1. “Alpha Incipiens” – The Mountain Goats
Throughout the album Zopilote Machine John Darnielle (the only member of the Mountain Goats) has a problem. He falls in love with a bad witch, and then he’s scared of her. Don’t be scared John Darnielle! Don’t villainize the lady who’s clearly rocking your world. Just step up into your own power, man! That’s my message for every man every where.
“The morning comes to a stuttering halt / the cool breeze that blows is somebody’s fault / the summer heat tries to burn through / and I look over / warn you / but something’s happening….”
Anyways, the gift of Darnielle’s lover’s anxiety is that he accurately observes and captures the way that whatever happens in the atmosphere around a bad witch feels deeply, eerily permeated by her. As documented in this song and the very BAD WITCH-ily titled “Bad Priestess.” And every other song on the album.
2. “Rhiannon” – Fleetwood Mac
If you ever find yourself low on mojo, I’ve noticed that Saint Stevie does indeed respond to petitioning prayers. You just imagine “Rhiannon” playing sinuously in the air all around you while you walk down the street at night wearing something that flows in the wind and then BAM! you’re good.
(Another devotional portrait of Saint Stevie to help you in your prayers. You are welcome.)
3. “Black Magic” – Jarvis Cocker
There’s always been something in Jarvis Cocker’s voice that’s a little bit crazed, a little bit desperate, and way too fiercely intelligent and imaginative for his own good. All that anguish and imagination add up to pure hotness of course, especially when mixed with a sample from that old strange hit “Crimson and Clover.”
4. “Magic” – Olivia Newton John
This, of course, is the theme song to one of the most gritty, hard-hitting, realistic films of all time – Xanadu, about a roller-skating Olympian muse who opens a bangin’ nightclub.
5. “Paint it Black” – The Rolling Stones
I’ve got a feeling that painting a red door black would cause some crazy shit to happen that you don’t even want to mess with. But seriously now – the opening notes of this holy track are probably what Svengali used to control Trilby. What more do you want? Well, when I was 17 I really wanted this song to just play loudly whenever I walked into a room. I still kind of do.
I’m also pretty into this cover / revision of the song by Firewater.
6. “Magic Man” – Heart
The guitar riff in the “Magic Man” by Heart rather accurately approximates what it feels like to have a wizard stroking your clit – “he got the magic hands, mama!” Enough said.
7. “Tropico” – Lana Del Rey
Actually just about each and every Lana Del Rey production is an astounding cinematic apex of incantatory madness. “Tropico” of course is not just a song but a musical short film – and a rich visual conclusion to the pain and lust of the twentieth century in America.
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