Back in the dark ages of Internet piracy, a Rhode Islander by the name of Joel Tenenbaum made the choice of illegally downloading/sharing music online and the mistake of getting caught. The record companies wanted to make an example out of him and nine years later, it looks like they're getting what they want.
According to the courts he owes the labels $675,000, which shakes out to $22,500 for each of the 30 songs he downloaded/shared on Kazaa.
I tried to imagine what I would do if I was in Joel's shoes. What do you do after you pass through the whole denial-anger-bargaining-depression cycle?
You accept what happened. And then you make the world's most expensive mix CD.
Although Joel downloaded 30 songs, he only stole from 19 artists. With only 80 minutes on your average CD-R, some songs were going to have to be cut, but it seemed important to have each of those artists represented.
Other than that there were no rules. I've included the songs I didn't use as bonus tracks at the bottom of the list for those who want to make their own version of the mix.
The Joel Tenebaum Tribute CD (Worth Approximately $427,500)
1. Red Hot Chili Peppers, "By The Way" 2. Rage Against The Machine, "Guerilla Radio" 3. Beastie Boys, "(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (to Party!)" 4. OutKast, "Rosa Parks"
Unless you're doing a downtempo/gloomy/chill type of mix it's always good to start off with a few high energy tracks. "Guerilla Radio" seems like a natural first track, but it's not even the opener on the album it's from, so it seemed strange to make it the first one here.
Keeping all the vintage rap-rock groups together seemed like a pretty natural choice. OutKast was going to end up on the CD somewhere, and "Rosa Parks" pairs well with the Beasties' party anthem for this opening block of music.
5. Beck, "Loser" 6. Linkin Park, "Crawling" 7. Eminem, "Cleanin' Out My Closet" 8. Limp Bizkit, "Re-Arranged"
This CD isn't all about good times. The first part might have gotten your body moving but the second part leads to some introspection. "Loser" is a tongue in cheek way to get in to the "emotionally heavy" part of the mix.
Speaking as someone who owned both Linkin Park and Limp Bizkit records I can't imagine how weird it must be to be sued for the music you were listening to at age 20. Until working on this CD I hadn't listened to "Re-Arranged" since at least 2007.
9. Aerosmith, "Water Song/Janie's Got a Gun" 10. Monster Magnet, "Look to Your Orb For the Warning"
Many of the songs Joel got caught with are pretty obvious download choices for a guy who was 20 in 2003, except there's a notable absence of classic-rock tracks. No "Back In Black," "Bohemian Rhapsody" or "Stairway to Heaven"? Maybe his Pink Floyd phase was right about to start when all of this went down.
But he had discovered Aerosmith. He's had a pretty rough time, so I'm not going to pick on the guy for having also downloaded "Pink"; we all have skeletons in our closet. As for the Monster Magnet track, your guess is as good as mine. I'd venture it's probably the weirdest song anyone has ever been sued over.
11. Incubus, "New Skin" 12. Nine Inch Nails, "The Perfect Drug" 13. Fugees, "Killing Me Softly With His Song"
"New Skin" is also a pretty weird track to get sued over when you think about it. Joel had also downloaded "Pardon Me" so you'd expect the other Incubus track to be "Drive" or "Stellar."
This mix doesn't have the best transitions in the world but songs like "The Perfect Drug" tend to stand out unless you're doing a mix of songs that sound almost exactly like it. Now that Trent is off releasing records himself do you think he'll see any of the $22,500 the label won defending his honor?
14. Nirvana, "Come as You Are" 15. Blink-182, "Adam's Song" 16. The Goo Goo Dolls, "Iris"
Those of you who like Blink-182 might have already chuckled at "Adam's Song" coming after "Come As You Are." For those of you who don't know the Blink song quotes the Nirvana song. It's no Eddie Money referencing the Ronettes, but few songs are.
What do the Goo Goo Dolls have to do with this? Nothing, this just seemed like the best place to shove them into the mix. I can only work with what he got sued for, folks.
17. Green Day, "When I Come Around" 18. Deftones, "Be Quiet And Drive (Far Away)" 19. Ramones, "The KKK Took My Baby Away"
The Ramones cap off a series of songs vaguely tied together by a theme of travel. "Nice Guys Finish Last" might have been a more appropriate song to put on here, given what happened to Joel, but seeing as how I've never met the guy I don't want to assume something and then find out later that he does some heinous things in his spare time (like disturb rooms with "Do Not Disturb" signs up).
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If you asked me what my favorite song of all time was when I was 20, there's a good chance I would have picked either "When I Come Around" or "Be Quiet and Drive". This is probably why I feel bad for Joel: Sure he screwed up, but it could have easily been me in his shoes.
Bonus Tracks: Aerosmith, "Pink"; Eminem, "Drug Ballad," "My Name Is"; Green Day, "Nice Guys Finish Last"; "Minority"; Incubus, "Pardon Me"; Limp Bizkit, "Leech"; Nirvana, "Heart Shaped Box"; OutKast," "Wheelz of Steel"; Red Hot Chili Peppers, "Californication," "My Friends"