Mix Contest VII

Mix Contest VII: It Aught to be Decades

Summer/Autumn 2009

Mixes required you to have songs “of” each decade starting w/ the 1950 through today, the 2000s. Now this “of” doesn’t have to be literally from the decade in question though you’re welcome to interpret it as such. If you don’t want to be as literal, songs can be about/related to/inspired/covering/referencing/strikingly influenced by the decade. Don’t feel boxed in but do have support for your musical choices.

Specifically: Each mix will have to include TWO songs “OF” each decade starting with the 1950s to today, the 00s. I know you all can count by tens, but just in case No Child Left Behind, well? did, that means:

  • TWO songs each “from” each the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s. **
  • In addition you’ll also need to include ONE traditional song – be it folk, blues, country, classical, etc.
  • That’s 13 required songs, the rest (if you have more) are up to you.
  • Because this “of each decade” idea isn’t and shouldn’t to be taken precisely, I have one piece of strict rule-dom:
  • YOU MAY NOT, under ANY circumstances use the song “We Didn’t Start the Fire” by Billy Joel on your Decades mix or you will be disqualified. I’m totally serious. The rest of the world’s pop music catalog is up for grabs, but not this song. Why? Uh, let me quote the Joel of Billy himself: “Pope Paul, Malcolm X, British politician sex, JFK, blown away, WHAT ELSE TO I HAVE TO SAY!” I see this year’s contest as a bit of a history of rock and roll, if you will. As the first decade of Aughts comes to a close let’s turn over that rock & roll and see what we find.

** I know sourcing the older song files is vexing for some of you, so I want to reiterate the different ways you can connect a song to a decade. In my call for participants email I said about/related to/inspired/covering/referencing/ strikingly influenced by the decade. I’m here to elaborate on that.

  • From (the Decade)
    A song written & performed in that decade.
  • Cover (from that Decade)
    A song from a decade, performed in another decade (or not). Covers can fit into either decade, the one from the original OR the one from the cover performance. Unless any of you are historic Smithsonian recording geeks, I anticipate that most of the Trad songs will be in this category.
  • Style Inspired by/strikingly influenced by (the Decade)
    This one is the vague one and it’s sort of hard to explain it without using examples, so I hope I don’t blow anyone’s songs, but this is a good mainstream example: The Stray Cats. They’re an 80s band but their sound is pure 50s Rockabilly. So if you had a Stray Cats song on your mix, you could use it for either the 80s or the 50s because the style of the song is 50s but it was made in the 80s.
  • Sampled from (the Decade)
    If a modern day song samples a song from another Decade, that modern song is up for two potential decades. Dee-lite’s “Groove is in the Heart” (1990) sampled the Herbie Hancock song “Bring Down the Birds” from the movie soundtrack Blow Up (1966). “Groove” could be used for 90s or 60s. “Bring Down..” could be used for 60s. [If you really want to, I’m ok with forward referencing – using “Bring Down” to reference the 90s – but too much and it makes my brain hurt so the song better be obvious to everyone otherwise you look like a chump. So I’d caution against it, but forward reference is not “outlawed” for (lack of a better word) !]

About/Referencing (the Decade)
A song that lyrically is about or references something that occurred in that decade. Because Mr. Joel references every single decade included in the contest, AND it’s annoying, this is why “We Didn’t Start the Fire” isn’t allowed. It’s so tempting to pick (even ironically) that I worried about the result of anyone picking that song.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *