One Less Time

Geiger, "Interlude" (Firm). Kompakt

Sa-Ra, "Glorious" (ABB Soul; originally released 2004).

Cherrelle, "When You Look in My Eyes" (Tabu; originally released 1984).

Faith Evans, "I Don't Need It" (Capitol). iTunes

One Be Lo, "Rocketship" (Fat Beats).

Common, "Testify" (Geffen). iTunes

Beanie Sigel, "Look at Me Now" (Roc-a-Fella). iTunes

Arto Mwambé, "Kryptonite Tonite" (Punkt). Kompakt

NSI, "Clara Ghavami" (Cadenza).

Gregorythme, "A Drug for Horses" (Bruchstuecke).

Dirk Leyers, "Wellen" (Kompakt). Kompakt

Bobby Sarkie, "Over and Over" (Wackies; originally released 1982).

Funkadelic, "I Bet You" (Westbound; originally released 1970).

Omar S, "Track #8" (Fxhe).

Mark Stewart & the Maffia, "Radio Freedom" (Soul Jazz).

Underground Resistance, "Jupiter Jazz" (Underground Resistance; originally released 1992).

The nostalgic summer jam of 2005 is Leela James' "Music." Just like the one from last year, Prince's "Musicology," "Music" goes beyond provoking you to listen to something else by offering suggestions. The young singer mourns the death of music and reminisces about (currently active) ghosts from the past, like Aretha, Chaka, Gladys, and Tina. Add her to the growing pile of artists claiming to revive music (as it was 25–40 years ago), which is probably a few feet higher than the heap of artists who took part in killing it.

Catch me in the right mood and my platform as candidate for World President of Music might include a stiff penalty for any flagrant retro act, from the production of reissues to the wearing of Ramones shirts. It might go all the way down to sleeve design. The similarities between James' album cover and all of Angie Stone's album covers, for instance, would definitely be some kind of infraction. A potential sentence: the visitation of high-school music classes to read a treatise, drafted by Sa-Ra, titled "There's Knowing the Past and Then There's Living in It: How to Sound Like Your Own Artist."

If I had been in the wrong mood while making the above CD-R and writing these words, I would've moaned about on-the-go playlists and CD-Rs and reminisced about hours of painstaking work and cassettes. I would've recalled my attempts to divine track sequences by staring, Magic Eye–style, at arranged stacks of CDs and records. I might've talked about the artful authenticity of beat-matching on a pair of hand-cranked Victrolas and the bloodlessness of DJ software.

The tracks for this CD-R were selected fairly quickly, limited to recent favorites and old comforts that have been reissued this year. It looks like I'm somewhere between the two moods—or, in other words, like I'm mostly in the present while somewhat in the past. That's how two equally gritty and emotive tracks of completely different makes—one by a funk band ("I Bet You"), the other by a techno producer who takes pride in using no live instruments ("Track #8")—wound up next to one another.

As for the best nostalgic summer jam of all time, the honor goes to DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince's "Summertime." Is it just me, or do they not make them like they used to?

Andy Kellman is an editor at All Music Guide.

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