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Relax and unwind with Sean Daly's Big Chill-Out playlist

As a face-painted alum of Syracuse University, I don't care much for your Florida Gators. But I've been devouring those stories about Urban Meyer and his dizzied quest for R&R. Captivating stuff, isn't it? Anytime overworked America engages in frank talk about taking a breather, it feels otherworldly, as if we're discussing life on Mars. As I stare into the loaded gun that is the Big 4-0, being able to balance work and not dying has become rather important to me. Meyer may be a "drama queen," but I hope he figures it out — for himself and the rest of us. • Some folks are saying the ball coach should fish or hunt or hit the links. Me? I recommend a decent playlist. Seriously. For all my stacks of vinyl records, walls of CDs, etc., the most important body of music I own is a four-hour, 70-song iPod mix called The Big Chill-Out. It's built primarily of instrumentals — but not weird-New-Age-stepmom instrumentals. I'm talking cool soundtracks, mojito jazz, even a little mariachi. The Chill-Out, a masterwork in progress, goes everywhere with me — and it's foolproof in helping me breathe. And now, I'm sharing the formula with you. I don't have room to list all 70 cuts (almost all of which can be found on iTunes), but here are 20 chillers to get you, and Urban Meyer, started:

1 Love on a Real Train, Tangerine Dream (from Risky Business)

2 So Was Red, Thomas Newman (from The Shawshank Redemption)

3 Ragtime, Randy Newman

4 Wild Theme, Mark Knopfler (from Local Hero)

5 Desafinado, Stan Getz

6 Rhapsody in Blue, George Gershwin, Leonard Bernstein

7 Telephone Line (Instrumental), Electric Light Orchestra

8 Bubba Dub Bossa, Robby Poitevin (from Curb Your Enthusiasm)

9 Las Mananitas, Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán

10 Heaven Can Wait, Dave Grusin

11 Promise, Danny Elfman (from The Family Man)

12 Aquarium, Camille Saint-Saens

13 We Meet Again, Nancy Wilson (from Jerry Maguire)

14 Patricia, Ry Cooder and Manuel Galbán

15 Prologue 1915-1923, Randy Newman (from The Natural)

16 Marion's Theme, John Williams (from Raiders of the Lost Ark)

17 Nashville Skyline Rag, Bob Dylan

18 Latika's Theme, A.R. Rahman (from Slumdog Millionaire)

19 The Blue Max, Jerry Goldsmith

20 Wow, Thomas Newman (from Finding Nemo)

The Fat Playlist

So I'm sitting at the kitchen table with Kid Lulu, my newly minted 6-year-old. We're digging into a tin of Moose Munch, that sin-dripped confection from Harry & David's. It's a few days post-Santa, a glorious span of holiday I've spent playing Candyland, eating, watching movies, eating, running out of breath, eating. I'm wearing a Hanes Beefy-T that used to be baggy, but now adheres to my contours like Marilyn Monroe's "Happy Birthday" dress. Or at least Aretha Franklin's inaugural frock. A steady vacation diet of clam dip, peppermint bark, sweebles and Red Stripe has me feeling porky. But I don't realize how rounded I've become until my kid, with inquisitive innocence in her saucer eyes, asks, "Are Daddies supposed to have boobies?" At first I try to man up and deflect: "No, no, Daddies have rippling chest muscles!" But as she zooms in on the Beefiness of it all, I give up and sigh, "I guess Daddy should stop eating Moose Munch, huh?" My daughter shrugs, sweetly: "Only if you want to." For those about to diet, this playlist is for you.

1 Big Poppa,

the Notorious B.I.G.

2 Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On, Jerry Lee Lewis

3 Butterball, Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass

4 Livin' Large,


5 Big Man on Mulberry Street, Billy Joel

6Baby Got Back,

Sir Mix-A-Lot

7 I Feel the Earth Move,

Carole King


Destiny's Child

9Eat for Two,

10,000 Maniacs

10 Just Lose It,


Katharine McPhee

Album: Unbroken (Verve Forecast)

In stores: Tuesday

Who's that girl? The new season of American Idol starts Jan. 12, which means scads of fresh young faces will rent your brainpan for a few months before being ejected for a new crop of ephemera. In a related story: Anyone remember Katharine McPhee? She was the runnerup on Season 5, eventually losing out to Taylor Hicks, which, in retrospect, is a little like losing a beauty contest to Manuel Noriega. Kat's talent was perfectly above-average, her charisma perfectly below-milquetoast. The 25-year-old hasn't changed much, still excelling at safe, staid soft-pop (written by Paula Cole, Kara DioGuardi, Rachael Yamagata) and by-the-book vocal runs. The biggest change on her second album is that the former icy brunet is now a vaguely naughty blond; in the liners, there's even a snap of her nibbling a cherry. Is she trying for a bad-Britney thing? Will peroxide change her post-show fortunes? Will her . . . wait, who were we talking about again?

Download this: Faultline

Grade: C

Los Lobos

Album: Los Lobos Goes Disney (Disney Sound)

In stores: Now

"Every town has its ups and downs . . ."

I wasn't going to write about this covers disc, mainly because I was entrenched in Disneyana last year. But the kings of East L.A. deconstruct Mouse House hits with such verve, I couldn't resist. Heigh-Ho is now a unionized rallying cry; Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah is an ironic blues. And the best cut is the slow, sad Not in Nottingham, from 1973's Robin Hood. Written by Roger "King of the Road" Miller, and now crooned by David Hidalgo, the mariachi lament has a modern political charge, as a beaten-down populace wonders how much worse it's going to get.

Download this: Not in Nottingham

Grade: A



Relax and unwind with Sean Daly's Big Chill-Out playlist 01/02/10 [Last modified: Saturday, January 2, 2010 3:31am]
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