Seeing as my birthday’s rapidly approaching, and this is usually the time of year when I reflect back on the past 365 days (January 1st ain’t got nothin’ on my birfday), I thought I would share a Sarah-specific playlist to honor the occasion. I’m always making birthday playlists for my loved ones, so why not make one for myself, eh?

Because I have a fairly extensive music library and my “favorites” are always changing, I’ll use my star system (yes, I’m one of the dorks that uses that iTunes feature) to pick a list of my faves–current and from the past year. Enjoy, and happy birthday to me!

1.  Heartbeats — Jose Gonzalez

2.  Could’ve Had Me — Lex Land

3.  Fistful of Love — Antony & The Johnsons

4.  Dead & Lovely — Tom Waits

5.  Sea Song — Lisa Hannigan (her whole album is freaking awesome…I had a hard time choosing just one)

6.  If It Be Your Will — written by Leonard Cohen, performed by the Webb Sisters on his album, “Live in London” (holy god, can these gals sing…also, I’ve just always loved this song, sung by pretty much anyone)

7.  Almost Lover — A Fine Frenzy

8.  Use Somebody — Kings of Leon

9.  Please Do Not Let Me Go — Ryan Adams

10.  The Mariner’s Revenge Song — The Decemberists

11.  The Fear You Won’t Fall — Joshua Radin

12.  Grapevine Fires — Death Cab For Cutie

I LOVE Latin music–flamenco, salsa, rumba–you name it, the stuff gets me wigglin’. I was a well-versed flamenco dancer during my high school years (and have sadly, over time, lost most of my best foot stompin’, skirt swirlin’ moves), and have learned the basics of salsa dancing (but would still embarrass myself on a dance floor with native salsa dancers), and my recent trip to Mexico inspired me to compile a playlist of some of my favorite south-of-the-border dance inspiring tunes. I know, the first two are by no means “Latin,” but they get my hips going, hence their inclusion.

I’m suddenly craving humidity and tequila. Weird…

1.  I’m Yours – Jason Mraz

2.  Heart’s A Mess – Gotye (a damn sexy song…just sayin’)

3.  Ventilaor Rumba – Ojos de Brujo

4.  Tive Razao – Seu Jorge

5.  Joven para la Rumba – Willi Gimenez

6.  Pa’Huele – Eddie Palmieri

7.  Pancha Remolino – Peru Negro

8.  Tamacun – Rodrigo y Gabriela

9.  Si Senor – Control Machete

10.  Son Fo – Africando

11.  Malo – Bebe

As a mentioned in an earlier post, several years ago I unknowingly started the tradition of making my mom a mix CD every Mother’s Day. She demands a new one every May, and sometimes in January–feigning forgetfulness to the fact that the CD corresponds to Mother’s Day, not Mother’s Birthday.

My musical selection for each album is not adherent to any particular theme. Aside from trying to steer clear of the death metal and whatnot, I basically just comb my music library for some new (to Mama, anyway) songs and artists she might fancy, with the philosophy of: “if it’s good enough for Mama, it’s good enough for the rest of us.”

1.  “Your Shining Eyes” — Biel Ballester Trio
2.  “Eli, The Barrow Boy” — The Decemberists
3.  “As Much as You Lead” — Lex Land
4.  “I Could Be Nothing” — Great Lake Swimmers
5.  “You Found Me” — The Fray
6.  “Wolf Like Me” — TV on the Radio
7.  “Bottle It Up” — Sara Bareilles
8.  “An Ocean and a Rock” — Lisa Hannigan
9.  “Flightless Bird, American Mouth” — Iron & Wine
10.  “Sweet Pea” — Amos Lee
11.  “Granada” — Emilio de Benito

Mama with her beloved, misbehaving dogs

Mama with her beloved, misbehaving dogs

Susie is my friend Maxine’s older sister. I used to nanny for her son, “Bubs,” and she’s just one of my favorite people in the world. When she mentioned how much she liked the CD I made for Maxine, I knew I had to create a special one for her upcoming birthday. She told me she listens to it over and over in her car, until her two year old son demands, “More Beethoven!” What can I say? The kid’s a musical prodigy.

1. “Your Protector” – Fleet Foxes
2. “Closer” – Kings of Leon
3. “Electric Feel” – MGMT
4. “You Really Got a Hold on Me” – She & Him
5. “M79” – Vampire Weekend
6. “Passing the Hat” – Cold War Kids
7. “Boy with a Coin” – Iron & Wine
8. “Oxford Comma” – Vampire Weekend
9. “Needles” – Lisa Hannigan
10. “Gone to the Dogs” – KT Tunstall
11. “Close Your Eyes” – Jump Little Children
12. “Flume” – Bon Iver
13. “The Great Escape” – Patrick Watson
14. “Falling Awake” – Gary Jules

Among other birthday goodies, I typically create a CD for each friend on his or her birthday. This playlist was created for Maxine, one of my beloved Scorpios, on her last birthday. She liked it so much that she has taken up the habit of demanding MORE, NEW CDs for no good reason.

1. “Bloodstream” – Stateless
2. “Universal Blues” – The Redwalls
3. “We Used To Vacation” – Cold War Kids
4. “Stop” – Joe Henry
5. “Red Morning Light” – Kings of Leon
6. “Somedays” – Regina Spektor
7. “Pachad” – Yael Naim
8. “Somebody Loved” – The Weepies
9. “My Same” – Adele
10. “Chelsea Hotel No. 2” – Rufus Wainwright

I’m not trying to toot my own horn or anything, but it’s been pointed out by more than a couple of my friends that I make a mean mix CD. I have a fairly ecclectic collection of music, and when I make a CD for a friend, I try and tailor it specifically to what I think he or she would like, and I arrange the playlists in very specific ways. What can I say? It’s just another one of my unique, useless (at least in terms of money-making) talents.

So among other things, I’m going to use this space to share the occasional Sarah-generated playlist for those of you who feel like making your OWN CDs. Happy listening!

(And don’t forget to download/share your music responsibly!)