Wednesday, January 5, 2011


My father taught me that the apostrophe and capital M in my name was sacred. Especially considering that my initials would be 'B.O.' without them. Computers have really put a crimp in this belief as I've had to acquiesce to various multinational conglomerates knowing me only as Brendan Omalley or OMalley or even God forbid Brendan O Malley, as if my middle name were Oscar or some other dumb shit.

On the bus this morning I was confronted with the real thing. The tendency is to blame the person sitting next to you. However, the little Mexican lady was impeccable. A goth hipster across the aisle seemed well groomed. There's the culprit...

On the raised platform sat the offending party. If you are homeless I don't hold your smell against you. But if you look like you came out of an apartment that BY LAW has to have a shower or bath then, come on, Stinky! Get it together.

Luckily I had a coffee so I kept my nose pressed up against the Starbucks cup and greedily inhaled the odor as if it were coke and I was in a 1980's Bret Easton Elis novel. Dude reeked.

Because one of my senses was being assaulted, I delved deeper into the music with my ears. Maybe if I really got into the tunes my nose wouldn't hurt so much.

287. I Can't Get Next To You - Al Green from 'Al Green - Greatest Hits'

I'll say I can't get next to you. You stink. So far the music isn't working.

288. Hurricane - Bob Dylan from 'The Essential Bob Dylan (Disc 2)'

This is not a good song. I know, they made a movie out of it, it's true, blah blah blah. But real life is NOT great art. When Bob Dylan is making shit up he is more interesting than the fact that cops in Paterson, NJ are racist.

289. When You're Smiling - Louis Armstrong from 'All-Time Greatest Hits'

Whenever Louis Armstrong comes on, I have a brief moment of impatience, like what happens when the remote breaks and you're stuck watching an old episode of 'The Jackie Gleason Show'. But about thirty seconds in, you ain't changing the channel and you're laughing your ass off.

290. La La Love You - Pixies from 'Doolittle'

Up there with the greats this album is.

291. Speak Low - Tony Bennett from 'Unplugged'

Tony nails this audience to the wall.

292. The Back Door To Heaven - Aztec Camera from 'Knife'

I'm looking for the front door out of the club to get away from Aztec Camera.

293. Reconsider Me - Warren Zevon from 'Genius: The Best Of Warren Zevon'

This is a heartbreak of a song. A man pleading for a second chance, the boy who cried wolf, the abuser who wishes he could stop hitting her, the user who blushes with shame as the needle pierces the skin. Harrowing.

294. Headache - Liz Phair from 'Whitechocolatespaceegg'

Oh Liz. Melody rolls her eyes and laughs at me whenever Liz Phair comes up because she knows I have a crush on her. I feel like I am in 8th grade every time a song of hers comes on.

295. This Is How I Do It - Pimp Fu from 'Raw Fushi...t'

Yes it is, Pimp. It is how you do it. He poses an interesting question here..."Do you think it's easy to manipulate the beats like this? Livin' on the edge?' I for one do NOT think it's easy.

296. Being Alone Together - David & David from 'Boomtown'

For a short second this sounds like it is going to be a sexy song. And you get the feeling that they wanted to write a make-out song. But then their darker impulses can't help but take over and instead it's a break-up song.

297. Ballad Of A Teenage Queen - Johnny Cash from 'The Sun Years'

The bullshit background singers are like a bow tie on a pit bull. They sound absurd next to Johnny's baritone.

298. Mincer Ray - Guided By Voices from 'Bee Thousand'

More weirdness from the boys from Dayton.

299. Brendan # 1 - Fugazi from 'Repeater + 3 Songs'

Instrumental punk/funk/crunk with my name on it. What's not to like?

300. Not Behind The Fighter Jet - Guided By Voices from 'Mag Earwhig!'

This is right up there for me in terms of favorites from this band. The sentiment is matched perfectly with the music (a massive military cacophony as an ode to a babe) and somehow very touching in the midst of all the noise is his declaration: "I'm not behind the fighter jet/I'd much rather back a simple girl".

Also some pre-apocalyptic fear to get the juices flowing.

301. Humiliate Me - The Fatima Mansions from 'Lost In The Former West'

When The Mansions come to town you'd better lock your doors or you'll be licking their bootheels as they hold you down and enumerate your many faults in front of their own personal tribune.

302. Earth Song - Michael Jackson from 'HIStory (Disc 2)'

Somehow he can make you forget all the bullshit. Even with this stupid green anthem. It's an obvious ploy to get us to focus on something other than the ruined face and the little boys. Like Cheney pimping a charity for kids with cancer. Who could argue? But when Jackson wails his voice is like a perfectly successful propaganda campaign. In the face of it all atrocity is forgotten. That's power. And powerlessness as well.

303. Russian Dance - Tom Waits from 'The Black Rider'

I make fun of ol' Tom for seeming to be more interested in creating a song out of two tin cans, a busted microwave oven, bacon fat sizzling on a pan, and three dogs fighting over a pile of broken glass. But occasionally his thirst for quirk creates strange beautiful vistas. This is one of them. You almost expect Anton Chekhov to pipe in with a verse about his tomato garden.

304. Fire Of Unknown Origin (Bonus Track - Original Version) - Blue Oyster Cult from 'Agents Of Fortune (Remaster)'

Oh, this is a bonus track? God, you guys SUCK.

305. You Made Me Love You - Screamin' Jay Hawkins from 'Voodoo Jive: The Best Of Screamin' Jay Hawkins'

Dude is crazy. Seriously. Do yourself a favor and go out and buy a greatest hits collection from Screamin' Jay Hawkins. It is not to be believed.

306. So Sorry - Runner & The Thermodynamics from 'Marlboro: The 2nd Sessions'

Whenever songs come up from these compilations I usually lose patience real quick. But this is actually quite a good song. Thumbs up.

307. Swanee River Rock (live) - Ray Charles from 'Ray Charles Live'

I love air. I am glad air keeps me alive. I like Ray Charles more than air.

308. Your Sister Can't Twist (But She Can Rock & Roll) - Elton John from 'Goodbye Yellow Brick Road'

Hey Elton, you are trying too hard. All I can think when I hear his old stuff is the music bouncing off the walls of the closet he is singing from inside of.

309. Big Boys - Elvis Costello & The Attractions from 'This Year's Model'

Streamlined killer pop punk.

310. I'll Follow The Sun - The Beatles from 'Beatles For Sale'

Hey World, beat this! Oh, you can't? Didn't think so!

311. 24 Mo' Hours - Ice Cube from 'War & Peace, Vol. 2 (The Peace Disc)'

I wish Ice Cube could get twenty four more hours from dealing with these killers and these cowards. He doesn't want to lose, all he wants to do is win, he fucked up today, can he try it again?

312. Gotta Say - Low Light Supercharger from 'Umpg Presents Res Freq Recordings'

Another surprise enjoyment of a middling hard rock song on a random sampler. Dig it.

313. I Don't Believe You've Met My Baby - Dolly Parton from 'Little Sparrow'

There is a sessions player in Nashville who grabbed his acoustic guitar and tore this song to pieces. I don't know his name but Hendrix, Page, Clapton, Van Halen...all those guys couldn't carry his jock.

314. Allure - Jay-Z from 'The Black Album'

I can't wait for him to own part of a Brooklyn basketball team. This New Jersey Net bullshit has got to end.

315. Pride And Joy - Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble from 'Greatest Hits'

Stevie Ray Vaughan could give Dolly's acoustic guitar hero a run for his money. If I were down at the crossroads with Robert Johnson and offering my soul to the Devil and he said, "Well, okay, but who do you want to be able to play like?" it would be SRV. Hands down.

316. Time To Get Ill - The Beastie Boys from 'Licensed To Ill'

Rap has come a long way. Hip hop has come even further. This song must make The Beasties cringe.

317. Shove - L7 from 'Tank Girl'

I remember the hype machine trying to shove L7 down every one's throat. They just ain't that good.

318. For Once In My Life - Stevie Wonder from 'For Once In My Life/Uptight'

More perfection from this guy who is somehow still underrated.

319. Big Egos - Dr. Dre from '2001 (Instrumental)'

This music is terrifying. When you strip the braggadocio vocals away, what you are left with is a soundtrack to an imaginary movie. The sounds contain sun, sand, weed, shiny rims, and lurking around every corner is danger. He layers in helicopters in the background. Gunshots break the mood. Screams ring out. Then it all drops away and you are left with nothing but the beat. And then you feel what it might mean to grow up in that atmosphere and have nothing to count on except the music you love.

320. Maxwell's Silver Hammer - The Beatles from 'Abbey Road'

These guys are okay. They might amount to something.

321. P Funk (Wants To Get Funked Up) - Parliament from 'Parliament's Greatest Hits'

So a little bit of funk goes a long way. This is seven minutes and five don't matter. But it's still fun. Someone recently claimed George Clinton was from Detroit and I think he's from Minneapolis. Gonna Google and come right back...

Both wrong. The 'P' in 'P-Funk' originally referred to 'Plainfield' as in 'Plainfield, New Jersey'. Which must have morphed into Parliament...

322. Speedway Baby - Velvet Crush from 'In The Presence Of Greatness'

These guys hail from Providence, RI and kick ass.

323. God Is In The Radio - Queens Of The Stone Age from 'Songs For The Deaf'

Talk about kicking ass. If this were the 1970's these guys would be on posters on every wall of every white kid in America. Seeing as they came up in the 1990's they are cult stars at best. Would be household names.

324. The Tourniquet Blues - Brendan O'Malley from 'Rhode Island Red'

I like this song. Before I typed 'I like this song' I typed 'cringe-worthy'. So I am conflicted. I can't play it anymore and I wouldn't if I could because it isn't good enough but I was actually a bit surprised at how good my guitar playing was back in 1993. I don't know that I've improved all that much.

325. Stray Cat Blues - The Rolling Stones from 'Beggars Banquet'

I love every cut on this album and count it as my favorite Stones album. I know it isn't the best, but it is my favorite.

326. Cashing In - Minor Threat from 'Minor Threat: Complete Discography'

At some time in the future there will be some way to quantify how important this band was to the alternative music explosion that occurred in the early 1990's. The entire grunge anti-corporate ethos is lifted verbatim from these D.C. egghead brawlers and most of the licks and fuzz and bombast is stolen too. Without them there is no Pearl Jam, no Green Day, no System Of A Down, hell, there isn't even a Fall Out Boy, which, who cares, but the bottom line remains...Minor Threat might just be the most important and influential rock band in American history. And about 1000,000 people know it.

327. Get Crunk, Get Buck - Al Kapone from 'Hustle & Flow'

Thanks, Al, I will. I will get crunk. I will get buck. How could I refrain from getting crunk and buck when you have created such a killer crunk 'n buck track?

328. Looks - Mike Doughty from 'Skittish'

This is one of the weaker tracks on this album and it is still perfect.

329. Whores - Janes Addiction from 'Kettle Whistle'

It's at times like these that I long for a good slow jam from Luther Vandross. Or Lawrence Welk. Or anyone for that matter. Just get this shit off my iPod.

I am now about a week into a new way of eating. Only salad, vegetables, fruit, nuts, and meat. Slimmin' down, look out America! Look the fuck out for me!


Anonymous said...

I don't know where you got your info on Parliament, but George Clinton's first band was called The Parliaments, and was a doo-wop group (circa late 50s, early 60s), and I believe they were named after the cigarette brand. George reformed them into Parliament in the 70s. I don't think it has anything to do with his hometown of Plainfield, NJ.

--- Tom Hull

Brendan O'Malley said...

Wikipedia! Unassailable.

DBrooks17 said...

You mentioned the guitarist on Dolly Parton's album. I think that Nickel Creek played on parts of that album. If so, the guitarist would be Sean Watkins--who can flat tear it up.

DBrooks17 said...

One other thing--The version of Little Wing on SRV's The Sky is Crying is an absolute thing of beauty--a force of nature. On the right stereo, it will leave you limp, figuratively.

Brendan O'Malley said...

DBrooks, I just saw the Watkins appear in a Shakespeare play out here in LA playing a few Lyle Lovett tunes...amazing stuff. That guy is amazing. Didn't know that was them!

Brendan O'Malley said...

I have SRV's 'Little Wing'. There isn't a track by him that I don't absolutely love...