Spring is in the air, officially. That happened yesterday. I could not be happier. The winter is sucks, powerful sucks. It seems fun at the start with that first snow fall, but then it just drags on and everything is dead and miserable looking and you start to take on those characteristics. But now that is over! Everything is in bloom and the world once again appears new. With the blossoming world around me I felt my speakers needed to feel fresh, new life as well. So I compiled songs that resonate spring, or at least songs that will help kick that last bit of winter off.
So here are 17 songs to kick off your spring! Some Hart trivia for ya, all my mixes have an odd number of tracks. It’s something I have done since I started burning CD’s and doing otherwise feels weird. I was tortured when we did the CJS Punk Mix.
Enough of my weird OCD, let’s put that needle on the record.
A punk cover of a Muppets song, didn’t Me First and the Gimmie Gimmies do this like 85 years ago? Yes. But this made the cut this particular time not just because of my unhealthy love of felt creatures. This song signifies the freedom of the open road which is something I associate with spring time. I got my license in February, and I was timid, so winter driving sucked for me. The spring was when I really got to get out there and scare other drivers.
More importantly this song demonstrates that anything can happen and there is a world of possibilities and the best thing to do is to just roll with it. Everything is new and exciting in the spring and we should embrace it. There is a line towards the end of The Muppet Movie, where this song originally comes from, “There’s not a word yet for old friends who just met.” Spring is the perfect time to meet these new old friends.
While new friends are great, nothing compares to old friends. And it’s fantastic when you visit one you haven’t seen for months and you can be perfectly content cruising down the highway jamming out to The Clash.
Nine years ago I took a trip to San Diego and the most memorable part was when my buddy, who I hadn’t seen in about year, picked me up and we drove out to some Indian casino in the middle of fuck all. I think I won ten dollars maybe. But as we traveled down the highway we didn’t find it necessary to make small talk about the bullshit we’ve been up to, we made the same stupid jokes we used to make while “Clash City Rockers” blared through the speakers.
I’ve since lost contact with that friend, but whenever this song plays we’re both back cruising down that highway.
What surprised me was this song hasn’t found its way onto any of my other mixes. Ok granted there are like 135 Rancid songs on my iTunes so my minimal math skills tell me it is much more likely to find a Rancid song not on a mix than one that is on a mix. But I’ll need someone to double check that.
What can I say about this song? It was one of my earlier experiences in punk and it gave me a boot to my ear hole. It comes on fast and in your face. It’s the kind of song that will pump you up and get you out of your seat. It will shake that last bit of winter right off your boots, your roots, and your radicals.
Dropkick Murphys wrote a song perfectly describing the experience of going to the punk show with your buddies. I’ve lived this so many times. I often encounter people who don’t fully understand why I would go to so many shows, but when I hear this song I hear the words of someone who gets it. Someone who makes me know that I am not alone.
But it’s not just that others get it, but that it’s not just about the music and the show, but how you get to share that experience with your buddies. Recently Dagger and I were bullying a jukebox when the Less Than Jake song started playing and I told him I couldn’t believe he wasn’t going to that show. Partially because he was drunk and partially because Less Than Jake kills it, he bought tickets right then. And a week later we were living our own “Sunday Hardcore Matinee.”
Punk rock shows in the winter suck because you’re cold as shit then hot as balls then cold as shit again. They suck in the summer because you’re hot as balls. Or they are non-existent as everyone is playing the Warped Tour and you’re not a teenager. But shows in the spring time are Goldilocks, or Baby Bear, which of those would you use to say “just right?”
I don’t know about you, but spring makes me excited to stay outside, and how it becomes a lot easier to stay outside later. When I worked retail and had to stay at work until some stupid hour at night, it was always great when spring rolled around and a few of us would go to some park after work, have some beers, and just enjoy the time that is the furthest away from working again.
It was times like these that relationships grew. It was times like these when we would share secrets and learn about each other. It was times like these that were exactly like this song. It was times like these that I miss. How do we learn about each other now? Networking events and checking out online profiles? But we still want to see that secret, something no one else would know.
I mentioned earlier that spring time for me was a time to get in my car and cruise, and I loved rap music when I would do that. That is the reason I added more than usual rap music to this mix, by which I mean one song.
Childish Gambino is one of my favorite rappers right now. He manages to come with these lyrics that are somehow both brilliant and ridiculous. There’s these moments when you want to be like who writes that in a rap song, oh wait that’s actually pretty clever. Like, “How can number two be number/because I’m the shit.”He still talks himself up but he makes a poop joke in the process. It’s refreshing in a genre filled with bullshit posturing.
Often when a band I really like releases an album I don’t care for I have a bad habit of ignoring the whole catalog of the band. When Less Than Jake came out with “In With the Out Crowd” they were as good as dead to me. Fortunately “GNVFLA” is a great record and won me back. This has happened with Rise Against. “End Game” has failed to impress me, and Dagger even got me the sweet ass clear vinyl edition for my birthday.
So Rise Against started to receive less air play. Then recently, for reasons I can’t explain, I decided to listen to “The Sufferer and the Witness” and when that second track, “Injection,” came on I fully remembered everything that’s great about the band.
This is exactly how the seasons work. Winter is terrible and makes you hate everything that exists. Then that first warm spring day pops up and you’re like, “Yes! Rise Against does fucking dominate!”
There is often talk about seasonal depression, onset by how shitty winter is (have I mentioned that). Mine usually includes some internal existential inquisitions. But I’ll save that shit for a paid psychiatrist, and not you guys. But this song feels like Face to Face singing my thoughts. So why would I put that in a mix meant to move away from that sort of stuff? Because it’s important to know where you’re coming from in order to know where you’re going. Or some pretentiously deep bullshit like that. Also, I just like this song.
Cake has managed to find a way onto so many of my mixes. There have been mixes that have been nothing but fast in your face punk except for that one Cake song. I can’t fully explain it beyond the fact that Cake just makes music I want to listen to. Cake front-man John McCrea was recently on the Nerdist podcast and he explained that the band started as an anti-grunge band meant to demonstrate that modern rock and roll didn’t have to sound like grunge. Maybe there’s always been a part of me that didn’t want all the anger.
Additionally, spring is supposed to be this time of love and renewed love and all that bullshit. Sometimes I want that, and sometimes I meet someone and want this song dedicated to them in hopes it fans the flames. Sometimes I talk in vagueness that annoys even me.
For me a true sign of spring is St. Patrick’s Day. I know there are those who will call it amateur hour, and argue it’s annoying to be out around those who only drink on such days. I’m not one of those people. I have fun on St. Patrick’s Day, and I always have. From the time I ended the night by throwing up off the second floor balcony, to the game of King’s Cup that had beer, vodka and orange juice (Dagger had to drink that one), or wandering aimlessly around Tucson, it is a fun day.
So this mix needed the combination of punk rock and Irish and the best band for that job is none other than Flogging Molly.
I was hesitant to put this song on due to the pro-Jersey idea, but fuck it, that’s where they’re from and they have pride in it. I get that. Let’s move past it.
This is off their “Gold Record,” which is an album that felt like every word was written for me at the time it was released. If you have never had the pleasure of experiencing that, let me tell you it is incredible. I was able to deal with so much in my life just because of these songs. There are two key lyrics to this one. The first, “He’s betting everything on himself tonight.” This is not something I do enough, and this song reminds me that I should (it’s harder to have points that way). And of course the line, “We want to say thanks to the music in our lives.” To some of us the music is so important and we rarely stop to appreciate it on another level like that.
This goes along with betting everything on yourself. It’s about those times when you find yourself in a rut and you realize a change is needed. It’s time to get back to the good life. It’s simple and it’s what spring time is all about. Also, I can’t remember the last time Weezer made it to a mix. May have been a time when I was living a good life.
I realize this song is probably supposed to be ironic, but who cares? It’s a totally up-tempo ska song, and I can’t help but dance around when I hear it. I can picture an animated video for this song where the sun is smiling and singing the words to the blooming flowers and the blossoming trees, El Hefe pops in from the side of the screen with his trumpet, and everything is dancing. The world is joyous as this song plays, despite the sarcastic cynical lyrics. Clearly this is the part of the mix where things really start looking up.
During the spring time life really feels like a holiday. The cares melt away with the snow, everyone is excited as they anticipate their vacations, and the sun comes like a gift. As much fun as it is to be angry and hate things, I really get more of a kick out of the positive stuff. Sure things get shitty and it’s easy to dwell on those terrible things, but it’s not all bad. The shitty stuff usually goes away, and it goes away more quickly with the up-beat attitude. I try my best to act as if life is a holiday and I encourage you to do the same.
I mentioned earlier about wandering aimlessly around Tucson on a St. Patrick’s Day. That day was spent Senor Limon and it wasn’t that aimless. We were dancing and drinking and chasing the girls. Typical Hart and Limon past times. As great as relationships are, and how nice it is having someone there for you, the hunt is a blast. When you can just enjoy the moment and embrace all the good and bad that comes from trying find that person that will change your life, then it will be so much sweeter when you do find that person. Rom-coms have us believing that this is pure agony, but this song reminds me that it is all wonderful.
The main reason this song made the cut is for the whistling. Whistling like in this song epitomizes spring time. As he whistles he stumbles into that animated Nofx video and all the plants and the sun join in. Then it turns into a dueling whistle thing. Then Uncle Remus shows up and suddenly winter is a thing that no longer exists, ever.
This song also follows what happens after the last song. You find the girl and it changes your world. Mostly for the better, but at times for the worst. Either way it becomes a part of who you are and it’s best to keep it under the guise of a merry melody, and whistling.
Less Than Jake was mentioned in the article more times than the word “the” (again, minimal math, contact a professional). It was only a matter of time before they made a real appearance, and they do it with a hint of cynicism. I suppose this is my way of trying to keep myself grounded. I’ve built spring up as the greatest thing and only good things happen in spring and that it will last forever. However, it does eventually end and I just wonder will I be when that happens? I better just enjoy it now while I can. Plus I heard this song like a month ago and fell in love with it.
Here’s to a happy spring everyone!
21 Mar 2012 Lee S. Hart