Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The Cocoa Soundtrack To Life

I recently did an interview for Lisa Clark's Pink World (which can be seen right here!) and one of her many fantastic questions included "What five songs are on the Cocoa soundtrack to life?" Although she only asked for a simple five, this got me thinking, sorting, compiling an eclectic mix of the most inspiring music I could find - the kind of music that keeps the world spinning round. Music that makes you want to jitterbug across the living room floor, music that played in your head during your first kiss, music that shakes the ground beneath you and makes you want to stand atop moving cars and sing out slewed lyrics at the top of your lungs. Music that says hello, Cocoa.

This is the Cocoa Soundtrack to life, simply.

1. Float On - Modest Mouse
Driving through labyrinth streets and glowing red lights that seem to whisper secrets to the tarmac. Teenagers eating scrambled eggs and french toast in diners at one in the morning. Sitting in the backseat of a two-door sedan, banging against the window with every downbeat - shouting, not singing. Recognizing the silliness and thrill of this world in that moment, in that song. Never being afraid to blast the radio ever again.

2. Breakdown - Jack Johnson
Afternoon picnics under the blinding caramel sun - buttery light so airy that it spreads itself entirely across the landscape. Sunday morning cafes that serve fizzy Italian sodas and hazelnut coffee to sparkling jazz musicians in fedoras. Buzzing down alleyways and open roads on the back of a lemon-yellow Vespa, eyes closed, inhaling the scenery. Feeling as though the entire world is as sweet as this honey-drizzled paradise.

3. Chelsea Dagger - The Fratellis
Thrashing in the streets. Girls in six-inch heels and paper-thin jeans strutting, not walking. Cherry red lipstick stains on every white-button up and paper napkin in town, like a trail of breadcrumbs side-winding from lover to lover. Swaying hips and guitar riffs shaking up the city streets. All-night shows that spark lightning storms inside neon dance clubs and corrupt the youth.

4. Love and Happiness - Al Green
Blues club kisses and southern nights. Folks with so much soul that they shout when they mean to whisper. Guitars that strum on their own, sending out a harmonious mating call to the people that were meant to play them. Silky smooth swaying hips and dollhouses made from Limone bottle caps. That feeling of overwhelming, unshakable soul that prickles you straight down the chest like an acupuncturist. Folk art on scraps of musty wood, illustrating baptist gospels and sunday brunches and the birth of Elvis and Jesus sighing on the cross.

5. Blood & Peanut Butter - BC Camplight
Strumming out chords in the middle of the street, singing out as a one-man musical revolution. Women in business suits and tie-dye alike clasping hands and twirling like rockstar whirling dervishes. Tap dancing atop cars, bouncing to drum beats, cage dancing for the uncageable.

6. Raw Sugar - Metric
Slow dancing, low dancing - belly dances and bonfires on sandy beaches. Poetry slams set to music and beat-boxing boys linking fingers with microphones. Palm trees that whiplash against the wind and the children who bandage them with snowflake-colored Christmas lights. Overcast days spent breezing down Worth Avenue on cruise control, admiring the high-rises and gold-flaked chateaus.

7. Love Underground - Robbers on High Street
Superhero-like love, with white-river rapids of adrenaline and emotion. Running, bounding, backflipping through boundaries and obstacles - cartwheeling into a lover's arms and feeling the ground shake from your bass-drum heartbeat. Knowing that this is how love should feel - sparkling, soaring, sweeping through couples like hawks in a swan-dive.

8. Good Enough For Granddad - Squirrel Nut Zippers
Outdoor parties under the cherry-pink sky where harlequin girls shake their fingers to the rhythm. Foxtrotting and lindyhopping and swing dancing and sidestepping while chewing on watermelon bubble gum and chalky candy cigarettes. Seizing tiny girls by the waist and spinning them into a dizzy dreamworld of big bandstands and big band.

9. Dancing in the Moonlight - King Harvest
Blind dates in tiny cafes where the entire restaurant is illuminated by strings of paper lights. Warming frosted hands with mugs of hot chocolate and making origami cranes out of cloth napkins. Tap dancing under the summer moon, watching it wain from park benches. Making love in a personal-pan sized bedroom the color of rosewater marzipan.

10. Sweet Jane - The Velvet Underground
Tossing left and right with Andy Warhol and Edie Sedgewick as dance partners, sipping the factory scene like it's a sweetened rum and coke. Going to the grocery store in furs and flats while budding rock stars strum guitars on the dairy isle, shouting out names of all their lovers. Alternative families who dress their children in kimonos and cowgirl boots and whisper stories about how they used to be local punk stars or costumers for movies or novelists or party planners. Watching those children grow up to be exactly that.

11. All My Life - Cas Haley
End credits played at outdoor movie theatres. Life seeming to move to the same beat. Dinner with friends, eating Israeli couscous and thick slices of cheese pizza outdoors amongst the bougainvilleas and humming swallows. Finding that perfect ice cream ice princess dress that makes you feel like a candied ska star. Figuring out the secrets of life from thick canopies of trees and late-night sunshine and sweeping beaches and stray cats that eat out of your hand. Finding happiness.

Bonus Tracks
12. Hong Kong Garden - Siouxsie and the Banshees

13. A-Punk - Vampire Weekend

14. Kiss Me - Sixpence None the Richer

15. You - Atmosphere

16. The Science of Selling Yourself Short - Less Than Jake

Penelope ♥


Rie said...

OMG, jinx. I just posted this, without seeing yours first.

Thanks for all the new music to check out! I was just thinking that my rotation needs some updates.

Tony said...

"Awesome" is such an overused word. It's been applied at various times to Gustav Mahler's Fifth Symphony, Wes Anderson films, Space Shuttle launches and Ben & Jerry's Mint Chocolate Chunk.

Penelope, your blog is awesome in every sense.

I stumbled across it a few days ago and thought hey, cute blog, and then started reading and realized that I was in an I'll-always-remember-where-I-was moment. Someday soon, I'll tell friends that I've been reading your stuff since June '08 and they'll think I'm just trying to sound cool.

I'm far afield of your target audience, and yet every time I visit I come away smiling from some fresh perspective, a clever turn of phrase or just the pure joy of your ecstatic prose. I imagine many of your visitors feel the same way.

Thanks, Pen, for proving once again that the best things in life really are free.


Penelope said...


I don't know what to say except that yes, Ben & Jerry's Mint Chocolate Chunk really is awesome!

I am so incredibly flattered and I can't even begin to tell you how happy I am that this tiny little blog makes you feel that way. I truly feel accomplished as both a writer and a person knowing that I can share my energy and enthusiasm with others such as yourself, and especially those outside of the female gender! I had this terrible fear that most guys would find Cocoa to be nothing short of frivolous prose!

If you can't already tell, this little piece of the web is all about the people who read and making them feel just as sparkling and stunning as they deserve to feel. I'm just thrilled that that's been accomplished that so soon in Cocoa's life-span!

I'd really like to get to know you better as the first honorary male commenter of Cocoa, so if you have a spare moment drop me an e-mail! (My address is on the front page)

Penelope ♥

King Harvest said...

Thanks for including us in your blog and painting such a great picture.
King Harvest