PLAYLIST: BACK TO MINE: MICHAEL MCCARTHY (with commentary!)

PLAYLIST: BACK TO MINE: MICHAEL MCCARTHY

There’s a series of chill-out mixes compiled by various artists called Back To Mine. (“Back to mine?” is what they say in England when someone asks someone to go back to their place, usually to have sex.) They’re basically mixes for, well, making love. I decided to make my own Back To Mine mix back in 2001. It was originally made on two CDs, volume one and volume two. Initially, I’d just made the first volume, but I always felt frustrated that I hadn’t been able to fit a few other songs, hence my eventually making volume two. And years later when I got into iTunes I made an iTunes playlist that combined the two. I’ve listened to this while falling asleep hundreds of times. Literally. Hundreds. As for making the love, well, yeah, I’ve listened to it a few times while doing that, too. Not nearly enough though. Pity, that.

 

01. Madonna feat. Massive Attack – I Want You

This is one of my favorite Madonna songs. In fact, it’s tied for number one with “Into The Groove.” It’s a delicious trip hop track. Madonna needs to do more trip hop and she should definitely work with Massive Attack again. Brilliant combination, the proof being this track.

 

02. Alice – Midnight Bells

Alice is a famous contemporary Italian singer. This is an obscure B-side from a single she released over a decade ago. It has lots of talking from this computerized voice, which sounds male, in the beginning. It reminds me of old ’80’s movies, like how the computer talked in War Games. Alice’s vocals are quite nice, too.

 

03. Neneh Cherry – Kootchi (Air Remix)

I found this CD of Neneh Cherry remixes at a record shop in Paris called Boulinier, if memory serves me correctly. I hope I’m spelling the name of the shop correctly. I also hope it’s still there. I often wonder how many record stores I frequented in Paris are still there today. I’m sure at least half of them are gone, just as they’ve vanished here in the States. As for this track, it’s so trippy and brilliant. One of the very best things Air have ever done, honestly.

 

04. Vanessa Paradis – La La La Song

Vanessa Paradis did an album with Lenny Kravitz. They were a couple at the time. But they’d broken up by the time Vanessa made her next album, Bliss, which this song is from. Fortunately, Henry Hirsch, one of Lenny’s collaborators, stepped up to the plate and made this song with Vanessa, so it was kind of like having a new Kravitz collaboration, only without Kravitz. It’s a gorgeous song, too. I love the lyric, “the principle of love is that, when you get enough then you can give it back.” It’s not your typical philosophy, but that is how I feel about the matter.

 

05. Jon Bon Jovi – It’s Just Me

A trip hop song from Jon Bon Jovi? Yup. They probably didn’t call it trip hop song when they made it, but it totally is. The album it’s from is Jon’s second solo album, Destination Anywhere, which is just as good as any Bon Jovi album, if not better. He did all sorts of things on that album and it was truly ahead of its time. All these years later, it sounds like something that could have been released last week. I love how it has this one beat that just keeps going throughout the song at the same tempo.

 

06. Olive – Miracle

There are only two Olive albums. This track is from the first. The lyrics are a little weird. “Touch in the face, makes it a love thing,” and so on. But it’s a super sexy song.

 

07. Paola & Chiara – You Are For Me

Paola & Chiara are sisters. Italian sisters. And they’re quite the popular duo. This song is from Television, which is one of my favorite Paola & Chiara albums. Originally, the album was entirely in Italian, but they ended up releasing a Spanish version of it and a (mostly) English version. “You are for me” sounds kind of grammatically incorrect, but I love it when foreign singers sing in broken English. This is a beautiful, haunting ballad in any language.

 

08. Björk – All Is Full Of Love (Strings Mix)

A mellow version of one of Björk’s most sensual songs. Lots and lots of enchanting strings. My only complaint is that they’re so much louder than Björk’s voice. Every time I listen to it, that bugs me a little. I still love it though.

 

09. Hooverphonic – Eden

This song makes me cry half the time. The inflection, the way she sings “I’m complaining” just kills me. You have to listen to the whole song for that line to hit you though. And it’s just devastating when it does. A very, very sad song about being taken for granted.

 

10. Air – Playground Love

This is a song from The Virgin Suicides’ soundtrack, which was done entirely by air. “I’m your high school lover,” their guest vocalist sings. A little taboo? Maybe, if taken out of context. But the movie was about high school girls, so it made sense there. Here, well, it fits quite nicely. Who doesn’t like to remember their high school loves once in a while?

 

11. Craig Armstrong – This Love

I saw Craig Armstrong open for Massive Attack in 1999 in Paris. He had a whole orchestra and it was amazing. Such a talented composer. And this song is both precious and tragic.

 

12. Sarah Brightman – Here With Me

This is a Dido cover. Sometimes I wish I would have used Dido’s version, but there’s something about Sarah’s version that’s just a bit more haunting, a bit more sensual.

 

13. Mylène Farmer – California

This song… It’s one of my top 10 favorite songs of all time. Probably even in the top 5. I heard this song and decided I had to start studying French again. And I did. I took a couple of courses at the Boston Language Institute. And I went to all 4 of Mylene’s concerts at Bercy in Paris in 1999. I don’t know if this song would be considered a ballad or just a mid-tempo pop song. I like the fact that it’s basically both. And it’s one of the sexiest songs ever made, easily. There’s also a really weird video for it that was directed by Abel Ferrera, who made Bad Lieutenant and lots of other disturbing movies.

 

14. Garbage – You Look So Fine

This is the final song on Version 2.0, my favorite Garbage album. It’s such a beautiful, dreamy song. A bit heart-breaking, too.

 

15. Mötley Crüe – Glitter (Dave’s Chill Out Remix)

Yes, this is really a chill out remix of a Mötley Crüe song. Funny thing is, the original version, which is from their Generation Swine album, could have just as easily fit on this mix. It’s such an affecting ballad.

 

16. Kylie Minogue – Physical

Kylie does Olivia Newton John and the result is steamy. Very, very steamy. Pefect for this type of mix.

 

17. Alejandro Sanz feat. The Corrs – Una Noche

I bought the Alejandro album this song is on because I was obsessed with The Corrs. This is a song from their In Blue album that they re-made as a duet in Spanish with him. It’s quite sexy.

 

18. Lenny Kravitz – Believe In Me

Lenny is one of my favorite artists. He can do anything. I believe he plays guitar, bass and drums — all of the instruments — on this amazing ballad. It’s easily one of his best songs ever.

 

19. Republica – World Ends In The Morning

This is a B-side from one of the singles from Republica’s second album. I guess the album didn’t do very well because it was never released here in the States, this even though they’d had a huge hit here with their first album with “Ready To Go.” I guess they’re a one-hit wonder here then. As for this track, it’s kind of creepy, kind of sensual, and quite fitting here.

 

20. Moby – Summer

One of the B-sides from one of the Play singles. And one of Moby’s best songs. Just a totally enchanting instrumental.

 

21. Paola & Chiara – Vamos A Bailar (Bahia Sun)

“Vamos A Bailar” is Paola & Chiara’s biggest song outside of Italy. In many European countries they’re a one-hit wonder for this song. The original is one of the best dance songs ever, but this version is a laid back, chill-out affair and a nice one at that.

 

22. Axelle Red – Parce Que C’est Toi

One of the best French ballads ever. I love, love, love this song. I think I’ve put it on six different mixes over the years. I actually want this to be my wedding song, the first song I dance to with my new wife, if I ever get married.

 

23. Garbage – Use Me

Very raw lyrics. About being infatuated and wanting sex. A B-side that could have been on an album and been a single, it’s that good.

 

24. Howie B – Ballade De Melody Nelson (Serge Gainsbourg Cover)

From an electronica album of Gainsbourg covers called I Love Serge. Great album and this is the best track.

 

25. Portishead – Only You

There aren’t many songs that are more haunting than this one. There’s something sultry about it, too. It’s about giving someone the power to love you back to life or destroy you, basically.

 

26. Bif Naked – Lucky

A lovely ballad from a totally under-rated singer/songwriter who’s done just about every genre over the years. I believe she’s very popular in Canada, where she hails from. I hope so. I wish she was a huge star internationally. There’s no reason she shouldn’t have a huge career like P!nk. Also, she’s a super nice person and a Cancer survivor and probably has more good karma than half the people in the world.

 

27. Mylène Farmer feat. Seal – Les Mots (Strings For Souls Mix)

This is a bit of an odd ballad. She sings in French, but he sings in English. I love it though, and this version, which has very sparse instrumentation, is warm and endearing.

 

28. Sneaker Pimps – Gently Johnny

I believe this B-side is a cover but I’m not sure who did the original version. I don’t really want to know either. I just want the Sneaker Pimps version to stay stuck in my head forever. It’s so fucking hot. NC-17-rated lyrics for sure.

 

29. Lââm – Love Song

A luscious instrumental, aside from a couple of sweet words in French at the end. Lââm is a huge French R&B star.

 

30. Vanessa Paradis – Bliss

The title track from Bliss, which is my favorite of her albums. It’s a bit of an unusual song, but it seemed like the perfect closer for this. Lyrics about a smokey room and stuff.

 

I realize I’ve used the same adjectives a few times here, but these songs are all in the same vein, really, so it’s kind of hard not to. I suppose I could have used a thesaurus but I just wanted to write this very stream of consciousness style, which is exactly what I did, so that’s that.

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Paris365

An entertainment journalist for 20 years, Michael McCarthy was a columnist and contributing editor for the magazines Lollipop and LiveWire. He co-created and wrote for Cinezine, one of the '90's most popular movie E-zines. The only time he's not listening to music is when he's watching television shows and movies or reading, usually music magazines.

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