And the eagle will fly and it’s gonna be hell, When you hear Mother Freedom start ringing her bell.”
Song 5: GodSmack
This tune was used by the NAVY for several years in its recruiting videos. Even more fun? The band itself, offering an edgy and sometimes a slightly evil sort of sound, is said to be pro-Bush and on the semi-conservative side. They are a band full of military supporters (apparently, this baffles a good core of their fans). Now come on … we can give em a pass for being a little on the heavy metal side, can’t we? Because you gotta love a group of guys who can keep the left guessing.
Song 4: Miranda Lambert
Mrs. Blake Shelton is known as the sweet but sassy girl of country music. She records these cliché, almost corny songs that would probably fall flat on the radio if she didn’t deliver them with such precision and passion. This one talks about crime rates in the country and the overdevelopment of a lot of the farmlands.
‘it’s time to get a gun … that’s what I’ve been thinkin’ … I probably could afford one … if I did a little less drunken’’.
Song 3: Rascal Flatts
I just had to find a way to put the Flatts in here. This song breathes American Summer to me and reminds me of the country rides around my home in New Mexico – dust flying, pure American fun. It’s inspiring and ageless … just like the American conservative message.
Song 2: Kenny Loggins
Who can’t forget this anthem from ‘Top Gun’? The music from the Tom Cruise classic is as epic as the movie itself. And I am really not sure I could like anyone who didn’t like this song (or ‘Top Gun’ for that matter) …
“Highway to the Danger Zone … I’ll take you right into the Danger Zone.”
Song 1: Miranda Lambert
Did you know it was coming? Us country girls gotta represent. Miranda’s ‘Only Prettier’ is the classic cat fight between two parties not able to get along.
‘So let’s shake hands and reach across those party lines. You’ve got your friends just like I’ve got mine. We might think a little differently, we’ve got lots in common you will see … We’re just like you, … Only Prettier.’
So what do you think? Would ‘High Fidelity’ Rob be proud of our playlist? Make one of your own. You’d be surprised how a few good songs can lift you up on a down day.