Thursday, January 6, 2011

Timothy's Car

While Cousin Timothy aka Pimp Fu aka Poppa Foxtrot aka Jack Chassis aka Warp Speed-O is on the East Coast I will be driving his sick wheels. Which means that my iPod use will be limited to the gym on a daily basis. I may let these accumulate for a while and cover other topics in the meantime. We shall see.

Today's list covers my gym visit yesterday and the bus ride home.

330. Alalakay - Mamadou Diabate from 'Famous Shovels In Twain'

I'm all for listening to music from all over the world. But not this.

331. Ramp - Ms. Dynamite from 'A Little Deeper'

Good thing you can rhyme 'sex' with 'respect' and 'wreck' and 'check' or else Ms. Dynamite wouldn't have anything to say. This falls in a specific category of music that I do not relate to. The 'uplifting moral cheerleader' song. Basically, Ms. Dynamite is trying to convince all her female sisters that they do not have to settle for one night stands, that they deserve better, but if they do want to have one night stands, then at least respect themselves enough to use a condom and if the guy refuses to use a condom think about having AIDS and dying or getting chlamydia (yes, she uses the word in the song).

All of these sentiments are quite valid and hard to take issue with. But they just don't make for dramatic listening. Dr. Phil is interesting but I don't want to hear him rap.

332. Feeling Good - Nina Simone from 'Verve Unmixed'

Here we go. Nina shows Ms. Dynamite how it is done. When Nina sings it is as if she is opening a viewing door into her heart. There might be troublesome things in there (something Ms. Dynamite would exclude so as to have more clout as a self-help therapist) but she doesn't hide it. Her emotional presence is so vivid that it is almost uncomfortable, even if she is singing about feeling good. There is something unsettling about someone having a private moment so publicly. That is brave artistry, as opposed to Ms. Dynamite's pat sloganeering.

One of the all-time greats.

333. Lusty Scripps - Fugazi from 'Instrument Soundtrack'

I have yet to see this documentary, something I intend to remedy as soon as possible. Somehow the idea of being an accompaniment has freed Fugazi up to make some of the most playful music of their career. This song has no lyrics and it is funny. Not sure how they pull that off and if any of you are familiar with the Fugazi canon, humor does not play a large role in their aesthetic. This song makes me yearn for them to reunite and somehow embrace a wider audience in a reunion tour a la Pixies in 2004. I know it won't happen because they would never deal with the corporate entities necessary to pull off a tour of that scale but I think they should be in the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame even though they would bitch-slap me for even putting them in the same sentence.

Another one of the all-time greats.

334. OK Song - Orson from 'Bright Idea'

Whenever these guys pop up on my iPod I wonder why they aren't bigger. They seem like a glam/Brit version of OK Go mixed with Robbie Williams or something. Just great songs which are produced extremely well, very creative arrangements and superb execution. I dig 'em.

335. Hang On To Your Ego - Frank Black from 'Frank Black'

Frank Black recorded this song before the Beach Boys retrospective came out and this version of the song was more a bootleg. It is a great cover. Every time I hear a Beach Boys cover I understand a little bit more about why they are and were The Beach Boys. I am not a huge fan. I enjoy their music but came of age just in time to hear 'Kokomo' on the radio and they just seemed like a joke. I've never been able to quite shake that perception even though I know intellectually that they are far more than that.

This song helps me appreciate the original more and that is, I think, the true test of a great cover.

336. There's A Place - The Beatles from 'Please Please Me'

I will scream with the teenagers of yore for these four lads.

337. Play The Game - Queen from 'Greatest Hits'

The other day in the car Cashel and I were listening to this album. Cashel said something to the effect that you wouldn't say Queen was deep because their music is so catchy to sing along to that you don't even notice if the subject matter is sad or troublesome. This song is a perfect example of that.

338. Jack The Ripper - Link Wray from 'Rumble! The Best Of Link Wray'

Link Wray invented distortion when he jammed a pencil into his speaker and liked the way the buzz sounded. Or something like that. I once played this to wake up Justin and his fiancee while they were sleeping and they reacted like Britain politicians did to the original Sex Pistols tour. This is not music for the faint of heart. It is raw and unadulterated. It sounds, in fact, like a rumble.

339. You Can't Always Get What You Want - The Rolling Stones from 'Hot Rocks, 1964-1971 (Disc 2)'

Listening to this song and trying to separate it from itself is impossible. I know that if I could erase its cultural cache from my brain I would probably be floored by it. But somehow it's like there was never a time when I didn't know it by heart. So its impact is somehow dulled. But, c'mon. The Mormon Tabernacle Choir??? And how the Stones just sort of creep up on you as those little blond boys sing??? Colossally creepy and moving. This song's reputation precedes itself and that is a shame.

340. Reconsider Baby - Eric Clapton from 'From The Cradle'

I have taken to bashing Eric Clapton here from time to time. Part of this comes from hearing Cream songs on a regular basis. I hate Cream. They stink. Bad singing, stupid lyrics, muddy production, they stink. And as I've improved (barely) as a guitar player, I am less impressed with Clapton as a player. Whereas the more I improve the MORE I'm impressed by Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan, etc.

But I have to admit that this album has a very special place in my heart. I spent one last summer on the couch at my parents house. I was trying to get from Providence to New York and I'd stalled forty minutes down I-95 on familiar territory. I was working at the group homes and disintegrating following the break up with Maria.

I fell in with a few old high school friends who were also around and it felt strange to be hanging out in an apartment over Main Street right down the street from the high school. Two girls were sharing the apartment and I began dating one of them but was in such bad shape that I did not have much to offer. It was a very chaste union and went a long way towards healing some of the wounds that I'd been licking.

This was the summer that Jeff Buckley's 'Grace' came out and the four of us (the other girl was dating an old high school chum) would sit and sip wine, smoke pot, and listen to that album and Eric Clapton's 'From The Cradle'.

It had none of the flash of Clapton's 1970's stuff which I abhorred and was gritty and down to earth. To date it is the only Clapton album that I can really listen to and most of it has to do with the way the light hit the hardwood floor of that apartment. And with the sweet girl who was more a friend than anything else and turned an otherwise unbearable summer into a gentle adventure.

341. Things - Paul Westerberg from '14 Songs'

In this song he talks of things he can say, won't say, doesn't want to say, never will say. I'm going to paraphrase one of them. He admits one thing he will never tell her - that somewhere down the line she'll be a song he sings, a thing he gives away.


342. I'm Ready To Go Home - The Louvin Brothers from 'Satan Is Real'

Man these guys are killers. Killers. A fascinating story these two.

343. Leaving - Gregory Isaacs from 'Trojan Dub Box Set (Disc 3)'

Hot dub. Hot dub time machine.

344. Help Me I'm Hungry (Radio Appearance) - Nirvana from 'With The Lights Out (Disc 1)'

Not impressed with this one. I saw a photo of Courtney Love on her most recent tour and she looks like a reality show about plastic surgery. It made me angry with him for choosing her, for choosing hard drugs, for putting forth this image that was all about integrity and purity and then allowing himself to be co-opted by an attention whore media junkie. Imagine if he weren't dead. Would he be standing by her side supporting her latest breast implants? The dead fish Botox look? No. And that is the great shame. If he'd hooked up with some quiet wallflower who loved good books and hot tea on cold days he'd be cranking out masterpiece after masterpiece. Instead she hopped on like a fame leech and sucked him dry in front of our eyes. I hate her. But I love that Hole album with 'Malibu' on it so what can you do?

345. 20 Flight Rock - Backbeat Band from 'Backbeat Original Soundtrack'

I've written about this album before...a collection of punk and alternative superstar session players re-creating the meth frenzy and stripper ambiance that fueled The Beatles during their time in Hamburg, before they got Ringo, before they changed the world, when they were just four guys playing in seedy foreign bars for up to six hours at a time.

It was a stroke of genius to use punk players to catch this vibe. I highly recommend checking this album out. You will feel like a German businessman who stumbles into a strip club to see some titties in tassels and ends up seeing the future instead.

346. Good Day Sunshine - The Beatles from 'Revolver'

And now for the real thing! 'Revolver' finds The Beatles saying, "Um, hey, we can do ANYTHING WE WANT." Somehow it seems to me that this revelation had never before occurred to anyone in quite this way. And it was their grasp of that idea that makes them who they are. Their willingness to do anything. Rules? What rules?

347. Lick The Hare - Pimp Fu from 'Shocker'

Speaking of willing to do anything, Cousin Timothy, currently lending me his car, has put together one of the most good-spirited filthy albums ever. Someday you will hear it and know what I mean. Just look at the title of the song, folks. It's absurd.

348. For You - Prince from 'For You'

So this seventeen year old black kid from Minneapolis puts out an album in which he plays every single note. And on this song he uses only his voice in a strange a cappella cascade. Beautiful and weird, almost embarrassing, as if it is a diary entry or something.

349. Sinner's Prayer - Eric Clapton from 'From The Cradle'

See above.

350. Dreaming From The Waist - The Who from 'Who By Numbers'

Killer epic from The Who. Great lyrics, great playing, great all around. I don't have much use for 'Quadrophenia' or 'Tommy'. Whenever anyone tells me something is IMPORTANT or EPIC I tend to think they are unsure of whether or not the work is actually those things. But if they are content to let ME decide? Then they got me.

351. Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Could See - Busta Rhymes from 'Heavy Turbulence - Music From Elektra'

Okay, Busta. I will. Good song.

352. Meanest Man - Billy Bragg & Wilco from 'Mermaid Avenue, Vol. 2'

It is a hoot to think of Woody Guthrie writing these hard boiled lyrics. It adds a dimension to him that is much appreciated. Sainthood is boring.

353. London Bye Ta Ta - David Bowie from 'Bowie At The Beeb (Disc 1)'

Hey David, I have an idea. Why don't you totally transform yourself and your songwriting and give up bullshit like this and really leave your mark on history? Can you do that? Because this is a pile of crap.

Thanks for the ride, Pimp.

No comments: