April 2003/revised January 2006: CD-R

01. Madness, “Our House”
02. Black Box Recorder, “Straight Life”
03. PJ Harvey, “A Place Called Home”
04. The English Beat, “Mirror In The Bathroom”
05. Tegan and Sara, “Living Room”
06. Alison Moyet, “Hometime”
07. Bjork, “Hidden Place”
08. Everything But the Girl, “My Head Is My Only House Unless It Rains”
09. The Go-Betweens, “Streets of Your Town”
10. Sarah Cracknell, “Home”
11. Hedwig and the Angry Inch, “Wicked Little Town”
12. Simon and Garfunkel, “Homeward Bound”
13. Pet Shop Boys, “Home and Dry”
14. Blur, “Country House”
15. Yo La Tengo, “My Little Corner of the World”
16. Jellyfish, “I Wanna Stay Home”
17. The Smithereens, “House We Used To Live In”
18. XTC, “No Thugs In Our House”
19. Kate Bush, “Get Out of My House”
20. Talking Heads, “Burning Down the House”

I rarely (intentionally) make thematic mixes; this is a notable exception. In early 2003, I acquired my first computer with a CD-RW drive. In embracing this newfangled technology, I began making mixes for practically everyone I knew. One of my two friends from high school that I still kept in touch with had just bought her first house, so this mix was my housewarming gift to her. Three years later, as I look for a new apartment (again), a place I hope to settle down in longer than the usual two-years-or-less, the time feels right to revisit it.

The most obvious song you could probably select for a home-centric mix kicks it off. However, the next track is a tad more subversive, and certainly more indicative of my own feelings about getting married and settling down in the suburbs at a young age (which is exactly what my friend did). The song also gives this mix its title, which Sarah Nixey sings with her inimitable cool irony, but also very defiantly so you're not entirely sure whether she really adores or abhors such an existence.

The rest is a hodgepodge of songs that either have the words “house” or “home” in the title, or reference various rooms, streets, towns, or in Bjork's case, a space whose realm could very well lie beyond the physical, only present in a state of mind or being. Originally, after Yo La Tengo’s cozy rendition of a song once recorded by Donny and Marie Osmond (!), I ran out home-related tracks that I thought my friend would be into, so I fleshed out the disc with unrelated songs I wanted her to hear before concluding, rather sarcastically, with Talking Heads’ biggest hit.

Three years later, I’ve gone back and added four tracks (# 16-19) that fit in thematically. Since I had heard of ‘em back then, I’m not sure why they weren’t included in the first place. Of course, with them, the mix takes a darker turn much sooner, especially XTC’s manic Motown stomp and Kate Bush’s bonkers apocalyptic freakout. In both tracks, the vocalists scream out in fervent anger and desperation (or in Bush’s case, bray like a donkey). Thus, with their inclusion (or warning?), David Byrne’s command to rattle and destroy the foundation, literal or not, doesn’t come as much of a surprise. Maybe I should send a copy of this revision to my friend—after all, she and her husband recently sold their home and bought another one.