Monday, December 13, 2010

One Long Shuffle

If I understand the technology correctly (and this is a large assumption to make), the iPod, when instructed to "shuffle", arranges everything on the iPod in a random order and then plays. Theoretically, it would play every song on the iPod. I will be testing this theory of mine in the least scientific and most circuitous route possible. Meaning that this morning as I stood and waited for my bus, I hit shuffle and I intend to let the iPod play that shuffle until it is finished. It played 19 songs this morning as I bounced my way from Koreatown to Santa Monica. 19 of 6,973.

I then paused it as I got to work. I will start it up again when I go work out at the gym. I will then pause it after I finish sculpting myself into the form of a Greek God. A slightly pudgy Greek God. I will then start it up again when I get back on the bus...etc. etc. My rule this time is simple. No pausing. No skipping. Even the damn chakra chants. Even The Jam. Even The Backstreet Boys live at The Concert For New York.

And how the hell did they get added to that bill? Just what the country needed in the wake of 9/11...

How long will it take me to listen to every song on my iPod? We shall find out together.

1. Soul Sanctuary - Prince from 'Emancipation (Disc 2)'

This triple album always makes me sad because Prince was reclaiming his name while he dealt with the death of his newborn child whose heartbeat we hear on a shattering song called "Curious Child". This song is a declaration of love, also rendered quite sad by the dissolution of his marriage sometime thereafter. But a beautiful beautiful love song nonetheless.

2. Nuclear War (Version 1) - Yo La Tengo from 'Prisoners Of Love (Disc 2)'

When Yo La Tengo weave harmonies and dissonant guitar over their oddly funky punk manifestos, I like them. When they chant together for seven minutes over a tired back beat about how bad nuclear war is? I really question my decision to not allow myself to skip any songs. Only 6,971 to go. Shit.

3. Sans Rehearsal - V-Dubs from 'Live At Molly Malone's'

I named this damn band! My good friend Erik Van Wyck is a fantastic actor, writer, film-maker, and father. He is also one of the greatest guitarists I have ever seen. In some other life he is giving John Mayer a run for his money and Eric Clapton is beating down his door to do one last duet that will open up the teen market to him. This is taken from a charity concert at Molly Malone's. We'd played a show together a year or so before in which I insisted on giving everyone in the band a nickname. I was the George Bush of delusional rock stars! From Van Wyck I came up with V-Dub. And he ran with it. This is an unrehearsed jam that ended the show. Normally I blanch at the word JAM but there is no other word to sufficiently capture the raucousness in play. And my cousin Josh Economy blows several doors of several hinges with his trumpet. Shortly after this he would become the trumpet player in THE Army Jazz Band. As in, he's the best trumpet player in the country.

4. Meyer: Short Trip Home - Edgar Meyer, Joshua Bell, Mike Marshall from 'Heartland: An Appalachian Anthology'

This is a gorgeous album of bluegrass mixed with classical arrangement. Yo-Yo Ma shows up somewhere playin' a fiddle for the first time instead of a violin and the whole thing is a testament to the beauty of this country.

5. At Long Last Love - Frank Sinatra from 'Frank Sinatra Sings The Select Cole Porter'

Imagine that you could pinpoint the specific game in which Michael Jordan was at the very pinnacle of his talent. He was great the day before and he'd be great for years to come. But somewhere in his career, the greatest that ever was was the best he ever would be. This album is that game.

6. Bankrobber - The Clash from 'Story Of the Clash, Volume 1 (Disc 1)'

I am still upset about Joe Strummer. Why? No offense, God, but you left Sammy Hagar around and took Joe Strummer from us? You must be a Clash fan.

7. Down The Road - Doc Watson from 'The Doc Watson Family'

I hate to keep ragging on Clapton but this guy makes him look like he never even SAW a guitar.

8. The Origin Of Love - John Cameron Mitchell from 'Hedwig And The Angry Inch OST'

I am one of the lucky few who saw the original production of this legendary play at The Jane Theater down in Greenwich Village. As with many of my finest memories I have my cousin Mike to thank. He was beginning a collaboration with the director of the piece, Peter Askin, on a play called "Searching For Certainty". Peter just directed the film version of that play. Very proud to have been a part of the play and now the movie, albeit in a different part. "Hedwig" was the talk of the town and when I saw it, it was not hard to understand why. I laughed, I wept, I sat on the edge of my seat. This song is so genius that I don't even want to explain it to you. Go listen to the whole thing from beginning to end.

9. Lost Highway - Hank Williams from 'Lonesome Blues'

How was he only in his 20's when he sang this? Honestly, did he time-travel? He sounds 300 years old.

10. Love Untold - Paul Westerberg from 'Eventually'

I HATED this album when it came out. HATED. Boy, was I wrong. I listened to it a couple of times, wrote it off, put it away. Years later, during the difficult time right after the end of my marriage, I begrudgingly gave it another try. And promptly had a nervous breakdown.

11. The Light - The Proclaimers from 'Hit The Highway'

These guys are lovely.

12. Alone Together - The Strokes from 'Is This It?'

Somehow the images of New York that these guys conjure up for me are too painful. I love them, but it hurts to listen to them.

13. Happy Town - The Replacements from 'All Shook Down'

In Replacements-land, this album is not looked on as one of their best. I disagree. I love every song on it and think that, as usual with The Replacements, they did the right thing at the wrong time. Five years later Wilco would make a career based on this blueprint and their best song can't touch the worst one on this album.

14. Sinister Exaggerator - Primus from 'Miscellaneous Debris'

Primus covers The Residents. Weirdness meets weirdness. Sort of points out how weak some of Primus' songs are when they do one by someone else.

15. Walk In The Woods - The Fatima Mansions from 'Lost In The Former West'

The lost great band of the 1990's. This is a monster song.

16. Taper Jean Girl - Kings Of Leon from 'Aha Shake Heartbreak'

They are so popular now that it is no longer in vogue to like them but when you cut through all the hype they are just a great Southern rock band.

17. The Good Life/I Wanna Be Around - Tony Bennett from 'Unplugged'

The piano/upright bass/drum trio backing Tony up are BADASSES TO THE NTH DEGREE. As great as he is, I tune him out a bit and focus on what is holding him up. These guys are killers.

18. Stigmata Martyr - Bauhaus from 'In The Flat Field'

I am a late uneasy convert to the Bauhaus fold. Not sure how I feel about them but it is almost 40 years later and no one sounds like Bauhaus. Totally original. But I don't always like it. Today I do and I get a kick out of the silly religious title.

19. Sickness - Iggy Pop from 'American Caesar'

Give it up, Iggy. Stop working out. Relax.

Part 1 of Project Exhaust IPOD complete. In a half hour I will go to the gym and listen to the next batch.


Dan said...

re track 4: yes indeed.

Brendan O'Malley said...

what a great album, huh, dan? gets me every time...

Dan said...

Yes, but I loves me some fiddle and might be accused of bias.