GTFO of Grad School Mix CD of Triumph

So. To be up front – I stole this idea from P. But he was drunk, so I doubted he would remember the next day, so I ran with it. Besides, I probably need it more.

The purpose of this mix CD, as you can probably guess from the title, is to motivate me to get out of grad school. Because science can be a bitch, and 95% (or 99.9%, depending on who you talk to) of the time, it doesn’t work. It can be fucking depressing. It HAS been fucking depressing. The entire last year was a black hole of unawesome for me, as far as science goes.

But lately things have been going better, and I feel like I finally have the motivation to get shit done and finish this Ph.D. And move on to other things. I need to. I am setting goals for myself that hopefully aren’t TOO optimistic. Only time will tell.

To get me through those times that suck, I put together a bunch of songs that make me happy. That make me want to get up and dance, or sing, or shout. And I decided to share them with you, because, well, I’m nice like that. So here goes. Track listing (with explanation), followed by the download link.

1. This Year – The Mountain Goats. Couldn’t resist starting off with this song, given it’s chorus of “I am going to make it through this year, if it kills me.” That’s the kind of stubbornness I can get behind. And the kind that’s gonna get me through this year, or year and a half, or however long it is I have left.

2. Apartment Story – The National. This has become one of my favorite live songs of theirs. Love belting out “So worry not, all things are well, we’ll be alright, we have our looks and our perfume on.”

3. I Woke Up Today – Port O’Brien. How can you not sing along to this? Or dance?

4. Catastrophe and the Cure – Explosions in the Sky. This was a bitch to fit into the mix, but I had to, because it’s saved me from a couple of anxiety attacks in the past few months. Something about it helps me breathe a little easier. And c’mon – if there ever was a song of triumph, this is it.

5. The Kids are a Drag – Swim Party. I mentioned before that this may well be my favorite song of the year. That still stands. And there was no other way possible to come out of an EITS song.

6. The Freest Man – Tilly & the Wall. This was the song that actually made P think of putting together a mix CD of triumph. I had totally forgotten it existed until he put it on at Anita’s thesis defense party, and I immediately remembered how much I loved it.

7. Gasoline – The Silent Comedy. Like The Mountain Goats song, the subject matter isn’t entirely fitting, but the sentiment of “I am alright, I am alright, I am alright, I’m doing just fine” fits.

8. Black – Okkervil River. Man, again with songs with weird subject matter? I dunno. This one always makes me bop around in my chair and drum on any surface close to me. I kind of want to be in a band that plays a cover of this, if I can figure out the keyboard part.

9. Fight Song – Or, The Whale. “Our hands on our hearts, and our fingers crossed.” I think that’s how I live most of my life. Also, “only quitters give up in advance.” Yeah.

10. The Bleeding Heart Show – The New Pornographers. I obviously was not going for the up-to-the-minute newest music here. That wasn’t the point. I love this song. That IS the point. “That’s when we grab a hold of whatever it is we fell into.”

11. Constructive Summer – The Hold Steady. You didn’t think I could have a mix CD of triumph and not put The Hold Steady on it, did you?

12. Between the Rent and Me – Snowden. Snowden was actually the first band who ever put me on the list in order to take photos of their show. Before I had a blog, and had only shot two shows. Jordon is a sweetie, and I wish they’d put out a new CD already…

13. Holland, 1945 – Neutral Milk Hotel. More inappropriate song material. Due to my inability to listen to single songs off this album, I have trouble remembering specific song titles, and once referred to this song as “the crunchy one.” And then had to hear about it for awhile.

14. Pots and Pans – Les Savy Fav. They will always be the band whose lead singer spit beer on the photographers at Coachella. I am proud of that fact. Also, this: “Has your skin grown thick from bands that make you sick? Has your skin grown thick from a thousand stinging pricks? Have you been made dense standing upon the fence? Have you been made dense from polish and pretense? Well, this is where it stops. This is where it ends.”

15. Zak and Sara – Ben Folds. I always wanted to be Ben Folds. And write awesome songs like this.

16. Hoppipolla – Sigur Ros. This song sounds like a breath of relief to me. The kind of breath you take when you’re lying at the end of the race, battered and broken and kicked to shit, but holding that ribbon of finish line in your upraised fist. Or something. I imagine this is how finishing grad school sounds. So I had to finish the CD with it.

Download – Nat’s GTFO of Grad School Mix CD of Triumph