Mixtape Madness: Titanic mix
April 14 marks the 100 year anniversary of the sinking of the RMS Titanic. The tragedy has stood as one of the largest US maritime disasters not linked to an act of war, with 1,514 fatalities — over 75% of its inhabitants. Since then, countless articles, books, and films have been made concerning its fateful voyage — but has there ever been a mixtape?! Let’s just assume no and indulge in this one shall we?
Tennis — “Long Boat Pass”
When the passengers of the Titanic set out on the maiden voyage, they thought the cross over the Atlantic was going to be as light and airy as this Tennis track from their debut “Cape Dory.” Well we know how that turned out.
Modest Mouse — “Shit Luck”
As Isaac Brock shouts in this thrashy interlude from “The Lonsesome Crowded West,” “This boat is definitely sinking.” “Shit Luck” adequately spells out the unfortunate fates of the Titanic’s victims, and also provides a great mosher for Modest Mouse shows while it’s at it.
Fiona Apple — “O’ Sailor”
The video for Fiona Apple’s “Extraordinary Machine” single “O’ Sailor” has many allusions to the Titanic, showing the singer fumbling around a 1st class ship, with its crew members hopeless afloat in a smokey haze on board. She asks, “Oh sailor, why’d you do it, what’d you do that for?” From what I can recall from the movie, they were really anxious about getting to New York in record time. Lesson learned sailors.
The Magnetic Fields — “From a Sinking Boat”
Stephin Merritt has written many sad songs in his day, but they usually carry with them an ironic sense or humor lying underneath. Every once in a while however, he pens a song (like The Magnetic Fields’ “No One Will Ever Love You” for instance) that hits like a ton of bricks in its sobering melancholy. “Realism” closer “From a Sinking Boat” also falls into that category, painting the story a man who’s come to terms with his pending death as his ship slowly sinks underneath the waters. Claudia Gonson’s piano part really nails it here, which combined with Sam Devol’s weeping cello makes for a most solemn ending.
How to Destroy Angels — “A Drowning”
Trent Reznor’s first post-Nine Inch Nails project was a three piece band he formed with his wife Mariqueen Maandig, and frequent collaborator Atticus Ross. While the trio released one EP together, How to Destroy Angels has since taken a back seat to Reznor and Ross’ rather successful careers as film score composers, the pair having won two Oscars already. “A Drowning” is the bleak conclusion to the band’s one release, that will hopefully see a followup sometime this year.
The White Stripes — “In the Cold, Cold Night”
This live clip of The White Stripes performing “In the Cold, Cold Night” features the enigmatic Meg White fronting the duo that should would soon put an end to, with a much sultrier vocal delivery than that heard on “Elephant.”
Lovage — “Lifeboat”
Assuming the same persona of Nathaniel Merriweather that he forged as one half of Handsome Boy Modeling School, Dan the Automator joined forces with Mike Patton and Jennifer Charles in 2001 for “Music to Make Love to Your Old Lady By” under the name Lovage. A tongue-in-cheek sex romp, the record featured numerous Alfred Hitchcock references, like this song, named after the 1944 film of the same name which featured the remnants from a shipwreck doing the best they can to survive.
Kate Bush — “Under Ice”
Kate Bush’s track from the “Ninth Wave” portion of her classic “Hounds of Love.” The song captures the doomed feeling of bone chilling coldness, like the bleakest icy waters known to man.
Aimee Mann — “Save Me”
To many, producer Jon Brion is best known for working on “Late Registration” by Kanye West, and a record he cut with Fiona Apple that didn’t get released. To those many, it’s lesser known that he cut a few excellent records with singer/songwriter Aimee Mann, notably several tracks for the Paul Thomas Anderson film, “Magnolia.” Anderson who had been a fan of Mann since her days in ‘Til Tuesday, asked if she would soundtrack his film alongside Brion; him doing the score, while she recorded songs. “Save Me” concluded the film, and was even nominated for an Oscar. It didn’t win but at least she got Anderson to direct this star-studded music video, featuring everyone from the ensemble cast of the film.
Celine Dion — “My Heart Will Go On”
What? You thought we were too cool to close out with this one? Celine Dion had several successful adult contemporary singles under her belt when she hit the jackpot with the love theme from the colossal 1997 film which is now currently getting the 3-D treatment. Inescapable for about two years straight, “My Heart Will Go On” won an Oscar and went to No.1 in just about every country that had radios in 1997-98. To this day, the mere faint blow a pan flute is enough to strike fear into the hearts of man, still reeling from the song’s late ’90s take over of FM radio. Was it the accessibility of the song’s epic sentiment, or merely the unstoppable power of the movie’s unending hype? Probably a little bit of both, but it would have been cool if James Cameron had plucked the title track off “Ladies and Gentlemen, We Are Floating in Space” by Spiritualized to demonstrate eternal love just to see if it would take to a mainstream audience. Either way, the Titanic lives on…and on.