It's one more random than 10!
The Lovely Becky and I were supposed to go to New York City this week. She had a conference to attend, and I was going to take advantage of the free hotel room and do some urban frolicking. Sadly, Old Man Winter, who looks like Dick Cheney but not quite as white, blew his nose on us and screwed up the flight schedules so much that we had to cancel the trip. I was disappointed, but the weather here was so windy and shitty that I wasn’t looking forward to getting on the Buddy Holly planes that serve us here. As I told TLB, I would rather die on the way back from New York than on the way to it.
On to the tunes.
1) “Johnny Feelgood,” Liz Phair. A twisted little love song where Phair sings about the title character knocking her around and how she likes it. It doesn’t help that it’s catchy.
2) “If You Love Somebody Set Them Free,” Sting. Time for jazz hands. I really didn’t like Dream of the Blue Turtles when it first came out—it wasn’t exactly suited to my 16-year-old air-guitaring sensibilities—but now it’s the only Sting solo album I really enjoy. I know it’s Wonder Bread jazz and so 80s you can practically smell the Drakkar Noir, but Sting was still on his songwriting A-game when he did this. It helps that he delivers one of his best vocal performances.
3) “After the Dolphin,” Crosby, Stills, Nash, and (maybe) Young. Eighties message music at its worst. It smushes two great tastes—peace and environmentalism—into a polished turd sandwich of clichés and bad production. I’m not sure if Neil performed on this, but if he did, he probably won’t ‘fess up to it.
Speaking of 80s anti-war stuff, I watched The Day After on the Sci-Fi Channel the other night. I hadn’t seen it since it aired. I was fascinated by nuclear war as a teenager, and I used to have recurring nightmares when I was a kid that I was a survivor after a nuclear war. I’m sure those of you who grew up in the 80s remember the promos—this was Event television that would Change the World. The problem is, I had already seen a terrifying, utterly bleak BBC nuclear war movie called Threads (warning: graphic and disturbing clip from the movie), which was probably the source of the nightmares in the first place. Threads made The Day After look about as real as The Day After Tomorrow. Still, I have to hand it to ABC for running The Day After during the height of the Reagan American tongue bath. It pulls punches on the effect of nuclear war, it’s chock full of stereotypes and movie-of-the-week acting, but it’s still got some cajones. The images of the missiles launching still creeps me out.
4) “One Thing Lead to Another,” The Fixx. It’s just an 80s dance party here a CJSD 101.1, your home for classic snark. Could you imagine if this had played during the closing credits to The Day After?
5) “72 (This Highway’s Mean),” Drive-By Truckers. From their Skynyrd concept album, Southern Rock Opera. It’s got a lot of Alabama in it without sounding like the band Alabama.
6) “Wishful Thinking,” Wilco. Jeff Tweedy sings, Where would we be without wishful thinking? I’ll tell you where—without Bush in the office, without being in Iraq, without thinking we could afford all those mortgages, with elected representatives who would actually act in our interests and not cede their power to a runaway executive office...Am I buggin’ you? I didn’t mean to bug ya. Ok, Jeff, play the blues.
7) “Cheapskates,” The Clash. Even B-list Clash songs kick the crap out of most group’s A-list stuff.
8) “Shock the Monkey,” Peter Gabriel. Good Lord, one more song from this decade and I’m going to have to tight roll my pants and don my skinny white leather tie that I could never bear to throw away.
9) “Polythene Pam,” The Beatles. It’s a shame this song is only 1:20 long, because the lads really rock out here. Ringo in particular plays like he spent the weekend with Keith Moon.
10) “Saint Simon,” The Shins. Picture-perfect pop music. Shiny and happy music combined with regretful and sad lyrics.
11) “Shoplifters of the World Unite,” The Smiths. (warning: graphic Morrisey gyrations)Since the iPod is reminiscing and I’m in a sharing mood, here’s a peek at early 1987 Brando (version 1.6) when this song was released:
Hair: Short hair and combed to one side, but with a little bit of spikiness. Held in place with enough Dep for MacGyver to make several plastic explosives.
Clothes: Blue Sperry Topsiders, no socks, white Bugle Boy cargo pants (tight rolled at the ankles), pink-and-gray striped shirt, and an acid washed Levi’s jean jacket with the collar turned up. Sporting black Ray-Ban Wayfarers if it was sunny and/or I was trying to be cool.
Rolling in: A brown-and-tan Volkswagen Vanagon that was definitely not used for any illegal, immoral, or inappropriate activities.
Listening to: 1987 was the BC/AD year of my musical tastes. I was just expanding my metal/classic rock/MTV listening with stuff like The Cure and New Order. Having said that, unless I was wearing the Wayfarers and had people in the Vanagon, I was probably cranking Rush. Some things never change.
Comedy routine: Classic class clown with a bit of Monty Python flair. Here’s a typical example—in my religion class (Catholic high school), the nun teaching us had us gather in a circle and talk about what we did for Easter. I went last out of about 30 kids. They all said the same stuff—go to grandma’s, go to church, eat candy, and so on. I did my best deadpan as I described that we recreated the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, with my parents tying me to a cross for three hours on Friday and then sticking me in a box until Sunday. Some things never change.
Lovely Becky status: Still hadn’t found what I was looking for. But I would later that year, ironically while playing Rush.
So there you have it. Enjoy your weekend, and I hope some of you can stay warm.