I turned 38 yesterday. My brother Tickle “congratulated” me by reminding me that my father once owned a t-shirt that said “40 and Sporty” on it. “That will be you in two years,” Tickle said.
We laughed because my father seemed so much older than I do. By the time my dad was 40, he had four kids, worked two jobs, and was fully entrenched in adulthood. I feel like I just entered adulthood. Tickle is still waiting for his adulthood visa, which I suspect he won’t get because he’s on a maturity watch list.
Yet, at 61, my dad doesn’t seem old at all. This is a man who, just a few weeks ago, took his shirt off during the reception at Tickle’s wedding (which I’m finally going to post this weekend). We’re going to a Bears game in a couple weeks, and I know he’s going to be knocking back beers and cheering just as rabidly as we are. Maybe the fact that he was so sporty in his forties is what kept him young.
1) “Come Together,” The Beatles. I have to hand it to McCain, it is amusing to see him try to play the “come together” card. The whole RNC has been “Democrats bad,” epitomized by the dog-whistle shrieking of Sarah “fuck community service” Palin. He then comes in and says we have to overcome the Bipartisan Rancor, making it sound like that monster that Jabba the Hut kept in a pit in the desert. Except that the biggest cheers of his speech came when he went after Obama. Good luck with all that.
I also love that he treated his hug buddy Bush like Lord Voldemort, transforming him into He Who Shall Not Be Named. And we’re supposed to believe that the party of change is the party in charge....
2) “Don’t Get Me Busted,” The Donnas. An odd dilemma in female empowerment. Is it refreshing that a group of young women can play simplistic three-chord rock and sing about nailing anything that moves as well as the boys can? Or is it just sexism wearing a strap-on? And am I part of the solution or part of the problem for liking this?
3) “What Would Wolves Do?” Les Savy Fav. This album (Let’s Stay Friends) is so up my alley. It’s got great hooks but plenty of punky fire, along with bits of 80s production like the drums in this song. And who doesn’t love a little howling?
4) “Pinhead,” The Ramones. The other day, I had a discussion with one of my friends: Top 5 movies you liked but would never want to watch again. I listed American History X (mostly because of the street curb scene), he mentioned Schindler’s List. But really, the top would have to be Todd Browning’s Freaks, which inspired this classic Ramones song. I saw it when I was in grad school and it was about as unsettling of a movie as I’d ever seen. The ending of this song always projects the ending onto my brain and gives me a bit of a shiver.
5) “Big Boring Wedding,” Guided by Voices. I miss Guided by Voices more than any other group that disbanded. Even though singer Robert Pollard was the main force and has gone on to recording solo, there was something about him in a band format that worked so much better. He could crank out catchy, rocking ditties like this song as if he had a goose that laid golden pop songs. This is one of the ones that hooked me early.
6) “Welcome to the Terrordome,” Public Enemy. I got suckered into one of those VH1 greatest videos of the 80s marathons last weekend, and at one point they brought up Public Enemy’s “Fight the Power.” I was never a big fan, because Public Enemy didn’t really speak to me. But I’m always impressed how revolutionary this still sounds. The beats, the samples, and especially the attitude sound just as innovative and intimidating as they did nearly 20 years ago. That’s one of the most difficult feats in popular music, as yesterday’s “Revolution” is today’s Nike commercial or supermarket music. I doubt we’ll ever see Public Enemy selling minivans or mutual funds.
7) “Rehab,” Amy Winehouse. I am always surprised that people express surprise at our fascination with public train wrecks. We live for train wrecks. Publicly destroying our pop culture icons is the new gladiator combat, with TMZ and Us Weekly and blogs as the new arenas. Kudos to Winehouse for not only recognizing that, but embracing it and writing songs about how fucked up she is. That keeps the emperor’s thumb in the up position.
8) “No Lucifer,” British Sea Power. From their album, Do You Like Rock Music? My question is, how can you like rock music without Lucifer? I’m not a big fan of the devil, but damn if he isn’t a demon in the producer’s chair.
Also, if you’re going to call your band British Sea Power, you should be playing some sort of combo of prog/metal/math/space rock, not refried U2. Not that I don’t like the song, it’s just that I expected something that lasted as long as a voyage across the Atlantic, that packed the wallop of broadside blast into a French frigate, and that had a little scurvy in its musical gums.
9) “Junior Partners,” Sloan. On the other hand, if you are a Canadian rock trio, you automatically get the benefit of the doubt from me. Actually, this wouldn’t be out of place as a lost track from Abbey Road.
10) “Nothing Better,” The Postal Service. Also, if you rip off the 80s, you’re bound to get a listen from me. In the case of The Postal Service, they got lots of listens. A catchy synthesizer/drum machine beat, nice male/female interplay in the vocals...they had me at the first *BOOP*.
11) “Your Time Is Gonna Come,” Led Zeppelin. The churchy organ opening is awesome. As I’ve gotten older, I think Led Zeppelin I has moved into the top slot of my favorite Zeppelin records. IV is a deserved but overplayed classic, III is eclectic but kind of a mess, and II, Physical Graffiti, and Houses of the Holy have too much hot dog filler amid the classics. This is the only Zep album where I don’t skip a track.
And I’m begging, pleading really, for them to license some songs to Rock Band. I’ve got Keith Moon, I’ve got Neil Peart, and now I need John Bonham to complete the banging on plastic drums hat trick.
Have a great weekend. I will be having my first Daddy-Daughter Day with Libby on Sunday, teaching her how to yell at the TV during sporting contests.