The Cool New Music Chronicles: Crusade and Jihad

CRUSADE AND JIHAD (September, 2001)


Let us recap: The final tape mix was made back in 1997. In early 2001 I did the twin projects of recreating all the old mixes on mp3 and documenting them on the web. This renewed interest spurred me to return to making them, although on CD now. The previous three entries were made afterwards to fill in the gap. We’re back in real-time now.

In early 2001 I left Carle hospital to work for Wolfram Research. I was hired as a writer, but soon I was instead helping my co-worker John with running the mass mailer system. I had been keeping myself away from computers, but now I dove back into them, learning a bit of Unix, as well as teaching myself PHP and some SQL.

My job was actually pretty interesting, and I liked the people I was working with. It was still just a job, though, and I still thought of it as nothing to get attached to. However, one of the benefits was employee counseling, and I took advantage of it. I confided to the counselor that I felt anxiety over the fact that I didn’t have a career, didn’t have anything I felt was worthwhile to say when people asked, “What do you do?” and had never felt a calling for such. Her response was: “So?” She pointed out that I made decent money, was happy with my work, wasn’t stressed at my job, had plenty of time when not working to do the things I liked, had a good marriage, a car, a house, weren’t wanting for anything. I had never thought about that before, strangely enough, and it lifted a veil from me.

She also prescribed the antidepressant Celexa, which could have helped as well.

With the weight of career worries off of me, the relationship between Becky and I vastly improved and strengthened. We’d been through a tough time and got out of it just fine.

I don’t need to tell you what else happened in September of 2001. Like everyone else, I well remember everything about that day. I was at work and also hanging out in chizat as usual when Anna, who was at home, mentioned that a plane had hit the World Trade Center. We were thinking small plane. I searched for news and of course the Internet went crazy. When the second plane hit, we knew something was up. A television was turned on in one of the meeting rooms, and I was getting updates from a thread on a forum I read, since all the news sites were hammered. Eventually we all went home early and even though I lived in the middle of nowhere, we had no idea how many planes had been compromised, and when the one went down in Pennsylvania we didn’t know if they were just ditching wherever they could.

The final thing that happened for me actually took place shortly after all this: my mom finally passed away from Alzheimer’s. It was horrible and disturbing to see her transform into this skeletal, moaning wight, and on top of that my uneasy relationship with my parents made the emotions more difficult to process.

  1. Alabama 3 – Woke Up This Morning (Sopranos Theme)
  2. Depeche Mode – Dream On
  3. Gorillaz – Clint Eastwood
  4. American Hi-Fi – Flavor of the Weak
  5. Evan And Jaron – From My Head To My Heart
  6. Shivaree – Bossa Nova
  7. Neko Case And Her Boyfriends – Mood To Burn Bridges
  8. Suzanne Vega – Widow’s Walk
  9. David Gray – Babylon
  10. U2 – Stuck In A Moment You Can’t Get Out Of
  11. Weezer – Island In The Sun
  12. Nina Gordon – Tonight And The Rest Of My Life
  1. Cake – Comfort Eagle
  2. Fatboy Slim – Weapon Of Choice
  3. They Might Be Giants – Man, It’s So Loud In Here
  4. R.E.M. – Imitation of Life
  5. Blue Man Group – Rods And Cones
  6. Fountains of Wayne – …Baby One More Time
  7. Garbage – Cherry Lips (Go Baby Go!)
  8. Jude – Rick James
  9. Hooverphonic – Mad About You
  10. Save Ferris – Mistaken
  11. Shriekback – Invisible Rays
  12. Moby – Porcelain

There’s a four-year gap between this mix and the previous one, and the fake ones in-between make it only slightly less of a difference than it would have been otherwise. Again, the rise of the mp3 and Napster brought a much more varied and interesting sound to the game; I had a lot better exposure to stuff and more access to it.

  • Alabama 3 – Woke Up This Morning (Sopranos Theme)

I don’t remember when we actually started watching The Sopranos. (We actually didn’t get that far into it.) The TV show, however, was not the main appeal of this song; it was the fact that it sounds exactly like Shriekback. Nothing else on the album sounds this way (though it’s a great album) but damned if the other three Shriekback fans and I didn’t hear this and go, “Hey, wait a second!”

  • Depeche Mode – Dream On

I think this is the final song for Depeche Mode. This album, Exciter, was anything but, with this being the best offering from it. It was also the last album I bought from the guys. I applaud them for still being around long after anyone thought they would, and still going strong, apparently, but I just find the newer stuff to not really do anything for me. I could still listen to Some Great Reward over and over, though.

  • Gorillaz – Clint Eastwood

I never got into rap or hip-hop as much as many of my friends did, though there was some I liked. This, however, was right up my alley, being infused with just enough pop and having a fun, playful spirit to the whole thing.

  • American Hi-Fi – Flavor of the Weak
  • Evan And Jaron – From My Head To My Heart
  • Weezer – Island In The Sun
  • Fountains of Wayne – …Baby One More Time

Fountains of Wayne once and for all revealed my love of power pop to me. Three minute songs about cars, girls, and being in a band, and the girls in question probably have no idea you even exist, though you’d be perfect for them. Of course, the FoW song here is a Britney Spears cover, done so perfectly you’d swear they were doing a good song.

  • Shivaree – Bossa Nova

We heard this on some TV show and I fell in love with it. You’re my favorite thing…in the room. So many of this little wannabe diva-ettes could learn twelve things about being cool from this one song.

  • Neko Case And Her Boyfriends – Mood To Burn Bridges

This one as well. Before she became just female singer number 12, Neko was doing a punky sort of bluegrass that’s a hell of a lot of fun.

  • Suzanne Vega – Widow’s Walk

How long had it been since I made a mix? Long enough for Suzanne Vega to release another album! And when I first heard it I went, “Uhh…did something happen with her marriage?” Yes. Yes something had. And she sings about it all pretty unflinchingly in a few of the songs here, but it doesn’t overpower everything.

  • David Gray – Babylon

I know I’ll catch some flack for this, but I like the song, and it’s another one of those tunes that reaches into me with some kind of nostalgia. For what, I don’t know, but it pushes that button for some weird reason.

  • U2 – Stuck In A Moment You Can’t Get Out Of

As you may have seen, I’ve only half-heartedly followed along with U2, but I do like this song.

  • Nina Gordon – Tonight And The Rest Of My Life

This was a solo effort from one of the women behind Veruca Salt. It wasn’t very good, though this song is cheesily enjoyable.

  • Cake – Comfort Eagle

Cake’s Comfort Eagle album is incredible, and the high point of it is the “Arco Arena”/”Comfort Eagle” punch. It blows me away every time, so much so that the three songs after it didn’t really get good listens from me for a while because I’d still be reeling. This is the “Crusade” portion of our program, and it’s just a phenomenal song.

  • Fatboy Slim – Weapon Of Choice

It’s hard to follow up “Comfort Eagle”, but Bootsy Collins quoting Dune is up to the task. Combined with memories of the video featuring a flying Christopher Walken, you get gold.

  • They Might Be Giants – Man, It’s So Loud In Here

I lamented before about They Might Be Giants becoming more of a “gag band” in their old age, with their songs becoming parodies of styles more than inspired by styles. This is a straight up rip on Pet Shop Boys/New Order, but I gotta admit, I love it.

  • R.E.M. – Imitation of Life

Not the last R.E.M. you’ll see, but almost. Not a bad song and there were maybe one or two other okay ones on Reveal but for the most part it slid right off my ears. It’s the last R.E.M. album I bought, and I only tried to listen to it a few times. The follow-up, Around the Sun was just godawful dull. It breaks my heart, but this band just dove headfirst into inessentiality.

  • Blue Man Group – Rods And Cones

I had heard one song off this album and really liked it, so I bought the whole thing. It’s quite samey — there are only so many sounds you get from PVC tubes, after all — but it’s some pretty cool stuff.

  • Garbage – Cherry Lips (Go Baby Go!)

Garbage had two pretty good album in them; this is from the third. Not bad, but you don’t need to run out and get the rest of the CD.

  • Jude – Rick James

You’re saying, “Who?”and I don’t have an answer for you. We heard this song on the radio while driving somewhere…possibly to Mississippi or Alabama to visit the Schwinds or the Bartons. I liked the song, later found it on mp3, and apart from that one time and its inclusion here have never heard it or the band again.

  • Hooverphonic – Mad About You

I don’t know exactly how I found these guys…possibly I got them from Anna, possibly she got them from me and I don’t know where I got them from. But their albums The Magnificent Tree and Blue Wonder Power Milk are really, really good.

  • Save Ferris – Mistaken

Part of the brief ska phase from the late 90s, this bad actually added more pop elements to the mix, and has some catchy stuff.

  • Shriekback – Invisible Rays

And then Shriekback DID have a new album! Called Naked Apes and Pond Life, and featuring a track called “Anal Piss Machine”, it’s…well, it’s a bit different. All over the place, really, but this one is a standout track, I think, and in my mind it comprises the “Jihad” portion.

  • Moby – Porcelain

Finally, a calm, cool track with a bit of lonely hauntedness about it.

Obviously the title came out of the events of September 11, which were still quite fresh in my head. The cover is of course a photo from the attack, and the back cover is intentionally black and sparse.

Click on the player below to listen to this mix!

(xspf player courtesy Lacy Morrow and Fabricio Zuardi.)

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