No overarching theme here, just some songs I’ve been listening to lately that are split nearly evenly between old and new. Most mixes I’ve made for other people tend to follow this non-format with selections I think they’d like to hear; this one, however, is for me.
Much of the new-ish stuff has a retro-disco tint that is always welcome; we’re so many decades past the “disco sucks” era (it arguably vanished once Deee-Lite’s “Groove Is In The Heart” hit in 1990) that such a notion now looks not only misinformed but positively quaint. Not that it’s suddenly fashionable, give or take a Dua Lipa or Lady Gaga, but just the idea of wistful, joyous, throw-all-caution-to-the-wind dance music endures whether it’s an unlikely duet between Carly Rae Jepsen and Rufus Wainwright, a kaleidoscopic anthem from former Savage Garden vocalist Darren Hayes, or an unlikely but euphoric ode to formalwear from U.S. Girls’ just-released album Bless This Mess. A choice cut from Pet Shop Boys’ best LP of the 21st century, 2013’s Electric, fits right in with these glitterball newbies.
And yet, I reiterate this isn’t a thematic mix since most of the other new songs aren’t danceable at all. Former Go-Betweens member Robert Forster takes stock of a thirty-year relationship and the profound meaning it has given his life, Yves Tumor crafts an itchy, rhythmic, onomatopoetic earworm, the onomatopoetically named beabadoobee pays inspired tribute to a similarly-titled classic by The Cure and The National ascends towards dad-rock heaven on their latest (and maybe best?) single. Listen as they all complement older tunes such as Blossom Dearie elegantly essaying another standard, Richard and Linda Thompson exhibiting fine defiance and drollness and Sky Ferreira constructing 21st century 1980s music out of such time-honored tools as melody and urgency.
The new song that kicks the mix off and gives it a title is a musical reunion for a duo who has recorded separately since the year 2000. I always wondered if Tracey Thorn and Ben Watt would ever work together again since they’ve remained a couple all this time; the first released track from the forthcoming album Fuse seems to almost pick up where they left off on 1999’s Temperamental with its electronic fervor, chill breakbeats and Thorn’s diva-like croon. But she sounds intriguingly deeper and wearier than she did just five years ago on her own great Record. “Kiss me while the world decays / Kiss me while the music plays” she repeats near the end and for sure, Everything But The Girl are firmly standing in 2023.
Haunted Jukebox Mix #2: Nothing Left To Lose