Mixtape Project 002. Rumination and Solitude with Grey Gordon
Last month, we launched a new project on here called The Mixtape Project. The goal of this project is simple, ask the people responsible for creating, facilitating, or just overall involved with the music we love to share the music they love. Last month, Ryan Graham of State Champs/Speak Low If You Speak Love took us on a trip to romances past. This month, we’re taking a look at the dark and brooding music that has helped shape the artist that is Grey Gordon.
When 36 Vultures initially approached me about participating in this project, we discussed the possibility of constructing a playlist comprised of songs that inspire me. As I sat on my couch at 2am, building my mix, I found its natural trajectory deviating increasingly further from the established idea. What started as a mixtape based on the notion of inspiration quickly reconfigured itself to match the acute melancholy that often comes with the crooked hours of a February morning, and so, here we are.
Each song on this playlist submitted itself, in a way. I found my fingers moving with Ouija Board uncanniness, dropping song after song onto the list. In doing so, I was forced to examine the common thread between them. What is it that lends these songs to a strange sort of cohesion for me? Sure, there’s a certain shared core of sadness or yearning of some sort in them, but it was something else.
Ultimately, what I found is that each one contains a common thread of nostalgia. That is to say, I can connect each and every song on this list to a time and a place in my life. So, if nostalgia was the commonality, why the melancholy? What I found, after a few hours of rumination, was that those moments or periods of my history which hold the most loneliness, desperation, crestfallen heartache, those are the memories that seem most clear. When cast against the backdrop of 25 Midwestern years, the lowest points are somehow elevated above the highest in a sort of mocking inversion of natural order. For all the crests, the valleys only seem deeper.
So again, here we are. While this playlist may be wrought from a certain degree of gloomy desperation, in a way, it’s come full circle. Even if misery is bound inextricably to memory, those memories shape and inspire me. It’s a single component of a greater equation. The past informs the future, and with a bit of mindfulness, I think it’s possible to craft an existence where the loudest voice is not necessarily the one you should heed. So listen to these songs and make what you will of them, but if you can, remember that everything is in flux. Despair yields to elation yields to anger yields to love, and so on and so on ad infinitum. Keep moving forward.
“But don’t forget the songs that made you cry, and the songs that saved your life.” –The Smiths