I like making mixes. It started with a Christmas music obsession and snowballed from there. I'm not a DJ, but I get obsessed with themes. I readily admit my thematic mixes are indulgent and perhaps even a tad autistic, but I know—or maybe hope?—that at least one other person digs each obsessive attempt at theme-casting.
Last year, I made a balloon-centric podcast to celebrate the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. When you start searching for balloon-themed tunes, you find yourself running into a lot of children's music and a couple of songs smack you in the face over and over again. Jimmy Webb's “Up, Up and Away,” as performed by The Fifth Dimension, is the classic balloon song. German pop-rock quintet Nena's protest song “99 Luftballoons” and its English-language version, “99 Red Balloons,” are catchy, imaginative and overplayed.
My Balloon Fiesta mix showcases 12 lesser-known songs from bands like Twin Shadow, The Kills, Spell, Ween, Beastie Boys and Matmos and a sprinkling of stand-up comedy, vintage educational radio and spoken word. Stream it above or visit my blog for the full track list. Happy ballooning! (Depending on where you work, the opening Mitch Hedberg excerpt may qualify as NSFW.)