[mix tape] Sasha is a (music) Monster
nonpretentious contributors have been Sasha Pasulka fans for a long time.¹ For folks like us, bloggers with extra letters – like B.A., B.S., J.D., M.A., Ph.D., M.D. – after their names, Sasha is a role model.
While Evil Beet Gossip’s nipple lists and vagina pics are fantastic – both S.F.W. and more fun when you get home – they’re only one teeny-tiny part of Sasha’s growing media empire. (Note: the goal is for her to out-Donald Donald Trump so she respectfully requests that you click on the ads when you’re on her sites.)
When nonpretentious received this mix tape from Sasha Pasulka (on time, might I add, two weeks ago), we laughed out loud. Her music picks – part pop culture, part female singer-songwriter – certainly reflect her internet personalities. (Two side notes. We sorta wanted a track with Bill Harris’s voice on it. And, we were kinda surprised that Stars Are Blind failed to appear. No worries. Lohan makes the cut.)
Taxi Ride/Tori Amos — You’ll never see me do a mix without Tori on it. She’s my favorite. I’ve heard this song was written about the death of Kevyn Aucoin (by prescription med overdose). I don’t know if she’s ever confirmed that, but what Tori does so, so brilliantly is capture a specific emotion in song, and Taxi Ride is a glimmering example of that. The lyrics here are breath-taking.
Dark Blue/Jack’s Mannequin — Jack’s Mannequin is the side project of former Something Corporate lead singer Andrew MacMahon, whom I will one day marry. This kid is a musical prodigy the likes of which we haven’t seen in decades. Everything he touches turns to amazing. Dark Blue is one of my all-time favorites. Like Tori, he bottles a precise emotion in a song, and you can live it there with him, and you feel less alone, because you know now that someone felt exactly the same way you did once. Music is, in my mind, the most precise way of communicating emotion, so I’m always excited to find artists who really really get how to do that. Andrew is one of the best.
A Beautiful Life/Lindsay Lohan — Lindsay’s music gets a bad rap, and perhaps rightly so. Most of her songs are pretty decent work-out music, or club music, but this track strikes a chord with me. I don’t know who the hell actually wrote it, but they should have been up for a Grammy nod. I always feel better when I listen to this song.
Up All Night/CC — LOVELOVELOVE the Crows. This is one of my all-time favorites, though. Adam Duritz’s insomnia isn’t exactly a subtle recurring theme in their albums, but as someone who’s battled insomnia my whole life, I relate specifically to this track. Just a brilliant, brilliant piece.
Stromata/Charlotte Martin — This chick hasn’t received nearly the mainstream attention she deserves. That’s probably because her music isn’t mainstream, but it’s exceptionally creative. She isn’t afraid to break rules, to fill a song with minor chords, to call it “Stromata.” She has a unique sound, and I love her stuff.
Niki FM/Hawthorne Heights: I don’t normally like songs where people are predominately screaming, but Niki FM struck me from the first time I heard it. It’s not trying too hard. It’s raw emotion coming through, funneled through a brain that understands how to create music.
Carey/Joni Mitchell — You can’t do a mix without Carey, and this classic off her Blue album is a good reminder that stunningly catchy music could be created before we had synthesizers and every track had eight producers. This song transports me to her world, where the creative geniuses of that generation danced and spoke in whispers in little-known bars in little-known cities. It was all so romantic and tragic, and I feel a part of it when I hear “Carey.”
Gravel/Ani DiFranco — I’ve been obsessed with this track since I was a teenager. It’s such a great love story. It’s such a great little capture of what love really looks, day in and day out, most of the time. It’s kind of like Kelly Clarkson’s “My Life Would Suck Without You,” but much, much better.
Ecstasy/Rusted Root — This is what you need to listen to when you’re really, really stoned. There is nothing better out there, promise.
Scar/Missy Higgins — My little sister did a semester abroad in Australia and came back with this song on CD for me. I listened to it over and over and over again for probably two weeks and never stopped loving it. Missy’s finally getting some U.S. recognition, but I’d love to see her get more.
Diamond in the Rough/Shawn Colvin — Shawn’s brilliant on the guitar, and she has a one-in-a-million voice, and I fall in love with almost everything she writes. This is one of my faves of hers — it’s an oldie but goodie.
I’m Shipping Up to Boston/Dropkick Murphy’s — This song will get you pumped up for damn near anything. It’s just pure adrenaline. The next time your friend ODs and you don’t have an epi pen on-hand, blast this shit.
Did We Not Chose Each Other / Sophie B. Hawkins — Sophie was kind of a blip on the radar in the ’90s and then disappeared, but this track typifies her sound well. Some of the stuff she was doing would seem blase today, but they were ground-breaking fifteen years ago. She’s still a rock star in my mind.
Blue Skies / BT — If you’re listening to “Ecstasy” when you’re stoned, this is the track to put on when you’re doing lines. Need I say more?
Wish We Were Older / Metro Station: This band got some attention with its hit “Shake It,” and singer/guitarist Trace Cyrus managed to hide for a long time that he’s the brother of Miley Cyrus. But their eponymous album is full of really fun, upbeat, teenage-angst tracks that bring me back to life in high school.
Ode to Divorce, Regina Spektor — Regina is one-of-a-kind. It’s like if you took Tori Amos in the early days and made it somehow even weirder. Her music needs more than one listen to really appreciate (or even like), but there is such talent there, such innovation and such brutally raw lyrics.
Everyone Nose (All the Girls Standing in the Line for the Bathroom), NERD, Kanye West — You’ve probably heard the non-Kanye version of this song about how every girl in LA does lines in the club bathroom. Shocking, right? It is SO MUCH BETTER when Kanye raps over it, because he’s not afraid to name names.
Dirty Diana, Michael Jackson — It didn’t seem right to do a mix like this without closing with my all-time favorite Michael Jackson track.
¹—– Original Message —–
On Sun, Oct 5, 2008 at 7:57 PM, nonpretentious wrote:
hey sasha & wendie:
i think your contacts page is more impressive than any shout-outs to cooler sites.
my favorite part of your contact page is the your v. you’re. as a grammar nerd, i can totally appreciate. as a forgetful person, i’ll admit, it’s the most frequent mistake that i make.
anyway, as a fledgling blog, we’d love to hear any insight that you have for marketing, writing, editing, or otherwise.
if you had to start from the beginning, what’s the one thing you would have done differently?
any inspiration would help. if you’re ever up for an interview, etc., let us know. we’d love to talk (via skype or gchat).
good luck with your site!
the nonpretentious team
—– Original Message —–
Sent: Mon Oct 6 3:45
Subject: Fwd: Re: evil beet contact page
Hi guys,Looks like you’re off to a good start.Your site takes awhile
to load, so you may want to look into that, as it could be a deterrent
to visitors.Also change your WP settings so that it uses the post
title in the URL slug and not the p=… stuff. That’ll help with
search engine traffic. Another SEO tip is to screw around with the WP
code to get the name of your post to appear first in your title rather
than your blog name. If you’re trying to start a blog as a business,
you’ll find that good SEO is, sadly, probably more important than good
Best of luck to you!
http://nonpretentious.com publishes mix tapes every Wednesday in its [mix tapes] column. Our goal is to create a digital version of trading mixes, sharing music, etc. AND also publicize the work of “common people” (i.e. not superstar celebs but celebs nonetheless) who are doing cool things around the globe.