Friday, April 20, 2012

The Robert Smith Rule

It's been a while since we've done this. To be honest, I feel like I've been on a big comedown since seeing Pulp 11 days ago. Needless to say that show was pretty amazing. Since then I've replayed that night in my head countless times. It was one of those few shows where the entire setlist was damn near perfect. It'll be hard to top, that's for sure.

Coming up with this week's mixtape was a bit tougher than I had anticipated. I still plan on putting together my favorite songs of all ever (in mixtape form) but I want to narrow it down a bit since that very playlist on BriPod is 40 songs long. So rather than diving into one of our recurring mixtape themes, I figured I'd have a little fun. A few weeks back, I included the new single from Orbital in a playlist merely because it featured a guest appearance from Zola Jesus (see this post: My So-Called Life" Marathon And Another Anticipation Mixtape.) I alluded to something I called "The Robert Smith Rule" and it's similar counterpart, "Zola Jesus Rule." It's a simple theory that states that songs that feature either Robert Smith or Nika Roza Danilova (Zola Jesus) on guest vocals are automatically awesome. This mixtape proves both rules in 9 songs.

This mixtape is also available to be heard on Spotify: The Robert Smith Rule / Zola Jesus Rule [Random Ramblings & Mixtapes]

Part 1: The Robert Smith Rule
1. 65daysofstatic, "Come To Me": This English post-rock band, who has previously opened for The Cure, gets a bit of a boost from their one-time tour mate. Guitars swirl off into the ether but Smith's distinctive voice keeps things grounded.

2. Blank & Jones, "A Forest": This German trance duo transform the Cure classic into a throbbing techno pop opus with an assist from the song's original singer. This wouldn't be the first time they'd collaborate with a post-punk/New Wave icon as later they would tap Bernard Sumner to supply vocals to the equally awesome single, "Miracle Cure."

3. The Japanese Popstars, "Take Forever": Robert Smith's voice happens to mix very well with electronic music. It's just a natural fit, I suppose. The Japanese Popstars aren't Japanese at all (they're Irish) which is kind of misleading in the same way that I'm From Barcelona is actually Swedish. Anyway, by the song's end, Robert's giddy yelp carries the song to new heights.

4. Crystal Castles, "Not In Love": Of course, this is the version that isn't on the 2nd self-titled Crystal Castles album but the one that got released as a stand-alone single. It was easily one of my favorite songs from 2010. If memory serves me right, Robyn's "Dancing On My Own" was the only song that topped it in my year-end list. Two years later, this song still holds up very well. It's a match made in heaven...if heaven was a darkly lit dancefloor set at the end of the world, that is.

5. Blink-182, "All Of This": If any song proves The Robert Smith Rule it's this one. I never liked Blink-182 yet Robert's vocals make me like this. A part of me feels dirty for listening to this, but honestly, it's like a lost Cure song. That and the whiny guy in Blink only sings the chorus rightfully keeping the spotlight on Robert Smith where it belongs.

Part 2: Zola Jesus Rule
6. M83, "Intro": The last few years has seen a meteoric rise in Nika Roza Danilova's career thanks largely to her larger-than-life voice. It helps that she has put out some of her best work in that time span (2010's Striduulum and Valusia EPs and last year's stunning Conatus) so hearing her various guest appearances feels like a well-deserved victory lap. This one is easily my favorite of her collaborations as her soaring voice and M83's soaring arrangements are a perfect match to each other.

7. Former Ghosts, "Chin Up": This one dates back to 2010, maybe even before Zola Jesus' breakthrough. Former Ghosts is a project featuring a former member of This Song Is A Mess But So Am I -- a band I know nothing about. I honestly only checked this song out because of Nika Roza Danilova's involvement. It's funny to me to hear her showing a bit of restraint here but the foundation is definitely there.

8. Orbital, "New France": This is definitely proof of the power of Zola Jesus. I don't even like Orbital. Sadly, I have to admit that most times I get Orbital and The Orb mixed up.

9. Pictureplane, "Trancegender": Off of one of last year's most underrated electronic albums, Thee Physical. Here, Travis Egedy, the man behind Pictureplane, convincingly transforms Zola Jesus into a dance pop diva.

Here's to hoping Zola Jesus and Robert Smith do a duet. My mind is blown just at the thought of it.

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