It’s one more random than 10!
It’s nice to actually post a Top Ten Tuesday and a Friday Random 11 on their designated days for the first time in forever. It’s also very nice to have this be the debut Random 11 for my new computer speakers. My old ones pooped out after nearly eight years of loud, booming service, and my spoiled, bratty ears couldn’t deign to stoop down to sticking with the crappy Dell speakers I had temporarily turned to.
I wish I was above material things bringing me happiness, but I’m really not. I was giddy about having an excuse for shopping for new speakers. Giddy. It’s not like I even bought anything super fancy, some hand-made computer speakers crafted by Italian monks who take a vow of silence so that they can better hear ever decibel of awesomeness from their tweeters. Still, I did my Internet research, actually bought the same Klipsch speakers that had died, did more Internet research, had immediate buyer’s remorse, returned said speakers the next day, ordered different ones off Amazon, bounded up the stairs to fetch them when they were delivered, and forced my poor wife to sit in my chair while I gushed about how great they sounded. Yes, I am a crazy person.
1) “Nitro (Youth Energy),” The Offspring. I love when I start this off and get exactly the kind of song I need. It’s a blah day outside, and for whatever reason the longest Fridays are always the ones before a three-day weekend. So a bit of fast-paced 90s punk revival is a welcome jolt of 3-minute energy.
2) “Super Inuit,” Holy Fuck. I’m not a big dance/electronica guy, but I like Holy Fuck because they bring a rock show ethos to their music: real instruments to go with the electronic/sampling gadgets, with a lot of jamming to go with the grooving. I also love the “Who’s on First” potential with their band name:
--Holy fuck, who is this?
--I know, I love it. But who is it?
--What the fuck? You trying to keep it a secret or something? Don’t want other people to like your precious little indie band, because if other people like them then you won’t be able to? All I want to know is who they are so I can get their album.
3) “Don’t Let It Bring You Down (Live),” Neil Young. I laugh when Neil sings “lorries” in place of “trucks.” Hey, we speak American in this country, you dirty Canadian communist. This is from the Live at Massey Hall 1971 album, which is an incredible live album—stripped down, just Young and his guitar or piano. It reminds me that he’s one of the rare artists who sounds as good stripped down as he does amped up. He can sing a quiet, folky song and then turn around and jam out 10-minutes of fuzzy, Crazy-Horse fueled, feedback-drenched rock.
4) “Hallelujah (Live),” Jeff Buckley. The Lovely Becky and I take turns putting Libby to bed each night. This involves getting Libby to brush her teeth, picking out a couple of books to read, and then singing her a couple of songs. I have a three-song block I go to: “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star,” “Rock a Bye Baby,” and “Libby in the Sky With Diamonds,” my own customized cover of The Beatles classic. I pick these because I sing slightly worse than Ringo and these three songs are not terribly challenging. TLB, on the other hand, has a lovely singing voice, and one of her regular songs is “Hallelujah.” As amazing as it is when I hear Buckley sing it, it really gets me when I hear my wife singing it to our daughter. It’s also funny whenever Libby hears the song outside of the bedtime context, because she gets excited and starts saying, “Mommy sing this to Libby!”
5) “Dog Years,” Rush. This is in my top 5 for worst Rush songs ever, mostly because the lyrics are just dreadful. Just stanza after stanza of cringe-inducing plays on dog-related words, with the point of how life is precious or some shit because dogs live less or something. Let me tell you, if I could stay home and lick myself and just piss wherever I felt like it when I was outside, every day would be a festival.
6) “You’re All I Have,” Snow Patrol. I hate the term Adult Album Alternative. It’s one of those radio programming subgenres where they play stuff that rocks a little because you’re still young enough to rock, but not too much, because you don’t want too much rocking when you’ve got the kids in the Dodge Caravan. Snow Patrol is like the opening band for AAA. At this point, I would normally make some further joke about how this is soft rock for the post-Weezer set, except that I like this. That triggers a process of being mad at myself, because truth be told, I feel like I’m too cool for AAA, except that I’m really not, and I get annoyed at being a music snobby cobag in the first place. It’s because of stupid internal arguments like this that I wish I could occasionally take my brain out and let it cool on a window ledge for a couple of hours.
7) “Boris the Spider,” The Who. John Entwistle was a weird, weird guy. This song always leaves me a bit unsettled because it’s got the strange chorus and the “creepy-crawly” bit, which instinctively makes my skin itch like I have a spider on me.
8) “Hummer,” Smashing Pumpkins. I was sitting at a light next to an H2 the other day, and TLB said, “That guy’s going to love filling that up when gas is five dollars a gallon.” So true. There’s also a former Hummer dealership I pass whenever I go to Iowa City. It used to have rows and rows of Hummers lined up. Now the lot is a lot more sparse, and they took down the huge HUMMER sign on the side of the showroom building, except you can still clearly see the outlines of the letters. Even though I’m happy to see the Hummer go, it’s still kind of depressing to see the failed remnants of our hubris on display.
9) “Great Salt Lake,” Band of Horses. I have no idea what this song is really about, but that doesn’t get in the way of me enjoying it. It makes me think of all the times I’ve flown out west and how much I love looking out the window when I reach the Rockies. I like to look out at the desert and see the big stretches where there’s nothing, except for maybe a lonely ranch or a tiny, tiny town. I think about how breathtaking it must be to wake up and see the red-browns of the canyons and hills. Then I think about how much it would suck to be trapped in that area when a bunch of giant worms come to eat you. Pop culture has really ruined my mind.
10) “Pump It Up,” Elvis Costello & the Attractions. My Rock Band drums died this week. I went to play them and they wouldn’t turn on, which is the electronic equivalent of dying peacefully in your sleep. I’m actually surprised it took three years considering the amount of ham-fisted, out-of-time abuse they took while I attempted to play along with songs like this. I was far more bummed out about their passing than a grown man should be, but damn if those drums and I didn’t have some fun on our pretend tours. Oh, if that green pad could talk....
11) “Remedy,” The Black Crowes. A great album despite the annoying title. The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion is one of those overly complicated for no reason titles, like putting on a pair of dress pants when you’re just going to 7-11 to get some milk. I remember buying it despite the title because I really liked their first album. Glad I did, because it’s been a staple for me for nearly 20 years. I love how everything is arranged meticulously, yet they still get the energy of playing in a roadhouse to a room full of drunks. Great sound + drunk energy=awesome in my rock book. Also great because I don’t think my nose could handle the smell of seeing The Black Crowes live.
Have a great weekend, and go Bears!