Claire: We’re kicking off our month of mixtape madness with mixtapes for Warren Zevon and Lindsay Lohan. Through the power of playlists, we’re hoping to show Warren Zevon the music he’s been missing while we’ve been missing him, and to make Lindsay Lohan’s recent comeback her last.
Joshua’s List: Dark Songs for a Dark Motherfucker (A Mixtape for Warren Zevon)
Dear Mr. Zevon,
We miss you here on earth. We just don’t have anyone like you anymore. And while you’ve been kicking it in Rock and Roll Heaven, there have been some songs that you would just love. They’re right up your alley.
“Holocaust of Giants” by Rasputina
Ok, so, maybe I lied. I’m not sure how you would feel about cellos as the main instrument. But it’s cellos that are often played through distortion pedals. And Melora Creager is almost as deviant as you were. This song recounts finding the bones of a giant on the banks of the Ohio, who “slaughtered each other in a meaningless war,” which she thanks god “we don’t do that anymore.” It’s exactly the kind of humor I think you’d be down with.
“Gardening” by Spoke Ensemble
I understand this may be a little lo-fi and stripped down for you , but it’s a song about domestic abuse and murder set to simple, easy, down-strummed guitar chords. With an accordion. And amazing harmonies. I have to think this would worm its way into your head just like it has mine. Maybe you’d even cover it. Yeah….Oh, I think I just got an erection. To murder. Hot.
“People II: The Reckoning” by Andrew Jackson Jihad
His voice is tough for you, I know. But man, he’s for realsies, isn’t he? I have a feeling you would love the lines about there being a child pornographer and a Nazi inside all of us (especially “and a politician too”). And I think you’d really love their re-imagining of “Mrs. Robinson.” They are very sick and twisted, no?
“How a Resurrection Really Feels” by The Hold Steady
At this point you’re asking yourself, “Ok, this list is pretty good so far, but where’s the power? Where’s the oomph? I mean, really…Where’s the fucking guitars?” Here they are. The Hold Steady know how to deliver an amazing song about a homeless prostitute and heroin addict dying in a church with badass guitar lines and ridiculous solos. And Craig Finn’s voice makes him sound perpetually drunk, something I know you’d appreciate.
“A Cautionary Song” by The Decemberists
This song came up on my shuffle at work the other day and inspired this list. The Decemberists have lots of dirty, dark songs, but this one takes the cake (also, it seems that prostitution and the accordion are running themes in this list). It recounts the tale of a woman who goes off to sell her body to sailors who pass her around like a ragdoll and then throw her back ashore with a couple dollars and the promise to kill her if she tells the tale. And, oh wait, it’s your fucking mother. She does this to put food in your grubby little mouth. It’s all sealed with the wonderful musical and lyrical footnote at the end, “Remember what she does when you’re asleep.” You’d hear this song and smile to yourself, I know.
Well, Mr. Zevon, I hope you’ve liked my list. Rock and Roll Heaven must be awesome, with the Tupac, the real Paul McCartney, and Otis Redding. But hopefully this list has made you smile and laugh. If you liked it, maybe you could do me a favor and put in a good word with the Rock and Roll God to just kill Nickelback already? Thanks. We miss you!
With musical love,
Claire’s List: Career Advice for the Prodigal Comeback Kid (A Mixtape for Lindsay Lohan)
Dear Ms. Lohan,
Look at you! Done with your probation, getting your red-headed groove back on, popping up on TV…yeah, we’ve seen this before. Linds Lo, I’ve been rooting for you since “The Parent Trap,” and I think you can make this your last comeback, but it’s going to take some work. So I made you a mixtape that’s better than Oreos dipped in peanut butter. Enjoy.
“Bad Reputation,” by Freedy Johnston
I think denial is part of what makes the closed door on your wild ways a revolving one. The message from Freedy is solid: I know I’ve got a bad reputation, and it isn’t just talk talk talk. After years of weak excuses and rebuttals, isn’t it time to be upfront about what you’ve been doing for the past few wasted years? Look at Demi Lovato—you were definitely her Disney prototype, right down to the post-fame boyfriend (Wilmer Valderrama, you’re gross. If you end up dating Elle Fanning in a few years, I will personally come over and punch you in the head) and she’s following the Tao of Freedy and thriving.
“Bloody Motherfucking Asshole,” by Martha Wainwright
Oh Michael Lohan, you tabloid-celebrity-chasing buffoon. Look Linds, you did not draw winners when it came to picking parents. The same logic goes for whoever managed your music career.
Once upon a time, every child actor didn’t have to sing. Mini-pop superstardom wasn’t part of the Disney deal. You’re from that time; your musical talent was legitimate and not just an auto-tuned part of your Disney package. But whoever managed you decided to focus more energy on selling you as a Top 40 sexbot instead of a legitimate singer.
Throw the world a curveball and make a good album. Cease and desist your current contact with Pitbull. Again, take a note from Lindsay Lohan 2.0, Demi Lovato, who seems to be trying to make decent music outside of the Disney mold. Kick off your album planning with some Martha Wainwright listening. She wrote this song about her terrible father/daughter relationship with Loudon Wainwright III. Consider this a higher-brow “Daughter to Father.”
“Bette Davis Eyes,” by Kim Carnes
I have a theory that everyone wants you dead. Listen, not me, but really: You’ve been marketed as an impending tragedy since you were about 20. I don’t think photographers keep thrusting you into high profile shot for shot remakes of Marilyn Monroe because you’re her look-alike—you’re not, and there are teams of young actresses who have taken her style cues and mannerisms for years without this level of Marilyn association. I think it’s because it was decided a long time ago that you were a tragic beauty.
And this isn’t just about past slipups: No one marketed Robert Downey Jr as James Dean. When Charlie Sheen fell into a whirlwind of substance abuse and mental illness, he wasn’t overwhelmingly linked to tragic, deceased male actors. But you fell into your own whirlwind and were suddenly associated, constantly, with a beloved actress who ODed at a young age.
I know the reference in this song is to Bette Davis, but I see it as your send-off song: Listen to it, and say goodbye to the tragic seductress with the big old movie star eyes. And the next time I see a photo shoot of you, I hope they style you to look like you. Or Ann Margaret, who makes way more sense as an old movie star doppelgänger.
“You Don’t Own Me,” by Lesley Gore
When you’re working your ass off to change the public’s opinion, relaunch your career, and get that Oscar by the time you’re 30 (yes, I’ve watched your interviews. But we’ll be 30 in 5 years kid, so pick up the pace!), you need a “Fuck everyone, no one can stop me!” song. Here it is.
“Come a Long Way,” by Michelle Shocked
You hosted SNL, you showed up sober and put together for loads of interviews, you did all your community service, you’re playing Elizabeth Taylor in a Lifetime movie….you have come a long way, and you haven’t even left LA.
Good luck with everything, Lindsay Lohan. One day I want to see you with a Robert Downey Jr. Type of fame, where you get solid parts and no one talks about who you were or what you did when you were young and troubled.