Playlist #53

If I were a more clever person than I am, I’d have made this playlist all songs from the second album by bands. But alas, it’s a Monday morning, and cleverness can only take one so far. In other news, I did just drop the April song over on Patreon, which you should sign up for and follow me on for a song a month!

  1. Bill Small, “This Old House”: Where did I first hear this song? I think was at the Mansion on O Street, back when I was still playing there on Sundays. It’s a simple song with a nice gimmick (a house reminding the singer of all the times he had there but now the only reason to stay is gone).
  2. The Black Keys, “Unknown Brother”: I like the Black Keys. I know it’s kinda popular amongst certain music aficionados to pooh pooh them, but I always kinda liked their energy and songwriting.
  3. Radiohead, “Ill Wind”: I’m not as familiar with this song as I am with most of the songs I put on my playlists. And latter-day Radiohead is always kinda hit and miss for me anyway. But it’s an interesting song.
  4. Roy Orbison, “You Got It”: Roy Orbison + Jeff Lynne = stuff I will listen to on repeat.
  5. Elliott Smith, “Christian Brothers”: Did I originally put the Heatmiser version of this song on a playlist? Or was it this version? And why am I too lazy to comb through 52 other playlists to find the answer?
  6. Queen, “Fat Bottomed Girls”: They do indeed make the rockin’ world go ’round. More to the point, though, the first Queen CD I ever owned (an import from Hong Kong), a greatest hits collection, had the edited version of this song on it. The only difference between the two versions is there’s less Brian May guitar solo on the edited version. I ask you, dear reader, who in their right mind would want less Brian May guitar on a song? Not I. Not I.
  7. REM, “Nightswimming”: It’s just a beautiful song. Love the piano.
  8. David Gray, “What Am I Doing Wrong”: I’ve been listening to David Gray a lot this week, and digging through his older albums reveals a treasure trove of excellent songwriting (if not always excellent or interesting execution).
  9. Don Henley, “I Will Not Go Quietly”: Yeah, it’s another artist that it’s popular to shit on. I still like a lot of Henley’s stuff. He can be overbearing and preachy at times, but when he’s firing on all cylinders, he’s pretty great.
  10. Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors, “Ain’t Nobody Got It Easy”: My Grandma Betty has a saying: “Nothing’s Easy.” The way she says it, you can hear the capital letters in each word. This song kinda reminds me of that.

I’m currently almost 40,000 words into Book 7. It’s coming along and I’ve found my groove again! Maybe it’ll be finished by this summer? Fingers crossed!

Playlist #24: Dance Dance Revolution

Happy Monday morning and Happy Indigenous Persons Day! Today, I feel like dancing.

  1. Elliott Smith, “XO (Waltz #2)”: “Here it is, the revenge to the tune/You’re no good” is just one of the best lines ever.
  2. Bruce Springsteen, “Dancing In The Dark”: Who doesn’t want to drag Courtney Cox up onto stage to dance with the Boss?
  3. ABBA, “Dancing Queen”: Oddly enough, not the first song I thought of when I came up with this theme.
  4. Frank Turner, “Four Simple Words”: This is the song that inspired the playlist. “I want to dance/I want to dance/I want lust and love and a smattering of romance/But I’m no good at dancing/But I have to do something.” C’mon, that’s a great chorus.
  5. Van Morrison, “Moondance”: Van has gotten progressively weirder and more irascible as he’s aged, but this song (and the whole album of the same name) remains solid gold.
  6. jeremy messersmith, “It’s Only Dancing”: Dude decided a couple of years ago to decenter his ego by no longer capitalizing his name, which…that’s not how proper nouns work, Jer. That’s not how they work at all. Still a good song, though.
  7. John Mellencamp, “Dance Naked”: Excellent advice, as long as nobody’s watching.
  8. Dire Straits, “Walk Of Life”: I’m pretty sure the walk of life is a dance. If it isn’t, it ought to be.
  9. Calexico, “Sunken Waltz”: Any excuse to include a Calexico song on a playlist is fine by me.
  10. Tom Waits, “Tom Traubert’s Blues”: Included due to the “Waltzing Matilda, waltzing Matilda/You’ll go waltzing Matilda with me” in the chorus. It’s sad and sweet and touching and heartbreaking all at once.

Playlist #19

Week three of the school year rattles on. Here’s some tunes to carry you through.

  1. Gin Blossoms, “Just South of Nowhere”: The Gin Blossoms have become one of my favorite bands from the 90s, and this is one of my favorites by them. Pre-New Miserable Experience.
  2. Electric Light Orchestra, “Daybreaker”: An instrumental from the Jeff Lynne-led band. It’s off of On the Third Day, where ELO really became ELO.
  3. Rhiannon Giddens, “Better Get It Right the First Time”: This woman can write a damn song, lemme tell you. She also plays a mean banjo, though that’s not present on this track. This is more of an old-school R&B number, with a rap break that actually really works well.
  4. Robert Earl Keen, “The Road Goes On Forever (Live)”: “The road goes on forever/and the party never ends,” he sings, and I’m still not sure if that’s a statement of undeniable fact or a plea to never let go.
  5. The Who, “The Seeker”: Any song that references the Beatles, Bob Dylan, and Timothy Leary in the same verse is some kinda wonderful.
  6. Patti Smith, “Because The Night”: When Bruce Springsteen gives you an unfinished song, you take it and you rock it out. Patti Smith definitely did.
  7. Paul McCartney, “Brown Eyed Handsome Man”: Shortly after his first wife, Linda, passed away, Paul got into the studio with a bunch of buddies (including guitarist David Gilmore) to record a bunch of old 50s rockers and a few new tracks written in the same vein. They slap. They all slap. This one especially.
  8. Dawes, “That Western Skyline”: The first song off their first album is filled with so much promise. So much. Those Laurel Canyon harmonies are just perfect. The rest of the album – and honestly, everything they’ve put out since – feels like a failure of that promise.
  9. fun., “Some Nights”: Another band that falls flat right after their first song or two. Maybe what I expected from this song and what the band actually want to do are two very different things.
  10. Elliott Smith, “Either/Or”: It strikes me to this day that Elliott Smith died far too young. If I can be half – hell, even a quarter – of the guitar player or musician or songwriter that he was, I’d be perfectly happy with that.

Playlist #12

It’s the Wife’s birthday this weekend, so this week’s playlist is all songs she likes!

  1. The Pixies, “Wave of Mutilation (UK Surf Mix)”: Preferred version of this song. Dunno why. But it feels suitably surf-y and UK-y.
  2. Arcade Fire, “Intervention”: I think it’s the organ that does it in this one. I do know that this is probably off her (and my) favorite Arcade Fire album, Neon Bible.
  3. AC Newman, “Take On Me”: A beautiful, slowed down cover of the a-ha classic, complete with the really high “in a day or twoooooooooooo”s.
  4. Elliott Smith, “Baby Britain”: I think the Wife was the one who introduced me to Elliott Smith. This song is great, if for no other reason than the fact that he references both Revolver and the song “Crimson and Clover.”
  5. The Cure, “Just Like Heaven”: I did not care much for the ’80s when I was a wee lad. The music felt overproduced, all artifice and no substance. I’ve since learned that I was not even close to 100% correct on that second point (the jury is still out on the first point). This song is really good, either way.
  6. Annie Lennox, “Walking On Broken Glass”: For a song about the torture of a love affair gone bad, this song is very upbeat and fun.
  7. The Flaming Lips, “Free Radicals”: “You think you’re radical/But you’re not so radical/In fact, you’re fanatical/Fanatical (Fuck!)” may be the best chorus of the twenty-first century.
  8. The National, “Slow Show”: Okay, no, it’s “I wanna hurry home to you/Put on a slow, dumb show for you and crack you up.”
  9. REM, “(Don’t Go Back To) Rockville”: Why do I love songs where the first part of the title is in parentheses and why have I not written one yet? Oh, right, because it will never be anywhere near as good as this song.
  10. The Magnetic Fields, “Epitaph For My Heart”: I’m reasonably certain this is her favorite Magnetic Fields song. It’s the one she plays every time we listen to that band.