In the first episode of NBN’s new weekly podcast Monday Mixtape, Marco Cartolano recommends seven songs about beginnings. Find this week’s mixtape on Spotify here! Transcript below.
[“First Day of My Life”-Bright Eyes]
Hello, I’m Marco Cartolano and welcome to the first episode of Monday Mixtape. This is a new podcast on NBN where we give you a few song suggestions to get you through the week. Since this is the first show, I thought it would be fun to look at some songs about beginnings. You just heard “First Day of My Life” by Bright Eyes, a nice indie folk song where singer Conor Oberst tries to turn over a new leaf and repair his relationship. It’s a nice breezy song and an appropriate opening for our first show. But, let’s say you want a more bombastic song to get you through the doldrums of the week.
[“Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”-The Beatles]
The title track and the opening song of a seminal Beatles album, “Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” is the triumphant introduction to the album and to the fictional band. Paul McCartney’s joyous vocals narrate the story of how Sgt. Pepper formed his band and promise that they will give the listener a good show. The other Beatles bring the band to life in the chorus as they invite the audience to come spend the night listening to them. Framed as the start of a concert, this hard-rocking track introduced the world to one of the most influential albums in the history of popular music. Now, let’s keep on this Beatles kick for a little bit longer.
[“Just Like Starting Over”-John Lennon]
The John Lennon solo track “Just Like Starting Over” is a beautiful ode to trying to rekindle the passion in a relationship. John delicately asks his lover to go away with him. The gentle track describes the beginning of a new phase in a relationship that had previously been the victim of busy schedules. It’s a reminder to take a break from our hectic Northwestern lives to be with people that we love. Now let’s look at a love song that is a little bit sleazier.
[“Chateau Lobby #4 (in C for Two Virgins)”- Father John Misty]
A love song for ironic hipsters, “Chateau Lobby #4 (in C for Two Virgins)” by Father John Misty is a unique take on finding your life partner. Father John Misty, which is a pseudonym for singer-songwriter Josh Tillman, humorously describes falling in love with his future wife and compares it to losing his virginity. Set in L.A.’s historic Chateau Hotel, Tillman falls for someone that hates all the same things that he does and decides that he wants to marry her as soon as possible. The Mexican horns in the track add to the atmosphere of this uniquely L.A. love story.
[“Feeling Good”-Nina Simone]
A jazz legend’s cover of a show tune, Nina Simone’s “Feeling Good” welcomes the start of a new day and is optimistic about the future. Simone connects with nature as she heralds the start of a new world. The explosive shift from one world to the next is met with the introduction of a powerful horn section. Simone sells the pure joy of feeling free in this classic song.
[“December 4th”-Jay Z]
Remember when Jay-Z promised that he would retire? “December 4th” is a song off of the “Black Album,” Jay’s supposed final album. But, this song takes us back to the start. Hov looks back at his childhood, his time as a drug dealer and his come up in the rap game. Jay-Z reflects on the pain of his father leaving him and explains how his background led to him becoming the biggest rapper in the world. This soulful track is given a personal touch with interview clips from Jay’s mom describing him as a child.
To close this mixtape, I’m recommending “Closing Time” by Semisonic. I know, clever. This 90s rock staple uses closing time at a bar as a metaphor for the end of the old and the start of the new. Lead singer Dan Wilson wrote the song while his girlfriend was pregnant and he would later realize that he unconsciously wrote a song about welcoming his child into the world. The hopeful chorus about going home with someone has helped the punchy alt-rock song last as a favorite at bars.
And that is it for Monday Mixtape. This week’s playlist is available on Spotify at mondaymixtape. I look forward to sharing a lot more music with you as we try to survive the quarter. For NBN Audio, I’m Marco Cartolano.