"Perhaps the most impressive of all the cookbook blogs are the three devoted to the 2004 edition of Gourmet magazine's "The Gourmet Cookbook" -- all 5¼ pounds and 1,300-odd recipes of it. Befitting this culinary Everest, all three writers are overachievers in their professional lives."

--Lee Gomes, The Wall Street Journal, May 28, 2008
"I should have told you before how much I've been enjoying reading your thoughts. You seem like such a great cook."

--Ruth Reichl, Editor-in-Chief of Gourmet Magazine, June 8 2008, comment on "Chocolate Velvet Ice Cream".

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Songs of 2011: music to cook (and do other things) by

I will be eternally grateful for my brother-in-law, John Waters, for introducing me to Radio Paradise. This internet radio station is lovingly curated by a California couple, and I've found some great stuff through their eclectic sets. 

So in the spirit of "Best of 2011" as we slouch towards the end of the year, here are some of my musical favorites from the past 11 months, discovered on Radio Paradise. And (as you'll discover)--this music wasn't necessarily released in 2011, but 2011 is when I found it. So now, in no particular order, 28 of my faves of the songs I've sung, danced, worked, cooked, driven and memorized the words to this year. 

1. Tropicalia by Beck
I know, it came out in 1998 but it counts (to me anyway). Fun, upbeat and quirky.

2. That Man by Caro Emerald
Sexy and so stylish, this neo-forties tune is totally danceable.

3. Ride by Liz Phair
I used to say this prayer when I was a kid and it scared the hell out of me. Of course, I didn't say it exactly like this, but maybe I should have.

4. Sticks and Stones by The Pierces
All I can say is: Girl Power.

5. Days Go On by Greg Laswell
This song is perfect for driving at night, on a dark highway.

6. Fishies by Cat Empire
Stand-up bass, castenets, piano, horn section and a reference to Homer's Odyssey, all wrapped around a song about a beautiful woman on a dance floor. Seriously, what's not to love here?

7. Mixed Bizness by Beck
Beck, where have you been all my life? How did I miss you? This retro-70s tune could not be more perfectly crafted for the dance floor.

8. Oh My My by Jill Barber
For some reason this reminds me of The Lime and The Coconut song, but 10K times better. Catchy.

9. Senegal Fast Food by Amadou and Mariam
I like to listen to songs in French even though I can only understand random phrases and words. But it makes me optimistic that I'll actually be fluent someday if I can sing along.

10. The Devil's Paintbrush Road by The Wailin' Jennys
Mandolin? Uke? Not sure exactly, but this song is easy to sing along to. Okay, it's not the cheeriest song, but who cares?

11. Unsquare Dance by Dave Brubeck
Brilliantly mesmerizing in 7/8 time, whatever that is. Well, I guess it's this song. YOU figure it out.

12. Gone Man by The Eels
A lot of these songs are linked in my mind to moving to a new dojo. This song was how I felt after my first real sparring lesson.

13. Build a Wall by Burlap to Cashmere
Some songs I like for their dance or kissing potential, some I like for workout potential. This is one of the latter.

14. Long Time Traveler by The Wailin Jennies
I can carry a tune, but it's one of my fantasies to be able to sing tight harmony like this performance, which is hauntingly beautiful.

15. Supermassive Black Hole by Muse
I was crushed when I found out this was in the credits somewhere in the Twilight movie series (I feel so cheap!) but this is still a kick-ass song.

16. Shooby Shooby Do Ya by Mocean Worker
Another fun workout song with a retro feel.

17. Feel Good Inc. by Gorillaz
I liked this tune until I saw the official video (linked here) and then I loved it. Need a little upbeat dystopia with a hip-hop groove? You got it.

18. Seven Nation Army by Ben L'oncle Soul
Great beat, fun retro album cover (I think this is a trend) and apparently a cover of something by the White Stripes?

19. Destiny by Zero 7
Mellow groove--this is the second song of theirs from this album that I've really liked (In the Waiting Line is the other one). It's a decade old, but new to me.

20. Painting Pictures by Adele
She's got kind of an Amy Winehouse thing going on. Great voice.

21. Machu Picchu by The Strokes
This guy sounds just like the lead singer of Franz Ferdinand. Is he? Somebody tell me.

22. Starlight by Rachael Yamagata
Catchy. Sexy.

23. The Sea by Morcheeba
For chilling. Nice and mellow.

24. Everybody Knows by Leonard Cohen
This is an old one but it fits our times so precisely that it raises the hair on the back of my neck. If you're feeling bitter and disillusioned, you're in good company with Leonard.

25. Once Around the Block by Badly Drawn Boy
Ten years old but new to me. Such a great tune!

26. In Amsterdam by Katzenjammer
I have no idea how to categorize this song with the manic trumpet riff. Sort of half carnival, half calvary. It elevates my heart rate just listening to it (in a good way).

27. Options by Gomez
You've probably heard this on the radio. Did they steal the chorus from Dr. Seuss? Love the bari sax.

28. Without You by Eddie Vedder
And to finish, a love song on the uke by Eddie Vedder. Sweet and beautiful.


Anonymous said...

I love the Wailin' Jennys! And of course Everybody Knows. Gotta check out this radio station, sounds great. And here I am, cooking my mock tajine as we speak (waiting for the broth to heat, and if I don't keep busy I'll rush it).

Merry Christmas to all!

Mark said...

Hey, Melissa, I didn't realize you had such an eclectic taste in music! Nice list.