Playlist #72

The Queen is dead, long live the King.

  1. The Clash, “I Fought The Law”: Man, never fight the law. The law always wins, the jerk.
  2. Sex Pistols, “God Save The Queen”: Too soon?
  3. Oasis, “She’s Electric”: I swear, this sounds like a Bob Dylan song, I just don’t know what one.
  4. Queen, “Killer Queen”: Originally, this whole list was gonna be Queen songs, but even I felt bad about the fact that I’d have put “Another One Bites the Dust” on here if I did that, so you’re welcome.
  5. The Police, “Masoko Tanga”: Sting just mumbles gibberish for the entire runtime of the song. Good times.
  6. Pink Floyd, “Fearless”: I love this song for the use of the football fans singing “You’ll Never Walk Alone” at the end of the song, if nothing else.
  7. Jeff Lynne, “Lift Me Up”: Jeff Lynne at his Jeff Lynne-iest.
  8. The Who, “The Seeker”: “I asked Bobby Dylan/I asked the Beatles/I asked Timothy Leary, but he couldn’t help me, either.”
  9. The Animals, “We Gotta Get Out Of This Place”: One of the few riffs I can play on the guitar is the one from this song. Most of it, anyway.
  10. The Beatles, “And Your Bird Can Sing”: Mmm, harmonies.

Playlist #70: Death At A Funeral

We spent the weekend up in New York, attending a funeral for my wife’s grandfather who passed suddenly late last week. It got me thinking about things like when I die and, me being me, the music I’d like played at my own funeral. This list is by no means exhaustive; a true funerary playlist would have to be at least three times this long. But these are the top ten songs I’d like played when I die.

  1. Iron & Wine, “Hard Times Come Again No More”: Funerals are often somber affairs. They don’t have to be, but they often are. This song carries that tone well.
  2. The Beatles, “Let It Be”: Preferably one of the versions with a George Harrison guitar solo, because I like George Harrison guitar solos.
  3. Harry Nilsson, “Many Rivers To Cross”: Sure, Nick Hornby may prefer the Jimmy Cliff version, but this is the one for me.
  4. Van Morrison, “Caravan (Live)”: Again, much like Nick Hornby, I love the live version of this song from the Too Late To Stop Now double live album, even if it does have the unfortunate circumstances of including band introductions halfway through. But all those guys will probably be dead by the time I die, and I’m willing to share the spotlight a bit.
  5. Bob Dylan, “I Shall Be Released”: I mean, it’s more about getting out of jail than getting out of this life, but I think it still works.
  6. Sean Watkins, “Let It Fall”: This song always felt like it belong over the closing credits to some heartfelt romantic drama. Or the end of one’s life.
  7. George Harrison, “All Things Must Pass”: No one does the transitory nature of existence better than George Harrison.
  8. Gin Blossoms, “Pieces Of The Night”: Life could just be one long night at the bar, trying to find someone, anyone, to spend just a moment with, a moment that might mean something. Or maybe I’ve already had too much gin.
  9. The National, “Gospel”: “Hang your holiday rainbow lights in the garden.”
  10. Wilco, “What Light”: This song is very simple. Many Wilco songs are. But it’s also transcendent. And I think it’d be nice to have a choir of my friends sing it.

Playlist #64

Another week, another playlist! Don’t forget to support me making music over on Patreon. I’m posting a mix of one of my songs done by my brother next Monday, so be sure to check it out!

  1. Ezra Furman & the Harpoons, “Mysterious Power”: This guy does a lot of the music for a tv show called Sex Education on Netflix. It’s a funny show, you should check it out. And the music is pretty solid, too.
  2. Jesse Malin, “Crawling Back To You”: Saw this song on a Jesse Malin album I downloaded over the weekend. “Oh, it has the same name as that Tom Petty song,” I thought to myself. Folks, it is that Tom Petty song, and it’s a pretty good cover of it.
  3. The Beatles, “You Really Got A Hold On Me”: You can’t go wrong with the Beatles covering a doo-wop number. You just can’t.
  4. Creedence Clearwater Revival, “Who’ll Stop The Rain”: There’s just something about CCR songs that always get me in a good mood.
  5. Tom Waits, “The Earth Died Screaming”: The Wife wants me to put together a playlist of weird songs. I told her it’d just be a Tom Waits playlist, then.
  6. The Gaslight Anthem, “Biloxi Parish”: I think The Gaslight Anthem may be one of my top five bands of the past fifteen or so years.
  7. Fleetwood Mac, “Rhiannon”: Just how common is the name Rhiannon, anyway? I can’t imagine there are too many of them wandering around.
  8. Jack Johnson, “Banana Pancakes”: I hate bananas.
  9. Iron & Wine and Ben Bridwell, “This Must Be The Place”: Features the line, “Sing into my mouth,” which is probably the grossest thing I’ve ever heard Sam Beam sing.
  10. Neil Young, “Down By The River”: Neil Young gives me hope that even my crappy guitar solos aren’t so bad. “Solo? You mean play the same note 32 times in a row, right?”

Playlist #63 – Doomed Love

I am returned to the East from my vacation! 5800 miles later and (mostly) none the worse for wear. I am still doing music over on Patreon, where I’ll be unveiling July’s song of the month shortly. Today’s playlist comes courtesy of my brother, Clif, who not only suggested the theme but most of the songs on the list. Let’s jump in!

  1. Bruce Springsteen, “Loose Ends”: Sure, a lot of Springsteen’s songs feature characters stuck in relationships that seem doomed to end in abject failure, but only this one likens the relationship to a tightening noose.
  2. Mo Kenney, “Ahead of Myself”: I don’t know who hurt you, Mo, but you should stay away from them for your own good.
  3. The Fratellis, “For the Girl”: For such an upbeat, poppy band, they sure can turn in a downer of a song.
  4. Goodnight, Texas, “Dearest Sarah”: Based on an actual soldier’s letter to his wife back home, telling her that he felt he was going to die in an upcoming battle and she ought to live out the rest of her life as she would. More than a little dark and sad.
  5. Crowded House, “Don’t Dream It’s Over”: Can you believe some folks play this song at their wedding? That’s almost as weird and disconcerting as playing the Police’s “Every Breath You Take.”
  6. Margot & the Nuclear So and So’s, “Talking In Code”: A relationship ending always strikes me as sad, though a number of relationships are less than stellar and probably shouldn’t have existed in the first place. No one should have to hear someone sing them sad songs to keep them awake.
  7. The Decemberists, “O Valencia!”: There’s always something about the way Colin Meloy sings that always makes a Decemberist song seem like it’s set in the 1860s, even when he makes mention of things like cars.
  8. The Elected, “It Was Love”: As Clif said, “the relationship is probably doomed if you can’t even figure out if you were in love or not.” He ain’t wrong.
  9. The Beatles, “Run For Your Life”: I’m half convinced any relationship involving John Lennon is probably doomed from the start, mostly because of songs like this one.
  10. Old 97s, “The Other Shoe”: If you’re hiding under the bed, waiting for your spouse and her lover, and then you drive out to the central Texas desert to bury their dead bodies, I’m pretty sure that romance is doomed. Very doomed.

Playlist #54

Good Monday Morning, folks! Follow me on Patreon. I’m super excited about May’s song there. Meanwhile, here’s this week’s playlist:

  1. Dream Wife, “Hey Heartbreaker”: The chugging guitar is great, and I love the overlapping vocals at the end.
  2. Drive-By Truckers, “Outfit”: “Don’t call what you’re wearing an outfit,” the narrator’s father admonishes him, and I can admit that I have done that on numerous occasions. Oh well.
  3. Wilco, “Say You Miss Me”: A heartbreaker of a song. Love it.
  4. Tom Waits, “Goin’ Out West”: “Well, I’m goin’ out west/Where the wind blows tall,” Tom Waits begins, and things only get weirder from there. Because of course they do, this is a Tom Waits song.
  5. Spoon, “You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb”: A reverb-drenched shot of adrenaline straight to the heart.
  6. SaraoMusic, “Coming Home”: Sunny So-Cal indie pop at its finest.
  7. The Rolling Stones, “Factory Girl”: Always imagined this as the mid-70s version of that Shakespearean sonnet, “My mistress’s eyes are nothing like the sun.”
  8. The Beatles, “Two Of Us”: If there’s a better song on Let It Be, make your case in the comments.
  9. Rhett Miller, “The El”: Who doesn’t love rattling along on the El in Chicago?
  10. Josh Ritter, “Hopeful”: Taking those first few tentative steps out into the wild after a relationship collapses can be terrifying, but you gotta stay hopeful.

Playlist #51

Happy Tax Day, America! Happy regular ol’ Monday after Easter! Happy, um, April 18th, everyone else? Don’t forget to join my Patreon, where I’m making new music every month for your listening enjoyment (actual amount of enjoyment may vary. Please see your doctor if you receive too much enjoyment from listening to my music)! Anyway, here’s this week’s playlist.

  1. The Beatles, “Taxman”: Like I wasn’t gonna do this today. “My advice to those who die/Declare the pennies on your eyes.”
  2. Bruce Cockburn, “Lovers In A Dangerous Time”: Only started listening to him this morning, but the line, “Nothing worth having comes without some kind of fight/You gotta kick in the darkness till it bleeds daylight” is just one of the all-time best.
  3. The Ink Spots, “Java Jive”: Like most music from the first half of the 20th century, my exposure to this song was through a cartoon when I was a small child. Little Lulu, I think?
  4. Lizzo, “About Damn Time”: Here comes Lizzo with another summer jam. God, where did she find that bass player? That bassline slaps.
  5. Ten Years After, “I’d Love To Change The World”: With a chorus that literally says, “I’d love to change the world/But I don’t know what to do/So I’ll leave it up to you,” this is the quintessential Boomer song. “Eh, I’d love to do something about it, but I’m not gonna. Tough luck, future!”
  6. XTC, “Across This Antheap”: Another song with so many good lines just tossed off all casual-like. And that trumpet? So good.
  7. The Wallflowers, “Bleeders”: Included simply because of the way that organ sounds at the very beginning of the song.
  8. Ben E. King, “Stand By Me”: You know what always aggravates me about the John Lennon cover of this song? It adds absolutely nothing to it. You might as well just go back and listen to the Ben E. King version instead. Which is why this version is on the playlist.
  9. Otis Redding, “That’s How Strong My Love Is”: Listening to this song, I’m reminded of how very much in-touch with that ’60s R&B Stax sound CCR (or really, John Fogerty) was. This coulda been a CCR song. Or any CCR song coulda been an Otis Redding song.
  10. Josh Ritter, “Old Black Magic”: This song just chugs along and gets downright fiery towards the end.

Playlist #42: Love Stinks!

Happy Valentine’s Day, folks! Here’s some songs about love that anyone can enjoy, whether you’re single AF this year or happily married or anything in between.

  1. The Beatles, “I’m A Loser”: Back when I was in college, I put together anti-love playlists every Valentine’s Day. This one was a recurring feature.
  2. Sting, “She’s Too Good For Me”: It was true 15 years ago when I married the Wife, and it’s true today.
  3. Jesse Malin, “She Don’t Love Me Now”: I think it’s the guitars on this one that really do it for me.
  4. The Hold Steady, “You Can Make Him Like You”: “You don’t have to go to the right kind of schools/Let your boyfriend come from the right kind of schools/You can wear his old sweatshirt/You can cover yourself like a bruise.”
  5. The Grass Roots, “Things I Should Have Said”: Is there ever a bad time for a Grass Roots song? No. No, there is not.
  6. Placebo, “You Don’t Care About Us”: I swear, I had at least three friends who listened almost exclusively to this album during high school/college. If you didn’t do that, you probably also have at least one or two of those friends as well.
  7. Beck, “Loser”: When you can’t just say it in English, say it in Spanish as well: “Soy un perdador.”
  8. Barenaked Ladies, “One Week”: When you fight, you should always make up afterwards. Maybe don’t wait a whole week for it, though.
  9. Hank Williams, Sr., “You Win Again”: The resignation in his voice is just…damn, Hank.
  10. The White Stripes, “The Denial Twist”: “If you think that a kiss is all in the lips/C’mon, you got it all wrong, man.”

Playlist #32

New week, new playlist!

  1. Pearl Jam, “Black”: I learned to play this song last week, only 20-some years too late for it to be relevant.
  2. Jonathan Edwards, “Sunshine (Go Away Today)”: Also learned this one last week. It’s fun and folky.
  3. Sting, “Shape Of My Heart”: I just really like the guitar figure in this one.
  4. The Decemberists, “Sucker’s Prayer”: I mentioned this one the other week, and then just put a different Decemberists song on the playlist instead. Here’s this one now.
  5. Big Red Machine, “Renegade (featuring Taylor Swift)”: Am I sucker for recent Taylor Swift? Yes. Is this song really gorgeous? Also yes.
  6. The Beatles, “For You Blue”: I dig George Harrison songs, and this one is just so much fun. John’s slide playing is gleeful and too much fun.
  7. The Avett Brothers, “Ain’t No Man”: I dig these guys, and this song is tub-thumpin’ good times.
  8. Wilco, “Everyone Hides”: I like how Wilco has eased into their dad rock years and are just hummin’ along, making laidback music and having a good time.
  9. Yael Naim, “New Soul”: Pretty sure this was a song featured in an iTunes commercial back in the day? I don’t remember. But it’s cute and lovely.
  10. The Horrible Crowes, “Mary Ann”: Sometimes, you just need Brian Fallon shouting someone’s name in the chorus.

Playlist #31 – Loooooong

Happy Monday after Thanksgiving, AKA “Online Consumer Armageddon.” I posted a list of stuff you can buy that benefits me back on Friday, for those who are curious. And now here I am with this week’s playlist, a set that features songs that are all about being long (but most of them are actually quite short).

  1. The Beatles, “Long, Long, Long”: Off the White Album, this quiet George Harrison gem is gorgeous and simple.
  2. Bruce Springsteen, “Long Time Comin'”: Features two of my favorite Boss lines: “Let your mistakes be your own” and “I ain’t gonna fuck it up this time.” Good stuff.
  3. Counting Crows, “A Long December”: With one of the best opening lines in any song, “A long December/And there’s reason to believe/Maybe this year will be better than the last.” Your lips to God’s ears.
  4. The Doobie Bros., “Long Train Runnin'”: My brother and I used to try to perform this one back in college. I…could not sing it then, and maybe sorta kinda can now, just not the way they do it.
  5. Green Day, “Longview”: I love how this song is mostly about the bass.
  6. The Hollies, “Long Cool Woman (In A Black Dress)”: That one song that you always kinda thought was CCR but you weren’t 100% sure.
  7. Jars of Clay, “The Long Fall”: I’ve been a fan of these guys since I was back in high school dating a preacher’s kid. I kinda fell off for a few years, but their most recent stuff is still pretty darn good.
  8. Little Richard, “Long Tall Sally”: How do you not include Little Richard on this playlist, hmm? That’s the real challenge here.
  9. Bob Dylan, “Tomorrow Is A Long Time”: I originally had a different Dylan song here (“The Man In The Long Black Coat”), but I think this one fits the general vibe and intent of the playlist better.
  10. Charlie Sexton, “It Don’t Take Long”: The train horn at the beginning of this song always throws me off, but it’s still lovely and all that.

Playlist #21 – So Tired Edition

As with so many other people my age (or just anyone who is living through these interesting times), I feel like I’m constantly tired. Here’s a list of songs to wake you up.

  1. The Beatles, “I’m So Tired”: My theme song for this week. This month. This year. This…decade, probably? God, was there ever a time I wasn’t tired?
  2. The Pretenders, “I Go To Sleep”: Wouldn’t it be lovely to just drift off to sleep right now? I think it would be.
  3. The Beastie Boys, “No Sleep Till Brooklyn”: NO! SLEEP! TILL BROOKLYN!
  4. The Barenaked Ladies, “Who Needs Sleep?”: The jauntiest song about insomnia ever.
  5. The Wallflowers, “Asleep At The Wheel”: For years, the Wife was always concerned I’d fall asleep while driving. She probably still worries about it, she just doesn’t bring it up anymore.
  6. Billy Bragg and Wilco, “California Stars”: Much as Woody Guthrie said, I’d like to lay my weary bones down. Not necessarily on a bed of California stars, but a regular bed, maybe? Yeah, a regular bed would be just fine.
  7. Hem, “I’ll Dream Of You Tonight”: I don’t often remember my dreams, which is probably a blessing since the ones I do remember are usually not at all pleasant. This is possibly something I should discuss with my therapist.
  8. Iron & Wine and Calexico, “Burn That Broken Bed”: I mean, if the bed is broken, you could just leave it out by the dumpster or something. Burning it seems extreme, guys.
  9. Josh Ritter, “Can’t Go To Sleep (Without You)”: Though I do not fault her for this at all, the Wife and I usually go to bed at vastly different times, and I frequently struggle to sleep until she is in bed. Dunno why.
  10. Cake, “When You Sleep”: Is this song about masturbation? I think this song might be about masturbation while you’re asleep, which is an impressive skill, I guess? I don’t know, I’m tired.