It’s one more random than 10!
The Lovely Becky turned in her second novel this week. She is still making edits and changes, but the truly heavy lifting is over. This means much rejoicing at the worldwide headquarters for TLBrando Enterprises. More time with TLB. More TLB time with Libby. More time, period. Plus this means I get to get back to work on my novel, which has been patiently waiting for my return. My date with literary obscurity and misfortune still awaits!
Seriously, though, I have never been prouder of my wife. She managed to juggle a job, being a mom, and writing a book that, frankly, is going to kick some serious ass. She did it because she works hard and she has more passion for and dedication to the craft than anyone I know.
I realize how lucky I am to be married to her. So much so that, if this book takes off and becomes a huge bestseller, I will fight any attempts to leave me for a younger man tooth and nail. I can feel my dream of being a kept man within reach, and the beauty of that is I don’t have to work hard, I just had to marry well.
Okay, music time…
1) “Kid,” Pretenders. There was a recent outing of a forest-dwelling blogger, showing him in full teenage glory. I decided to reciprocate this week, and the fact that this song popped up first seems to anoint my decision from above.
I think this is from 1985. There I am, holding my youngest brother, Snake Anthony. My hair and formal attire are courtesy of Alex P. Keaton, although I had ditched the tie by the time the photo was taken. Thankfully, no sweater vests or white pants. This could double as the movie poster for The Forty-Minus-Twenty-Five-Year-Old Virgin.
2) “Metropolis - Part 1: The Miracle and the Sleeper,” Dream Theater. OH FACK, WHAT THE FACK IS THIS? Just brutal wanking. It starts out kind of sucky, but at least rocking. Around the halfway point, it transforms into some of the most painfully ridiculous prog noodling I have ever heard. I’d rather hear Rick Wakeman sitting on a Moog while eating a leg of mutton than listen to this again. It’s like a bad Styx song with slightly less Dennis DeYoung and slightly more Tommy Shaw. Who cares if you can play the shit out of your instruments when this is what you wind up with?
3) “Fine and Good,” Local H. The best—and perhaps only—grunge concept album. Seriously underrated and a rather clever set of songs about trying to make it, sorta making it, and then falling apart. I’ll take Pack Up the Cats over any Pearl Jam album.
4) “Everybody’s Friend,” Jane’s Addiction. What’s worse than an incredibly creative band breaking up after making one of the most adventurous and creative albums of the decade? Coming back a decade later and providing clear-cut evidence that they should have stayed broken up. This is why, despite getting rather energized watching some footage of The Police reunion tour, I hope they don’t record again. I can forgive a bad remake of “Don’t Stand So Close to Me,” but not an entire album of that.
I also think it would be fun to rank The Smelliest Tour Buses of All Time. Jane’s Addiction would probably make the top five, although I can't see anyone topping The Red Hot Chili Peppers.
5) “One Hundred Million Years,” M. Ward. If a creationist musician wanted to cover this, would it be blasphemy? Would they have to change the title to “No More Than Ten Thousand Years”?
6) “Down Under,” Men at Work. Victims of the Best New Artist Grammy Curse. Also, I think rock music only has room for one band that features the flute, and Jethro Tull refuses to die. (Ed. note: My apologies to my friend TM. Long live The Tull.)
7) “This River Is Wild,” The Killers. Duran Duran for the Millennial generation. I mean that in both a good and bad way. Pretty ho hum on this tune, but “When You Were Young” blows the dome off my sports arena.
8) “Old Soul Song (For the New World Order),” Bright Eyes. I am pretty sure John Belushi would have smashed Connor Oberst’s guitar. Is folk-emo a recognized subgenre? My friend Bob and I have a joke whenever Bright Eyes come up. They record on the Saddle Creek label that Oberst started, and Bob and I watched a documentary about the label. I don’t think David Cross could have come up with a better parody of a self-important indie documentary. It had singers from bands you never heard of, mumbling in a way that makes Eddie Vedder sound clear and coherent, talking about what it all means to be an indie band on a Nebraska label, man. So whenever Bob and I watch TV together, one of us may ask, "Hey, do you wanna watch the Saddle Creek documentary." Given the choice between watching that again or a Dream Theater concert, I’d take option c: Death by Unga Bunga.
9) “Last Dance,” Mekons. A last dance involving zombies, perhaps? I have to give a shout-out to my undead blog buddy for suggesting the Mekons. This is from Fear and Whiskey, which resembles a British Pogues: more disciplined, less sloppy, but still very charming and folk-punky.
10) “Kissing the Lipless,” The Shins. They came out firing on the first track of their second album: a sharp guitar riff, pounding (for them) beat, and vocals that waver between simmering and howling. Good stuff. However, the drummer's t-shirt in this video is way too tight. I can't tell if it's irony tight, I-don't-give-a-shit tight, or deluded-about-his-body-image tight.
11) “Foreplay/Long Time,” Boston. Like millions of other teenagers, I had their debut and loved it. One of those rare albums where a classic rock radio station could play any song and it would be both recognized and enjoyed by your average classic rock radio listener.
Over the years, though, it’s grown stale for me, as have quite a few classic rock standards of my youth. I don’t think it’s a case of wanting to be a music snob: there’s a lot of fast food music I proudly digest. I think it’s more a case of overexposure. There are only so many songs you can hear a million times before you get sick of them, and “More Than a Feeling” et al fell squarely into that camp for me. All save “Foreplay/Long Time.”
I realized how much I loved this song when it appeared in Rock Band. The space opening giving way to the power-chord surfing intro. The mello verses punctuated by a fat guitar that’s overdubbed to the heavens. The catchy clapping in the chorus. The string-bending solo. And then the rocking version of the chorus going into more string bending. Songs like this are why I take the ridiculous step of strapping on a plastic toy guitar and pretending I grew up in an alternate universe where I had musical talent and played guitar of drums in three dozen classic bands.
Have a good weekend.