- Finest Worksong (Mutual Drum Horn Mix) – R.E.M. (Eponymous)
- Reena – Sonic Youth (Rather Ripped)
- Moby Octopad – Yo La Tengo (I Can Hear The Heart Beating As One)
- Scared Straight – The Long Winters (When I Pretend To Fall)
- Hot Pants Road – The J.B.’s (Pass the Peas: The Best of the J.B.’s)
- I’ll Take You There – The Staple Singers (Best of the Staple Singers)
- Helicopter – M. Ward (Transfiguration Of Vincent)
- Beautiful – Paul Simon (Surprise)
- Cello Song – Nick Drake (Five Leaves Left)
- It’s Not the Only Way to Feel Happy – Field Music (Field Music)
- Thirteen – Big Star (#1 Record – Radio City)
- Hopefully – My Morning Jacket (At Dawn)
- Fistful Of Love – Antony and the Johnsons (I Am A Bird Now)
- No Man in the World – Tindersticks (Can Our Love…)
- Happy Time – Tim Buckley (Morning Glory: The Tim Buckley Anthology)
- People Got a Lotta Nerve – Neko Case (Middle Cyclone (Bonus Track Version))
- Sweet Thing – Van Morrison (Astral Weeks)
- Number Two – Pernice Brothers (Yours, Mine and Ours)
Commentary: Did R.E.M. record “Finest Worksong” with the horns in mind, or was it a cynical touch by some producer when it was time to release the single? It reads as a brilliant move, though, 22 years later. I’m of two minds about “Reena”–such a simple song for Sonic Youth–but the fact that I can’t get it out of my head two years on settles it for me. Ditto “Moby Octopad”, which is less a song than an extended riff, but no less brilliant for that.
“Scared Straight,” on the other hand, is a song, and a flipping brilliant one. And the horns alone are worth the price of admission. The horns also provide a great segue into “Hot Pants Road,” which makes a very nice segue into “I’ll Take You There.” A nice little singer songwriter set–“Helicopter,” Paul Simon’s “Beautiful,” “Cello Song”–follows, before we get into the psychosexual set of “Thirteen,” “It’s Not the Only Way To Feel Happy,” “Hopefully,” and “Fistful of Love” (and only Lou Reed could set up that song).
And then the last set. I won’t say anything about it, except that “Sweet Thing” may be the greatest single song ever. How was it that I missed out on Astral Weeks for all this time?
(Update: now on Art of the Mix.)