Thursday, August 7, 2008

Icarus Licorice

So I swore off the shuffle model yesterday and today I go back on my word. And it is all thanks to John Cameron Mitchell, or to be more specific, Hedwig.

To the uninitiated, Hedwig And The Angry Inch is a musical that tells the story of a German boy who undergoes a sex change operation at the request of an Army Sergeant stationed in Berlin. The operation doesn't fully 'take' however and Hedwig winds up neither here nor there and is plopped down into Middle America the ultimate outcast.

I won't go on too long, I'll only say that the iPod chose 'Midnight Radio' to open things off for me this morning and to say I love that song is to reach a pinnacle of understatement.

1. 'Midnight Radio' by John Cameron Mitchell from 'Hedwig And The Angry Inch'

I am one of the lucky hordes who can say they saw John Cameron Mitchell perform this most post-modern of musicals. My cousin Mike was going to be in New York City for a weekend very near his birthday. He knew it was unlikely that he could see everyone he wanted to see in the limited time he had. So he buys 30 or so tickets to see 'Hedwig' and invites everyone he wants to see. Selfish, I know, but we accept these minor faults in those we love.

The buzz had been building to a massive crescendo and the possibility of an anticlimactic response seemed probable. But just the opposite occurred. What I'd heard could never have prepared me for the emotional impact this evening of entertainment delivered. I remember laughing until my spleen came out of my nose and then instantly being wrenched into a sob.

This song serves as the cigarette lighter waving impetus to end the fictional concert we've just witnessed. Who dares to write an epic rock and roll song to bring a real crowd to the point of worship at the feet of a fictional star? The gall!

The word 'genius' gets thrown around quite a bit these days. Occasionally it applies.

2. 'Gary's Got A Boner' by The Replacements from 'Let It Be'


People, I can't stress enough how quickly you need to own this album. At first listen you'll probably wonder what I'm going on about.

Imagine you are driving down a deserted highway. All of a sudden you come across cars on opposite sides of the road. One has crashed and a man sits cross-legged weeping. The other has a couple in the back seat humping. Which one do you look at?

3. 'Sale Or Return' by Bis from 'Social Dancing'

I've got to go through my iPod and delete some stuff is all I'm saying.

4. 'Fatman' by G. Love & Special Sauce from 'G. Love & Special Sauce'

Having seen G. Love in person before ANYONE knew who he was, I have to say I thought I'd still be obsessed with him at this point. There is something disappointing about him and I'm not sure what it is.

5. 'Popemobile To Paraguay' by The Fatima Mansions from 'Lost In The Former West'

The Catholic Church secretly aided members of the NAZI party in their escape to South America. Hence this song.

6. 'Ash And Earth' by Velvet Crush from 'In The Presence Of Greatness'

Sometimes it looks and sounds like a rat but it ISN'T a rat, you know what I'm saying? Something is off here and I'm not sure what it is. Every note is in place but the sum is less than the whole of its parts.

7. 'Only Son' by Liz Phair from 'Whitechocolatespaceegg'

This song kills me. This album began the whole 'Liz Phair' sells out bullshit that started to plague her. For some reason her supposed 'fans' wanted her to remain the same chick who recorded 'Exile In Guyville'. Whenever I hear ANYONE talk about an artist selling out I want to strangle them. People who TRY to sell out fail. Liz Phair has chased her muse. Period.

8. 'The Interview' by Lenny Bruce from 'The Lenny Bruce Originals - Volume 1'

I have no idea what this is about and it made me laugh.

9. 'I Love You Because (Alternate # 3)' by Elvis Presley from 'The Sun Sessions CD'

To hear this guy fucking around in the studio when NOBODY is listening is the way to hear him.

10. 'Good Old Fashioned Lover Boy' by Queen from 'Greatest Hits'

If Queen were what surrounded Eskimos they'd need thousands of words for 'awesome'.

11. 'No More No More' by Aerosmith from 'Toys In The Attic'

This might be my favorite Aerosmith song. Yep, it is.

12. 'Anything Goes' by Frank Sinatra from 'Sings The Select Cole Porter'

Perfect arrangements, perfect singing, perfect songs, perfect album.

13. 'Mood For Moderns' by Elvis Costello & The Attractions from 'Armed Forces'

More perfect pop condensed.

14. 'Boogie Boy' by Iggy Pop from 'American Caesar'


15. 'By Design' by Rites of Spring from 'End On End'

There is something a bit too fuzzy about the songs here, as if Guy Picciotto's passion were so deep that it affected the actual recording to the point that the edges were lost. It would take Fugazi's precision to truly demonstrate the scope of his writing.

16. 'Sex In The Summer' by Prince from 'Emancipation (Disc 2)'

We're not talking sticky uncomfortable either, we're talking perfect bikini, sweat at the end of the act and not before, and no sand in your underpants.

17. 'Groove Holmes' by The Beastie Boys from 'Check Your Head'

Instrumental goodness.

18. 'Going Mobile' by The Who from 'Who's Next'

When The Who really get going they are unstoppable. I'll never forget my friend Joe telling me he thought The Who were his favorite band. This was in the mid '80's when it wasn't cool to like The Who among punk aficionados. But Joe couldn't help himself. His ardor interested me and I picked up a copy of 'Who's Next'. It is now in my 'Top Whatever' of 'Best Albums'.

So once again I am back at work having sampled a cross-section of my record collection. I still don't know what this blog will morph into but I'll let you know when I know.

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