A long time ago now, I made a mix tape for a mathematician that only included mathematically related songs. I didn’t keep a copy of that mix unfortunately. I’ve tried to recreate it on Spotify. This list includes more than the original though as I’ve added some new songs over time as well as included songs not on the original mix.
I’m going to list out those songs for your amusement but you can find the Spotify playlist here.
In no particular order….
- Kiss Off- Violent Femmes
There is a section in this song that has them counting off to ten. Just a great song overall in my opinion. One of my favorites.
2. One – Harry Nilsson
Does anyone know what a busy signal is anymore? The origin of one is the loneliest number.
3. Chicago x 12 – Rogue Wave
A band that I really love. Obviously chosen for the multiplication in the title. The video has Bob Odenkirk. What more do you want?
4. Love and Mathematics – Broken Social Scene
Another one of my favorite bands is the Canadian super group Broken Social Scene. This is also my favorite record by them. It seems kismet that they would include an instrumental track with this title.
5. Three is a Magic Number – Blind Melon
This was on an album that I owned of School House Rocks covers. It is one of my favorites as well.
6. Forecast Fascist Future – Of Montreal
Maybe this is just an excuse to include a song that I love. But there is a bit at the end where he talks about numbers. It fits, I swear. 😉
7. Insurance Fraud #2
A song included because its title contains a number. Also, great band and great song.
8. Pinball Number Count – The Postmarks
A cover of the Pointer Sisters Pinball Number Count from Sesame Street. It’s been slowed down and I find it rather relaxing.
9. Mandelbrot Set – Johnathan Coluton
My first math dream was about the Mandelbrot Set.
10. Random Number Generation – Hedwig and the Angry Inch
This is the live version with Lena Hall and Miriam Shor. I love this video. The two Yitzhaks together with their powerful voices.
11. Back when I was 4 – Jeffrey Lewis
Lots of number name checks in this one. Plus one of my favorite lyrics,” And back when I was 12 or so I swear to god I never felt so low / Everyone but me was making out and eating cookies”
12. P.O Box 9847 – The Monkees
Another out of date reference to when people would leave personal ads with P.O box numbers. But, yeah, another song that focuses on a number.
13. Psalms 40:2
A second Mountain Goats song! Its got a number in the title and it rocks.
14. Zilch- The Monkees
Zilch is another word for zero.
15. (What a) Wonderful World- Sam Cooke
“Don’t know much about geography,
Don’t know much trigonometry.
Don’t know much about algebra,
Don’t know what s slide rule is for.
But I know that one and one is two,
And if this one could be with you,
What a wonderful world this would be.”
16. 40 Day Dream – Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeroes
That is some good psychedelic modern rock
17. Section 12 (Hold Me Now)- The Polyphonic Spree
I heard this song in a commercial ad. It freaked me out because I thought this was rather obscure. Great song. I only learned about this band a few years ago from a friend. Good music.
18. Made-up Love Song #43 – The Guillemots
My favorite song of all time. All time!
19. 1234 – Feist
Maybe a bit cliche because of its use in an ipod ad (remember ipods?) but I don’t think this would be a mathematics mix without this song. Also Feist is a member of Broken Social Scene.
20. Down at the So an So on Somewhere – The Fiery Furnaces
I didn’t think that I would see this band on this list. But they did it. Brand new song after their hiatus and its first verse is pretty math intensive.
“Trigonometry tutors often go to dance class three times a week
You taught me that at some point that night
Connecting dots, tangent to your cheek
You check your time warp watch in the car
The angle ain’t all oblique”
21. My Mathematical Mind – Spoon
Used to perfection in Stranger than Fiction. A great film for Numberphiles starring Will Ferrell, Tony Hale, Emma Thompson, Dustin Hoffman, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and Queen Latifahah.
22. Another Hundred People – Company
Pour one out for Stephen Sondheim. A classic song from a classic musical. You can just feel the pulse of New York in this one.
23. A Fortnight’s Time – Maximo Park
A mention of multiplication. Still added it to the list.
I will just leave you with this quote from High Fidelity on how to make a good mix tape.
Wanted to add this song by BETTY to the list even though it is not on Spotify. I love the harmonies in this.
I’m the writer with a mathematical muse. I love words, numbers, dreaming big & helping others. I believe that whatever you imagine, you can become. They/Them.