Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Mix of the Month: April

This month's mix is actually an assignment I had for this CD swap project that I participate in each month. The assignment in this case was "Duplicity."

It turned out to be one of the toughest and most rewarding CD mix assignments I have ever done. I'm not sure why I struggled so much, except that I thought it was such a fascinating topic and I wanted very much to capture the essence of the word itself, not just amass as many cheatin’ songs as I could find. I wanted the perfect collection of songs that, on their own, would perfectly describe Duplicity.

I enlisted a lot of help with this mix, so I'd like to take this opportunity to give mad props to Conrad, Brian, Amanda, Mikey, Amy and mAc. Let me know how we did.
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DUPLICITY
Lyin’ Ass Bitch/Fishbone - I can’t think of a better way to start a duplicitous mix, and for this suggestion, I thank my friend Conrad. Even if you don’t love ska, the La La La’s are totally infectious and the ending just kicks ass, pure and simple. “Lying piece of sack of shit slut trash can scummest dirt bag... Biiiitch!”

Two Girls/Cinerama - This song was a gift from my hip friend Amanda, and would have kicked off the mix had Conrad not suggested the Perfect Song for just that. Before I read the actual lyrics, I thought this guy was singing about dating two girls at once because his girlfriend was schizophrenic and/or bipolar. As it turns out, he really is just a cheating bastard. “I didn't plan on falling for two girls at the same time / I didn't plan on lying to you.” Either way, it’s perfectly duplicitous, especially since his two girls are clearly such polar opposites: “You are perfection personified / While, frankly, she's undignified.”

Would I Lie to You?/Eurythmics - This is just the first of a handful of songs that beg the question, “Would I lie to you?” In this particular case, I believe that Annie is throwing the phrase back in the face of her lover-turned-cheater with a defiant, unsaid Fuck You: “Tell you straight - no intervention / To your face - no deception / You're the biggest fake / That much is true / Had all I can take / Now I'm leaving you.” You tell him, sister.

Cheating on You/Franz Ferdinand - On the flip side, Franz Ferdinand is just coming right out and admitting his infidelity. Hell, they’re practically celebrating it. “Goodbye girl, you know you want me / Goodbye girl, yes I'm a loser… I'm cheating on you, yeah.” And I have to ask—ladies, when will we learn?? I mean, the fact that his girlfriend is staying with him despite the cheating is stupid rocker boyfriend BULLSHIT that unfortunately happens all the time, and when will we girls learn that these boys in bands, while hot, are BAD NEWS??? The Franz Ferdinand answer: never.

You Don’t Know Me/Ray Charles - Thanks to the movie and its recent Oscar success, Ray Charles has gotten seriously over-exposed. You might not want to hear “Hit the Road Jack” again for a very long time. But to leave him alone altogether would be to miss out on this lovely gem about rock ‘n’ roll’s greatest theme, ever: unrequited love. It’s sweet, yearning, heartbreaking, and yet admittedly deceiving, as he clearly hasn’t told his beloved about his feelings. And so, she goes along blindly treating him like just friend, and breaking his heart. “You think you know me well / But you don't know me.”

Was it a Lie?/Sleater Kinney - Here’s a whole different kind of duplicity—the lying liars in the media, and the lying web of lies they spin. The full lyrics to this song tell just the saddest most horrifying story you’ve ever heard: a woman is killed on the train tracks and, without firm evidence, the media asserts suicide and turns it into their Hot Story. Maybe it was, maybe it wasn’t, but either way, is it right to use a woman’s personal tragedy for entertainment? Sleater Kinney wants to know: “was it a lie? / did it fill your head / did it entertain? / Will you feel alive at the end of it?”

Outlaw/Olive - This was a suggestion from my friend Brian and an extremely appropriate one at that. He reads it as a woman who finds out her boyfriend is gay/bi and cheating on her. I think he’s right. The lyrics? Are perfect: “Two faces / Playing with my trust in you / You cover all your traces / And watch me relax with you.” Exactly the essence of Duplicity.

Who Is He (And what is he to you)?/Bill Withers - This was a suggestion from my sister Amy. Because just because you’re lying and cheating, it doesn’t mean your significant other hasn’t figured out your bullshit, you cheating liar, you. I love this lyric: “When I add the sum of you and me / I get confused when I keep coming up with 3.”

Liar/Rollins Band - Okay. So I worked on this mix for awhile and, as you can see, enlisted the help of several people. Throughout it all, I kept bugging mAc about trying to find just one more perfect song. Just one more song that is the most evil, two-faced, deceitful, duplicitous song ever. And throughout it all, he was just as hard-pressed as I was to think of That Song I was trying to think of. Until, that is, the day I finished the mix. I was reading the final track list to him when he suddenly blurted out, “Liar! Henry Rollins!” (And then he started yelling/singing, much like Henry, “Cause I’m a LIAR!!!!” and it was really cute.) One listen and I felt, finally, like I’d found just the song I was looking for. Many of the other songs on this mix like to tease you with their deception; Henry gets right in your face, screams at you that he’s lying to you, and then calls you an idiot for not noticing. If you’ve ever wondered whether or not Henry Rollins is bitter about watching the girls he likes date scum bag liars and not him? Wonder no more. Homeslice is riding the Bitter Train, enjoying a plate of Bitter Pie a la Bitter, with a big full glass of Fuck You for Not Liking Me You Stupid Bitch! Think I’m exaggerating? “I'll hide behind a smile and understanding eyes and I'll tell you things that you already know so you can say: I really identify with you, so much / and all the time that you're needing me is just the time that I'm bleeding you, don't you get it yet? / I'll come to you like an affliction / then I'll leave you like an addiction.” And then, the finale: “I can't believe I ever hurt you, I swear I will never lie to you again / please, just give me more chance, I'll never lie to you again. . . Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha! Sucker!” So Henry, um, are you going to call me or what?

Deceptacon/Le Tigre - In the true spirit of this mix, I feel I can’t lie to you about this song: it’s not actually about lying, deception, or duplicity in any way that I can tell. It is, however, rockin’ and boppy and fun, and the perfect reprieve after the Rollins Assault. Besides, the title of the song is Deceptacon, and that counts for something in my mix.

Girls! Girls! Girls!/Liz Phair - “I take full advantage / Of every man I meet / I get away almost every day / With what the girls call . . . murder.” Even though, like Henry, Liz is very up front about her evil ways, it somehow comes across far, far sexier. If you can figure out what time this song is in (as in ¾, 4/4, etc.) would you let me know? Thanks.

His N Hers/I Am the World Trade Center - Just so that no aspect of cheating is left unexplored, I had to include the song from the perspective of The Other Woman. “Well you caught me in the middle and I wanted to stop but I was tongue-tied/ His N hers will see & he and she will know that I was the one who lied.”

Lies/EMF - This choice was many things, not the least of which was an attempt to prove there are other songs on Shubert Dip besides “Unbelievable.” It was also an homage of sorts to the bratty Lana Lang on Smallville (“Duplicity” was the title of one of its episodes). It sounds like exactly the kind of accusatory thing she would say: “You said too much / And what you said it was a lie.”

Rub Til It Bleeds/PJ Harvey - Mikey gets the credit for this choice. In general, I think, if your woman says to you, “God’s truth, I’m not lying,” and then starts to chuckle wickedly, chances are she does not have your best interests at heart. In fact, I’d bet good money that her promise to “Rub it ‘til it bleeds” is not, as you originally suspected, a euphemism. Run. Run fast.

Your Cheatin’ Heart/Patsy Cline - Again, it’s the semi-sweet recovery from the previous intense track. In this delightful little tune, Patsy takes a tack at which many moms particularly excel when addressing the one who done her wrong: Guilt. “Your cheatin' heart Will make you weep / You'll cry and cry / And try to sleep / But sleep won't come / The whole night through / Your cheatin' heart / Will tell on you.” The beauty is, she’s not even giving him more reasons to feel guilty, she’s just content to let him fall on is own sword. Well played, Ms. Cline. Well played indeed.

Your Little Secret/Melissa Etheridge - Question: Is it possible to listen to a lesbian sing about secrets and not assume she’s talking about a lover who’s not only still in the closet, but who is also living a straight existence with a man? Answer: No. It’s not possible. See for yourself: “I like the way you look / I know you like me / But one and one and one / Baby, makes three / Stop playing those eyes / If you want me to keep / Your little secret.”

Cherry Lips (Go Baby, Go!)/Garbage - Ah yes, the cutest little ode to a transvestite that you ever did hear. The chimes in the big finish just slay me. Plus, this is one of the few positive tracks on this mix, as in: honey, being the cutest queen ever is hard, but we’ve got your back. Go get ‘em girl. “With your cherry lips and golden curls / You could make grown men gasp when you go walking past / And in your hot pants and high heels / They could not believe that such a body was for real / Because you looked just like a girl.”

Surprise/Luscious Jackson - Like “Deceptacon,” this song was included more for pure rockin’ value and it’s apropos title, especially coming after “Cherry Lips.” Too Crying Game for you? How about this: this song? Is sung from the perspective of semen, and despite what you may believe after hearing these songs, I am not lying. Gross, but true.

Terrible Lie/NIN - Because suicide and trannies and jizz aren’t controversial enough, I thought I’d include a song accusing God of being a big, fat liar. “Hey God, I think you owe me a great big apology.” That Trent, he’s so wounded.

We Might As Well Be Strangers/Keane - At long last, we’re winding down. Duplicity really doesn’t bring out the best in people, does it? Are you amazed at how such an ugly concept with such hateful, bitter lyrics can yield such amazing music? I am. But I also wanted to address the fallout, not just for the liar (thanks again, Patsy), but for the lied-to. As for the victims of duplicity, the ramifications are varied—there’s confusion, pain, anger, extreme bitterness (Henry), and finally, resignation. Maybe this song was just about a couple growing apart. But I can’t think of a more common reason for a couple divided than sheer duplicity. “I don't know your face no more / It's just a place I'm looking for / We might as well be strangers in another town.”

Trust in Me/Etta James - Now that you’ve heard all of these other songs, let me ask you this: when Etta James soothingly and passionately beseeches you to trust her, do you believe her? Would you have believed her before this mix started, but maybe not now? Ever notice how it’s generally the deceitful that have to ask to be trusted? I’m just saying.

5 comments:

dothatgirl said...

Love the mix! Now I keep thinking of duplicitous songs at random moments. The latest? "Creep" by TLC: "I love my man with all honesty but I know he's cheatin' on me. I look him in his eyes but all he tells me is lies to keep me near. I'll never leave him down though I might mess around it's only 'cause I need some affection" He cheats. She cheats. She knows it, he doesn't. But they're in lurve. Twisted. "If he knew the things I did, he couldn't handle it and I choose 2 keep him protected"
oh I oh I oh I ee I

Highwaygirl said...

OK, I'm now going to have to download both "Liar" and "Girls! Girls! Girls!" The former because, well - Henry. The latter because you just have to love Liz's propensity for telling her men to fuck off.

Tim said...

Just curious, why the Patsy Cline version and not the Hank Williams version of "Your Cheating Heart"?

Dinah said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Dinah said...

2 reasons.
1) It's what I had handy
2) I *heart* Patsy Cline