As we get back into the swing of things here at the Cru Jones Society, we might as well stick to what we know. Last year I shared with you a playlist to close out your summer.  And yeah, fine, it was also my birthday playlist, but I’m willing to bet if you actually created that playlist for yourself, you had a damn good time drinking on the patio while it played in the background.

So, in keeping that same spirit, I present to you Songs to Close Out Your Summer Pt. II (aka E Dagger’s 29th Birthday Playlist). Grab some beers, program your iTunes, and let’s enjoy the waning days of patio weather together.

1. Weezer – (If You’re Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To

I’m usually at least three years behind every trend, which makes this cut all the more amusing. It actually came out within the last 12 months, I actually know it, and I love it, which brings me to this insight: Once you get married to the woman you love, love songs no longer annoy the piss out of you. You actually sort of dig them and can’t comprehend why the rest of the world seems so heartbroken all the time.

This song is an upbeat ditty that tells the charming story of a couple coming together. I mostly like this song because I picture it opening a movie. When I’m in my car and this mix kicks on, I actually picture the Universal logo coming onscreen with the rotation of the earth in the background like the way Forgetting Sarah Marshall starts with that awesome Cake song. I’m a dork.

2. I Hate Kate – Always Something

I loathe that I like this song. Justin Mauriello left one of my all-time favorite bands Zebrahead to found this fucking group. They’re not even called I Hate Kate anymore, they’re called Darling Thieves which is about eight different shades of gay. Zebrahead ain’t quite as good as they used to be and I Hate Kate or Darling Thieves or Unicorn Rimjob or whatever they’re called now definitely gets more airplay than Zebrahead ever will again.

But fuck my tits if this song isn’t catchy as hell. It’s basically a later period Zebrahead song with the intensity dialed back half a notch. It’s got a big old hook, Justin’s intoxicating vocals, and a fun power pop vibe. This song makes me feel like Jack Twist as I drive down the highway crying while I sing along and screaming during the bridge section “I wish I knew how to quit you!”

3. Unwritten Law – Sound Siren

Every mix you ever make contains one song that the rest of the disc is built around. Last year it was “Audience of One” by Rise Against, and this year it’s this song. Somehow in my dozens of times listening to Unwritten Law’s Elva album, this track never stood out. Then one day this Spring while playing NHL ’07, I was casually listening to it and this song just punched me in the dick. I started listening to it over and over again and couldn’t stop. I was like a fat kid skimming the toppings at the dessert bar of a Country Buffet. More is never enough!

The hammer for this song came on a Friday when Lady E was out of town and I found myself alone in my home office drinking beers, blasting punk rock and wasting the whole night playing video games. I randomly posted the following to Facebook (Yeah, I do that now. Yeah, I like Facebook. And yeah, I was a petulant wet fart for ranting against it all the time): “Last three songs on iTunes for me: ‘Audience of One’ by Rise Against, ‘Jag Off’ by Zebrahead, and ‘Sound Siren’ by Unwritten Law. Awesome.” My buddy Joe read that (whom I haven’t talked to in at least 5 years) and responded simply with: “YES!” When you get that kind of endorsement from a dude you never talk to, you love the song even more.

4. Ok Go – Here It Goes Again

Here begins the section of the mix I like to call, “Is it 2003 already?” My brother-in-law asked me to burn him a bunch of music since he hadn’t heard anything new in like 10 years (working in finance and getting married will do that to you), so I started with the easiest – punk rock. But since he listened to shit like Widespread Panic in college, that went over like trying to fingerbang your girl’s butt while having sex doggy style.

So I enlisted Lady E for some help, culled her list, built off stuff I vaguely knew and sort of liked, and came up with three excellent discs for him. Long story short, Ok Go makes fun music and even funner (yes, funner) videos. If you don’t like this song, you’re probably dead inside. You should do something about that. Go read Eat, Pray, Love or something. Or just listen to more Ok Go. That’s what I did. And look at me now!

5. Franz Ferdinand – No You Girls

I used to refer to stuff like Franz Ferdinand and The Killers as “ugly girl dance music.” I still believe this to be true – watch frumpy hipster chicks dance to “Take Me Out” sometime, you’ll want to pour acid in your eyes – but it doesn’t encapsulate all the music is. For instance, “No You Girls” is a sexy, bouncy, fun anthem dedicated to hot chicks. It’s near impossible not to find yourself swaying enthusiastically to this song with a weird desire to take up smoking. I’m sorry I missed this one on the first go-round.

6. Wolfmother – Joker and the Thief

Wolfmother will melt your face. The shit just rocks. And this song has the added bonus of appearing during the awesome blackjack scene from 2009’s most rewatchable movie The Hangover. My favorite part is Bradley Cooper angrily flipping off the eye in the sky for no apparent reason. I re-enact that scene every time I listen to this song in my car which means some road rage motherfucker will probably misunderstand what I’m doing, crash into me, and beat the piss out of me within the next two months. And all because I have only the manliest of man crushes on Bradley Cooper. Life is unfair.

7. The Vines – Get Free

Anyone who’s ever listened to the song “Fox” by Millencolin with me knows that every time it comes on I mention that the song’s about a scooter and that Millencolin is from Sweden. Since both scooters and Sweden kick huge kettles full of ass, I feel that everyone needs to know both points undisputedly.

On a similar note, The Vines are from Sweden. Remember that, bitch. Or don’t. Because I’ll probably bring it up 10 more times in the next month.

8. Strung Out – Mission Statement

Weird story behind this one. I was making a new workout mix and took off “Jailbreak” by Thin Lizzy because it wasn’t jiving with everything else. But since my workout mixes are structured like I have Asperger’s Syndrome, I needed a song that was similar in length. I actually organized all 5000+ songs of my iTunes by song length so I could see everything that was in the running. I’m a crazy person.

Anyway, I threw this overlooked Strung Out good ‘un on there and grew to love it so much, it found its way onto my birthday mix. For a song in my organization, that’s like going from AA straight to The Show. Congratulations to Mission Statement! If you could smear shaving cream in a song’s face during a TV interview, I would.

9. Generation X – Kiss Me Deadly

This song’s on here because I still love SLC Punk and Hart and I were proud of that Punk Rawk Mix we made last January. Go read that if you want our thoughts about “Kiss Me Deadly.” And then while you’re in the clicking mood, go to our Zazzle store  and buy something there too. We could do this full time if only a thousand of you would do that. Each week. For the whole year. So, uhh, get to clicking.

10. The Spencer Davis Group – Gimme Some Lovin’

As a movie, Pirate Radio really isn’t that good. Thin character development, a shitload of montages, and a plot that never feels like there’s much at stake make for a mediocre film from a critical perspective. But as a fun way to spend two hours, it’s unparalleled. The soundtrack rocks, the cast is loaded with ringers, and if you’ve ever worked in radio in any capacity, this movie is pure porn. In your ultimate utopia, you picture people hanging on your every word, gathering with friends for your show, and laughing at all the parts they’re supposed to laugh at. In reality, even people you know don’t give a crap you’re on the radio, people only call your show to bitch about it, and it’s like an average of 4 minutes that people listen to you. This movie supplies the vision of the ultimate radio utopia, and I fucking loved that.

This song, I think, was used in the trailer, so that’s why it finds itself here on this mix. Pirate Radio is that fun.

11. The Killers – When You Were Young

Fuckin’ Guitar Hero III. That’s why I’m into this song. I used to hate The Killers and still find their suffocating pretentiousness nearly insufferable, but fuck it. Getting older has mellowed me out and I’ve dropped all the stupid snobbery I used to house (which I also claimed I had none of – I’m a dick) in favor of just liking shit that’s good. Life is way more fun this way. (Ed. note: I had never seen this video until putting this article together, and holy hell is it one pretentious pile of dogshit. Watching it reminded me of why I used to hate The Killers so much.)

12. Adele – Right As Rain

Just one word for this song: Sultry. Adele’s smoky, sexy voice leads this little upbeat number that makes you move in your seat no matter where you are. I used to have a really skewed perception of music in that anything that didn’t just rattle the windows with thundering drums was written off as “chill music.” I’m an idiot. Stuff like Adele’s “Right as Rain” are peppy jams that can pick your day right up the same as a Strung Out noisefest.

Quasi-related sidenote: Lady E and I watched VH1’s “100 Greatest Artists Ever” thing a couple weeks ago (or what should have been titled “Alright VH1, you win. I’ll watch anything you put on here where musicians and critics talk about other musicians.”) and Adele was there as a talking head. I thought she was black. She looked nothing like I pictured her. Of course, my ex-girlfriend though Everlast was black despite House of Pain’s blatantly Irish iconography. My point: ???

13. Wilco – Jesus, Etc.

I used to hate Wilco for no reason. I’d never heard them, but I hated the way hipsters never shut the fuck up about how great Jeff Tweedy was. That’s a moronic reason to dislike a band, so in the spirit of my new attitude, I gave ‘em a shot. While I don’t think they’re as great as people who think unkempt hair is a fashion statement do (a lot of their music seems to drone on and on), a lot of it is pretty damn swell. Especially this song. Listen to this song.

14. Tegan & Sara – Walking With a Ghost

In 2006, Lady E’s birthday was approaching. I didn’t know what to get her, so I wandered around Best Buy trying to use The Force to divine a gift. Out of the corner of my eye in the new release section I spied Tegan & Sara’s new album. I vaguely remembered Lady E saying something about them or this new album or something a few weeks earlier, so I picked it up, paired with a couple of other things and clumsily presented her gift to her. She loved it, and we’ve actually enjoyed this group together ever since.

The point? If you take a random shot in the dark at your woman’s birthday gift and hope for the best, you’ll always be right and will never have that backfire on you. That’s good advice. Write that down.

15. Street Sweeper Social Club – Promenade

When making the CD mixes for Tron’s bachelor party, Senor Limon forcefully urged me to add this track. And what is this song? That requires a bit of role-playing. You play the role of a peaceful sockeye salmon swimming blissfully in Lake Ozette in Northwest Washington. The song “Promenade” plays the role of the hungry bald eagle that swoops down looking for a fatty snack (i.e. you) where the song’s impossibly infectious, unholy union of rock, rap, and square dancing hook (playing the part of the eagle’s death grip talons) tear into your fishy scales and don’t let go no matter what happens.

This song is ri-goddamn-diculously catchy.

16. Alkaline Trio – This Addiction

The only song on this list actually from 2010. Hooray! I’m getting so old I don’t listen to current music! (pours self glass of Metamucil and sheds a single tear for the disappearance of youth)

17. Kings of Leon – Sex On Fire

This is one of my favorite song titles ever. I think that helps me like this song even more than I should. I realize how stupid that is and that it’s akin to buying a house based on the name of the street it’s on, but it adds to the vibe of this song.

Yeaaaahhhh-haaaa! This sex is on FIRE!

Yeah! What the fuck does that even mean? I don’t know! It sounds awesome though! Flinty, desperate vocals and lots of negative space in this song that lead to an explosion of a chorus means this song kicks the dick out of you. Everyone’s probably sick of this song already, but considering how behind I am on all music, you’d probably expect that I’d love it right about now. Look for my fawning review of Neon Trees or 30 Seconds to Mars’ newest album or whatever the hell has been popular in the last six months in 2012!

18. Thrice – All That’s Left

Another one from this mix. Read my thoughts on it there. In short, Thrice is like the punk rock equivalent of drinking great wine or experiencing high art. Also, they sound way better at night than they do during the day.

19. Vices I Admire – Keep Killin’ Me

As part of the 48 Hour Film project we referenced on Friday, part of the challenge was securing the music rights to local bands for use in the film. Since I haven’t hung out with local bands in like, six years, and considering most local bands will have split up, gotten back together again, split up, and gone on to form new bands in that time, this proved difficult. Thankfully I ran into an old acquaintance from Stepshort who enthusiastically agreed to participate (read: “I don’t give a fuck if you use Stepshort’s music. Come see my new band, Torch the Wagon!”), and hooked up with the guys above. I didn’t suck their dicks or anything. Although I would have. Maybe. Is this thing still on?

I’ve known these guys since college and their sound has really come together since then. We actually used this song at our film’s resolution, and the ominous build gives way to a badass, primordial scream that punctuated our main character’s key discovery. Additionally, this song just fucking rocks. Check them out here. If nothing else, that’s got to be one of the great all time band names.

20. Killswitch Engage – This Fire

Move along. Nothing to see here. This isn’t yet another song I like for professional wrestling related reasons. I said move along, please…

21. The Jimi Hendrix Experience – The Wind Cries Mary

After watching Pirate Radio I went on this huge Jimi Hendrix kick. I originally had “Hey Joe” on this mix but that song lacks a chorus, has its protagonist going down to shoot his old lady, and brought the mix to a grinding halt like a fart mid-blow job.

So rather than trying to shoehorn classic guitar rock into a bunch of recent indie rock and uptempo punk tunes, I thought it better to close the mix on a chill note. Although this song is a lot like music nicotine because once it’s over, all you want is more Hendrix. In a weird way, it’s the perfect mix closer because ideally you’d just have some Jimi Hendrix teed up after this. And then you can bask in the knowledge that you’ve already lived longer than the genius you’re currently listening to and accomplished probably not even 1/10th of what he did. My point? The world is unfair, but sometimes the unfairness works in your favor!

That does it for this year’s songs to close out your summer. Enjoy the unseasonably warm weather while it lasts and then kiss your patio goodbye.

Hart will be back in a couple of days with something for you to read. Until then…

edagger@crujonessociety.com