It’s one more random than 10!
I am nearing the end of my last winter in Marquette. For the past two years, the cold and snow have stayed through March, but it’s supposed to be sunny and in the 40s for the next few days. Not enough necessarily to melt the feet of snow still on the ground, but enough to put a good dent into it. Free at last!
I had a conversation with my friend Tom about Tiger Woods, specifically whether sexual addiction was a bullshit “affliction.” Now, I have zero sympathy for Tiger. He schuptted his bed, now he’s got to lie in it. But what about his alleged sexual addiction?
I told Tom that, a few years ago, I would have said it was indeed a made-up diagnosis, like Seasonal Affective Disorder. Then I moved to Marquette and experienced five-month winters and 40-degree days in August, and you know what: that shit is pretty damn depressing. We had a two-week stretch at the end of this last December and early January where it was overcast all day, every day, with snow and howling winds. In other words, perfect weather to keep the Ninth Circle of Hell nice and frozen. Did it make me want to kill myself? No. Did it make me think it wouldn’t be so bad if one of the giant icicles fell of my roof and hit me in the head, sending blood onto the snow, because at least then I’d see a color outside other than white and gray? Maybe. So congratulations, U.P., you made me a believer in SAD.
Given that Tiger couldn’t even go to a Perkins restaurant without dropping his pants, maybe there’s something to his sex addiction. Although I think his bigger problem is going to Perkins in the first place.
1) “Cinnamon Girl,” Neil Young & Crazy Horse. A classic song, but definitely better on the live recordings than the studio. Not that the original isn't , but Crazy Horse is decidedly more crazy when running free on the stage instead of corralled in the studio.
2) “London Calling,” The Clash. Well there’s a nice opening salvo. It’s hard to sit when this place. I want to get up and march around the room, which I could do since I am still home by myself today. But even I would make fun of me for doing that. I am also old enough to remember the phony Beatlemania that indeed bite the dust, at least until Beatles Rock Band came around.
3) “Good Day Sunshine,” The Beatles. Once again, iTunes would creep me out with its ability to string together seemingly related songs, as if it were part of some mystical coded message, except that this matches the bright and sunny day we’re having today. However, just to be safe, I’d best check to make sure there are no albino monks dripping blood around the house (note: gross link worth clicking on for the music).
4) “Along the Boundary,” The Mutton Birds. Whew, no bloody albinos, only three stupid cats.
5) “Gimme Sympathy,” Metric. She asks, “Who would you rather be, The Beatles or The Rolling Stones?” I’m definitely The Beatles. Not nearly enough of a bad boy to be a Stone. After all, I still have my original blood. Also of note: I haven't seen a lead singer move like that since the days of Nu Shooz, and I mean that as a compliment.
Speaking of things metric-related, this Daily Show clip on CNN’s Rick “Dirty” Sanchez is one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever seen a national news person do. You watch something like this and ask yourself: how the fuck did we become the world's greatest power when the people telling us what's going on in the world are stupider than a fifth grader?
6) “Changes,” Sugar. I have a confession to make: Until recently, I thought all brown sugar was alike. I feel bad about that because it makes me wonder if I had some subconscious discrimination going on because of my whiteness. The Lovely Becky recently purchased some Dark Muscovado sugar, and I now realize that all brown sugars are not alike. My God, where have you been all my life, Dark Muscovado? It’s so rich with a little bit of molasses to it, and I want to put it on everything: oatmeal, ice cream, omelets, pizza, my toothbrush. It’s like I have sex addiction for for Dark Muscovado.
7) “We’ll Be Together,” Sting. Is it possible for this to sound more 1987? Much like brown sugarists, many (white) people think that stereotypical 80s music was all Flock of Seagulls and Men Without Hats synth-poop. While that’s true of the early part of the decade, the true 80s connoisseur knows that the tail end of the decade had a shift to stuff like this: slappy white funk bass lines with drums so processed, they sounded fake even if they were real. Amazing that Police songs sound much more modern despite being half a decade older.
8) “Ill With Want,” The Avett Brothers. I keep wanting to stick an apostrophe in “Ill,” because any time “ill” is capitalized, it looks like “I’ll” with a typo. I have also said this before, but it bears repeating: I And Love And You is a folking amazing album. It’s got that warmth and intimacy that great 70s albums had, the ones that could be confused for “soft rock” except that they lacked that essential ingredient all soft rock possesses: shit.
9) “Ice 9,” Joe Satriani. It wouldn’t be a Random 11 without a little wank. Like Sting’s Wonder Bread slap bass, the studio version has a super-clean guitar that chimes in like a guy walking into a party wearing a Members Only jacket (the live version rocks much harder). And while a fun little song, it's not a great Satriani song because it’s essentially guitar p0rn: some random music at the beginning that only serves to set up some hardcore soloing. Might as well throw in a wah-wah guitar while he’s at it and a female vocalist singing about what a big whammy bar he has.
10) “Storm Vibrations,” Guided by Voices. A five-minute song by GbV is like a 15-minute epic by someone else. It’s a very arena-ready song, especially the little quiet part in the middle that’s like an eye in the storm of rock, but I like arena ready. Sometimes I just want to have the lid blown off the domed stadium of my mind.
11) “You! Me! Dancing!” Los Campesinos! Despite the plethora of exclamation points—a punctuation mark my old creative director said made you sound “breathless and silly”—they fit here. I love, love, love this band, because their exclamation points capture the energy and enthusiasm they bring to their songs. I just bought their new CD (yes, they still make those), Romance Is Boring, and have played it at least once per day for the last couple of weeks. The reason for the gushing is that they take the catchy indie pop my ears crave and dress it up with a lot of great little flourishes: sweet female vocals to counter the sour male ones, shouted background vocals that give it a little punk flare, and things like a long intro that builds to a big wave of noise before the bass drum tells you to get your ass on the floor. Also, glockenspiel. They’re not for everyone, but if they are up your alley, they’ll roll a lot of strikes.
A great way to end the list. The sun is out, it’s Friday, I just finished the second part of my three-part novel, and my lovely wife and daughter return home after a week away. Everything’s coming up Brando, and I hope everything’s coming up (your name here) for you.