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Front Desk Mixtapes presents: “Mountain Mix” by Carla


In our latest selection from the Front Desk Mixtapes series, Carla was eager to elevate her selections. Another member of our Special Operations team, Carla also coordinates all HR efforts within BKB Chicago. Rather than throw together a collection of songs and call it a day, Carla found a unifying story and theme for her mixtape, producing one of the most interesting and eclectic additions to the Front Desk Mixtapes archive yet. Learn more about Carla’s mixtape, in her own words, below.

Whoa. This has nothing to do with my actual life? Or it could? Form your own conclusions. Tell your own stories. Sing your own songs.

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CARLA SAYS: I started off with the skeleton of “Work Hard”, “Be Prepared”, and “Learn How” because … well, that’s a pretty good formula to build just about anything worthwhile. I fleshed it out with some of my favorite things, rearranged them a few times, and ended up accidentally narrating a story of an epic,eclectic journey.

We follow our protagonist as he or she begins, caught up striving and stumbling in the driving dissonance of the rat race, then hyperdrive launch into outer space, climbing an idealistic metaphorical mountain while chasing love. It’s a bumpy ride that crashes and burns along with the rest of the modern world, but instead of burning out or giving up, our hero(ine) picks up the pieces and sets about building something better than what came before. This time, the mountain itself – and also the struggle and the journey – is the point as well as finding peace and a sense of purpose in a life of intention.

Whoa. This has nothing to do with my actual life? Or it could? Form your own conclusions. Tell your own stories. Sing your own songs. Either way, I love every song on here and they’re all about persistence and getting back up to try again. It was really hard to narrow this list down to only fifteen songs, but this is a tiny slice of what I like and what motivates me to keep moving!


Beginning with “Work Hard” and ending with the Desmond Dekker song was an intentional choice; the message is similar, but the tone is very different. Eventually, we end up where we began, or in the words of my buddy Al Scorch at the end of his song, “Giant Wars and Dinosaurs”: “Here we are, a shelter dug into the earth/Now we shall see, who is last and who is first!”

I love that idea of cutting out all the non-essentials that we convince ourselves that we need to be happy and honing in on what is real and at the marrow of our matter or what really feeds us and sustains us: our relationships, our passions, and ultimately, the soil which is made out of everything that ever lived and microscopic bits of silt and sand that once were mountains, or perhaps even distant stars.

If you put your problems in that perspective, it’s hard to take the little setbacks seriously or to take something mundanely spectacular – like a luscious summer tomato, sliced still-warm from the sun – for granted. The fact that we’re even here is such magic! It would be a shame to not make the most of it while we can. Or, to bring it back to the music, as we’re reminded in “Learn How”: “The tools of the trade are the head and the heart.”  I’d add hands to that list: hands that can dig in to plant seeds, reach up to climb higher than they did the day before, and pause to write down the dreams of the head and the heart for those that might want to follow them tomorrow.

Mountain Mix: A Post-Apocalyptic, Post-Punk Hillbilly Hardcore Road Trip

“Work Hard” by Depeche Mode
“What You Need” by The Fall
“Silver Rocket” by Sonic Youth (Daydream Nation)
“Blast Off! by The Monks
“The Mountain’s High” by Dick and Dee Dee
“Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell
“Fire on the Mountain” by Bill Monroe and Doc Watson
“Roadrunner” by The Modern Lovers
“It’s My Life Baby” by Bobby “Blue” Bland
“Mountain Song” by The Tillers
“Giant Wars and Dinosaurs” by Al Scorch
“Be Prepared” by Shellac
“Learn How” by Mission of Burma
“Goin’ Back to the Blue Ridge Mountains” by Norman Blake
“You Can Get it if You Really Want” by Desmond Dekker