Since U Been Gone: Music for a Return Missionary

     This Tuesday, my brother Boston gets back from serving a two year mission in Houston, Texas.  During that time, he didn't watch movies, kiss girls, check Facebook, or listen to music.  Instead, he talked to people about Jesus and restored Christianity, selflessly served others, and changed people's lives.  Now that he's back, I feel that it's my duty to help him adjust to post-mission life, and to do that, I made a mix of some of the music he missed in those two years.  Most of the songs are good, some of them are not as good, but I'd like to think that they paint a pretty accurate snapshot of what music was like in the past two years.  Some songs are from Schwarz brother's staples like Kanye, Coldplay, and the Killers and then others are inescapable time stamps of pop culture ("I Gotta Feeling", "Single Ladies", "TiK Tok").  Check out the list after the jump.  Any songs from June 2008-June 2010 that deserved to make the cut but didn't?

1. "I Gotta Feeling" - Black Eyed Peas
"I Gotta Feeling" is the most downloaded song in human history and when you listen to it, you know why.  It was written for the sole purpose of being a hit and making lots of money.  It was No. 1 for like a million years.  Ugh.

2. "Heartless" - Kanye West
Arguabley Kanye's biggest hit, the deep-freeze auto-tune art-pop of "Heartless" is so good, even Taylor Swift fans like it.  The countless covers showcased the song's softer side.

3. "Spaceman" - The Killers
"Spaceman" doesn't have the poetic punch that "Human" has ("Are we human or are we dancer?"), but it's more instant.  Classic Killers.

4. "Violet Hill" - Coldplay
"Viva La Vida" had leaked right before Boston left, but he still needed a Coldplay song on this mix.  2008 was the year they ruled the world, and "Violet Hill" captures that with its political lyrics and buzzing guitar.

5. "Poker Face" - Lady Gaga
Lady Gaga rocketed from underground New York club scene misfit to the most important pop star on the planet in the past two years.  Among all her hits in such a short time, "Poker Face" is her anthem.

6. "Pork and Beans" - Weezer
"Pork and Beans" was Weezer tackling 00's nostalgia before the decade even ended.  They covered Timbaland's chart dominance, taking bathroom mirror pics, and insta-YouTube fame in their video.

7. "Day N Nite" - Kid Cudi
In the post-Kanye world, Kid Cudi emerged as the new rising star.  His "Day N Nite" was hot, especially the Crookers remix which made the mix.

8. "Single Ladies" - Beyonce
Beyonce made "one of the greatest music videos of all time" and started a movement with "Single Ladies".  The message is clear, if you like it, you'd better put a ring on it.

9. "Electric Feel" - MGMT
MGMT toed the line between pretentious indie snobbery and mindless pop brilliance with their debut album.  "Electric Feel" was the best and most shocking song they've recorded.

10. "Love Story" - Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift became America's sweetheart by taking her diary and setting it to music.  "Love Story" is a classic boy meets girl, boy falls in love with girl, dad hates boy, boy convinces dad to let him marry girl, and they live happily ever after story.

11. "Sex on Fire" - Kings of Leon
I'm afraid Boston will skip this track due to its racy title, but the stirring rock anthem has nothing to do with sex.  Might as well call it "Pants on Fire" or "Toast on Fire".  Miles better than the more popular "Use Somebody".

12. "Paper Planes" - M.I.A.
M.I.A. made the jump from hipster blogosphere queen to mainstream artist with "Paper Planes" after Pineapple Express, a movie about marijuana, used it in it's trailer.

13. "Empire State of Mind" - Jay-Z feat. Alicia Keys
America might hate the Yankees, but it didn't stop their Jay-Z and Alicia Keys helmed theme song from going No. 1 following their 27th World Series.  "Empire State of Mind" is epic, there's no way around it.

14. "Bleeding Love" - Leona Lewis
"Bleeding Love" was the biggest song from a reality pop star since "Since U Been Gone".  Mentored by Simon Cowell on UK's X Factor, Leona Lewis scored a trans-Atlantic No. 1 with the single.

15. "Live Your Life" - T.I. feat. Rihanna
T.I. made it big the year before he went to jail, and the Rihanna featured "Live Your Life" was his crowning glory.  T.I. made an impact on the pop charts and Rihanna got a boost of credibility with this chart topper.

16. "L.E.S. Artistes" - Santogold
Santogold was destined to be the great anti-pop star when she released the scathing hipster diss-track "L.E.S. Artistes", but that didn't pan out.  She still has one hell of a debut single.

17. "Black & Gold" - Sam Sparro
When Sam Sparro sings "If you're not really here, then I don't want to be either," in "Black & Gold", he's not singing about a girl, he's singing about God.  How can my returned missionary brother not like this song?

18. "Underdog" - Kasabian
Kasabian blended indie, post-punk, electro-clash, and twangy rock-folk to make "Underdog", a defiant roll-down-the-windows-and-crank-the-stero rocker.

19. "TiK ToK" -Ke$ha
I didn't expect Ke$ha to still be with us six months later.  She brushes her teeth with Jack Daniels and reeked of one hit wonderdom.  But here she is.  "TiK ToK" was inescapable at the dawn of the decade, might as well include it.


Dan said...

Boston is lucky to have you as his brother. Very thoughtful. Dad

Nick said...

Good music selection. I hope he likes the CD case.

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