In this week’s Monday Mixtape, Marco Cartolano talks about friendship. Find this week’s mixtape on Spotify here! transcript below.
[“You’re My Best Friend”-Queen]
What’s up my dudes, welcome to Monday Mixtape. I’m Marco Cartolano and this mixtape is about friendship. Friendship can last forever, come crashing down or slowly fade away. These songs explore friendship from a variety of angles. You just heard “You’re My Best Friend” by Queen. The song’s energy comes from the distinctive bass notes of the wurlitzer electric piano, which bassist John Deacon plays in the recording. Freddie Mercury, one of rock’s most charismatic frontmen, belts out this tribute to a special person in his life. Mercury’s gleeful tone accentuates the upbeat feeling of the track. The backing vocals that Mercury provides are another nice touch.
[“Stay Free”-The Clash]
A reunion song for the punk rock kids, “Stay Free” by the Clash tells the story of two hellraisers separated by the law. Lead guitarist Mick Jones takes vocal duties on a track that waxes nostalgic about getting expelled, practicing music and petty theft. Jones captures the sense of joy he feels when he hears that his friend will be let out from jail while also noting that things have changed in the years since the incarceration. A relatively light and upbeat song for the socially conscious band, it’s one of the sweetest songs in ‘70s punk music.
[“That’s What Friends Are For"-Dionne Warwick and Friends]
A more mainstream ode to companionship, “That’s What Friends Are For” by Dionne Warwick and Friends is a cover of a Rod Stewart song. Released as a charity single to benefit AIDS research, “That’s What Friends Are For” escapes the trappings of bland charity tracks by featuring Stevie Wonder, Elton John and Gladys Knight putting real effort into their performances. The production may be a little cheesy, but sometimes we really like cheese. It’s a hopeful track that would go great at the next ‘80s party you want to throw with your pals.
“Friends” by Whodini advises a more cautious approach to friendship. The first verse warns the listener to pick their friends wisely and the next two verse describe situations where friendship can go wrong. One is about two lovers who never took the opportunity to be friends and how that relationship ends horribly. The other is about a girl that steals her friend’s man. While a cautionary tale, the old school hip-hop beat and the classic hook make it a great track to bop to.
[“I Ain't Mad At Cha”-2Pac]
Another rap track about the complexity of friendship, “I Ain't Mad At Cha” focuses on 2Pac’s changing relationship with his friends. Some embrace religion, some stay by his side and others think he’s leaving his old life behind. The sweet part of the song comes when 2Pac ends each of his verses that he doesn’t hold it against anyone that times have changed. Accompanied by piano, the track feels both benevolent and bittersweet. This song shows why many praise the more thoughtful aspects 2Pac’s persona. Danny Boy’s simple chorus reinforces the verse’s theme of unconditional acceptance.
Named after her best friend, “Joga” by Björk celebrates the bond she shares with this friend. This bond lifts her up to a “state of emergency” filled with “emotional landscapes.” Björk also had her home country of Iceland in mind while recording the track, and the beats are meant to reflect the country’s volcanoes. Fusing lush strings with electronic beats, the instrumental manages to be both grand and visceral. Her one of a kind voice booms throughout the song. You get the sense that she is mustering every last ounce of emotion from her being.
[“Lean On Me”-Bill Withers]
A classic ode to lending a helping hand, “Lean On Me” by Bill Withers is a perfect song for offering any friends the support they need. Featuring a catchy buildup and chorus,”Lean On Me” has been used for countless sing-alongs and commercials. Don’t let the overuse detract from the fact that it is a great track with a strong drum and bass. Withers oozes warmth in this track and you just feel better listening to him offer a friend help.
[“Lean On Me”]
And that’s all for Monday Mixtape. This week’s playlist will be available on Spotify at mondaymixtape. Make sure to subscribe to Monday Mixtape on Apple Podcasts so you get a notification every time we post a new episode. Take good care of your friends in the upcoming week. I’m Marco Cartolano, see you next time.