I’ve been thinking about death a lot lately. Not in a morbidly compulsive, Woody Allen-like way, nor in a mid-life, “what-does-it-all-mean?” kind of way. Rather, after a recent health scare and being let go by a soulless media corporation, my work on the first novel started to take a rather melancholic turn, which, incidentally, is exactly what it needed.
Within the unshaven, all-night, booze- and stimulant-fueled last few months, and the iTunes pretty much screaming at me to give Zoloft a chance, I found myself compiling a mixtape that I wanted to be handed out at my funeral. A 32-song examination of my life via the sounds and lyrics that have most moved me the last 30 years, but with a rather morbid emphasis on the two things I’ve loved the most in my life: myself and women. Most of the songs are somewhat sad in nature even if they border on solipsism, but the fact is that when you make a mixtape—even if it’s compiled for someone in particular and might or might not get you laid (as the awesome Dave Brown cleverly points out)—it’s still an exercise in egotism much in the same vein of googling one’s own name.
Below is a heavily abridged version of that playlist. I took the title from my favorite songwriter, Leonard Cohen. Anyone half as familiar with Cohen as I am knows that the Phil Spector-produced Death of a Ladies Man is his worst album, but certainly the one with the best title. The accompanying picture is a photograph of Leonard Cohen and Joni Mitchell at some festival. I actually have the poster version near my bed. Mitchell has this extremely jubilant, teethy, Kool-Aid smile, but you can’t see Cohen’s face, just his back facing away from the camera.
Unlike my fellow players below, I hardly have the time to fantasize about jet setting off to far-away environs, whether tropical or tundra. I’m just stuck in America. Stuck with the same ghosts that haunt Thom Yorke in “Pyramid Song.” Stuck in the same moment that Leonard probably was on many other occasions. Embracing the women I love with my back to the camera.
The Last Blog on Earth
- The Man Who Loved Women \\ Tom Petty
- I Will Kill Again \\ Jarvis Cocker
- Not Dark Yet \\ Bob Dylan
- I Want Love \\ Elton John
- Do You Realize?? \\ The Flaming Lips
- How \\ Badly Drawn Boy
- Hell Yeah \\ Neil Diamond
- Lucky Man \\ The Verve
- Pyramid Song \\ Radiohead
- It’ll All Work Out \\ Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
- Dead Flowers \\ The Rolling Stones
- One Man Guy \\ Rufus Wainwright
- Sometimes \\ DMX
- The Message \\ NaS
- A Change Is Gonna Come \\ Sam Cooke
- In My Life \\ Johnny Cash
- Tower Of Song \\ Leonard Cohen