Mixtape: First Impressions

I heard a 2006 Jon Brion interview today in which the composer recalls his first impression of Nirvana’s “Lithium”:

I remember exactly where I was the first time I heard “Lithium”: back of a friend’s car, it came on, and…I just freaked out. I mean, I was nearly in tears. […] It’s absolutely as good as Gershwin or Thelonious Monk.

That got me thinking about songs that left a memorable impression on me the first time I heard them.

For many of the songs, my first listen was also an introduction to an album and artist I’d eventually love (Belle & Sebastian’s “Get Me Away from Here, I’m Dying”, The xx’s “Crystalised”, Youth Lagoon’s “17”). Others, I marveled at the sound or composition, as it was like nothing I’ve heard before up to that point (“Airbag”, “Runaway”, “Royals”). All of them, I remember exactly where I was. Sadly, you can only hear a song for the first time once. These ones were special.

Track listing

  1. “Get Me Away from Here, I’m Dying” by Belle & Sebastian
  2. “Airbag” by Radiohead
  3. “Shelter Two” by The Evens
  4. “In the Aeroplane Over the Sea” by Neutral Milk Hotel
  5. “I’ve Got Your Number” by Passion Pit
  6. “Crystalised” by The xx
  7. “Runaway” by Kanye West, Pusha T
  8. “17” by Youth Lagoon
  9. “Royals” by Lorde
  10. “Adorn” by Miguel
  11. “Falling” by HAIM
  12. “Planez” by Jeremih, J. Cole

Listen on Spotify