Like his sister, Mark proved a difficult character to make a playlist for. By the time I made it, we'd already heard a good deal about him and met him briefly (this mix was made on the hiatus between Episode 24 and 25). But the Mark we'd met was also an incredibly traumatized and strung-out version of the man. I wanted the playlist to reflect who Mark is when he hasn't been held in captivity for four years: fun-loving, confident, and an all-around good time. Like Damien's playlist, this one has swagger, but instead of the faux-tough-guy feel of Damien, this is pure, true confidence that is not determined by the opinion of others.
1. "There's Always Someone Cooler Than You" - Ben Folds
I can just see Mark at 17 discovering this song and thinking to himself, "fuck yeah, who cares what people think, I'm awesome and no one can tell me otherwise".
2. "You Don't Have to Believe Me" - Eric Hutchinson
This follows in the same vein as the Folds' song but this time the confidence is aimed at someone else. It's someone who is already very comfortable in their own skin trying to encourage someone else to feel the same.
3. "Let's Dance to Joy Division" - The Wombats
I think Joy Division is a band that Joan would have really enjoyed in her youth - I imagine Mark visiting Joan in grad school and playing her this song. He'd be trying to get her to jump around with him and she'd be telling him they should just listen to some actual Joy Division.
4. "Keep the Car Running" - Union of Sound*
there's a fear I keep so deep/knew it's name before I could speak
This song is originally by Arcade Fire (a band I really enjoy) but I like this version better. It may be because I heard it first or because Union of Sound really simplifies the orchestration. Either way, this is the perfect road trip song. Not just because of the lyrics or the driving guitars, but because the whole thing sounds like rolling down the window to feel the cool night air, like gas stations late at night, like having a piece of pie at a diner at 1am; like breaking free.
I probably associate this song so strongly with driving because I first heard it on a mix my sister and brother-in-law made for me when I drove cross country. If you ever want to make your little sister cry her way through New Jersey, make her a really good road-trip/moving away mix.
5. "Something Good Can Work" - Two Door Cinema Club
I chose this song entirely because it's fun and fluffy and good to dance to. You may have noticed that a lot of Marks' mix is good for dancing - he's the type of guy that's gonna blast music at 9pm on a Tuesday and have a full on dance party by himself in his kitchen.
Then my sister texted me saying, "oh my god, this is the perfect Sam/Mark song and I can totally picture Mark singing it for her at karaoke" and now that's an adorable image that I can't get out of my head.
6. "A-Punk" - Vampire Weekend
7. "Boyfriend" - Best Coast
Mark is romantic. Mark is that guy who would pine just for the fun of it. I think he's out-grown that stage, but there have definitely been many wistful looks in this dude's life.
8. "Hang With Me" - Robyn
Mark is a huge Robyn fan. This is definitely how he approached relationships in his early twenties: "you're cool, I'm cool, let's hang and have a good time and see where this goes and not worry about stuff too much. let's keep it chill"
and if you do me right/I'm gonna do right by you - everything is equitable in Mark's life.
I was slightly tempted to put "Time Machine" on here instead.
9. "I'd Rather Dance With You" - Kings of Convenience
10. "Praise You" - Fatboy Slim*
This is honestly one of the Great Songs of the 20th century. It is incredibly simple but expertly executed and I'm not sure it will ever get old. So much electronic music from the late 90s feels like it's from the late 90s but there's something timeless about this song. It is a keystone song for no other reason that it inexplicably reminds me of Mark.
If we had a ton of money to spend on music licensing, I would want to play this song at some point in the series. It feels like a finale song - everyone together, having overcome adversity, finally taking a breath; as the camera zooms out on them beginning to smile, laugh, heal, "Praise You" starts playing.