WARMER MIXTAPES #616 | by Paul Cook [Paul Cook & The Chronicles]
1. Simon And Garfunkel | The Only Living Boy In New York
I can't remember where I was exactly when I first heard this but it was only a few years ago so it's even more impressive how instantly struck by it I was. It's incredible for a song from the 60s to have that kind of impact still when there's been so much Music since then. When I found out that Paul Simon had written it about Art Garfunkel leaving NY for a film role and how lonely Paul Simon felt in his absence, I thought that was one of the most touching and beautiful things for someone to write about their best friend. The aaaah, aah, aaah section still leaves me baffled as to how they did it. They must have layered it so much but the here I am lyric at the end almost brings me to tears each time I hear it.
2. The Beach Boys | Wouldn't It Be Nice
Similarly with this song it's such a beautiful subject to write about. A Love song without being an obvious Love song. A song about wanting and building a life together. Teenage hopes. I'd love to know what people's reactions were on hearing this for the first time back in the mid-60s as I imagine it would've completely knocked them for six. It's still such a bold and striking melody.
3. Cass McCombs | You Saved My Life
I was in a bad place emotionally when I heard this song a year ago. I was also at a point where I wanted to strip my sound back a bit. This just immediately spoke to me and made the hairs on my neck stand on end. It's heartbreaking and I was heartbroken and disappointed, ironically by the girl who opened my ears to Cass McCombs. It was a strange sort of self torture, or self medication, depending on how you look at it. Either way it was the perfect inspiration for Volume One.
4. Big Star | September Gurls
I was in my car (when I still had one) about 6 years ago when this song came on the tape player. I'd heard it before but with the Sun out and the windows down, this song blaring out was a thrilling moment. It instantly creates images of 70s American summers. I don't know if you could create such an unashamedly feel good song anymore without appearing cheesy or contrived.
5. Elliot Smith | Son Of Sam
There's so many Elliot Smith songs I could put in here, and actually I may still put another in later, but for me this is a perfect song. The writing, performance and production are all out of this world. This song is a barometer for my own writing, and as I'm sure knowing is likely to reach this sort of peak again it's a great one to hold aloft and aspire to. I first heard it around ten years ago when British Music all sounded stale to me and it started an allegiance to American songwriters and bands over Brits which I still hold now.
6. Bob Dylan | You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go
This is a cheeky little number. You're gonna make me give myself a good talking to lyric always makes me grin and it touches me as I know that's the sort of woman I'll end up with. Blood On The Tracks came along at a perfect time for me, post break-up, when I needed inspiration to help me express the way I was feeling, but this song helps things not get too maudlin.
7. The Lemonheads | It's About Time
And Into Your Arms... Can't choose. They're both perfect Pop songs, and I wish I'd been around in America at this time to enjoy it.
8. Randy Newman | Living Without You
How can the lyric the milk truck hauls the Sun up be so heartbreaking? Because Randy Newman is a genius, that's how. I heard the Harry Nilsson version first and cried, then a year later heard the Randy Newman original... And cried.
9. The Beatles | Hello, Goodbye
A strange choice of Beatles song perhaps. Don't get me wrong, I love every single Beatles song, even the shit ones, but to me this one highlights a point where they were just flying. They were far away beyond what any other band were capable of and the crossover lyrics and vocals by Paul and John are such a good showcase of the Beatles Superiority.
10. Elliot Smith | Waltz #2 (XO)
Oh, go on then, one more... I've loved this song for a long time but the other day I was having an Elliot Smith day and noticed the lyric xo mum, it's okay, it's alright, nothing's wrong which is just heartbreaking when you consider what happened to Elliot Smith.