Both my brother Kyle and I were to create a mix CD that we thought our mother would enjoy. She would grade each track on a scale of 1 to 5 as we drove to Columbus, OH for Thanksgiving. All songs had to be previously unheard of by our mom. Overall average score would take the victory. Our brother Adam was the scorekeeper.
Kyle's Entry (Mom's comments follow each track)
1. Our Love - Rhett Miller - 4
"it wasn't irritating"
2. Green Gloves - the National - 3
"i couldn't understand the words"
3. California Stars - Wilco - 5
"i like the beat and i can understand the words"
4. The World i Love - Papercuts - 3
"couldn't understand it"
5. I Feel It All - feist - 1
there was A LOOK. "i really did not like this song. everything rhymed with door or floor or war."
**noted as worst song
6. Could We - Cat Power - 3
7. Cold Cold Heaven - Earlimart - 4
"i enjoyed listening to that song"
8. Sky Starts Falling - Doves - 2
"too loud. i don't like how it changes the rhythm back and forth"
9. Eleanor Put Your Boots On - Franz Ferdinand - 4
"sounded kind of beatle-ish"
10. Wait for Love (You Know You Will) - Josh Ritter - 5
"easy to sing along with"
11. To Go Home - M. Ward - 4
"i like the beat & music but i'm not sure about the words"
12. Who Cares What the Question Is? - the Bees - 3
"a little bit twangy"
13. Diablo Rojo - Rodrigo y Gabriela - 4
"it really grew on me. it was a good Dancing With The Stars song"
**noted as most memorable song
14. Nothing'severgonnastandinmyway (Again) - Wilco - 3
"i really like the main part, but parts in the middle got irritating"
15. Campus - Vampire Weekend - 3
no comments, DANCE was starting...
16. D.A.N.C.E. - Justice - 2
"do the what?? do the Tance? i didn't like all that A-B-C crap"
17. Don't be Afraid to Sing - Stars - 3
"I like the music, not sure about the lyrics. at one point did he say he only had one arm?"
18. The Bleeding Heart Show - New Pornographers - 3
"there were parts of it i liked"
1. One of These Things First - Nick Drake - 3
"I like the music more than the words. I want to give it 3+"
2. While You Were Sleeping - Elvis Perkins - 3
"Kindof Long. Parts where I thought I liked it and parts where I didn't"
3. The Opposite of Hallelujah - Jens Lekman - 4
"I enjoyed the beat. It was very catchy"
4. Sing Theresa, Says - Greg Laswell - 4
"I enjoyed it"
5. Rain - Bishop Allen - 4
"I liked that song. Good beat. I liked the tones at the end"
6. Canyon - Richard Buckner - 3
"I had trouble hearing it"
7. So Sorry - Feist - 5
"Who sings that song?"
8. Glory Bound - Martin Sexton - 3
"The high parts were too high"
9. Fallen Snow - Au Revoir Simone - 3
"Good beat. Sometimes it got irritating, sometimes it got better, just an average song"
10. Heartbeats - Jose Gonzalez - 4
"Simon & Garfunkel-ish"
11. Terrible Vision - Rhett Miller - 2
"I thought it was kindof stupid"
12. Shelter - Ray Lamontagne - 4
"I liked that song"
13. Dirty Mind - the Pipettes - 3
"I kindof liked the music and the beat"
14. Falling Slowly - Once Soundtrack - 3
no comments - next song was starting
15. Get Me Away From Here I'm Dying - Belle and Sebastian - 4
"Enjoyed the song. More of an upbeat song even though he was dying"
16. Chicago (acoustic) - Sufjan Stevens - 3
17. The Greatest - Cat Power - 4
"I enjoyed that song. Running out of things to say'
18. Keep it Loose, Keep it Tight - Amos Lee - 3
"I liked parts of it"
19. Fade Into You - Mazzy Star - 3
"A little slow but overall ok"
Kyle's Average = 3.27
Grant's Average = 3.42
Grant is the winner!
All parties agreed that Kyle took more risks with his mix, and the results proved this point. Kyle had more 5's, 2's, and 1's while Grant had more 4's and 3's. Feist provided the most outrageous moments of the challenge, as her song "I Feel it All" was awarded the worst score of the challenge during Kyle's mix. Her track "So Sorry" was given a 5 during Grant's mix, with mom asking "Who sings that song?" Upbeat songs scored well with mom, as long as the lyrics were intelligible and the track didn't drag on. On occasions where both Kyle and I used the same artist, Grant generally choose the better scoring song. The exception was Rhett Miller, whose "Terrible Vision" was deemed "kindof stupid" and awarded a 2.
The Future of the Challenge
Short-term: Mom will receive a mix of all songs she rated either 4 or 5 (from both CDs). Grant will find a suitable trophy that will passed on to each year's winner.
Long-term: Several changes have been instituted to next year's challenge. Both Kyle and I will choose exactly 15 songs for Mom and submit them in advance to our brother Adam. He will make sure there is no overlap in choices, and will then make randomized mixes from our choices. Mom will be allowed to award half points (such as 3.5, 2.5, etc).