Friday, November 21, 2008

Friday Random 11

It's one more random than 10!

I swear this isn’t going to become Circle Jerk at the Weather Channel (although that would spice up meteorology a bit), but I have a bit more to say about the climate here at the End of the World.

Yesterday, we had something called a “snow squall.” I have never been in a “snow squall” before. Take all the fun of a driving, howling, swirling rain storm, and—at no additional charge—add the fun of snow. That’s what it was like all day yesterday. I cleared some snow last night and the weather was so ridiculous, it seemed fake, like I was on a Hollywood set where they blow fake flakes with an industrial wind turbine.

I’ve decided that I really don’t want to run into any more weather that I’ve never experienced before. I think I’ve seen all the good stuff at this point. Whatever type of weather still out there waiting for me is the bad kind. Because, while you can only dress up a nice day so many ways, shit weather takes many, many forms.

This morning, as I cleared the remaining snow from the driveway, the clouds finally parted and bright blue sky and warm yellow light beamed down. It hit me: now I understand why people worship the sun.

But now I’m warm and inside and enjoying the following....

1) “Rollers Show,” Nick Lowe. Nick Lowe completely skewers The Bay City Rollers and the sugar pop they represented by making a sugar pop song with a razor blade hidden inside of it. Pop music needs more songs like this.

2) “Yours and Mine,” Calexico. A calm blue ocean in the middle of a blinding white snow squall.

3) “Hitsville U.K.,” The Clash. They are in my top five bands, and The Clash, Give ‘Em Enough Rope, and London Calling are three of the best albums I own. But I just can’t get into Sandinista. It’s one of those albums I appreciate—they showed more range an ambition on one album than most bands do in an entire career—but I don’t really enjoy it.

4) “I Walk Away,” Crowded House. I started listening to NPR’s All Songs Considered podcasts, including a debate on whether the 80s actually sucked for music. The panel—three guys I’d never heard of and the awesome Carrie Brownstein from Sleater-Kinney—generally landed on the “suck” square. And while there was a lot of awful, awful, music, a decade that produced Crowded House cannot be considered a loss. The first album is just chock full of poppy goodness like this tune. Couldn't find the Crowded House version, but the Split Enz one is equally good.

5) “Mr. Brightside,” The Killers. I fucking love this song, from the 1980s influence larceny to The O.C. lyrics to the melodramatic vocals. It takes real talent to take those ingredients and make a song as good and catchy as this.

6) “Mirror in the Bathroom,” The English Beat. One of the most underrated albums of the maligned Eighties. The sound here takes an already killer song and pushes it into the stratosphere. The way the rhythm section slithers around in the background, the Ginsu-sharp guitar, the reverbed sax that feels like it’s right on your tail yet shrouded by fog—just a great, great song.

7) “Praise You,” Fatboy Slim. I used to play around with a computer program called Acid. It’s a music program that allows you to take samples and create your own compositions. I was pretty addicted to it for a while, and I probably made about three dozen “songs” or so. I had one...ONE...out of all those that didn’t completely suck. I either had parts that didn’t go together, or made stuff that sounded completely generic. I couldn’t really infuse those pieces with any personality. So I am kind of amazed when someone like Fatboy Slim can make a pretty flawless, original song out of other people’s parts, and make it sound completely cohesive not just from start to finish, but with the other songs on the album.

8) “Hollywood Babylon,” The Misfits. What once seemed intimidating now sounds like Rob Zombie’s house band.

9) “Don’t Let Him Go,” REO Speedwagon. What is it about arena rock that warms my heart so? My favorite REO song, probably because it is so arena: thumping beat, cornball synth solo, flashy guitar solos, and big dumb chorus. It deserves the goofy YouTube video that I linked to.

10) “I’d Do Anything for You,” The Mr. T Experience. With a real producer and real publicity, these guys would have been huge. The best lovelorn lyrics ever produced by a punk band.

11) “Baba O’Riley,” The Who. It’s been played to death, yet it cannot be killed. Good enough to make me forget all about snow squalls.

Have a good, and hopefully warm, weekend.


Churlita said...

Nice list. I've always thought that Sandinista was on the self-indulgent side myself.

Last Friday when I was at the Dublin, we were talking about those bands that everyone pretty much has to like. The Clash and The Who were among them.

rotten mcdonald said...

The Waco Brothers do a kickin version of Baba O'Riley.

Rob V. said...

If you haven't already done so, check out King Dork by Frank Portman. This has almost nothing to do with the Mr. T Experience, but it's a damn cool book.

Adorable Girlfriend said...

REO and The Killers?

I think I love you!

Anonymous said...

i really LIKE sandinista. while not on the level of their other work, it's still got a decent Signal-to-noise ratio.

rotten mcdonald said...

I like Sandinista when it comes up on shuffle. The experimental parts make more sense when interspersed with their other albums.

Also, check out The Sandinista Project:

even got cover art by Jon Langford.

Brando said...

I have King Dork on my shelf but never got around to reading it. I'll have to crack that one open soon.

I like some of Sandinista in smaller doses, but I can never get through the whole thing.

Churlita, totally agree on The Clash and The Who being on must like lists. You have to like at least one.

ZenDenizen said...

I agree that Mr. Brightside is a work of genius, all the elements just come together. Their latest single, Human, took a while to grown on me though.