Playlist #22

Happy Monday, folks. Have a list of songs.

  1. Jay Farrar, “Feel Free”: For years, I thought NPR stood for “Non-Profit Radio.” It made sense, right? That is not what it stands for, by the by.
  2. The Gaslight Anthem, “Mama’s Boys”: The most Rolling Stones-iest song they ever recorded. It’s fun to sing along at the top of your lungs as you drive way too fast down the road.
  3. Ra Ra Riot, “Ghost Under Rocks”: I don’t even remember how it is I came to know about this band, but I’ve always liked the promise of this song (even if I haven’t cared as much for the rest of their output).
  4. Lil Nas X, “THATS WHAT I WANT”: First off, can we discuss the lack of an apostrophe in the title? That always annoys me. Grammar aside, the song slaps.
  5. Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit (Featuring John Paul White), “Driver 8”: Did you know the REM song “Driver 8” had discernable lyrics hidden within it? And that they’re about a train driver? True story.
  6. ABBA, “Waterloo”: I’m a sucker for songs about historical subjects, and this is the second-best song about the Napoleonic Wars ever (the best is the 1812 Overture).
  7. The Mountain Goats, “Get Famous”: The continued prominence of the Mountain Goats gives me hope that even someone with a voice like mine could someday make it.
  8. George Harrison, “Cheer Down”: Not enough has been written about the wordplay and wry humor of George Harrison’s songwriting. This song is a great example of all that, and the guitar work is killer.
  9. Rhett Miller, “The El”: The way I found out about the Old 97s was by hearing this album by Rhett Miller first. Then I found Too Far To Care and it was all downhill from there for me.
  10. Gillian Welch, “Revelator”: So damn downbeat and depressing, melancholy and bittersweet and beautiful. So beautiful.

Playlist #17

It’s back to school for good ol’ me! Here’s a list of ten songs to get you back into the learning mood. Here’s the playlist on Spotify, for those so inclined (I’ve added all of the playlists there so far, so feel free to go back and listen to ’em).

  1. The Call, “Let The Day Begin”: Back when I was in high school, we listened to 107.7 FM, KRXO, out of Oklahoma City. And the morning show always played this song. Every morning. It was a ritual. A call to action. And so it is now.
  2. Genesis, “Just A Job To Do”: Sure, this song isn’t about teaching. It’s about a hitman hunting down his next target. But isn’t that what teaching is, really? (No, it isn’t)
  3. The Good, The Bad, and the Queen, “History Song”: Look, there aren’t nearly as many songs about teaching and the subject of history out there as you’d think there are, but this one has history in the title, so…
  4. Pink Floyd, “Another Brick In The Wall, Part 2”: Yeah, I was gonna do a playlist about returning to school and not include this song. “We don’t need no education!”
  5. Sting, “History Will Teach Us Nothing”: The old adage “those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it” comes to mind here.
  6. The Hollies, “Teach Your Children”: The Hollies covering the CS&N classic. I’m starting to think the Hollies were just a really well-liked cover band, for the most part.
  7. Paul Simon, “Me And Julio Down By The Schoolyard”: Has absolutely nothing to do with school other than the title. But I think Julio is up to no good and you should probably avoid him, Paul.
  8. John Legend, “History Has Its Eyes On You”: John Legend takes the Hamilton tune and turns it into a glorious Gospel number. I dig it.
  9. Chuck Berry, “School Days”: “Hail, hail, rock and roll!”
  10. The Mountain Goats, “Fall Of The Star High School Running Back”: If you were thinking, “Gee, I wonder if this Mountain Goats song will be about a star high school football player who suffers a career-ending injury and turns to selling drugs and then gets caught,” well, have I got news for you. And the news is you are 100% correct and it’s as awesome as you think.

2019 (Music) In Review

Hey, I’m only a couple of weeks into 2020, so this isn’t too late, right? Right.

Anyway, here’s my favorite ten albums from 2019, in no particular order…

Gary Clark, Jr. – This Land

This guy just shreds, man. Plenty of chunky distortion and great guitar riffs, and his lyrics are pretty great, too.

The Mountain Goats – In League with Dragons

A concept album built loosely around Dungeons and Dragons? By the Mountain Goats? Sign me up for that gaming session!

The National – I Am Easy to Find

If this album only gave us “Rylan,” it would still be one of the best albums of the year. That the whole album is fantastic, start to finish, is just gravy.

The Highwomen – The Highwomen

My god, these harmonies! An update on the Highwaymen concept from back in the ’80s (that of Johnny Cash, Kris Kristopherson, Willie Nelson, and Waylon Jennings fame) with a scad of kickass women grabbing music by the horns and it like it. I want more of this.

The New Pornographers – In the Morse Code of Break Lights

Is there such a thing as a bad New Pornographers album? I’ve yet to hear one. Weird that it didn’t have a Dan Bejar-led song on it, though.

Andrew Bird – My Finest Work Yet

Bird continues to put out challenging, engaging music consistently with each release, and this one is no exception to that. “Bloodless” was one of my favorite songs of the year.

Wilco – Ode to Joy

A mostly-acoustic affair, but it finds the Chicago band writing some of their best songs in years. It’s cozy, comfy, rainy Sunday afternoon music. And Jeff Tweedy still keeps my dream of chunky guitar hero alive.

Lizzo – Cuz I Love You

Didn’t expect this one, did you? Well, I just took a DNA test, turns out I’m 100% that guy who really likes to listen to Lizzo play the flute like a badass.

J.S. Ondara – Tales of America

Sometimes, you say it best with just an acoustic guitar and minimal backing. That’s Ondara’s debut, Tales of America, which I found through NPR. The previous sentence is the whitest sentence I have ever written, and I used to write term papers about English religion and society during the theatrical reformation period.

The Black Keys – Let’s Rock

What? Sometimes, I just like straight-ahead bluesy rock. This is not an interrogation. Go away.