It’s one more random than 10!
We met with a realtor this week, a very nice woman who had recently sold a house that had a lot of similarities to ours. We were shooting the breeze when the subject of what we did came up. The Lovely Becky and I told her we were writers (with me adding that I was preserving my amateur status so I could compete in the Olympics). That led to a discussion of what we read.
I don’t mean this as disrespectful at all, because she is very nice, and there’s different strokes for different folks. But she asked us if we liked to read any “inspirational” books. If there’s a word that doesn’t fit TLB and I, the only word that could give “inspirational” a run for its money would be “vegetarian.” We politely said no, we read mostly fiction these days, and she told us about the inspirational book she had recently read. While she was talking about this inspiration, all I could think was: my dear woman, I just wrote a sketch about a flower shop for Satanists. A sketch I conceived while purchasing a flower arrangement for my grandmother’s funeral.
So, again, it’s not you, it’s me that’s going to hell.
I also find myself alone for the next week, as my wife and daughter have left for spring break, engaging in a bit of Girls Gone Mild fun by visiting TLB’s snowbirding parents in their temperate timeshare. What am I doing to fully enjoy my temporary bachelorhood? Painting our old, unfinished basement so that it doesn’t look like the kind of place Ted Bundy would take a girl on a date. Because while I may want to rock and roll all nite and party every day, that’s not conducive to selling one’s house for a reasonable market value.
Perhaps when I’m also working on my novel this week, I’ll add a storyline about an attractive man who is definitely not 40, who decides to spend his week alone by turning his house into a temporary fraternity house (managed by Vince Vaughn), allowing all kinds of wacky hijinks to ensue, until his wife surprises him by coming home a day early. After hearing she needs him to pick her up at the airport, the frat brothers engage in hilarious cleaning montage set to C&C Music Factory, getting the last bit of barf scrubbed away as the Man Who Is Not 40 pulls up in his Volvo station wagon. Everything seems to be going to plan, until two Swedish exchange students ring the bell and ask if this is where the “the sexy guy who is most definitely not old” lives. When the wife turns to look at TMWIN40, he shrugs, as all the closets spill open with the junk the frat guys shoved in them. The credits roll as TMWIN40 cleans the house to a different C&C Music Factory song.
Not that anything like that would ever happen with me.
1) “No One’s Gonna Love You,” Band of Horses. Quite the pretty little ditty. This makes me think of hearing “Maybe I’m Amazed” on the radio this morning on the way back from the “airport.” There’s something to be said for the simple, straightforward love song. The problem with most modern pop love songs is that, while terribly simple, they aren’t straightforward. They heap layers and layers of stuff on top—more vocals, more beats, more junk. This is different. Uncomplicated, yes, but still deep, still heartfelt, still moving. Correction, lest Blue Girl never sleep again: The McCartney song is "Maybe I'm Amazed," not "Baby I'm Amazed," which is what some dope originally wrote. What a moran.
2) “Do It Again (Live),” The Kinks. Heh-heh, he said, “do it.” Why is it that, a good 10-15 years since it was even slightly culturally relevant, I feel the need to make Beavis and Butt-Head references? Just the other day, I said, “Come to Butt-Head” about something (probably some piece of fatty food I was shoving in my gob). I’ve already given up fast food for Lent this year, but I’m contemplating seeing how long I can go without making any pop culture references, and whether such a fast would kill Brando as we know him. BTW, if you love this song like I do, there's a terrific live version on To the Bone. Heh-heh, I said, “bone.”
3) “Dial Up,” Ted Leo & Pharmacists. Some rockin’ hi-hat here in the first couple of stanzas and toward the end. I dig a good rockin’ hi-hat almost as much as a rockin’ cowbell.
4) “Up to My Neck in You,” Mark Kozelek. The best cover from his album of acoustic covers of AC/DC songs. Here’s the original for context (and one of my favorite AC/DC tunes), and Kozelek managed to take a yowling, howling bit of Bon Scott/Young Brothers and turn it into something pretty. And making anything involving Angus Young pretty takes some doing.
5) “All That Jazz,” Echo & the Bunnymen. Just not a fan. I’ve tried, really, and “Lips Like Sugar” won’t necessarily get fast forwarded. I’ve just always felt like they were actors trying to play a new wave band. They’ve got the moves down, but the soul’s not there.
6) “Top,” Live. No, definitely a bottom.
7) “Junkie Man,” Rancid. Fuck and yes. I never, ever, ever, get tired of listening to …And Out Come the Wolves. Countless groups have attempted to ape The Clash, including Rancid, and this is the one album where someone got it completely right. It’s got the spirit, the energy, and most importantly, the craft. Because that’s what separated The Clash from everyone else: they knew how to write songs that went way beyond punk while still being punk (The Jam could do that but not at the same level). Rancid is not quite as complex and daring as The Clash, but still, they crank out 19 killer tracks of punk and ska…the same number of tracks as London Calling. Is it in the same class as London Calling? No, because what could be? But I see it as being like a devout Christian: while you’d most want to meet Jesus, you’d probably still be pretty amazed if you got to hang with St. Peter.
8) “The Plan,” Built to Spill. Every so often when doing the random 11, I have to stop a song about a minute into it so I can rewind it, crank my speakers, and air guitar for a bit. This is one of those moments. Video is from Reverb, the late, great HBO indie rock show.
9) “I Can’t Explain,” The Who. It’s hard for me to have a favorite song by The Who, because there are so many that I love. This one is pretty close. It’s the flipside of “My Generation”: where that captured teenage rebellion, this captured teenage longing by not being able to explain that longing, tied together with a riff so simple yet so monumental. “Won’t Get Fooled Again,” probably tops the list, but when I need two minutes of joy that don’t involve TLB or thoughts of Christina Hendricks, this does the trick.
10) “Flying High Again,” Ozzy Osbourne. iTunes just wants to stack the Marshalls to the ceiling this morning. It must know I’m home alone without a napping child to wake. “Crazy Train” gets all the press and sports-fan pumping attention, but this is the best bit of Randy Rhodes ever recorded. It’s got a bigger, badder riff driving it, while still adding all those crazy solos and fills that make early Ozzy songs fun. Eminently crankable.
11) “How Near, How Far,” …And You Will Know Us by the Ridiculous Band Name. A gym favorite of mine. Gallops out of the gate like it’s being chased by a man from the glue factory, slows down to catch its breath, and then runs even harder.
If you have a stack of Marshalls, you should always end with a windmill while standing on top of them.
Enjoy your weekends.