Joby Talbot, Journey of the Sorceror: As a longtime fan, one of the things I appreciated most about the recent Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy film was that they used the original theme music. Well, a new recording of the original theme song, but one that was entirely faithful to the original (unlike, say, the way the Lost in Space movie butchered the classic television theme song). Starting the disk with this song was a good way to put me in a good mood to listen to the rest.
Queen, All God's People: I like Queen, but I'm not particularly familiar with their work outside of their greatest hits collections. This song was new to me, but I liked it, even though (or maybe because) it sounded exactly like one would expect a Queen song to sound like.
XTC, Green Man: I love XTC. Love them love them love them. (Interesting fact: the first CD I ever bought was XTC's Oranges and Lemons.) "Green Man" is one of the better songs from Apple Venus Vol. One, though I don't think any of the songs on that album are quite up the standard of some of their earlier albums.
Kevin Gilbert, Best Laid Plans: A song I'd never heard by an unfamiliar artist. It's a nice but fairly unremarkable little song with sort of a 80s-ish feel to it. I agree with tomthedog that it's reminiscent of mid-period Genesis.
Elton John, This Song's Got No Title: Pop music doesn't get much better than early-70s Elton John. I'd heard this one before, a long time ago, so it was nice to be reintroduced to it.
Boney M, Rasputin: Another unfamilar song by an unknown artist. It's a whimsical (if not just plain goofy) musical biography of the Russian mystic who was played by Tom Baker in the movie Nicholas and Alexandra. And you can dance to it!
Rockapella, Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?: I was a bit too old and not yet old enough to fully appreciate Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? when it was on the air, but I knew that it had a great theme song.
Big Daddy, Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite: I'd never heard this version of "Mr. Kite," but I'm not overly impressed. It's OK, but it doesn't really improve on and add anything to the original. I did like the calliope line, though, because it reminded me a lot of the 1962 Freddy Cannon hit "Palisades Park," which I remember fondly from my youth. (No, I'm not that old, but they played it a lot on Q101's Saturday night oldies show, of which I was a faithful listener.)
Billy Joel, Root Beer Rag: This is arguably my favorite Billy Joel song, so it was a real treat to find it included in this mix.
Magnetic Fields, All My Little Words: A band I've heard of but never heard. And this song doesn;tmake me want to rush out to find more of their stuff; it'd my least favorite song on the album. I don't think it's a bad song, but I find it completely forgettable. And I mean that literally, because I just listened to it less than ten minutes ago and I can't remember what it sounds like.
Henry Phillips, Hey, Mr. Postman!: Another song I didn't know by an artist I didn't know. This song is very funny, but the spoken word portions made me a little uncomfortable. Obviously Phillips was just doing a bit (and there's every likelihood that the "phone calls" were staged), but now that I'm working in the service sector, I'm more sensitive to people calling customer service reps and acting like jerks. And maybe jokes about pipe bombs aren't as funny as they used to be.
Kevin Gilbert, Suit Canon: This is quite a departure from Gilbert's earlier song on this CD. It's a surprisingly sophisticated composition consisting of intertwined phone calls from record executives to a would be-rock star. But it sounds more like a fugue to me.
Barenaked Ladies, King of Bedside Manor: I didn't recognize the name, but once I heard it I remembered having heard it once before. It's BNL at its goofiest, but I happen to like BNL at their goofiest, so it works for me.
Da Vinci's Notebook, Heather Graham: As was the case with Magnetic Fields, I'd heard of DVN but hadn't heard any of their songs. But having now heard this song, I'd like to hear more. I especially like these lines: "We'll run away, build a house, and we'll play / in the yard with our black lab and our two persian cats / I'll make you eggs and you'll tell me I'm great / and you will love me for my Shatner impression / and you will love me for my shiny complexion / and you will love me for my Star Wars collection." I think that perfectly captures the strangely asexual fantasies many geeky boys have toward the objects of their affection. Not that I speak from experience or anything. *cough*
Moxy Früvous, Sahara: A nicely atmospheric number by yet another band I'd heard of but never heard. If this had been the only Moxy Früvous included on this CD or any other of the CDs I received as part of this exchange, I might not have sought them out. (But it wasn't, so I will.) There's nothing I particularly dislike about the song; I just find it fairly unremarkable.
Boiled in Lead, Army (Dream Song): Never heard of the band, never heard the song. Musically, "Army" is very good, but lyricallly it's perhaps just slightly too bizarre for its own good. That said, it's hard to criticize a song that contains the lyrics, "God, they're going to bomb us, from their vicious flying llamas!"
The Folksmen, Blood on the Coal: Not by any stretch of the imagaination my favorite song from A Mighty Wind, but there are no bad songs from that movie. And the part about the Irishman cracks me up every time.
Mike Batt, The Pig Must Die: A very strange song that answers, fairly authoritatively, the question: what would a Gilbert and Sullivan operetta sound like if performed by Queen? Answer: it would sound pretty cool.
Moxy Früvous, Splatter Splatter: This Moxy Früvous song, on the other hand, made me want to run out and buy more Moxy Früvous albums. (And having listened to tomthedog's CD, I want to make them eggs, as it were. No pun intended.) A clever and bouncy tribute to teen slasher flicks, it's toe-tappingly tragic!
Great Big Sea, End of the World: A wonderful cover of the R.E.M song with a sort of bluegrassy swing to it. All covers should be this good.
Oingo Boingo, Goodbye-Goodbye: A happy little ditty about a guy who's working up the nerve to end the unhealthy relationship he shares with his girlfriend. Not a song I was familiar with, but I enjoyed it.
When you come right down to it, there were no songs on this mix that I actually disliked, just ones I didn't like as much as the others, or in the case of the Mag Fields song, toward which I'm so thoroughly indifferent that I couldn't be bothered to decide whether I liked it or not. I've listened to this mix more than any of the other CDs I've received to date, and I can't imagine myself growing tired of it any time soon. Thanks, o_c!