Mixtapes for Hookers

The Best of 2012, Part 4


24. Paper Diamond, “Can We Go Up” [listen]
Boulder, Colorado-based producer Alex B first released “Can We Go Up” online in September of 2011, but I didn’t hear it until a new version appeared on the Wavesight EP, which came out this spring on Mad Decent. One line repeated for three minutes by an anonymous lady, it’s fairly mindless dance music—the internet tells me that it’s not dubstep but that it resembles dubstep. I don’t think about people from Colorado very often, but his website claims that his next big show is going to be in Aspen.

The Best of 2012, Part 3

32. Justin Bieber, “Boyfriend”
I heard this song in the car, I don’t know, maybe ten times before I realized that everyone’s favorite Canadian moppet now sounds like a grown man. The talk-rapping about fondue reminds me of nothing so much as American Life-era Madonna, and the acoustic guitars also channel latter-day Madonna. American Life is actually my favorite album of hers as a whole, so I like this direction. (I wish the follow-up singles were better, though; “As Long As You Love Me” has that overly stoned guest rap in the middle, and “Beauty and a Beat” just sounds like a silly mess.)

Continue reading

The Best of 2012, Part 2

40. Charli XCX, “You’re The One”
Slightly gothy twenty-year old pop singer Charli XCX came out with a bang late last year, though her basically perfect single “Stay Away” escaped my attention completely until it showed up on other people’s year-end best-of lists. Oh well. “You’re The One” is a slight (slight) step down from that song: a little bit of The Knife’s “Heartbeats,” but with gospel-ish R&B influences and the sort of slow, spoken talk-rap that the British have excelled at ever since “West End Girls.” (It’s the kind of song that’s a lot better when you’re not dissecting its influences, though.)

Continue reading

Best Songs of 2012: A Master List
December 2, 2012, 11:37 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized


This list was originally going to be a Top 50, and then a Top 40, and then it bloomed into a Top 100. I’ll be keeping the master list right here, and updating songs to it as I post about them. I’ll also be posting them on my Tumblr, mostly so I can link people to the list without having to send them somewhere with the word hooker in the URL, and throwing them into a Spotify playlist, too, even though Spotify seems so very soul-deadening to me.

I’ll be posting about the Top 50 daily between now and Friday (ten songs today and eight each day for the rest of the week). Songs 100-51 are on the playlist now, although when this is over I’ll tack them on to this list as well, just so everything’s in one place. Sound good?

[songs 1-10]
1. Solange, “Losing You”
2. Taylor Swift, “State of Grace”
3. Javiera Mena, “Luz de Piedra de Luna”
4. The Wanted, “Chasing The Sun”
5. Nelly Furtado, “Parking Lot”
6. Drake feat. Rihanna, “Take Care”
7. Thee Oh Sees, “Lupine Dominus”
8. Cher Lloyd, “Want You Back”
9. Chisu, “Kohtalon Oma”
10. Ke$ha, “Die Young”

[songs 11-16]
11. The Orwells, “Mallrats (La La La)”
12. Churches, “The Mother We Share”
13. Gepe, “En La Natraleza (4-3-2-1-0)”
14. Taylor Swift, “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together”
15. Seeed, “Augenbling”
16. One Direction, “What Makes You Beautiful”

[songs 17-24]
17. Death and Vanilla, “Cul de Sac”
18. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, “Thrift Shop”
19. Carly Rae Jepsen, “Call Me Maybe”
20. Gemma Ray, “Flood and a Fire”
21. Parallels, “Ritual Dancer”
22. Big Freedia, “Feelin’ Myself”
23. Blood Diamonds feat. Grimes, “Phone Sex”
24. Paper Diamond, “Can We Go Up”

[songs 25-32]
25. Taken By Trees, “Dreams”
26. Boss Moxi, “Mark David Chapman”
27. Ellie Goulding, “Lights”
28. Florence and the Machine, “No Light, No Light”
29. Titica, “Olha o boneco”
30. Santigold, “The Keepers”
31. Purity Ring, “Obedear”
32. Justin Bieber, “Boyfriend”

[songs 33-40]
33. Sarah Nixey, “Silver Threads”
34. Rihanna, “No Love Allowed”
35. Echo Lake, “Wild Peace”
36. Gotye feat. Kimbra, “Somebody That I Used To Know”
37. Perfume, “Fake It”
38. Christina Aguilera, “Your Body”
39. Flo Rida, “I Cry”
40. Charli XCX, “You’re The One”

[songs 41-50]
41. Beach House, “Lazuli”
42. Kraftklub, “Songs für Liam”
43. Bruno Mars, “Locked Out Of Heaven”
44. Cat Power, “Manhattam”
45. Timo Pieni Huijaus, “Pleiboi”
46. Nero, “Promises”
47. Miguel, “Adorn”
48. Nelly Furtado, “Big Hoops (Bigger The Better)”
49. Kelly Clarkson, “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)”
50. Grimes, “Oblivion”

The Best of 2012, Part 1

50. Grimes, Oblivion
Lisping and noodly, I can see how this outwardly precious song might drive people nuts. Even more so since Grimes became something of a critical phenomenon this year, in that way where she was beloved by bloggers and largely ignored by anyone who doesn’t read music blogs. Nevertheless, I like how catchy it is, and I’ll always hold a candle for dance music recorded in people’s bedrooms.

Continue reading

Listening Habits: On Being An Uninformed Music Blogger, Basically
December 2, 2012, 8:01 am
Filed under: music, personal, Uncategorized | Tags: , , ,

Yesterday marked the one-year anniversary of moving into my boyfriend’s place, and the effect it’s had on my musical listening habits has been as intense as its effect on most other aspects of my life. (It’s different! Good, but different.)

For one thing, noisy music has all but disappeared from my life, barring the nights I left him at home to go see metal bands. (It happened a fair amount.) Instead we listen to a lot of records together: his Shirley Bassey and Stevie Wonder and Dionne Warwick albums, and my cobbled-together Emmylou Harris, Petula Clark and Blondie albums. (I got Autoamerican this year for the first time, and it’s a lot better than anybody gives it credit for.)

Continue reading

Report From A Recent HIV Test
December 1, 2012, 9:45 am
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , ,


(So, I’m back. Life update coming soon, but for now, let’s just say that I’m back.)

Last week I went for an HIV test, my first in far longer than I care to admit. The results were negative, as I was almost certain they would be. But the experience was pretty unsettling, anyway.

The free clinic where I go is a bleak place, as medical clinics almost always are, I walked into an exam room, sat down, and got asked the same series of questions they always ask. Do you have medical insurance? (No!) Have you recently had unprotected sex? (No!) Have you been tested for HIV before? (Yes!) Do you sleep with men, women, or both? (They didn’t ask the ‘have you ever had sex in exchange for money’ question this time, which I found interesting.)

Then he asked a question that I got a little bit stuck on: What brings you here today?

I just thought I’d get tested, I said. Isn’t that… you know, like… like you do.

It was true. There were no broken condoms, no accidental bareback hookups and I haven’t recently decided to start shooting needles into my arms. I just thought getting regularly tested is what you’re supposed to do.

Nobody comes in here just to get checked out, he said, before going into the whole spiel about how how HIV tests look for antibodies and not for the virus itself, meaning that there’s a three-month period where you you might have HIV but your body wouldn’t have started producing antibodies yet. That part I all knew, but I was really stuck on what he had said. Nobody comes in here just to get checked out.

What about getting tested every six months? I wanted to say. Don’t people do that anymore?

Rather than asking questions—this guy seemed mildly disgusted by my very existence, which I found annoying—I retired to the wood-paneled waiting room, where I tried to memorize the list of countries where Hepatitis B is common. (Malta, for some reason, is the only one I can still remember.)

I left the clinic twenty minutes later, happy about the results but rather despondent that apparently nobody’s going into the free clinic for HIV tests unless they had some kind of slip-up one night a long time ago.