Last week, we received the following press release:
“Curious on how Conan O'Brien maintains his lean physique? It takes hours and hours in the gym — and to keep his energy up, Conan needs the right kind of music. We we cornered Coco and got him to reveal what's thumping in his headphones while he works out.”
The first thing that ran through our heads was, “Why do we care about stars and their starvation methods? We work at LA Weekly, not US Weekly.” Our next thought was, “Wait, 'hours and hours in the gym' — e tu, Conan?!” And finally, “Bet it's the whitest workout mixtape imaginable.”
And it is!
So, here's the deal. Conan partnered with Rdio, a digital music service created by the Skype founders that reads like a ripoff of Spotify. Team Coco will publish and syndicate the “first-ever weekly Mixtape Series,” with playlists put together by Conan's guests and regulars. No one cares about your playlist, but Conan's? Sure, we'll listen as we sit on our couch in our pajamas drinking coffee.
They make finding and giving these playlists a spin sound as easy as getting fat, but not so fast. We tried to download the mixtape and test it by actually taking it out on a run, but unless you sign up for the service, all you can do is listen, and to snippets, at that. Whatever, we got what we came for — confirmation that Conan, the Greatest Ginger, compiled a super-white workout mix.
Vampire Weekend, Boz Scaggs (“Lido Shuffle,” of course), The Brian Setzer Orchestra (white dudes of a certain age are never gonna let go of swing music nor the movie that made it cool, Swingers) and a little rock operatic The Who are all included. Of course there are a couple token hip-hop songs thrown in, too. Every white person, even the ones who don't listen to hip hop, loves Jay-Z, especially Rick Rubin-produced Jay.
Don't get us wrong, we love the honesty of Conan's mix. If he'd filled his playlist with Earl Sweatshirt, Lil B and A$AP Rocky, we would've immediately known his assistant put it together. But this is exactly what we suspect pretty much any near-50-year-old man still slugging it out on the treadmill has on his iPod. It's especially revealing when matching the year of the songs to Conan's age.
Cheap Trick's “Dream Police” and The Police's “So Lonely” — high school. He was probably the smart kid who hid behind his hilarity. “Basket Case” by Green Day and Naughty by Nature's “Everything's Gonna Be Alright”? The songs that got him through the career slump in his early 30s. That god-awful Kings of Leon song? An earnest attempt to “stay current.”
Now, about Andy Richter's collection …