It’s yet another Monday, yet another playlist. A rather lowkey playlist for the week, given how lowkey I’m feeling this week.
- The National, “Start A War”: NPR sometimes uses a short snippet from this song as a bumper sometimes. They did it this morning, so now this song is stuck in my head. This is not a bad thing.
- Neko Case, “Maybe Sparrow”: At some point, I’m pretty sure I’ll have included every song from Fox Confessor Brings The Flood on a playlist. This just puts us one step closer to that eventuality.
- The New Pornographers, “Sweet Talk, Sweet Talk”: Two Neko-sung songs, back to back? Surely I didn’t do that on purpose.
- Wilco, “I Might”: Been giving later-career Wilco a chance lately, and I’ve been pleasantly surprised with the quality of the musicianship.
- The Wallflowers, “Up From Under”: Breach is still probably the best Wallflowers album.
- Michael Stipe & Big Red Machine, “No Time For Love Like Now”: The song title reminds me of something from 30 Rock, which makes me giggle uncontrollably.
- Fastball, “Out Of My Head”: It’s everyone’s second-favorite song by a band named after a porno!
- Fleetwood Mac, “Everywhere”: Christine McVie was an underrated songwriter, I feel, and never got enough credit for her songs in Fleetwood Mac. This one’s a perfect latter-day example of her craft.
- Gillian Welch & David Rawlins, “Jackson”: I sometimes wish Gillian Welch would loosen up and sound like she’s actually having fun playing music. Playing is so much fun, I think. But I guess when you’re in the vanguard of gatekeeping a traditional music structure/style, you feel like you can’t ever let your guard down.
- Greg Brown, “Someday When We’re Both Alone”: This dude’s voice just gets me every time.
No, don’t worry, I haven’t lost my mind and finally made an all-Elvis playlist. No, this is a playlist all about rooms and buildings. It goes rather like this:
- John Hartford, “In Tall Buildings”: A rumination on giving up the wild, carefree days of youth to go work in tall buildings downtown. It’s sad and thoughtful and a little bit rueful.
- Counting Crows, “Perfect Blue Buildings”: “I wanna get me a little oblivion,” Adam Duritz sings. I think we could all use a bit of oblivion. Or at least a nice nap in a perfect blue building.
- Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young, “Our House”: Why are the two cats out in the yard? They’ll decimate the bird population! Is that what you want, guys? Huh?
- The Wallflowers, “I Am A Building”: Being the son of Bob Dylan must be hard. I’m pretty sure that’s why Jakob Dylan tried being a building for a while in the early ’00s.
- The Commodores, “Brick House”: She is mighty mighty.
- XTC, “No Thugs In Our House”: This seems like a reasonable thing to expect. Little Graham better be on his best damn behavior, that’s all I’m saying.
- The White Stripes, “Hotel Yorba”: Did you know you can still write a song that’s just G, C, and D? Jack White knows!
- Traveling Wilburys, “Poor House”: If there’s a song that’s more fun to play in a pickin’ circle, I don’t know it.
- Tom Petty, “The Apartment Song”: I, too, used to live in a two-room apartment where the neighbors were knocking on my walls. Tom Petty is the Everyman.
- Bruce Springsteen, “Mansion On A Hill”: However, I never lived in a mansion, hill-based or otherwise. So much for this man of the people!
Tune in next week, when I’ll do something completely different for Playlist #100!
Happy Boxing Day! Here’s your latest playlist.
- Lil Nas X, “Old Town Road (featuring Billy Ray Cyrus)”: No, I don’t understand what bizarre deal with the devil Lil Nas X made, but this song is so earwormy that Chekov twitches when he hears it. That was a Star Trek reference, yo.
- Billie Ellish, “bad guy”: I’ve heard many, many great things about Billie Ellish, and I’ve tried on more than a few occasions to listen to and even enjoy her stuff. I can listen to it, but I’m not still not quite sure I can enjoy it. It’s just not for me. And that’s okay. It takes all sorts of music or all sorts of folks.
- The Crazy World of Arthur Brown, “Fire”: “I am the god of hellfire, and I bring you fire.” That’s how the song begins. The guy who sings it wears a headdress thingie that is also lit on fire. It’s crazy, and the song has a great organ hook, but it’s far less weird than that intro suggests.
- The Thorns, “Blue”: A “supergroup” (for lack of a better term) made up of Matthew Sweet, Shawn Mullins (that “Lullaby” guy), and Pete Droge, covering a song by the Jayhawks. The harmonies are pretty great.
- Bob Dylan, “Isis (Live)”: I kinda always loved this song, This live version (from the Bootleg Series, Volume 5) is even better than the studio version.
- Simon & Garfunkel, “America”: Just a beautiful song.
- Stroke 9, “Little Black Backpack”: One of those late 90s one hit wonder types that’s a lot of fun.
- Third Eye Blind, “Jumper”: One of the more upbeat songs about trying to talk someone down off the ledge.
- Vance Joy, “Riptide”: I still don’t know if the main rhythm instrument is some type of guitar or a mandolin or a ukulele or what, but I like it.
- The Wallflowers, “Back to California”: Rebel, Sweetheart is still one of my favorite Wallflowers albums.
Happy Monday! Today brings with it ten fresh, exciting songs in the form of today’s playlist!
- Queen, “Face It Alone”: A “new” Queen song with previously-unreleased Freddie Mercury vocals? Count me in.
- HAIM, “Now I’m Into It”: Heard it in She-Hulk this weekend. Dig it.
- The Rolling Stones, “Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker)”: How ballsy do you have to be to name a song “Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo?” That’s not a song title (or a chorus), that’s the filler my father sings when he can’t remember the lyrics to the song.
- Langhorn Slim & the Law, “Put It Together”: I love the piano in this one. I wish I could play like that.
- M. Ward, “One Hundred Million Years”: “And this love, this love between you and I/Is older than that burning ball of fire up in the sky.”
- Pearl Jam, “Spin The Black Circle”: Sometimes, you just have to put on a loud, angry song, crank up the volume, and headbang. I do still have enough hair to headbang, right?
- The Wallflowers, “Some Flowers Bloom Dead”: And sometimes you need some rootsy rock and roll.
- Wilco, “Tried And True”: And sometimes you need to feel like you’re tripping out on shrooms while listening to the Beach Boys.
- Leonard Cohen, “Anthem”: “There is a crack, a crack in everything/That’s how the light gets in.”
- The National, “Fake Empire”: I’ve been reading a book about the making of the album this song is from, Boxer, and I really just want to sit and listen to the record on repeat.
Happy Monday and welcome to August, everyone! As always, you can back me on Patreon, and there’s still that GoFundMe for my wife. We’re woefully underfunded for the month of August, so any little bit helps.
- Simply Three, “Dance Monkey”: The podiatrist my wife goes to always has some interesting music playing in the waiting room. This was playing there last week, and I kinda dig it.
- Jackson Browne, “Jamaica Say You Will”: Jackson Browne is just hands down one of the best songwriters of the 20th century, and this song – which opens up his self-titled album – is a good example of his songcraft.
- Aerosmith, “Big Ten Inch Record”: Aerosmith are the masters of what Nanny Ogg would call “single-intenders.” They’re not quite double entendres, because there is no subtlety to them whatsoever. But my, are they fun.
- The Wallflowers, “I’ll Let You Down (But Will Not Give You Up)”: Oh, Jakob. You know what a Wallflowers song sounds like, and you hit so close on most of this album. Letting Rami Jaffe go was a mistake, though.
- Toad the Wet Sprocket, “I’ll Bet On You”: The chord changes and melody for this song are based on a Lapdog song (made up of half of the band while Toad was on hiatus back in the early oughts), but then Glen Phillips came in and said, “Hey, this sounds great, but you know what would sound greater? If I wrote new lyrics for it and sang on this one instead of one of you other yokels.” And then they did that.
- Three Dog Night, “Shambala”: Shambala is a mythical place, rather like El Dorado or that Tibetan monastery where the Iron Fist trained. It’s also a pretty good song.
- Billy Bragg & Wilco, “When The Roses Bloom Again”: Yeah, the third volume of Mermaid Avenue was a collection of diminishing returns, but even in among all the fair-to-middling stuff on there, you find the occasional gem such as this one. It’s a gorgeous song and Jeff Tweedy’s vocals are perfect.
- Radiohead, “Ill Wind”: It’s an ill wind blows no man good, or something like that. Hey, I wrote a book with a title very similar!
- The Regular Joes, “Restless”: Found an email from my uncle the other day that he wrote back when I first moved out to Virginia (some 17 years ago now). It has the chord changes for this song in there, ’cause I wanted to learn to play it on guitar. It’s a very simple song, chords-wise, so I’ll probably be playing it later today.
- The Allman Brothers Band, “Midnight Rider”: They are just determined not to let the midnight rider catch them. Nosiree, not those Allman boys.
Happy Tuesday, folks! It’s officially summer break time! That doesn’t mean I’ve slacked off over on Patreon, though. There’ll be a new song each month, just like usual. Anyway, here’s this week’s playlist.
- Old 97s, “Holy Cross”: It’s just such a bleak song with such a great rhythm.
- The Wallflowers, “Sleepwalker”: “Now, Cupid, don’t draw back your bow/Sam Cooke didn’t know what I know.”
- The Minus 5, “Wasted Bandage”: Favorite line is, “dear physician, won’t you heal yourself?”
- Golden Smog, “Until You Came Along”: Love the jangly twelve string in this one. It’s an alt-country Byrds song, essentially.
- Gin Blossoms, “Just South Of Nowhere”: Early Gin Blossoms stuff is just so damn good.
- Justin Townes Earle, “Flint City Shake it”: A song that calls GM out on the carpet for its treatment of the auto workers in Flint, Michigan. Gotta love it.
- Jesse Malin, “Addicted”: I will never not love Jesse Malin, and this song – about the problems of modern society and its addiction to smart phones and Instagram – hits a lot of good points.
- Josh Ritter, “Getting Ready To Get Down”: “If you wanna see a miracle/Watch me get down.”
- Glen Phillips, “Men Just Leave”: I will always have a soft spot in my heart for Glen Phillips’ first solo album, and this song – about how men often suck – still hits too real.
- Wilco, “You Are My Face”: I love the middle part of this song, where the band really cuts loose. It’s awesome.
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.
- The Beatles, “Taxman”: Like I wasn’t gonna do this today. “My advice to those who die/Declare the pennies on your eyes.”
- 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.
- 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?
- Lizzo, “About Damn Time”: Here comes Lizzo with another summer jam. God, where did she find that bass player? That bassline slaps.
- 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!”
- XTC, “Across This Antheap”: Another song with so many good lines just tossed off all casual-like. And that trumpet? So good.
- The Wallflowers, “Bleeders”: Included simply because of the way that organ sounds at the very beginning of the song.
- 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.
- 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.
- Josh Ritter, “Old Black Magic”: This song just chugs along and gets downright fiery towards the end.
Last week was a rough week, if I’m being honest. I was mostly over my case of covid, but still couldn’t return to work, and my wife…well, we had to take her to the hospital on Thursday because her O2 sats dropped dangerously low frighteningly quick. It’s only been in the past day or two that we’ve come to find out just how bad off she was. If we hadn’t taken her to the hospital when we did, she would not have survived the night.
So, she’s still at the hospital (in a covid isolation room where I cannot visit her), but thankfully on the mend. On Saturday, my old college advisor passed away suddenly from a brain aneurysm, which…yeah, still haven’t processed it. All of that probably explains the slower tempo and more downbeat list of songs on this week’s playlist.
- The Horrible Crowes, “Sugar”: I always thought it was more than a little daring to open the album with this song, which is by far more downbeat and subtle than what follows.
- Iron & Wine, “Hard Times Come Again No More”: I don’t know how I found this particular recording. I think it’s from the TV show Copper, if anyone remembers that (I never actually saw it, but still somehow heard this version of the song).
- Jars of Clay, “Faith Enough”: A song filled with contradictions and paradoxes.
- Jason Isbell, “Cover Me Up”: Beautiful and heartfelt and far more subtle than most of the songs I prefer by him, but no less glorious for it.
- The Wallflowers, “Up From Under”: If Breach isn’t the best Wallflowers album, it’s definitely top two. And while this isn’t my usual go-to song from that record, it’s still simple (for a song with a string arrangement) and beautiful.
- Willie Nelson, “The Rainbow Connection”: A voice and a song that I’m surprised it took so long to put together, though I have to ask – aside from this one and “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” just how many songs are there out there about rainbows?
- The Beach Boys, “I Just Wasn’t Made For These Times”: “Sometimes I feel very sad.” Sometimes Brian Wilson just cuts right to the damn chase.
- The National, “I Need My Girl”: I would like my wife home from the hospital now, please.
- The Flaming Lips, “Do You Realize??”: The happiest song about death that I know.
- Glen Phillips, “Train Wreck”: This one just sorta…feels right at the moment? That’s probably not good, is it?
Happy Monday, folks! As you probably known, this coming Sunday is Halloween, so for this week’s playlist I’ve put together songs from (mostly) 90s horror and Halloweenish movie soundtracks! I mostly wanted an excuse to put Toad the Wet Sprocket’s cover of “Hey Bulldog” on a playlist.
- Toad the Wet Sprocket, “Hey Bulldog”: From the I Know What You Did Last Summer soundtrack. Who doesn’t love a good Beatles cover?
- Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, “Red Right Hand”: From the Scream soundtrack. Who doesn’t love a song about the devil?
- D Generation, “Helpless”: From The Faculty soundtrack. This was the band Jesse Malin was in before he went solo. They’re very punk and snarly and sneering. It’s fun, but it’s not a Neil Young cover.
- Stevie Ray Vaughn & Double Trouble, “Willie the Wimp (And His Cadillac Coffin)”: From the From Dusk Till Dawn soundtrack. Vampires and Texas electric blues go together better than you’d think.
- Nine Inch Nails, “Dead Souls”: From The Crow soundtrack. Part of the impetus for this playlist was just a glut of fantastic 90s soundtracks. This one is more specific than it could’ve been, since I could have added stuff from Empire Records, or Reality Bites, or any other seminal Gen-X soundtrack.
- Stabbing Westward, “Torn Apart”: From the Spawn soundtrack. Y’know what’s super-nineties? Spawn. Like, the comic, the movie, the whole thing. So 90s.
- Danny Elfman, “What’s This?”: From The Nightmare Before Christmas soundtrack. It’s classic Danny Elfman from a movie that, I’m ashamed to admit, I’ve never actually seen.
- Roger Daltrey, “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me”: From The Lost Boys soundtrack. Now, this one is a bit of a cheat, since The Lost Boys came out in 1987, but it’s Roger Daltrey and it’s my playlist, so deal with it.
- The Wallflowers, “Heroes”: From the Godzilla soundtrack. Soundtracks in the 90s were often an opportunity for a band to play cover songs. This isn’t the best David Bowie cover out there, but it is pretty solid.
- Heather Nova, “I Have The Touch”: From The Craft soundtrack. Who doesn’t love a Peter Gabriel cover? No one, that’s who.
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.
- 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?
- The Pretenders, “I Go To Sleep”: Wouldn’t it be lovely to just drift off to sleep right now? I think it would be.
- The Beastie Boys, “No Sleep Till Brooklyn”: NO! SLEEP! TILL BROOKLYN!
- The Barenaked Ladies, “Who Needs Sleep?”: The jauntiest song about insomnia ever.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.