It's one more random than 10!
Last Friday it was 72 degrees. Today there’s snow on the ground. Get me the fuck out of here. And yes, I know it snowed in Chicago, but right now a 60-inch winter seems positively quaint and adorable.
I also realized I’m coming up on five years of blogging. That blew my mind the other day. I can’t believe I’ve been doing this since I was 25. So I might change things up a bit. I have no idea how much I can trick out the old El Camino that is Blogger, but I’ll probably try giving the ol’ girl a new paint job at least.
1) “Crazy Train,” Ozzy Osbourne. The most entertaining Rock Band/Guitar Hero song I’ve ever played, probably because I’ve been air-guitaring it since I was 12 and playing it with a plastic toy guitar strapped around my neck was like taking one step closer to actually being Randy Rhodes. In fact, the whole Rock Band/Guitar Hero thing is probably like having sex with one of those hyper-realistic/extra-creepy sex dolls I once saw on HBO’s Real Sex. It can really seem like the real thing when you’re in the middle of it and letting your imagination take over, but to anyone watching you, you look completely sad and pathetic.
2) “Round and Round,” Ratt. There are two metal bands I hate to admit liking: Dokken and Ratt. I can mentally justify a lot of the other hair-and-leather-pants guilty pleasures: Dio is so bad he’s good, Whitesnake reminds me of the time my friend Tom and I got his booger-green Datsun up to 105 mph on the Capitol Beltway just as the guitar solo from “Still of the Night” kicked in, and Def Leppard were the British Cheap Trick and Cheap Trick fucking rules. Dokken and Ratt, though, are true guilty pleasures: derivative, silly, and simplistic. Then again, I like Taco Bell despite the fact that it’s the digestive equivalent of the Viet Cong: it’s good because it’s wrong. So there’s my justification for Ratt.
3) “Heart of the Sunrise,” Yes. The reason I like songs like this is because they take me on a little mental journey. When artists pull the prog out, it’s like a musical short story. That’s not limited to old-school prog, either. It can be the epic Icelandic chirping of most Sigur Ros songs or the harrowing overdose anthem, “Coma” from Guns N’ Roses. As much as I love catchy, concise rock songs, sometimes three minutes isn’t enough to get the job done. Just ask my wife.
4) “Breaking Us in Two,” Joe Jackson. One of the great relationship laments because it sounds like you’re sitting in a bar, listening to Joe Jackson sing about love gone wrong while you wallow in drink because your love did go wrong.
5) “Hate Breeders,” The Misfits. Yesterday’s menace becomes today’s kitsch.
6) “Out Go the Lights,” Spoon. Having a bit of a difficult time getting into the new Spoon album, Transference. I can’t tell if it’s because it’s not as good as the last one or if it suffers from Expectant Follow-Up Syndrome, where an artist releases the album of their career, one so good the next one is almost certain to disappoint. Very few rock bands can overcome that syndrome.
7) “Tax Rebates and Common Sense,” Lewis Black. I don’t normally include comedy routines if they come up in the Random 11, but this seems appropriate given that we’re a week away from tax day. I also love Lewis Black. He does swear so much that it can sometimes be a distraction, but the way he takes this raging pot of anger and pours cup after cup of hilarious standup inspires me. There’s a bit from this album (The End of the Universe) on post-9/11 homeland security that is one of the best comedic rages against government ever.
8) “Heaven’s Not Overflowing,” Corrosion of Conformity. One of my all-time Expectant Follow-Up Syndrome bands. The album before this, Blind, is one of the most underrated metal albums of all time—an hour of Sabbathy grunge metal that still melts my ears. This album, Deliverance, kicks the same amount of ass for three songs, then sends the remaining eleven off the cliff and into the Gorge of Meh. That’s the worst kind of Expectant Follow-Up Syndrome, where the album starts off strong and I think I have another gem on your hands, only to find out that those gems have been ground up and embedded into the artificial fillers and preservatives that populate the rest of the album. I keep listening hoping I’m hitting a mid-album lull, but the non-hits keep on coming. At least have the decency to suck from the beginning so I don’t get my hopes up.
9) “God Save the Queen,” Sex Pistols. “Anarchy in the UK” gets a lot of the attention but this is the better song, my second-favorite on Never Mind the Bollocks after “Pretty Vacant.” Despite becoming one of the “old” people Johnny Rottten spat this song at, and actually having what seems like a good future ahead of me, I still get a kick out of singing “no future, no future, no future for you.”
10) “Dazed and Confused,” Led Zeppelin. I go through Zeppelin periods where I really like Zeppelin and others where I get really tired of hearing them. Obviously, “Stairway” fatigue is pretty common, but there are times where I just can’t take another burst of “Black Dog” or “Whole Lotta Love” or even “Kashmir.” However, I never get tired of their first album. If “Good Times, Bad Times,” comes on the radio, I’m turning it up. Likewise, I’m going air-drum apeshit when Jimmy Page stops his noodling and the band kicks it to 11 in this song.
11) “You Make My Dreams,” Hall & Oates. Fuck & Yeah. This was used in the movie 500 Days of Summer, and while I think that movie is quite good on its own, it’s worth watching just for the scene where they use this song. Hall & Oates rule because they just make people happy. I’m not really sure why, because on the surface I should hate this. Yet I could be having the shittiest day imaginable and my foot is going to tap along to “You Make My Dreams.” I suspect that, like Samson’s hair, John Oates mustache is a mystical, follicle-rich source of divine strength.
Have a great weekend.