The Dunce Cap: Dec. 27, 2010

Image from Toothpaste for Dinner

The Dunce Cap, Vol. 30: The sun is up – I’m so fizzy, I could burst! (click on link to listen to mix via 8tracks)

1. “Mint Car” – The Cure
2. “Sun in an Empty Room” – The Weakerthans
3. “Happiness Writes White” – Harvey Danger
4. “Graduate” – Third Eye Blind
5. “New York, New York” – Ryan Adams
6. “The Sweet Part of the City” – The Hold Steady
7. “Back in the Saddle” – Someone Still Loves You, Boris Yeltsin
8. “All the Young Dudes” – Mott the Hoople
9. “Work” – Jimmy Eat World
10. “Kick Some Ass” – Stroke 9
11. “You Gave Your Love to Me Softly” – Weezer
12. “Some Fantastic” – Barenaked Ladies
13. “Popular Mechanics for Lovers” – Beulah
14. “Magic Boyfriend” – Matt Pond PA
15. “Let’s Dance” – David Bowie
16. “Star Bodies” – The New Pornographers
17. “Doing All the Things That Wouldn’t Make Your Parents Proud” – The Pains of Being Pure at Heart
18. “Atlantis” – Donovan
19. “Sugar Daddy” – Hedwig and the Angry Inch (Broadway OST)
20. “More Adventurous” – Rilo Kiley
21. “To Be Surprised” – Sondre Lerche

Well, it’s the 30th Dunce Cap of all time, and it’s the last of the year – I feel like this should be a celebratory moment! As I talked about rather extensively in my last post, this is AN EXCITING BRAND NEW YEAR, and I am ready for all of the excitement and thrall I anticipate it will bring. This mix is themed!, and it’s really a sister post to the Dunce Cap’s New Year’s Resolutions.

Basically, these are 21 songs that I hope will define my 2011. You should mostly be able to catch the gist from the title, but a few may require some explanation and commentary. Many of these songs are actually kind of sad – they’re not literal representations of what I want, but they each have special significance to me. There’s also a division of sorts among songs. An explanation after the jump.


Songs 1 – 3 are about happiness.

That’s what I want this year, really – happiness. The Cure starts off the parade of joy, with a truly frenetic jam about the thrill of being with someone you care about. Then, The Weakerthans‘ “Sun in an Empty Room” (also the name of an Edward Hopper painting!) says au revoir to 2010 and the happiness I will always remember fondly with someone – but the track also reminds me that I am happy all on my own. And then there’s the return to happiness with a lover, courtesy of Harvey Danger.

Songs 4 – 6 are about professional growth.

“Graduate” and “New York, New York” should both be rather self-explanatory – In 2011, I will graduate and (hopefully) move to New York, New York or a similar metropolis. “The Sweet Part of the City” expands on that a bit. I’ll be “livin’ it” in “the sweet part of the city/the parts with the bars and restaurants.”

Songs 7 – 8 are about getting back out there.

Lyrically, SSLYBY‘s “Back in the Saddle” (from their oft-forgotten 2010 album, Let it Sway) isn’t really appropriate for my goal. The title, though? Sure. I’m ready to get back out there, back in that vicious (and enjoyable) dating scene with “All the Young Dudes.” Duh.

Songs 9 – 10 are about professional success.

Again, Jimmy Eat World‘s “Work” (my favorite track off of 2004’s Futures) isn’t lyrically literal. But tracks 9 and 10 really are meant to go hand and hand. I want to “Kick Some Ass” at “Work.”

Songs 11 – 14 are about finding the one (right now).

I should admit, first and foremost, that I have been in a committed relationship with these songs for many, many years. “You Gave Your Love to Me Softly” (from the Angus OST) encapsulates what made Weezer a great band in the early ’90s. It is a perfectly crafted pop song with such a rollicking sing-along. I can’t even begin to explain the significance of “Some Fantastic” (though I don’t really want to feel that “I missed out on the best of you” – or that someone else did with me) or “Popular Mechanics for Lovers” (and, again, I don’t want someone to mourn the end of a relationship), but “Magic Boyfriend” should be pretty self-explanatory.

Songs 15 – 17 are NSFW.

But seriously.

Song 18 is Donovan.

Okay, this song’s a little sneaky. I’ve always held a special sort of affection for this particular track. It’s in “The Girl Next Door,” a movie I’m not afraid to admit I find immensely endearing, as well as the very excellent Futurama episode “The Deep South” about the lost city of Atlanta. It’s also about, as far as I can tell, loss. Very, very sweet, majestic, folksy loss. It’s also really good.

Song 19 is a joke.

I don’t really want a “Sugar Daddy,” but that would be funny, right? And I love this scene from “Hedwig” – the track is from the original Broadway OST.

Songs 20 – 21 are about me.

I want to be “More Adventurous.” This year, to be a bit sappy, was full of heartbreak. And Jenny Lewis really says it best: “I read with every broken heart/We should become more adventurous.” I’m taking that to this full and revamped heart.

And, more than anything, I’m ready “To Be Surprised.” Flexibility has never really been my strong suit, but it’s certainly something I’m willing to try.

Okay, PHEW, that was a really long explanation. Happy New Year to you and yours. I hope this year brings you all the things you seek in this great big scary world.

As always, happy listening.


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