Friday, June 08, 2007

Friday CJ Random 11

It’s one more random than 10!

1. “Narc,” Interpol. They make even break up songs sound so fashionable, like here... The couple sits at a New York restaurant with no less than a 28 score in the Zagat guide. His yearning heart beats beneath an exquisitely tailored virgin wool suit ($895 from Hugo Boss). He reaches across the table, pleading, the candlelight glinting off his TAG Heuer Carrera Automatic Chronograph ($2,695), her Christmas gift to him that she so adorably called a "watch." She cries but remains firm in her decision, her mascara tears disappearing into her black silk stretch cocktail dress, ($365 from Nicole Miller) until she reaches into her Hobo International Double-Frame clutch ($98) for a tissue.

2. “Chicago,” Sufjan Stevens. The album art actually spells out Illinoise. When I was in college, I once made a mix tape called Illin’ Noize. This is why Sufjan Stevens is famous and I am not. Side note: I have an uncontrollable attraction to songs filled with regret.

3. “A Pair of Brown Eyes,” The Pogues. This is from an album with one of my favorite titles, Rum, Sodomy, and the Lash. A beautiful song dampened, as many Irish songs are, with Jameson tears. Bonus points for Shane MacGowan’s surprisingly clear enunciation.

4. “California,” Semisonic. If you’re looking for a good music-related beach read, pick up So You Want To Be a Rock and Roll Star by Jacob Slichter, Semisonic’s drummer. It’s a smart, funny look at the career of a one-hit wonder that deserved better.

5. “Come in Alone,” My Bloody Valentine. The record that the staff at Pitchfork would love to marry (they named it their #1 album of the 90s). Personally, while I like it and certainly don’t mind having dinner with it, the relationship ends at the doorstep. It just has too many distortion issues for me to get involved long term.

6. “Charmless Man,” Blur. I wish I could sing with a thick English accent without seeming like an affected cobag. What’s funny is, while this song is very English, the whole spoiled cad caricature paints a perfect picture of every American teen/sex/romantic comedy antagonist.

7. “Teclo,” P.J. Harvey. I like the punky assault of her Rid of Me album a little better, but this song and everything else from To Bring You My Love really showcases her voice. Nobody howls quite like she does.

8. “Leave Me (Like You Found Me)” Wilco. Wilco is that friend you love to run into, the guy who won’t do you wrong. Like you’re at Whole Foods, and he says, You should really try the kiwis, they’re delicious right now. You cut yourself a slice and, sure enough, it’s pretty damn good kiwi fruit that you wouldn't have thought to buy without the recommendation. This is from the new album, which is nice and sweet and very much in season.

9. “Back to the Old House,” The Smiths. Is anyone surprised that Morrissey doesn’t want to go back to the old house? Is there a bizarro version of him in some other dimension, singing about how excited he is to go back to the old house, and how happy that the object of his affection has moved on to a happier, more well-adjusted relationship?

10) “Cinnamon Girl,” Neil Young. He’s accomplished a million things over his career, but one of the biggest things I think any rock musician can do is write the classic riff everyone knows and loves. My foot starts tapping the second this song starts.

11) “When the Levee Breaks,” Led Zeppelin. A great way to head into the weekend. Jimmy Page and John Bonham are just perfect on the chorus, with Page playing that shiny riff and Bonham adding some thick fills that are a great contrast to the metronome beat of the verses. It’s one of those parts that you wish would go on for a long time, but would be ruined if it did.

Bonus video: I may start adding one of these each week. Last week's Hall&Oates abomination reminded me of the most unintentionally hilarious video I've ever seen, Manowar's "Gloves of Metal." (It takes about 15 seconds to start.) For those of you who haven't heard of them (and that would be many of you), their biggest distinction is that they are (or were) the loudest band ever, according to the Guiness Book of World Records. The other distinction is that they are 100% dead serious. This is no Spinal Tap tribute or tongue-in-cheek performance. The fur boots and spiked gloves are for reals. The song is horribly hilarious, but if it annoys you too much, skip to around 3:20 when Manowar attack the villagers. Oh yes, there's melee combat!

Have a great weekend.


Noelle said...

I was listening to When the Levee Breaks last night. It's so freaking awesome. Do you know that they've only played it live twice because it's so heavily produced?

TLB said...

What I really want to know is, Who the hell told you about Nicole Miller or Hobo Internatioanl Double-Frame clutches? 'Cause it wasn't me.

God, that Manowar video was awful, but not as awful as the lyrics. The speaker on my laptop shook so much it made my fingers ache.

Brando said...

Noelle, I did not know that, but it doesn't surprise me. I don't think they could make it sound the same without all the studio effects.

TLB, my dear, I simply did some searching on Nordstroms. The name Nicole Miller sounded familiar so I figured it was popular, and the Hobo bag was the second-bestselling clutch/evening bag.

teh l4m3 said...

Liar. You have too many gay friends. You will catch the gay.

Brando said...

Okay, so I was using stuff I have in my closet.

Jennifer said...

"I have an uncontrollable attraction to songs filled with regret."

I regretfully say that I feel the same way.

Nice random 11.

Snag said...

I had a roommate who loved "When the Levee Breaks." All well and good until he came home ripped to hell and back at 3 a.m. on a work night, plugged in the headphones, and turned it up to 11. Except it was also playing through the speakers, which he'd have known if he was remotely sober. Woke up most of the apartment building before I scrambled out of bed and kicked him.

teh l4m3 said...

Ooh! Ooh! Brando, btw, that whole PJ Harvey album is worth buying. I totally vouch for it.

Brendan said...

From the Dept. of Pathological Nit-Picking:


One never knows about the Irish, I suppose.

I do remember the lead singer from the Pogues as being the single smelliest person I ever met in rock and roll. When you consider the amount of hardcore shows I ran, that's saying something. I can't even hear the name "Pogues" without cringing, but, if he's cleaned up his enunciation, perhaps there's hope for other aspects.

In other commentary, I'm totally with you regarding the last two. The staying power of these songs, and their artists in general, is amazing.

Churlita said...

My daughter has listened to "Chicago" about a hundred times a day lately. I really liked it the first couple of times I heard it.

The Pogues make me want to drink whiskey and punch people.

Brando said...

Brendan, that was my take on the Pogues song "McSorley the Misspelling Moron." Yeah, that's the ticket...

Thanks for the catch. A papal slip from my Catholic mind, I'm sure.

Churlita, showtunes make me want to drink whiskey and punch people. The Pogues just make me want to drink whiskey.

I also have been going around singing Gloves of Metal all weekend. The dangers of really bad songs that are amusing in their awfulness.

Musical Guest said...

Peter Case recorded a great version of "A Pair of Brown Eyes" on his first solo album. There aren't many songs better than that one.

traca de broon said...

Nobody writes the first line of a song like Shane MacGowan. "One summer evening drunk to hell / I sat there nearly lifeless" is topped only by "It was Christmas Eve, babe / in the drunk tank."

furiousBall said...

Wilco is amazing stuff, and you're right wilco is that jean jacket you left in the closet and forgot about. you try it back on a few times a year and it feels awesome and accepting. My Bloody Valentine is to shooe gazing as A-1 is to not perfectly cooked steak. Not sure why that metaphor works, but it does.

billy pilgrim said...

A furiously, hilariously lame vido? Judas Priest, "Breaking The Law"

Very nearly got Rob Halford offically kicked out of teh gheys for being TOO fey.

Beavis and Butthead couldn't even figure it out. It was like the producer from that Hall & Oates Video sobered up, got rogered by Halford and agreed to do the viddy in return, and walked off after starting the cameras, leaving the brain-damaged Heavy Metal band to...improvise.

Dude, seriously.

billy pilgrim said...

come on, that viddy was Spinal Tap.

Brando said...

Whenever I am driving with TLB and I speed up to go through a yellow light, I always sing a bit of "Breaking the Law" while making the devil horns.

And Billy, as hard as it is for me to believe, Manowar seems irony free. Either that, or they are masters the straight face. I don't think it's the latter.

Grendel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Grendel said...

When I am feeling poignant or sad, I play "A Pair of Brown Eyes" on the guitar or accordion. God bless people like Mr. McGowan who write brilliant songs using only three chords (and in this case, not the usual three).

Still workin' on the accordion version of "Kazhmir"...