Yesterday the iPod started with Erykah Badu. Today the iPod started with Erykah Badu. I think my iPod is trying to tell me something. Yesterday I wrote that 9 times out of 10 the album turned me on but yesterday was the 10th time. My iPod seems to be asking me what the deal is with that. I mean, if it's 9 out of 10, isn't the 10th time a CHOICE instead of a real reaction?
Basically, today I'm trying to look at the world as a turn-on instead of a turn-off. Not easy for me. But here we go...
1. 'Apple Tree' by Erykah Badu from 'Baduizm'
First off there is her voice. It's not crazy like Macy Gray, it's not perfect like Beyonce, it's not showy like Mariah, it's not full of shit like Alicia Keys...
What the HELL is up with Erykah Badu's voice? It is relaxed most of all. Which I tend to resist. When she sings it is like a hot masseuse two minutes before the massage is over...she slips out of the room to let you bask in what she has just done. Somehow when she leaves the room it hits you that she's the best. It seemed like a great massage up to that point, sure, but all of a sudden she's left you to your own happy ending.
2. 'This Boy' from The Beatles from 'Past Masters - Volume One'
Seriously, did they start recording in THE WOMB? Because they sound about 4 years old here. It's enough to make you cry.
3. 'Looking For A Friend' by David Bowie from 'Bowie At The Beeb (Disc 1)'
This is a double album from his performance at the BBC. It's bizarre because there are SO MANY songs and I don't know any of them. (Except one from later in the shuffle but he didn't even write that one!)
The band is killer and you realize that Bowie released like 19 albums before he did any of his famous stuff. Odd.
4. 'There You Go' by Johnny Cash from 'The Sun Years'
How does Mount Rushmore play the guitar? Those heads don't have any hands. There are no guitars carved into the mountainside. ROCKS CAN'T SING.
5. 'In The Bunk Room/Navy Wife' by Mike Watt from 'Contemplating the Engine Room'
This is a concept album in the original sense of the word...he is exploring man's sense of himself and how everything funnels through WORK. EVERYTHING. Women sometimes take this as a diss, or a lack of interest in them. But we cannot help it. If we are good men, we are born to WORK.
6. 'Bone' by Sonic Youth from 'Experimental Jet Set, Trash, And No Star'
This album is sex on wheels. Big wheels. With silly rims polished to impossible lengths. Under a low riding frame of the car of your choice. Any car you want. You name it, the car is yours. On wheels of sex.
7. 'Ain't No Right' by Jane's Addiction from 'Kettle Whistle'
You can hear the muscle in this band live. I am normally left a bit cold by Jane's, but in the spirit of how my iPod wants me to view the world today, I'm gonna look on the bright side. There is NO air in this performance. They are tighter than a drum and a well oiled drum at that. If I were a multi-pierced vegan in 1990 on the end of 17 bags of thai sticks, I'd probably think they were the greatest band ever.
8. 'Good Day, Good Sir' by Outkast from 'The Love Below'
This is one of those odd little sketches peppered throughout this album. Nothing wrong with it but it's not a song.
9. 'Blockbuster' by Sweet from 'The Best of Sweet'
Do yourself a favor. Buy 'The Best of Sweet'. I don't know how to put it any more plainly than that. THEY ARE RIDICULOUS. I laughed several times during this song and it is 3 minutes 14 seconds long. When was the last time you laughed several times in 3 minutes and 14 seconds? While tapping your toes and discovering that your falsetto isn't false enough?
10. 'Burnin Down' by Patty Larkin from 'Regrooving the Dream'
Normally I find Patty Larkin to be a bit precious, a bit controlled. But the guitar playing on this track is deceptively simple. Devastating, really. I went from chuckling at Sweet and the cucumbers stuffed down their pants to a rime of tears at Patty Larkin and whatever happened to her.
11. 'Pages Of The Weekly' by The Broken Remotes from 'Tonight's Last Stand'
The Broken Remotes are an LA based rock band. (Full disclosure...Jon Leahy is the singer/songwriter/guitar player/producer/carpenter behind this band, a dear friend and frequent collaborator). His songs are not just all over the map, they ARE the map, and to scale. How something so restrained and delicate can be so HUGE and devastating is beyond me. You want him to stop and I mean that in the best way. It is inexorable and sad, whatever is going on in this song. Like a map it tells you everything you need to know but you won't be able to fold it back up quite the same way. This song will never fit back into your pocket. Just because you have a map doesn't mean you know where you are.
12. 'Part Two' by King Missile from 'The Way To Salvation'
Enough with the King Missile already! Good lord! Wait, wait, iPod guru says look at the bright side. Taken with 'Part One' King Missile tell the story of a boy who eats lasagna and realizes it is what he's been missing all along. Until he meets a preacher's daughter who asks him to jump over a church so they can be together. Then he realizes he's also been missing her all along. It is cute.
13. 'You've Had It With You' by Paul Westerberg from 'Eventually'
Nobody rocks quite like Westerberg. If I could explain it in a satisfactory way I'd probably stop writing about music altogether. Good thing I'm so unsatisfied.
14. 'Free Ride' by Nick Drake from 'Pink Moon'
You know the cliche of the camp fire and the soft strum of a guitar set against a desert landscape? In the hands of Nick Drake it is not cliche. It is a dream come true.
15.'Waiting for the Man' by David Bowie from 'Bowie At The Beeb (Disc 2)'
Bowie sings The Velvet Underground? Are you kidding me? This is a KILLER version of this song with one of the sickest meanest guitar solos you will EVER hear to cap it off. Funny that a cover gives the best glimpse of what is to come for Bowie.
16. 'Ground Hog' by Doc Watson from 'The Doc Watson Family'
I saw Doc Watson at The Bottom Line in NYC. There is no obstacle between him and music. Like breath escaping it comes out of him.
17. 'You Are Chains' by Secret Machines from 'Now Here Is Nowhere'
In my head I see a man on top of a rock trying to keep harpies from poking his eyes out. He cries not because of where he has wound up but because he is no longer where he was when he was the happiest he ever was. And never will be again. And the memory of that happiness eats him from within just as sure as the vultures will eat him from without.
18. 'Friday I'm In Love' by The Cure from 'Wish'
What a pop song. In a jiffy I've got cuffed jeans, a pompadour, and a gorgeous dame in a poodle skirt next to me as we sip from two straws from a soda pulled out of a fountain by a guy named 'Skitch'.
19. 'Garden In The Rain' by Diana Krall from 'Love Scenes'
Oh, iPod, why do you test me so? My bright-side-o-meter is barely registering. How can I be pleased with Diana Krall when she is so pleased for me? How, iPod, how? OK, here goes...you know when a little girl won't stop doing her tutu twirls for you and you know you'll have to keep patting her on the head and telling her how much you love it? But really all you want is for her Mom to step in and hustle her off to bed?
20. 'Days That Used To Be' by Neil Young and Crazy Horse from 'Ragged Glory'
The songs on this album don't even seem to matter...all I see is Neil and his buddies in a giant barn, scaring the farm animals that aren't quite far enough even though they are on the other side of the farm, roughly Rhode Island away.
I think I'll get some raspberries at lunch!