Mix Tape: Nirmala Basnayake
Nirmala Basnayake is the vocalist for death-disco band Controller.Controller. She’s always happy when you dance to her music, but is much more concerned about dancing to yours. Here’s her commentary on the mix CD she made for our Summer 2006 issue.
“Making a Top 10 list of any sort is a difficult task! I have so much trouble eliminating entries and even more trouble staying firm. I’m constantly changing my mind, shifting things around, so I figured I should send this playlist off before I completely revamped it.
“I had to give myself parameters just to get the ball rolling, as they say; I focused on songs that make me want to dance, which seemed somewhat appropriate as I?m in a band that seems to facilitate dancing (yay!). I also focused on songs performed by women, which also seemed appropriate as I?m a performing woman and this is Shameless (for girls who get it)!
“It wasn’t easy to keep the list to 10—see the also-rans below—but I found it helped to actually make a playlist in iTunes and make sure everything flowed like a mini dance party. Hopefully you’ll find the line-up as danceable as I do!”
1. The Rondelles: Mystery Bleach Every good dance song has a great bass line, and this one is no exception; the bass line here is sinister and insistent, prodding you to jump around the dance floor and get the party started.
2. Belinda Carlisle: Mad About You Like eating candy on a sunny day, this song is a sugar rush and warmth on your skin, all wrapped up in a fantastic, kinda jittery dance beat. Delicious!
3. Rilo Kiley: Portions For Foxes This song makes me want to cry and dance at the same time, like shaking off the blues! Like smiling through your tears! So lovely.
4. Concrete Blonde: Happy Birthday I always try to request this song at clubs, even if it’s not anyone’s birthday; it just makes me feel good and has done so since I was 13 years old.
5. Sheila E: A Love Bizarre The beats come in like dusk, so we turn the lights down and the bass up.
6. Madonna: Into the Groove (Not the mix with the piano solo; this one might be the original, just straight up electro-pop instrumentation and helium vocals). So never mind “retro,” ‘cause this song is still a killer. If you won’t dance to it, you’re simply being petulant.
7. Shannon: Let the Music Play (Extended Mix) I’ve loved this song since I was nine years old, so maybe there?s some nostalgia involved, but come on! Try and deny that beat. Timbaland and Pharrell are weeping with joy, not to mention a little envy.
8. Glass Candy: Nite Nurses (Sick Sounds Remix) Plastic fantastic, dark and seedy, this song is one of the best new disco has to offer.
9. Amerie featuring Eve: 1 Thing (Remix) “Crazy in Love” is a better song, certainly, if only because Beyonce is an amazing singer; yet while both songs are layered to perfection, this one amps up its percussion to highlight an already ridiculously catchy beat, and that makes all the difference on the dance floor.
10. Jody Watley: Still A Thrill If I were a DJ, I’d always close my sets with this song, not only because the woman is searching for her car keys at the end, but because it’s a wonderful way to wind the beat down without going flat (Watley’s even singing in a lower register than usual, and it’s brilliant). The best way to end the night.
Songs that had to be deleted:
- Diana Ross: Upside Down (I still CANNOT believe I cut that, but I did)
- Les Rita Mitsouko: C’est Comme Ça
- Go-Go’s: Head Over Heels
- Beyonce: Crazy In Love
- Missy Elliott: Gossip Folks; Let It Bump; Lose Control
- Concrete Blonde: Still In Hollywood
- Madonna: Burning Up; Hung Up; Physical Attraction
- Kenickie: Come Out 2 Nite
- The Crystals: Da Doo Ron Ron
- Thelma Houston: Don’t Leave Me This Way
- Mariah Carey w/ Ol Dirty Bastard: Fantasy (Remix)
- Scandal: Goodbye To You
- Aaliyah: More Than A Woman
- Grace Jones: Pull Up To The Bumper
- Pretenders: Middle of the Road
“If only you’d asked me for a Top 30!”