What is it that makes rock stars — dudes who often drink hard, wear black mascara, smoke nefarious substances and write about things that are taboo in daily conversation — get all weepy when they sing about Mother Earth?
That’s what I’ve been obsessed with for months, as I’ve been stockpiling songs in a little folder on the PC’s desktop to make a kick-ass Earth Day mix disc. It’s done, finally. I finished it the day after Earth Day. That’s about par for the course these days.
While you can debate the worth of Earth Day — yes, it’s mostly preaching to the choir — no one can deny the power of good music. We’ll be spinning this disc long after the memory of April 22’s events have faded.
Thanks to that aforementioned soft spot with rock ‘n’ rollers, it’s mostly a mid-tempo lineup, with a goodly number of ballads and slow anthems. (Neil Young and Yes, I’m not judging. But what the hell?)
Anyway, here’s the track list. At 78 minutes, it just fits on a disc:
- “Crocodile Hunter,” Cartman — A sound clip from “South Park.”
- “Digging in the Dirt,” Peter Gabriel
- “Last Great American Whale,” Lou Reed
- “Where’s Your Analog Spirit,” Marvin Etzioni — Formerly of Lone Justice, this guy is deliciously weird.
- “Measure the Globe,” Astronautalis — My favorite white rapper, though this is more of a Moby-esque ballad. The live version linked here is good, but the studio version kicks.
- “Greenpeace,” James — A sort of two-character dialog between a cutthroat developer and a man who chooses to ignore the first man.
- “Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most,” Ella Fitzgerald
- “The Earth,” Lisa Germano — Formerly John Mellencamp’s fiddler. Otherwise, see Marvin Etzioni’s description.
- “Mother Earth,” Neil Young & Crazy Horse — The roaring feedback saves this from being too treacly.
- “Save Me Now,” Jeff Lynne — This one may actually be too plaintive, but he’s probably my favorite rock vocalist of all time. So that trumps.
- “Apple Blossom Time,” Flat Duo Jets — Damn, whatever happened to these guys?
- “Mr. Blue Sky,” E.L.O. — Yeah, remember what I said about Jeff Lynne? (Jenn’s just glad I didn’t put the entire “Concerto for a Rainy Day” on here…)
- “Sensitive to Bees,” Marzipan — A comedy bit from the awexome “Strong Bad Sings” CD. We miss you Homestar Runner!
- “Earth and Sun and Moon,” Midnight Oil
- “Still Water,” Daniel Lanois — This guy’s magic in the studio. IMO, it’s his influence that brought out the best in U2 on “The Joshua Tree.”
- “What Are We Gonna Do,” Dramarama — The only song on here actually about Earth Day, but why they thought it was April 21, I may never know.
- “Waiting for the Sun,” The Jayhawks
- “Tree by the River,” Iron & Wine
- “Where Does the World Go to Hide,” Utopia — I bought the Beatlesque album this song is on when I was 12, from the Kmarts. So glad I remembered it existed…
- “Holy Lamb,” Yes — Only Jon Anderson can get away with singing, “It takes a loving heart/to see and show/This love for our own ecology.” … OK, no he can’t.
- “Wendell Gee,” R.E.M. — Just for the pretty, nature-inspired chorus.
- “Being Green,” Kermit the Frog — You knew this was coming, right?