Playlist: “Honey and Lime”

A preliminary sketch of the CD design, done with graphite and colored pencils. The final design on the CD was made using permanent markers!
A preliminary sketch of the CD design, done with graphite and colored pencils. The final design on the CD was made using permanent markers!

Crafting playlists and mixtapes for my personal enjoyment or for friends on rare occasions became even more difficult when I don’t have the entirety of my music library on tap thanks to earlier technical difficulties. However, I somehow pulled it off and created this satisfactory mix for one of my friends as a thank you gift for providing me with career guidance and counseling for the past few years, and for being an all-around awesome and cool friend!

To give myself a challenge and to appeal to my friend’s interest in cooking and fine cuisine, I decided to structure this mix based on the two flavors of her food blog Honey and Limes, by finding songs that would take on the three trials of appealing to her tastes in music, recommending new artists she might enjoy, and matching songs’ qualities to the characteristics of their side’s respective flavor.

(Since Nujabes’ catalogue is not available on Spotify, you’ll have to find track 2, “Thank You (feat. Apani B),” here.)

Side 1 – “Honey”

  1. “Jerk Ribs” – Kelis – Food (Ninja Tune, 2014)
  2. “Thank You (feat. Apani B)” – Nujabes – Modal Soul (Hyde-Out Productions, 2006)
  3. “Trouble Sleeping” – Corinne Bailey Rae – Corinne Bailey Rae (EMI, 2006)
  4. “Cry [Disco Mix] (feat. Horseman)” – Hollie Cook – Hollie Cook (Mr. Bongo, 2011)
  5. “Wake Up Everybody (feat. Common & Melanie Fiona)” – John Legend & The Roots – Wake Up! (GOOD, Columbia, 2010)
  6. “Know-How” – Kings of Convenience, Feist – Riot on an Empty Street (Astralwerks, 2004)
  7. “Vera Cruz” – Astrud Gilberto & Stanley Turrentine – Gilberto with Turrentine (CTI, 1971)

Matching sounds and songs to flavors adds another challenge, because I’m not much of a foodie and my sensitivity to different nuances in flavor pales to that of my peers. When I thought of honey, I remembered that it’s more mellow compared to sickly sweet table sugar. When my memories of tastes came up short, I also remembered to look at their colors or other properties of the foods that have these flavors. For instance, honey often is colored a golden orange or yellow, further adding to the mellow vibe that came to mind. Additionally, honey has traditionally been seen as a health food with medicinal properties. (note: honey doesn’t actually have any medicinal properties that stand up to scientific scrutiny, and I do not want to be counted among the pseudo-scientific health blogs out there!!!)

This flavor coincided well with what I remembered to be my friend’s all-time favorite album: The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. Its blend of R&B, hip-hop, soul and reggae music informed a lot of the selections on the first “side” of this mix, such as Corinne Bailey Rae, Hollie Cook, and Kelis, who also tread similar stylistic threads that Lauryn Hill so deftly drew from. Kelis’ “Jerk Ribs”, which I first heard from an NPR-curated playlist of artists in SXSW 2014, was also chosen for its reference to food items (a principle which popped up again as I created this mix). The other two tracks “Know-How” and “Vera Cruz” were chosen not only for their mellowness but also because my friend enjoys music with a Latin American tinge, and I felt I couldn’t go wrong with Brazilian bossanova.

Side 2 – “Lime”

  1. “Digsy’s Dinner” – Oasis – Definitely Maybe (Creation, 1995)
  2. “Patricia” – Ry Cooder & Manuel Galbán – Mambo Sinuendo (Nonesuch, 2003)
  3. “Horchata” – Vampire Weekend – Contra (XL, 2010)
  4. “Take Five” – Rodrigo y Gabriela – Live in Japan (Rubyworks, 2008)
  5. “May This Be Love” – The Jimi Hendrix Experience – Are You Experienced (Track, 1967)
  6. “See” – Tycho – Awake (Ghostly International, 2014)
  7. “Everest” – Public Service Broadcasting – Inform – Educate – Entertain (Test Card, 2013)

There’s an added difficulty for making playlists when you have to introduce something new. After all, how many compilations have you listened to that are solely comprised of artists that you know? A compilation should always have something new or different for listeners, perhaps to show them new influences (or influencers) among the artists featured or to liven up and add something different to the mix. Perhaps that’s what the flavor of lime is supposed to be: lively, bright, and tart; just like the mixture of songs that I’ve gathered here.

Starting it off here is Oasis’ “Digsy’s Dinner,” a humorous little ditty from their debut Definitely Maybe. It’s verses about a friend who has great confidence in his lasagna-cooking skills reminded me of my friend’s awesome cooking skills, and this song helps add a bit of ridiculous humor to the mix. Vampire Weekend’s “Horchata” also follows this little culinary motif. Continuing with my friend’s enjoyment of Latin music, I followed with “Patricia,” a cut from Mambo Sinuendo, featuring slide guitar virtuoso Ry Cooder (of Paris, Texas fame) and Cuba’s legendary Manuel Galbán playing electric renditions of Cuban jazz and pop standards, and later on, Rodrigo y Gabriela’s stirring rendition of Paul Desmond’s “Take Five,” from their Live in Japan set. To finish the set, I added the soothing electronic sounds of San Francisco-based Tycho and the exultant, uplifting “Everest” from Public Service Broadcasting.

Well, that’s my take on this playlist! I hope you enjoy listening!

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