There’s a mixtape for every occasion. At least that’s what the first two weeks of Anne Clark’s popular Beats 1 radio show, St. Vincent’s Mixtape Delivery Service, suggests. Whether it’s a dance-party mix for an 11-year-old girl or a grandmother-granddaughter cross-country road trip soundtrack, Clark has been up to the task of thoughtfully curating mixtapes suited to the specific listening needs of her fans. Which got us to thinking: hey, we’re fans, and boy do we ever have listening needs! Maybe Clark could compile a mixtape for us. In fact, maybe instead of writing to Abby or Ann, our generation will reach out with letters that begin “Dear Annie.”
So, Annie, if you’re reading, we could sure use a mix right about now.
Wishful-thinking Senior Editor
My fiancée and I have the in-law blues. No matter how hard we try, her parents never seem to be satisfied with her selection in a husband. Apparently, I’m the wrong race (not Indian), practice the wrong profession (not a doctor, lawyer, or engineer), possess the wrong type of name (not a Muslim first name), and drive the wrong brand of car (I’m not making this up). To quote James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause, “Just once I want to do something right!” For a number of reasons, it’s been difficult for my fiancée (who does defend me) to simply tell them to go fuck themselves. If you have the time, a mixtape full of songs of rebellion would be amazing. It feels like us against the world, and we could sure use a patron St. of rebellion!
No Longer Desperately Seeking Approval
I’ll be honest. Last summer was one of my best. As an intern in the music journalism industry, I received my very first press pass to a music festival, Pitchfork. Between scribbling in my notebook and typing at a speed almost equivalent to the one at which you shred, I shot a video with my limited battery life remaining. I captured what has become one of my favorite live performance moments. It’s of you, Annie, or should I say St. Vincent. You’re smashing your head full force into a kick drum. It’s badass (and probably painful). My mixtape request is for you to curate something that evokes that ferocity, encompasses that fire. I’m about to start my last semester of college, and it’s easy to let the fire burn out. So I would love a mixtape that makes me feel like you in that moment: like a total badass.
I’ve got a tough one for ya. I need a mixtape that’s fast and fierce, heat-pumping and pulse-pushing, but still manages to channel the sublime, breathtaking beauty of biking up the California coast. It’s got to be bucolic and folksy enough to guide us peacefully across Golden Gate Park, then turn frenetic and jumbled as we zoom past the dilapidated bodegas and trendy Burmese joints permeating the Sunset. From there, we’ll need to crank up the energy because it’s time to climb through the Presidio. Once we level out, hugging the coast and getting our first glimpses of the sun-speckled Pacific, feel free to take the pedal off the metal for a minute with something softer. Next up are the international orange Art Deco towers of the Golden Gate Bridge. I probably don’t even need to say it, but this calls for something orchestral and atmospheric. Saving the toughest for last, we’ll need to give it everything we’ve got to ascend 1,000 feet to the summit of Hawk Hill in the Marin Headlands. Maybe some searing metal, or at the very least a raucous rock song. As we reach our destination and look out across the bay toward the SF skyline, cue Tony Bennett’s “I Left My Heart in San Francisco.”
Showering is hard. I can’t be alone in this thought. Even the most hygienically stable people of the world must go through the same mental distress when preparing to get clean. I bathe in the morning, and most days waking up seems impossible. I want to stay wrapped in cotton sheets and down and drift between dreamland and reality for nine more minutes at a time. My shower is particularly daunting and occupies the space of a dormer on the top floor of my house, which means my face is always within a foot of a tile wall on one side and a window on the other. It takes a great deal of concentration to escape without a concussion. Concentration I don’t have in the wee hours. Music has proven to make this predicament more manageable. Please help me to take a more enjoyable shower.
Dreading the Tiny-ass-shower Amanda
I’m about to embark upon a family vacation to the visual zen and endless blue skies of Colorado. I’ll be spending every waking moment of the next week with 13 of my immediate family members in a cabin in the low plains outside of Denver. I imagine a majority of that time I’ll be partaking in the Democratic wonder-experiment of legal marijuana. It will be my first time high around my family (where they’ll know at least…) and probably their first time in decades. We’ll need music, as is the usual movement of energy when marijuana is involved. My parents are children of Southern rock of the ’70s, with splashes of ’70s country music and ’50s crooners. My brothers are ’90s alternative kids, with a late life layering of polished country twang. Whatever may calm us in our crossing of a new familial threshold would be quite superb. Wish us luck, and may the high altitude not fetter our high attitude.
Future Good Vibes
Thanks for reading this! A few years ago, you and I talked about our favorite directors before your show in Boston. I remember specifically talking about Lynne Ramsay a lot because she’s one of my favorites and you said you liked her work, too. There’s a scene in her film Morvern Callar where the protagonist enters the grocery store at which she works and walks to the staff room. It’s shot gorgeously with this great low angle where everything seems mundane and dreary, but this old Lee Hazlewood and Nancy Sinatra song (“Some Velvet Morning”) plays to counteract that. It was the first time I’d heard them and it fit perfectly. What are some of your favorite uses of music in movies? I’ve always wished I asked you this ever since then, so a playlist of them is rather fitting!
Silver Screen Salvation
I can’t stop sneezing. My eyes are dry. My nose is raw. In short, I’m suffering from the worst case of seasonal allergies. It’s such a cliché, I know, and how Jewish of me, but this will not stop. Maybe I’ll see a doctor again, or maybe I’ll just have to live on Claritin breakfasts and Benadryl naps — it’s a crapshoot, really. If you could, though, please, please, please help me out with something musically, maybe a mixtape that matches my endless erratic spasms or soothes my tender skin as I continue to scratch and pry my face off. I’ll even stomach Queen for an afternoon, if you insist. Anything!