As is now a tradition, whenever I put together my Christmas packages I also make a little “year in review” CD that highlights all the music that defines the year for me. Creating this holiday package is always fun, and a welcome creative challenge. The past few years have been more light-hearted approaches to the cards–one year recreating the infamous Kim K. “break the Internet” shot, and another poking fun at the Starbucks “Red Cup” controversy–but admittedly, this year seemed hard to come up with good material to fit the way I, and many other people, had been feeling. I didn’t want the card to become too much of a statement, but I didn’t want to ignore the sheer sense of uncertainty and trepidation that seemed to be hanging in the air. So when Colin suggested making a “Greetings from the Bunker” card for the holidays, we started riffing on the idea until the Holiday Survival Guide was born.
We got to work right away, reading various survival manuals and researching styles. It took a while to organize the content the way we wanted to, and even longer to find the right artist to partner with, but once all these elements came together, the project started to really come to life, and I really love how the guide ended up looking, especially considering we didn’t find our artist/designer ’til the 11th hour (Seriously, he rocks):
Thanks to the beauty of being able to order virtually whatever you want from the Internet, we were able to add some additional goodies to the package: water purification tablets, matches, and emergency thermal blankets.
Everything was coming together pretty well. There was just one detail left: the CD.
While I didn’t want to take away from the usual “year in review” theme, I also wanted music that would complement the rest of the package theme. Going through the various playlists of the year, I realized that might be easier than I first realized–there were plenty of songs that either focused directly or indirectly on the themes of uncertainty, survival, and the American point of view. I didn’t want to CD to be overkill though, trying to approach the topic from a preachy place–above all, I wanted to select tracks that really represented the year for me, that fit together as a cohesive collected body of work, and that would hopefully be enjoyed by the people receiving it.
And with all this in mind, Bunker Jamz was born. After my 2014 CD, I got a few requests from people asking for “liner notes” to explain why certain songs were selected/what they mean for me. Last year I printed them out and included them in the package, but this year, time didn’t permit for that. I figured I’d kill 2 birds with one stone and get a blog post out of it while also completing that aspect of the project. And, being that, as always, I’d like to more consistently post in my blog, I’m going to break this post down into a few separate postings. So, expect the first half of songs to be reviewed in the next couple of days and the next half a few days after that.
In the interim, would love to hear about your “Best of 2016” jamz in the comments section.