A Very B-Mart Christmas
This post is supposed to be about the release of my semi-annual Christmas mix for 2010, but as I sit and listen through this vast collection of songs, I can’t help but think back through all of the years that I’ve been compiling these mixes and realize how much I’ve changed and how far I’ve come.
Bare with me. Or skip to the bottom where I’ve posted a download link for the albums. Music has always been an important part of my life, almost as important as film and television. If you know me, you know that I eat, sleep, and breathe Entertainment. Christmas is hands down my favorite holiday of the year. And, in college, as punk rock as I was (long hair, band t-shirts, the works), I had a secret love of collecting indie rock Holiday songs. Bands would often do them for Christmas compilations when they got big, like No Doubt and Jimmy Eat World, but others would do them for the irony, like MxPx and New Found Glory. And soon, it became a trend. I suddenly found myself looking forward to tracking down the latest Holiday jamz. I’d create mixes for myself that I’d overwhelm my family with when I went home for break. And I’d play them in the car while out with friends, who soon began requesting copies for themselves. Whether you like the holidays or not or even some of the bands, a lot of these songs are just really great music.
Every year I’d compile a new list, often with songs overlapping. Then, I took a few years off. Life got very unstable for various reasons, culminating with my move to Los Angeles. Isn’t instability why we all move here? My friend Trina, who I have known since high school and now lives in Santa Monica, mentioned in 2008 that she missed the Holiday mixes that I used to put together. I thought I’d surprise her and throw one together for old times’ sake. That project ended up being an epic 3 cd collection that didn’t even touch the tip of how much Christmas music I had hiding in a folder on an old hard drive. And, in doing so, I hid pieces of myself throughout.
Each playlist is about a CD’s length because when I started making these, I still used CD’s! This year I’ve recompiled the mixes from 2008, edited some sloppy tracks, retagged them, and even added cover art! The titles come from the first track of each Volume and sets the mood for the rest of that mix. Volume 1 is the fun disc. I think it’s what you’d expect from a B-Mart Christmas mix. It starts off with Jack Black yelling in your ear, backed by loud guitars, basically telling you to give him everything he wants because he is awesome. Volume 2 pays homage to my newfound home (at the time) and is about finally feeling settled. This one probably has more bands or classic songs you might recognize, though always with a spin on them. For a time, Volume 3 was my favorite. It’s the sad Christmas album. I love sad Christmas songs. One of the reasons I stopped making mixes is because the Holidays took a bad turn one year and a dark cloud hung over them for a long time. I get why people hate them so much. Thankfully, I’m far removed from those situations now, but it’s incredible how easily one track can take you back to that time in your life. It’s important to let go, but just as important to always remember so that it never happens again. Even two years ago, I was feeling that pain again as I was going through some on-again-off-again relationship nonsense and far broker than I let on to anyone after starting a new new department in a down economy. Silly as it sounds, these songs remind me not to let myself slip too deep into self-pity. It can always be worse. And when you’re focusing on the bad, you’re missing all the good.
2009 had its ups and downs. Economy started coming up. Money started flowing back into the industry. Work even started giving me recognition. Still more on-again-off-again. Bills continued to pile up. It was a whirlwind with a light at the end of the tunnel. I kept my head down and kept pushing for what I thought was right. And 2010 was about vindication. Some great things happened on the job front. I traveled. I paid some bills. My parents were proud. But nothing compares to meeting the love of my life. Nothing that has ever happened in my life is so great as having someone that loves me unconditionally and supports my every grandiose thought and laughs uncontrollably at every bad Martinez joke. She’ll never know how eternally grateful I will forever be that she came in to my life. So, Volume 4 is about a new beginning. It’s about hope. And it’s about finally beginning the life I always wish that I’d had. I’m also fortunate to have the wonderful friends and clients that I have. They’re all working on projects that I know will continue to push the envelope forward in terms of online content.
If you’re still with me or just tuning back in, I think I’ve written more here than I have since being an assistant, when I still had creative hopes and dreams. I hope you all enjoy these songs as much as I have over the years. All cover art is my bastardizing of Amanda’s wonderful photography that she so graciously lent to the project. Look for a tumblr with more of it after the Holidays. Here’s to a better year than last, good or bad, for us all! Download Volumes 1 - 4 of A Very B-Mart Christmas HERE. Feel free to share it with the ones you love. B-Mart