It’s one more random than 10!
It’s too bad I don’t have Mudhoney’s “Touch Me, I’m Sick,” because I have been touched by sickness. Hopefully it’s not my lycanthropy flaring up again. The hairballs are the worst.
1) “You,” Radiohead. From their first album, the one with “Creep.” They thankfully managed to avoid the career buzzsaw of the MTV Buzz Bin. This song gets by more on execution than originality, but it’s still a good bit of grungy Brit Pop—Blur with more distortion.
2) “Tired Eyes,” Neil Young. While my steel guitar gently weeps. Addiction, loss, hopelessness...these are the nucleotides which make up the DNA of great Neil Young songs.
3) “Resist,” Rush. We finally meet, old friend. Given the amount of Rush I have on my iPod, it’s surprising it took this long. I have been a hopeless Rush fan since 1981. That’s 26 years to hear a lot of jokes about being a hopeless Rush fan, like this: A couple years ago, I made the trek to Virginia to see them on the 30th anniversary tour with my best friend from junior high. While there, my brother left this voice mail for me on my cell: Hey, Brando, hope you guys are having a good time at the Rush concert. Are you going to the D&D convention afterward, or the Star Trek one?
4) “Army Dreamers,” Kate Bush. The combination of her sprightly voice and lyrics about young soldiers dying makes this song even more sad. It’s also a shame it’s become all too appropriate again.
5) “Outtasite (Outta Mind),” Wilco. An espresso shot of jangled Jeff Tweedy rock. But, once again, the parentheses rear their non-rocking head. If you’re trying to seem so rockin' that you deliberately misspell words in your song title, don't make part of that title an unessential clause. Either you just want to be Outtasite, or you want to be Outtasite and Outta Mind. Don't try to order your Outta Mind on the side, and set it on a parenthetical doily for good measure.
6) “That Teenage Feeling,” Neko Case. She’s such a great singer that when I say she's got a great set of lungs, I’m talking about her actual lungs. And God knows I’m holding onto that teenage feeling (see dork, Rush).
7) “Lovers of Today,” Pretenders. This is from their first album, one of the best debuts ever recorded. They never really approached this level again, at least not for a whole album. Is it terrible to live under the shadow of a great first work? Or is it terrific to make something so great that it casts a large shadow, even if you never get out from under it? I lean toward the latter.
8) “Black Eye,” Uncle Tupelo. More Tweedy, back when he could still ask Jay Farrar to pass the salt without writing a song called, “The Salt Has Been Passed,” about how they can no longer share the same shaker without getting their lawyers involved.
9) “Found Out About You,” Gin Blossoms. They were played to death, but I still love this song and “Hey Jealousy.” I’m a sucker for songs that hit that sweet combination of bright music and sad lyrics.
10) “Midnight Rambler,” The Rolling Stones. There’s a wonderfully dingy sheen to the sound here, as if they recorded it in the dirtiest toilet in Scotland, with the harmonica player sitting in the stall. It has the flow of a cocaine bender, where they speed up, slow way down, and speed up again after another line. Probably not that far from the recording process. How is it that all of them save Brian Jones are still alive?
11) “She’s Coming (Over Tonight),” The Mr. T Experience. The Rock Parentheses Corollary: they are okay if the parenthetical phrase completes a joke or pun. The Mr. T Experience are worth listening to for the lyrics alone—one of their songs is called, “Even Hitler Had a Girlfriend.” In fact, they’re the perfect Official House Band of Circle Jerk at the Square Dance. They mine the same themes over and over. They’re pretty sloppy. And they seem destined for obscurity. But they try their damnedest to make you smile.