Enter a dead serious place holder here

An introduction to dead serious and songs from 2021

All my friends are making Substacks (or they are hip enough to be running their own newsletter service). I won’t lie — this whole trend is bringing up a lot of nostalgia for the middle school obsession my friends and I all had with LiveJournal and other early blogging platforms. In some ways, writing this feels like a returning to something I’ve already known, and there is a lot of comfort in that. Anyway, I digress…

“dead serious” has been a place holder for so many different things. A coffee shop; a co-working space; an app for helping millennials plan for their boomer-parent’s death before it becomes too late; a blog; an incubator-slash-investment scheme so that everyone I know can quit their jobs but still be employed…

'“dead serious” isn’t exactly a business name, but it’s also not a nickname or codename or secret club or anything else. It ultimately just stands in as a place holder for all the different ideas that that animate me. It helps me puts four walls, teeth, an arm and a leg, around concepts that would otherwise drift off and never be seen again. By attaching these floaters to something, I hope that I can find them again some day if I need them. I have dead serious sketches all over the inside of my head and notebooks.

I don’t know exactly what you should expect from this newsletter. I wish I could tell you. I don’t know how often I can commit to writing; I don’t know what I’ll include; I can’t promise I won’t swear or ramble or vent.

These days it’s so hard to know what will come up; the world is volatile and full of contradictions that seem to be violently demanding to be seen, finally. We are some how more connected than ever and yet (if you’re anything like me) we feel more isolated than feels natural.

Maybe sharing all of these “dead serious” ideas will help me feel more connected. And maybe reading them will help you feel more connected, too. (“Connected to what?” is a very fair question that I have no answer for, sorry)

2021 was a year, and I made a mix

Ok, so we are well past the new year and everyone has already put out their “Best of 2021” lists and we’re all sick of last year and sick of January and sick of this year and... well I am late to that party, but this also isn’t a “best of” list.

It’s a “these were good” list.

For the past few years, I’ve been keeping track of music that peaks my interest. When I hear something that I like, I put it into a folder/playlist that corresponds to the month that I heard it. At the end of the year I usually package it all up into a “Replay” like playlist.

My digital recording keeping isn’t especially consistent, but I have remnants of these catalogs dating back to 2014 (which I think was one of the last years that Rdio.com was in operation). 

ANYWAY (that’s my go-to segue)

I usually select about 50 songs that were released that year, bundle them into a playlist, and share them with my friends or listen to them occasionally to remind me what music was like that year.

This year, I did that, AND I spent time putting it together into a studio DJ mix. This means mixing the tracks into each other, trying to get the beat matching, transitions, and equalizer just right. It was so fun, but it also resulted in a 3hr+ mix. 🤯

Who has time to listen to something that long? Do you? Well, if you do, here it is:

Seriously, it’s three hours and twenty minutes long. There are 51 tracks. It’s a beast! It’s mega. You do not have to listen to it in one sitting.

If the continuous DJ mix is not your thing, I also have it available as an Apple Music and Spotify* Playlist. Also, if you use some other service and need the track list, just let me know.

*I’m providing a link to Spotify, but if you are a Spotify user, I want to challenge you to read about why artists are upset at Spotify. It’s not only because of Joe Rogan but also because of Joe Rogan. Either way, artists deserve to make more than they do currently from the streaming of their music. Apple and Tidal aren’t much better, but at least they didn’t pay millions to be his sole distributor of racist misinformation and otherwise vitriol crap. Also, just for the record, I bought each track featured in this mix, preferring Bandcamp before Beatport and iTunes. It’s not much compared to how many times I’ve streamed each track, but it did cost around $100 to make that mix, haha.  

The cover art is from this photo manipulation project by Victor Enrich. The uncanniness of high-quality photo manipulations has always intrigued me, but especially looking back on the last year, I felt especially drawn to his work. “Is this real? Could it be? Should it be? What is real? how did I get here” Yeah, who knows.

Two more random music links from last year

As I worked on that mix, I took a few notes of other tracks that caught my attention that didn’t make it into that playlist (for various reasons).

One thing that caught me by surprise, is that it turns out that I really like remixes of Frank Ocean songs. I also love the originals (who doesn’t stan Frank Ocean)(did I use stan right?), but every time I hear someone flip them into a house or electronica track, I’m almost instantly hooked.

Alright. Until next time, peace, victory, deuces.