JoCo Looks Back

By JoCo November 18, 2008

You may have heard about my new greatest hits CD “JoCo Looks Back.” 20 of your favorites! Technically it’s 20 songs chosen via a complicated algorithm involving popularity, best guess, and my own selfish desires and whims. But who’s counting! If you’ve been to a live show recently you may already own one, but it’s not available for purchase online yet because:

Right now I’m doing a special thing with the Creative Commons 2008 fundraising campaign that’s kind of exciting. Between now and the end of the year a $50 donation gets you a 1 Gb USB thumb drive with all 20 songs and the artwork, plus all the source tracks for all the songs. All the source tracks? Yes. It took me about a million hours, thank you very much. So if you’ve ever wanted to do some kind of kooky remix or mashup, or if you’ve ever just wanted to take these songs apart and see how they work, this would be just the thing for you.

This is an exclusive special super secret bonus package – donating 50 bucks to CC is the only way to get it so don’t even ask, you freeloaders. I’ve benefited immensely from Creative Commons licensing, so I’m very pleased to be able to support it in this way (with your money). Get it here.

The songs are (you may begin criticizing my selections now):

Code Monkey
I Feel Fantastic
Mandelbrot Set
Tom Cruise Crazy
Shop Vac
Chiron Beta Prime
I’m Your Moon
My Monkey
Skullcrusher Mountain
I Crush Everything
When You Go
A Talk With George
You Ruined Everything
Creepy Doll
Mr. Fancy Pants
Baby Got Back
First of May
Re: Your Brains
The Future Soon


James says

Might I start the comment section by saying, "Good Job!"

Actually this is a really good list, especially for introducing your music to somebody who has never heard it before.

Aleksi says

I think so too. Many of these songs are my personal favourites!
I'm from from Finland, by the way, if you're thinking that I have a weird name.

Tindomiel says

Psst: broken linky for "get it here". Also, this is awesome.

Auntie Annie says

Hey, Jonathan...Is that a Coulton family photo taken at Niagara Falls? It somehow looks familiar. I love reading your blog, though the techie language is mostly beyond me.

Andrew says

Nice. If you donate 50$ do they ship to the UK. Anyway a great compilation. And I'll defiantly be ordering the CD (if not donating)

CC says

This is completely awesome. I will lay down my fifty bucks for this. You are THE man! A million hours, WOW!! That's about 114 Earth years worth of work if my math is close. You truly are an evil genius from another dimension.

Luke M says

I agree, this is a very strong tracklist and perfect for holiday giving.

Aurora says

I don't know if you'll have the time to do it in the near future, but an acoustic album would be neat. I've really enjoyed the difference between how some of your songs sound in concert vs. how they sound in recordings, and it would be great to have both versions.

Marcus says

Sounds very cool. What format are the source tracks in / do they come as a sequencer projectfile? Logic perchance?

Anyway, as noted above, the broken link may already have prevented several purchases of this item (including mine), so you might want to fix that.

Jeff Schoby says

If JoCo did it the 'portable' way...all of the source tracks should be *.wav files that you could import into -any- recording software. I, too, am interested in how he actually did do it tho.

JoCo says

Marcus: source tracks are high quality VBR mp3s - there wasn't enough room to do full quality so I went for "more" rather than "better." If you just line them up in your favorite DAW they should work fine. And if they don't let me know. In fact, I'm betting I made some mistakes, because that is mostly what I do.

Link fixed.

Jeff Schoby says

mp3's...that works too. :)

three08 says

shop vac made the list. i therefore have no criticism to make.

Just Christine says

I've been waiting for the right time to make a donation to CC, plus 12 of my top 20 JoCo songs are on there? I'm all for it. And in fact already have visited the fixed link. :)

Sage says

Simply put: awesome.

I'm the guy who did the Guitar Hero custom file for Code Monkey, using the remix contest's source files, and I'm currently finishing it up for Rock Band (meaning you can play drums and sing along, too!) The release of this compilation means that I'll be doing at least one more JoCo song for Rock Band (Shop Vac) and possibly another (The Future Soon? Mandelbrot Set?)

This collection includes literally everything I would've selected as a "greatest hit". Really looking forward to it!

Stephen S. says

I will definitely be donating. You rock, Mr. Coulton! That list has all my favorite songs on there! And I look forward to listening to the guts of "Mandelbrot Set" :D

Laura says

It's a fantastic list! I would list my favourites, but that would in fact be listing most of them, so I'll just say hooray for Mr. Fancy Pants and have done!

Andy Simpson says

Ugh, that song selection sucks!

Well, no, obviously I'm lying. It actually contains many of the songs I wish you'd played in London (no Future Soon! I died a little inside...) but never mind.

I have to say I love the idea of the Creative Commons, so anything that can be done to support it is a fantastic idea in my book.

ThomasT says

This is outstanding - I will most definitely do this, although I've not the foggiest notions what I might do with the source tracks. And despite that absolute ignorance, I must still greedily wonder if the Re Vos Cerveaux vocal track(s) is/are included?

Chris Neugebauer says

I'm looking forward to hearing a whole heap of stereo mixes of Code Monkey!

Alex says

I think it's a great selection.

I'm very happy that "first of may" made it on there. I use that song as THE LITMUS TEST for whether one shares with me a bit of the same funny bone.

Roman V. says

JoCo looks back eh... Hm. What would have made it really awesome was previously unreleased stuff - like a recorded "Sweet Caroline" or "Birdhouse in Your Soul."

M_pony says

Roman, "Sweet Caroline" or "Birdhouse" can't be released as Creative Commons. Legally speaking they shouldn't even be available as YouTube clips. I had a YouTube clip of me singing "Kiss" by Prince 'silenced' (i.e. the audio removed) because that song is also not Creative Commons.

Joco, i am SO pleased that "When You Go" made it onto the collection (and Shop Vac.. but you already knew I was a huge fan of that song.) I think you've pretty much nailed the whole Greatest Hits Collection thing with these songs.

David says

Obviously "Dance, Soterios Johnson, Dance" and "I Hate California" belong on the list over "Mr. Fancy Pants" and "When You Go." I suppose "Still Alive" isn't available, but still...

Thomas says

I might have to get this. I'll entertain myself in anticipation with notions of how I'll take parts of one song and combine them with parts from another. To that mix, I'll bits of speeches from President's past, dead and gone, or other found sounds that I've recorded in my backyard. These thoughts will make me smile.

But then it will arrive and I'll find myself overwhelmed with the responsibilities of life in general. And those dreams of making something entirely different from material already awesome will be placed on my shelf, right along side a pair of unfinished novels from two subsequent NaNoWriMo attempts.

So I guess what I'm saying is, the only thing that would make this offer better would be the inclusion of about six hours of absolutely free time. A magic watch, perhaps? A very small and limited TARDIS?

Roman V. says

@M_pony You shouldn't have. That is covered under fair use.

Russ Rogers says

It a good compilation. I notice that recent "hits" have been passed over. I saw nothing in the compilation from "The Aftermath" period. I think an exclusive version of "Washy Ad Jeffy," with a new line to include Obama, would have fans happily shelling out the 50 clams.

I also think Always the Moon, Space Doggity, Lady Aberlin's Muumu and Octopus are also worthy of consideration on any future Greatest Hits projects.

Paul R. Potts says

I'm excited! Now I can hear what the percussion track in "Madelbrot Set" actually has in it. Sleighbells? Pots and pans? Something crazy noisy but fun, that's all I can tell in the finished mix!

Jeff says

In the same vein as Paul's, i can finally take out that percussion track that sounds like guitar strings that haven't been trimmed.

rtn2madisonSoonPlz says

I made my own JoCo greatest hits CD awhile back (from purchased MP3s no thief I) it contains 16 of these 20 and is played ALOT in my car. I'll take a closer listen to the other 4.

Of my own choices that didn't make your top twenty, I have to admit some have weathered better than others. My favorite 'alternate' is 'Big Bad World One', partly because I haven't figured out how to save the audio track from a live version of 'Still Alive' -- YouTube while driving is just not safe, y'know?

Best of luck to CC folks, a worthy cause.

Scott says

Missing Big Bad World One and (being Canadian) Curl. But great job in general.

Who else has a greater right to choose the songs than the guy who wrote them?

Luke M says

I also really like the Virtual Side Flip between "My Monkey" and "SCM." Nice.

(In terms of the ebb and flow of energy in the tracklist, for those whose experience is post-mixtape)

Matt M says

Source tracks? SOURCE TRACKS?!!!

Donation made!

Adam West says

Where is the Big Bad World 1? You put in Creepy Doll over Big Bad World 1? I'm hurt man.

No but really, a pretty good list, there's only one song there I don't listen to.

CupcakeAndTea says

the 20 song look alot like my Jonathan Coulton Favorite Playlist on my Ipod ^^ give or take a few songs :)

nancy walker says

Thanks again for making my kid's night a few weeks ago in Brookline. He was totally honored to find out he'd been the first to buy this cd and we've been playing it quite a bit around the house. Great, great stuff! He didnt' stop grinning for a week.

See you tonight at the Paradise, btw.

Marc Meloche says

Great playlist... my only nitpick is the lack of "Still Alive".

Mr. Jacobson, Esquire says

Just because I can't say this to respond to your twitter--
is 'Re my last twitter' a new song title? :P

Asher says

You've barely recorded for a year and you're already resorting to a Greatest Hits collection? The shame!


Ha! Check out the message on the CC site... "Due to unexpected demand......"


Zach says

I had a different order, and substituted "Tom Cruise Crazy", "Chiron Beta Prime", "My Monkey" and "Mr. Fancy Pants" for "Big Bad World One", "Furry Old Lobster", "That Spells DNA", "Drinking with You", "Kenesaw Mountain Landis" and "Still Alive".

I also switched out the regular version of "You Ruined Everything" for the acoustic version from the concert you did in Second Life.

"Chiron Beta Prime" is indeed one of your best, but since it's a seasonal number, I passed on it (as I do for ANY artist's Christmas or other Holiday music, the obvious exception being John Lennon), and "Tom Cruise Crazy" was only passed on due to it being quite dated.

Zach says

Know what, I'll post my personal order just so I can see what people think of it (listen through it before you critique, please, I ordered it for flow, and it REALLY does).

The Future Soon
Shop Vac
Big Bad World One
I'm Your Moon
Furry Old Lobster
Skullcrusher Mountain
Mandelbrot Set
I Feel Fantastic
A Talk with George
First of May
I Crush Everything
Baby Got Back
That Spells DNA
Code Monkey
Drinking with You
Re: Your Brains
Kenesaw Mountain Landis
You Ruined Everything [acoustic]
Creepy Doll
When You Go
Still Alive

As stated in my previous message, "Chiron Beta Prime" was only passed on due to it being a Christmas song and "Tom Cruise Crazy" only because it's somewhat dated already.

"My Monkey" and "Mr. Fancy Pants" just aren't in my top 24 of his songs. They're still damn good, just not my personal top picks.

Jmonkee says

"and “Tom Cruise Crazy” was only passed on due to it being quite dated."

What are you talking about? Tom Cruise is still crazy.

Darryl says

Hey Luke M -- somebody just ripped MP3s from the crappy YouTube versions of my SF Concert videos. (No, not the DVD concert. I couldn't make that. Darned newborn!) The one from Sept 2007.

I'm (still) feeling too lazy to rip them myself, and it sounded like you did some nice work fading/removing hiss, etc, so can you contact me at lee@$ (where you wanna replace $myfirstname with my first name) and I can set up an FTP drop or something so that I can get this poor sap some better sounding audio?

Or hell, maybe I should set up another free Phanfare account and upload the source videos again.


Zach says

Tom Cruise may still be crazy, but he's not all over the news like he was, so that makes it feel dated to me. I mean, the song cites specific moments of craziness, such as the Oprah couch-jumping. Still a great song that I listen to plenty, but not one for my personal best-of mix.

Steve F says

I am proud to say that I am an owner of this CD after purchasing it at the show this past night in Nyack, New York. Plus ... the CD is autographed and addressed to myself and my girlfriend, who was sadly not able to make it to the show. I want to thank you, Jonathan, for doing so. It was an amazing show. I've been waiting three years in order to see you, and the wait was well worth it. Also worth it was the 127-mile drive from the Scranton, PA area in order to reach Nyack. My buddy and I got lost a few times but we were still able to make it to your show on time. Keep at it, man!

Jack F says

Does the CD include a stereo mix of Code Monkey, or is it the "official" mono mix?

Austin says

well those are pretty much all my fave songs

Fredrik S says

Nice collection really. Was just wondering that if I buy the CD is it possible to get it shipped to Sweden? Pretty far away from America, but hey, there is JoCo fans over here too

JoCo says

Fredrik: pretty sure that CDBaby ships everywhere, but double check with them.

Alex says

I'm hugely disappointed by this for two reasons.

One, you should be making new songs, not making a Best of CD. I'd like to think we've yet to see your best.

Two, all my favorite songs are missing. ;_;
Drinking with you
Sky Mall
Big Bad World One
Make You Cry
That Spells DNA
Stroller Town
So Far So Good
Womb with a View
Todd the T1000

Where's the love for the less popular songs? I'd kill a man for the source tracks for some of them. I realise it's going to a good cause but I only listen to 3 of the songs on that list. Still, I'll probably end up buying it to mess with the source tracks and improve the songs I don't like very much.

Jason says

The Boston concert got a good review from this channel five guy's blog!

(No Rick Roll I promise.)
I was there it was absolutely amazin!

Linus Furtenbach says

hi you rock plz come and play live in sweden near our capital!!!

Sage says

I got the master tracks through CC, and have been playing with them for a few days. These are fantastic masters! The dry vocals are perfect, every track is there for every's everything an audiophile could hope for. Thanks for making these available!

jake mcCoy says

great list!

The songs chosen were definitely some of your best.

by the way, cant wait to see you in Virginia!

Angelastic says

Just received mine... it's all your fault I didn't go to bed three hours ago like I was supposed to. I can finally hear what your monkey is saying! I hope you don't mind me completely mutilating your stuff due to my lack of musical talent.

Linus: Get all your friends addicted to his music, and then get them all to request him on :) Translating Re: Your Brains into Swedish might be a good start.

Joshua says

Uhmmm well not alot of criticism here but where the hell is future soon, still alive, and big bad world one

Zach says

Joshua, "The Future Soon" IS on there...

Angelastic says

I assume Still Alive couldn't go on there because it's one of the few that isn't CC licensed (it was commissioned by Valve)

weirdojace says

Yeah, but I would think Valve would be perfectly fine with Still Alive being included on this CD. They're pretty cool about things.

I still want a karaoke version of it.

Joshua says

sorry then where is big bad world one. oddly enough one of my favorite songs not your funniest song but definitely a good tune :-)

Jessica says

@aurora - I'm with you. I think an acoustic album (or four) would be great. I love so many of the songs JoCo writes/sings, but I *really* love some of them in concert, when it's just JoCo and his guitar (and sometimes Paul and Storm). For example, "I'm Your Moon" is a gorgeous, poignant love song, but I feel like the produced version overpowers the sweetness.

Anyone know if getting the thumb drive would allow me to make my own acoustic guitar / JoCo singing versions of these songs, and would they be properly balanced?

Liz says

What a wonderful thing to do for Creative Commons and your fans. You just keep opening things up for people online and in Music 2.0, 3.0, 20. 0+

And HAPPY BIRTHDAY! May all happinesses be yours.

Roman V. says

Happy birthday, Coulton. Enjoy it.

HellZiggy says

Happy Birthday Jonathan!!!
Hope to see you in Minneapolis again soon... :)


Jack F says

You say it's your birthday? It's my birthday too, yeah! (Well, actually it's not. The only pseudo-celebrity I share my birthday with is Janeane Garofalo. Trying having that as a cross to bare. But I digress.)

Hope you have a great day!

Jack F says

Oops. I meant "bear", not "bare". I'm not real thrilled with myself for putting "bare" and "Janeane Garofalo" in the same sentence. [Homer Simpson shudder noise goes here.]

brandeks says

Happy birthday!

sevinPackage says

Happy Birthday, JoCo! I'll have a present for you when you come to Seattle at the end of January. See you then!

Annie says

Happy Birthday, Mr. Coulton!

Frederick Heath-Renn says

Happy birthday, indeed. Take the rest of today or tomorrow or both off. Unless you don't want to, or can't, or whatever.

Kat says

Crap, I didn't know it was your birthday today... happy birthday! Since you and twitter have come into my life I've thoroughly enjoyed finding out about geek news before my techie boyfriend. "Yeah, I already knew about Rick rick-rolling the Thanksgiving parade - joco mentioned it"... "Are you gonna check out the 2nd season of the Guild... it's on xbox live, didn't you know?" etc. And I play your CDs in my car all the time (yes, I'm too cheap/broke to buy a tuner for my iPod). Thanks for all that you do, keep up the good work :D

Zach says

Happy (belated) Birthday!

Mark says

Oh, snap! I might be able to use some of the source tracks to adapt in making new chemistry songs for my students. If I had any actual musical talent of my own (instead of the presets on my Yamaha keyboard), I wouldn't need such a thing, but this is well worth it! I can make the songs and videos and put them up on YouTube. Thank you for making such a generous offer! Oh, and happy belated birthday...the day you can celebrate at any point during the year.

Kapuran says

Long time follower, first time commenter.

It IS a good list, but it is disheartening that my two favorite songs of yours (and by favorites I mean musically, not humor-wise)--Big Bad World One and Pull the String--aren't on there.

Also, some of my favorite humor-based songs didn't make the cut either... Betty and Me, Better, Todd the T1000

But it has Code Monkey, I Feel Fantastic, Tom Cruise Crazy, Chiron Beta Prime, Creepy Doll, Mr. Fancy Pants, Baby Got Back, Re: Your Brains, and The Future Soon, so I guess I can't complain.

My JoCo playlist is all the aforementioned, as well as Drive, Till the Money Comes, and Soft Rocked By Me.

The order changes as I fall more in love with certain songs as my moods shift, if anyone was wondering. And Still Alive is a fantastic song, but it gets listened to in a different playlist than my JoCo plist.

Colin Jensen says

Someone please mashup When You Go with Elvis Costello's Tramp the Dirt Down. It just fits. Then make sure I find out about it... :)

Kate says

I just have to tell you that my cat, Mr. Fancypants, rocks out to your song by the same name. It's his theme song...he can't hear it, because he's deaf, but trust me...he loves it. And so do I!!!

Angelastic says

I said, 'I hope you don’t mind me completely mutilating your stuff due to my lack of musical talent.' To be more specific, I hope you don't mind me mutilating your words so it sounds like you're saying that you like Creative Commons (because of course, you would never say that):

zobroz says

you rock plz go on more tours in sweden

Brian Arnold says

I needed to wait until closer to year's end to make sure the holidays were okay and such, but I just went and made my donation. :) Looking forward to the thumb drive!

Actually, I'd have happily paid $50 for access to download the files without a drive too, I don't really need another thumb drive, but hey, I suppose it can't hurt to have. :)

gurdonark says

What a great thing for you to do. Had I read the options when I gave my 50, I would have checked the box for your drive!

Kudos to you for doing this.

whall says

I'm wanting the source tracks to When You Go, but the link for it has 404. So then I saw the CC $50 donation thing, but this blog entry says

"Between now and the end of the year a $50 donation gets you a 1 Gb USB thumb drive with all 20 songs and the artwork, plus all the source tracks for all the songs."

so now it's March 2009 and wondering if the offer is still valid.

Thanx for making it available JoCo! And congrats on a GREAT show in Austin Sunday night.

Chris M says

@Whall, its now available for free, at Legal Torrents.