Thursday, January 31, 2008

Shuffling through My Top Rated

I currently and temporarily lack access to a reliable version of photoshop so I decided it was quite a good time for an all-text post. There haven't been enough of these lately. So today, what with super-duper Tuesday looming and voting happening here in quaint ole Nutmegger State CT, with a wonderful conversation held this evening with a long-lost high school buddy, with the Super Bowl around the corner what will I write about?

Well it has been about a year that I've been an ipod addict, and tonight I thought it would be fun to liveblog a journey through the playlist My Top Rated.

I started off with an Elliott Smith tune called "In the Lost and Found (honky bach)," which has been a favorite of mine for years. Smith's melodies are remarkable, and while his most intensely melancholy songs are certainly striking I always enjoyed the songs where reverie pours in around the edges. In the Lost and Found is one of these songs.

The next tune up is "Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts," off Bob Dylan's Blood on the Tracks. Now, I should admit here that I'm in the midst of a Bob Dylan kick and I am really glad that this song came up, but it's also a tune of his that I'm a little new to, so I'll just say it is an 8-minute journey worth taking. The plodding rhythms, bizarre lyrics, and irresistible story hang together to form the musical equivalent of a visit to your neighbor's backyard trampoline. Even if you just bounce up and down tentatively you're far from sitting still feeling blue.

"The cabaret was empty now a sign said. "Closed for repair"
Lily had already taken all of the dye out of her hair
She was thinking about her father who she was rarely saw
Thinking about Rosemary and thinking about the law
But most of all she was thinking about the Jack of Hearts."

It's over now. Great song. Sure to be a regular listen for me, even well beyond my Dylan phase.

Oh, shuffle, you did your magic there didn't ya!?! "Don't let money change ya! Da de da dadadeda da de da dadadeda" and with that Blackalicious' "Deception" (Nia) kicks in. There's something just inexplicably great about this track. It's got an old-skool rap delivery, especially in the verses and while there are many ways that the allegory gets laid down a little thick, it's still enjoyable if only for the chorus that repeats the same warning that starts the song. Simple, enjoyable, classic? Some might say yes. You might count me as one.

Beck's "Paper Tiger" (off Sea Change) is next, a Dave Liss favorite, but tonight it's a little more mellow than my mood. Still, I didn't skip it in the time it took me to type up this little, "I'm going to move on." While I was typing I was pulled into the remarkably well combination of a moderately funky bassline, some well delivered orchestration, and a consistent beat that stays back but holds it all together. Beck plays some usual tricks, with voice mod effects pulling into the chorus at various places, but it's funny, this song makes me think something that popped into my mind during Elliott Smith and that is this:

Both of these guys use the tools that other musicians can't handle so well. Elliott Smith has the whole emo toolbox (and toolbox was chosen for a reason here) but he doesn't smother you in goppy fake ugly sad whatever it is that makes that whole game so played out. By the same token Beck uses so many tools that others simply can't handle well, and even on a song I thought I would skip he uses them to pull you in and treat your ears every time. Or that's, at least, what he does for me.

"Forget the Flowers" a song off Being There, which I will simply describe as some simpler Wilco from a simpler time. I picked up this double disk in High School and was wooed by the Sesame Street styling of the song, "Outta Mind, Outta Sight." These two discs are chock full of great reasons why Wilco is still associated with alt-country even after all their (wonderful in my opinion) noisy experiments. Banjo and all!

Wow... I think this post has run its course. I'm going to run off, but not before I at least rattle off the next few choices brought to you by the joy of ipod:

Pavement's "Shady Lane," off Brighten the Corners [so fantastically good I just couldn't tell you all the ways, even if I gave this song its own whole paragraph]
"Holiday" by Weezer off Weezer, the Blue Album... wow, the songs I love are really some songs that I truly love. Who rated these top rated? Oh wait! That was me. wow... this post is becoming crap right quick.
"Let's Explode" by Clem Snide off The Ghost of Fashion. Great lyrics, "love is only for the lovely - and such a glamorous thing to waste - wait, I have to fix my makeup..."
and... last but not least:
"Punk Rock Girl" by the Dead Milkmen. Ah, the shout-out to Zipperhead, "If you don't got mojo nixon, then your store could use some fixin!"

encore? Yeah, right.

Here it is anyway:
"Dynamite" by the unbeatable unbelievable Roots Crew ... nothing like closing out a post with these sweet sounds.

1 comment:

Stamford Talk said...

The Avon is going to play the Dylan biopic in February as part of its Oscar Film Series! (What is it called- I'm Not Here or something like that?)