Writing Mix Tape #6: Jerry Smith

jerryFor our sixth entry into the “Writing MixTape” series, I thought I’d go back to the beginning, with another set of songs I love to listen to while writing. We’re going to make this a regular series, with Writing MixTapes posted from the Icons crew every once in a while, in an attempt to perhaps turn you readers onto some music you may or may not be privy to yet. We’re also going to welcome friends of ours into the fold, with guest mixes appearing here and there. We hop that you all enjoy some of music we’re into, and if you don’t, well…we love ya anyway.

Also, feel absolutely free to chime in with any of the songs and albums that you love to put on in the background, in hopes of inspiring any forms of art that you’re into, we’re always looking for new music ourselves, so to make this a joint thing, would be very cool. -Jerry

10.) Ramones – “Poison Heart

To say my family is comprised of Ramones fans would the understatement of the year. My kids worship every single song of theirs and my wife and I aren’t very far behind. Sure the classics like “Blitzkrieg Bop,” and “I Wanna Be Sedated” are good, but it’s this track that I always seem to revisit while writing any project I’m on. It’s one of the Ramones songs that gives a glimpse into the troubled life of former bassist Dee Dee Ramone, who gave this song to the band in exchange for bailing him out of jail. It’s a mid-tempo track that is about as perfect as a song can be.

9.) Gerard McMann – “Cry Little Sister

Taken from the soundtrack to THE LOST BOYS, this track has been one of my all time faves for decades now, and it’s absolutely PERFECT to listen to, while working on a long article, giving you that epic chorus that fits typing keys wonderfully. There’s an absolutely incredible cover of it by Heather Baker for the HOLY GHOST PEOPLE soundtrack, and out of all of the covers of this one, that’s the one performance that got it right. With that being said though, there will never be a version that hits as hard as this excellent version.


8.) Love and Rockets – “All in My Mind

Taken from their 1986 album, “Express“, this track has been one of my faves for quite some time. Comprised of former members of Bauhaus, Love and Rockets were the perfect combination of the goth-like elements of Bauhaus, mixed with more of a pop feeling that one would expect. Earlier this year, “Haunted“, a great Love and Rockets song, appeared in the film, THE GUEST. While “Haunted” is great, “All in My Mind” takes the cake as far as I’m concerned.

7.) Nyves – “Fall Behind

Comprised of ex-Project 86 guitarist Randy Torres and current Demon Hunter vocalist Ryan Clark, Nyves is an electronic-based side project from the two, combining darker elements and sounds with some pretty good melodies and choruses. I’m getting ready to catch them opening up for another band on this list (IAMX) this New Year’s Eve in San Francisco, and if any of the tracks from their upcoming album sound as good as “Fall Behind,” then I’ll be stoked as hell.

6.) Brand New – “Luca

I’ve always been a fan of when bands try new things instead of making the same album over and over again. Instead of staying within that East Coast emo-core like sound they were unfairly lumped in with, Brand New fired back with “The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me“, and album that blew that misconception out of the water, and supplied listeners with what is, in my opinion, one of the best albums of the last ten years. “Luca” is easily my favorite track on the record and has a very emotionally creepy vibe to it, a perfect soundtrack to some an epic scene in your head and or background softness while you’re writing, before BAM! it hits hard right when you least expect it. Wonderful stuff folks.

5.) Depeche Mode – “I Want You Now

Let’s be honest here, horror and sex go hand in hand. This 1987 track might not be an obvious choice for some, but I spend MANY nights writing to this one in the background, especially if it’s something that I want to invoke a certain mood with. There isn’t a single metaphor in this one, it’s ALL about wanting someone BADLY. A song for writing, but even better yet, a song for…yeah, you know.

4.) Elliott Smith – “Between the Bars

Taken from his “Either/Or” album, “Between the Bars” is not only my favorite Elliott Smith song, but it’s also one of my five favorite songs of all time. The late singer/songwriter was the reason I picked up a guitar around 18 years ago, and his influence is big on me. This track is perfection when it comes to writing too. While some like to write with brutal music playing, I prefer the melancholic songs, the ones that invoke emotional responses and inspire more of a bittersweet mood than a destructive one.

3.) Marilyn Manson – “Deep Six

I’ve been a huge fan of Manson’s since the “Portrait of an American Family” days, and that love just never went away. Sure, I JUST said I prefer the more bittersweet-filled tunes when writing, but it would be a lie to say that sometimes I don’t just want some aggression to help fuel some creativity. “Deep Six”, a new track from Manson upcoming “Pale Emperor” album, is just that kind of song. It has a definite groove to it, sinking its hooks into you before pummeling you with one hell of a chorus. From what I’ve heard , it could very well be Manson’s best album in years, and if this track is a sign of what’s to come, then sign me up.

2.) IAMX – “I Am Terrified (Alec Empire remix)”

Taken from IAMX’s “DOG­MA­TIC IN­FI­DEL CO­ME­DOWN OK” remix album, this Alec Empire remix of “I Am Terrified” is pure greatness. Beginning with some synth-led beats, getting you into the track right before vocalist and main man Chris Corner (formerly of Sneaker Pimps) begins to talk about leather and pleasure, the song is pure sexuality. Like Depeche Mode’s “I Want You Now”, this one just oozes pure lust in electronic form. I’ve writing plenty of pieces with this track playing in the background, and it’s one of my favorite IAMX tracks around. Like I previously stated, I’m seeing IAMX this New Year’s Eve, which is a tricky thing…the last time my wife and I saw them play, she came home pregnant. Oh yeah.

1.) Placebo – “Running Up That Hill

This cover of a Kate Bush song is what really got me into Placebo. Forget “Pure Morning“, this is the band’s crown jewel as far as I’m concerned. Taking someone else’s song and doing something different is always a mixed bag, but what the band did, is make the song a grandiose experience. It’s dark as the night, yet there’s a very romantic and dreary feeling to it, perfect for writing and perfect in general.  It was this track that made me respect the band as much as I do (which is a lot), and it’s required listening for all of you fright fanatics.

What are some of your favorite songs to write or create to? Sound off!!


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