#12playlists mix 1: You’re so cool

24 Jan

My first #12playlists mix is here!

no1_so_cool #12playlists you're so cool 12 playlists gemma critchley

So, after a fruitful (are mixtapes a fruit?) year of making and sharing playlists as part of #13for2013, we decided we want to carry on into 2014 and beyond and have this adopted a new name: #12playlists. The idea is simple: create a playlist each month around a set theme and share this on Twitter or Facebook using #12playlists.

This month’s theme is ‘You’re so cool’ and I have decided to interpret it like this…

I decided to choose songs that encapsulate ‘cool’ to me, with a view to finding out the answer to that age old question that has baffled scientists, philosophers, artists and NME readers alike over the years:

What is cool?

For the record, Dr. Google gives this helpful definition:

#12playlists cool 12 playlists 12playlists gemma critchley @12playlists

Anyway, let the Cool Study commence. My tracks are…

Busted – Air Hostess
One of my bezzies Cath and I went to watch Busted play twice in Sheffield and they were amazing both times. We also once made her colleague come over to ours to be the photographer for our very own Busted shoot one night. None of this is ironic. Irony is not cool. We just liked Busted. What’s wrong with just liking stuff?

Verdict: Genuine enthusiasm is cool.

My Chemical Romance – I’m not okay
The video to this song is one of the coolest videos ever. Growing up on American teen movies and secretly always rooting for the underdog, this is everything you could ever wish for in a music video. It’s also great for throwing COOL dance moves to whilst you act out a particularly heart-wrenching scene of a rock opera. TRUST ME.

Verdict: Expressing your emotions in an overly theatrical manner is cool.

Roxy Music – More than this
This is the song that should play as the end credits roll at the end of every perfect night out. Picture this: the year is 2007. The scene is a sunrise over a grimy, glittering city skyline in Northern England. Our heroes leave the neon of the nightclub and walk off into the sparkling dawn, down a charity shop fashion show catwalk in what might have been a dream.

Verdict: Disgraceful disco dancing until dawn is cool

Piebald – Holden Caulfield
Reading is for winners, every cool kid worth his or her salt knows this. They also know how hard it is to choose a favourite book. I’ve gone with a Catcher in the Rye-inspired song choice, but I was tempted to go for Bukowski by Modest Mouse. Anyway, books are cool. People who read books are cooler than people who don’t.

Verdict: Reading books is cool.

DJ Earworm – United States of Pop 2009
Ooh, I do love a good mashup. Nothing like a concentrated aural blast of whatever’s cool at the moment (and occasionally what’s not, but by virtue of being part of said mashup becomes ‘cool’ – see also 2ManyDJs/Dolly Parton) to get your toes tapping. I was going to opt for one of my favourite acts ever, Girl Talk; but Nico already covered that off in his excellent mix, so I’ve opted for DJ Earworm. Now, it’s not the most current mashup, but it’s just so clever. The video is clever too. Which is handy, because the song isn’t on Spotify so I’ve put it here instead.

Verdict: Clever is cool.

Pulp – Death goes to the Disco
I promise not to fill every mixtape in the #12playlists challenge with Pulp, but I couldn’t let the theme of ‘cool’ go by without including a song by a band who is fronted by the coolest man in music, Jarvis Cocker. Okay, no more Pulp. Maybe.

Verdict: Obsession is cool.

Andrew WK – Party Hard
Cast your mind back. No, further. Through the mists of time to a land before Twitter. Before Facebook. Heck, maybe even MySpace wasn’t around in the funk of time that I’m thinking of. The year is 2001. Some dude who likes pizza, beer, white denim and busted noses stage dives onto the scene (no one’s quite sure which scene) with one of the best party records ever. Just the murmur of the piano in this song conjures up images of beer in red cups, students in shopping trolleys, toilet roll in trees and fists in the air. He is cool. Maybe not anymore, but back then, he just was.

Verdict: Partying (yes, it’s a verb) is cool.

Groove Armada – Song 4 Mutya
I love this song. I know the lyrics are meant to be about seeing an ex with a new girl but I don’t buy that. I like to believe that Groove Armada wrote this Mutya Buena when she left the Sugababes as a ‘Don’t worry, you’re awesome, their loss, we’ve got your back’ kind of message. I definitely get empowering and inspiring vibes off it and if put it on when I’m having a bad day, it usually makes me feel a bit better.

Verdict: Supporting and empowering people is cool

Justice – We are your friends

Not just a floor-filler with a killer chorus, Justice are up there with Daft Punk, Kavinsky et al in terms of just being incredibly cool. There’s definitely some je ne sais quoi going down there. Bonus track fact: I resisted putting Internet Friends by Knife Party on here – it’s an absolute banger but the message is the antithesis of this Justice track. See also: Pretentious Friends by Modeselektor

Verdict: Friendship is cool.

Jonanthan Coulton – code monkey
Jonathan Coulton is a brilliant musician who just so happens to be pretty funny too. This song is all about a frustrated developer who’s in (unrequited) love with a receptionist. As someone who has worked in dev/design/online for a good few years, I like nothing more than geeking out over code or design and love it when people are just as nerdy about it as I am. Being passionate about stuff that isn’t considered traditionally cool is cool in my book.

Verdict: nerdiness is cool.

Beastie Boys – Gratitude
Okay, so the Beastie Boys are cool enough to warrant being on this list anyway, but this song is just about being thankful, which is a cool concept. It also kind of covers off manners, which – as we all know – cost nothing and are worth their weight in gold. We all have plenty to be thankful for and it’s cool to acknowledge that, I think.

Verdict: Gratitude is cool

Modest Mouse – The world at large
This track is about keeping moving. I was looking for a song that more broadly conveyed going on adventures, whether this was to a new park in town or half way around the world. Nothing is cooler than swapping real life for an adventure, even if it’s just for a little bit.

Verdict: adventure is cool.

So, there you have it. Through the medium of #12playlists, I have managed to distill years of mystery down to a handy checklist, which you may print out and tick off your leisure to become cool.*

Be enthusiastic

Show how you feel



Be clever



Support the people you believe in

Be a good friend

Geek out

Be grateful

Have adventures

Got other ideas about what cool is? Share them using #12playlists on Facebook and Twitter and see what other people thought on Tumblr.

* May or may not work.

One Response to “#12playlists mix 1: You’re so cool”

  1. Vincent Krasauskas January 24, 2014 at 11:39 pm #

    If just ONE of my nights out involved Roxy Music and Andrew WK, I would be set for life. Great list 😀

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