Migraines have plagued me for several years now. For a time I thought it must be some reaction to the West Coast but the more I thought about it the more I realize that I've been getting migraines just about my whole life.
When they start to creep up the back of my skull, the best I can do is take a couple of Excedrin Migraine pills and bolt back a gallon of mineral water. One for the head, the other for the stomach that starts to follow crazy orders from the deranged general who has taken over the control center of my brain.
My iPod is like that remedy only I take it to fend off the atmosphere of the bus. Recently a handsome guy who looked like a Brazilian soccer player yelled at a guy for breathing too loud and there is a certain female bus driver who honks the horn so indiscriminately and for reasons so impossible to discern that I've started to wonder if she is trying to contact some dead relative.
92. Westbound Sign - Green Day from 'Insomniac'
Oh I'll give ya a westbound sign. I see it every day I get on this big red motherfucker.
93. Better Version Of Me - Fiona Apple from 'Extraordinary Machine'
Speaking from my own history as a songwriter I can say that there are certain songs that so perfectly express a part of me that they seem to BE that part of me. I would venture to guess that this is a song like that for Fiona Apple, the final rendering of a lifelong attempt to name something.
94. No Quarter - Led Zeppelin from 'Houses Of The Holy'
Okay, for a while I couldn't place this song and when Robert Plant started singing it shocked me because I thought it was something that came out very recently. The fuzzy keyboard, the funky backbeat...it's as if I stumbled into Beck's diary. "God, if I could only record something as cool as 'No Quarter' maybe the Scientologists will let me go..."
95. Serious - Gwen Stefani from 'Love, Angel, Music, Baby'
I hate the rock band Bush so much that it has affected my view of Gwen Stefani that she married that hack. It'd be like Meryl Streep hooking up with Screech. But comparing her to Streep is too kind, more like Rachel McAdams or someone like that. The pool looks like it has a deep end until you realize it is a trick of the light.
96. Big Pimpin'/Papercut - Linkin Park & Jay-Z from 'Collision Course'
What an odd combo and yet it works like a charm. Linkin Park has a big sound and Jay-Z just hops on top and rides it like a surfer. The reverse isn't quite true, especially since Linkin Park's whiny woe-is-me lyrics just don't fit sick beats as well. Like, dude, maybe you should TRY boasting a bit if you're gonna collaborate with the greatest trash talker of all time? Instead of going on about how unfair this world is? Really? It's unfair that you're doing a song with Jay-Z? Fucking ingrates.
97. Eight Line Poem - David Bowie from 'Bowie Live At The Beeb (Disc 2)'
Um, I don't care how many lines it is if it doesn't have a melody that I can remember. God, he was annoying until he became awesome.
98. Ain't No Right - Jane's Addiction from 'Kettle Whistle'
My reaction to Jane's Addiction is always very complicated. I know I'm supposed to like them and part of me does, they certainly have a vast power. But Perry Farrell just puts me off. In a big way.
99. Up The Beach - Jane's Addiction from 'Kettle Whistle'
Wow. Thanks iPod. Kick me when I'm down. And also make me admit my hypocrisy because I got swept away by this song. The deeper the track the better when it comes to Jane's.
100. Ophelia - The Band from 'The Best Of The Band'
Robbie Robertson is the great lost guitar player. He should be mentioned in the same breath as Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Richard Thompson. But The Band was such a band that you weren't really supposed to notice that anyone in particular was doing anything IN particular. They were just The Band. I love the image of Robbie in Canada playing in a mean R&B outfit with a fellow on bass named Rick James. In the '60's. Holy shit that makes me smile.
101. Right Back Here In My Arms - Prince from 'Emancipation (Disc 1)'
Usually there are a couple of songs on every Prince album that make me cringe. And blush. And not because they are sexy. More like you caught some geek in the band room jerking off to a picture of himself in a dress. But the three disc 'Emancipation' has exactly zero weak spots. This is a killer song.
102. We Getz Down - Rampage from 'Heavy Turbulence - Music From Elektra'
This is a sampler. This is a rap song by a group from Brooklyn. I'm guessing that because they say they are from Brooklyn roughly 87 times in four and a half minutes.
103. Dig A Pony - The Beatles from 'Let It Be'
I didn't hear this song until I was a grown ass man. So pissed off about that.
104. John Hardy - Leadbelly from 'Good Night Irene'
This seems to be the genesis for 'House Of The Rising Sun'. Leadbelly sounds like he's singing from inside a volcano. And the volcano is scared.
105. Summers Torture - Bull Cancer from '...Meets The Brown Recluse of Hwy. 54'
Remember what I said about the Fiona Apple song? This is one of those songs for me, by me. I wrote it in Santa Fe in a fever of longing and despair.
106. Seven Bridges Road - Dolly Parton from 'Little Sparrow'
Hey, Taylor Swift, get a load of this. Just know that if Kanye West had ever interrupted Dolly, she'd have thrown him into a headlock and kicked him in the balls. So quit yer bitchin'.
107. Mess - Ben Folds Five from 'The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner'
Guy doesn't write a bad song. Period.
108. The Toys Go Winding Down - Primus from 'Frizzle Fry'
Soft spot for these guys but they can be tedious.
109. Roast Fish & Cornbread - Lee "Scratch" Perry from 'Roast Fish Collie Weed & Corn Bread'
"Scratch" must have a publicist working because I have recently read two profiles of him, one in Rolling Stone and one in the LA Weekly. He is certainly a fascinating figure and someone who literally towers over dub and reggae music having virtually invented both. Um, and then he also produced The Clash and he lives in a mansion in Switzerland and saves all his urine. So there's that.
110. Pay To Play (Demo) - Nirvana from 'With The Lights Out (Disc 2)'
I always look at demo tracks as little glimpses into the private heart of whatever artist recorded them. And even in his most sheltered moments Kurt Cobain was destined for mass appeal. Somehow he recoiled at that, longed to be an obscure but highly regarded success like Sonic Youth. But he was more The Beatles than Leonard Cohen and you can hear it in the things he recorded that he never intended anyone to hear.
111. Through It All - Andre Williams from 'Silky'
The Black Godfather.
112. Somebody To Love - Queen from 'Greatest Hits'
What heaven sounds like.
113. St. Jimmy - Green Day from 'American Idiot'
I am still surprised that Green Day managed to leave their snot-nosed past behind them and did so by recording an album that is now sung on Broadway. Perhaps the most unlikely story in rock ever.
114. Things Are What You Make Of Them - Bishop Allen from 'Marlboro: The 2nd Sessions'
This is a sampler I must have found or bought and I can't remember the song.
115. That's The Way - Tom Waits from 'The Black Rider'
At least it is only a minute eight seconds.
116. How To Disappear Completely - Radiohead from 'Kid A'
I always felt like Pink Floyd was a fraud. When it came to Pink Floyd I was definitely a Jew. Well, the Messiah is here.
117. Throw Your Hatred Down - Neil Young from 'Mirrorball'
Neil with Pearl Jam. Boring.
118. Blew - Nirvana from 'Bleach'
There is a giant hole on this album where you can hear Dave Grohl just shaking his head and saying, "Wait til you guys get a load of me."
119. Love Ain't For Keeping - The Who from 'Who's Next'
It's not? Why not?
120. Rising Sign - Mike Doughty from 'Skittish'
Every song a diamond but you feel the years it waited, you sense the lump of coal regretting all those years down in the dirt.
121. Men In Black - Frank Black from 'The Cult Of Ray'
Frank loves UFOs.
Migraine gone. Bus ride gone. Thanks, iPod.