Friday, February 09, 2007

Friday 8-Track

My buddy has a coworker who each year around this time puts together a mix CD entitled Valentine Schmalentine. In honor of that and the most complicated of Hallmark holidays, is this week's installment of the Friday 8-Track.

Gus Black - "Don't Fear The Reaper" - Scream: Music From The Dimension Motion Picture

Yeah, yeah "more cowbell." Go ahead and get it out of your system. Cool? OK. Given a lot of B.O.C.'s other material, I doubt that the lyrical intent of this song was to be a creepy ode to love and a suicide pact, but that sure as hell is what it sounds like. Now take Gus Black's slow, brooding cover from the Scream soundtrack and the cringe factor is almost unbearable. "Came the last night of sadness and it was clear we couldn't go on..." Yikes.

The Smiths - "There Is A Light That Never Goes Out" - The Queen Is Dead

Desperation confused for love. A character so desperate for escape from his home that he falls in love with his savior and opines that "To die by your side is such a heavenly way to die." Could such a sentiment come form anyone other than Morrissey?

The Replacements - "Valentine" - Pleased To Meet Me

Yesterday I sent an email to a friend proclaiming "Johnny Reznick wishes he was Paul Westerberg." She had posted her thoughts on the Goo Goo Dolls concert at the 9:30 Club and how it transported her back to her college days. Like a prick I had to make a little dig about how the Goo Goo Dolls are nothing more than an ersatz version of The Replacements -- that's how I roll. Anyway, this is how you write a pop song and the best part is, I have no idea whether this is pro- or anti-Valentine. Either way it's great. "If you were a pill, I'd take a handful at my will. And I'd knock you back with something sweet and strong."

Gram Parsons (w/ Emmylou Harris) - "Love Hurts" - Grievous Angel

I don't know why it is that the cheesiest version of this song, ever, became its most recognizable. Nazareth? Come on. But for the definitive version, a real painful torch song, Gram Parsons hit this one square on the head. Talk about suffering, this one really burns.

Squeeze - "Another Nail For My Heart" - Argybargy

I feel like I'm still discovering this band after all these years. Probably too eclectic for their own good, from a commercial standpoint, the irony is that a song like this will probably end up covered by some whitebread female act on the soundtrack to a Renee Zelwegger movie and it will have none of its teeth. One of those classic upbeat pop songs that's all about a love gone away, Glenn Tilbrook has the enviable talent of being able to put a really good hook to a story.

Liz Phair - "Fuck and Run" - Exile In Guyville

This song depresses the shit out of me. That stupid "White Hot Cum" song was titillating just for the sake of being shocking and had no real substance. This tune from her first album however, is the real thing. Talk about an unhealthy pattern.

Bob Mould - "Black Sheets Of Rain" - Black Sheets Of Rain

Angry songs don't get much angrier than this one. Never one to spend much time looking on the bright side of life, Bob opens his second solo album with a scorcher. It has got his trademark huge, droning guitar and some of his most miserable lyrics ever. "Slag heap keep growing higher, every morning the sky it's on fire. And it's only 9 AM again."

Josh Rouse - "Ugly Stories" - Under Cold Blue Stars

This album, my favorite of his, is supposed to be a pseudo-concept album. The lyrics (and track sequence) following the story arc of a young couple in love up through marriage, infidelity, and reconciliation -- guess which theme this song addresses. I'm always amazed how pretty sad songs can be. To incorrectly paraphrase Nick Hornby, "Did I listen pop music because I was miserable, or was I miserable because I listened to pop music?"

-- Bonus Track --

So I thought I should add one, un-ironic, non-bitter track selection for this week's theme.

Wilco - "California Stars" - Mermaid Avenue Vol. I

When it comes to pop music, sometimes the simplest songs are the most resonant. I've never been in love with a woman (real love, not infatuation) but I have fallen in love with a song. Woody Guthrie wrote the words over 40 years ago but Jeff Tweedy brought them to life with a simple melody, three chords, and a sparse arrangement. This song never gets old and it is one of the prettiest ways I could imagine saying, "I love you."


At 2/09/2007 10:36 AM, Blogger Hey Pretty said...

Fuck and Run (and Divorce Song) were anthems for intellectual, alterna-chicks everywhere circa 1995. I can probably recite them both in my sleep...

At 2/09/2007 10:38 AM, Anonymous Elizabeth said...

I have several points to make. First, I will not be shamed by my love of Goo. Second, Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris are sacred. Third, you've never been in love? Can't wait to see what your chorus has to say about that.

At 2/09/2007 10:45 AM, Blogger Carrie M said...

thanks for my next CD mix, jason! i would also add 'how soon is now'. i don't care how often that song is played and/or covered, i still love it.

At 2/09/2007 12:12 PM, Blogger Dara said...

As usual -- a good list. Then again, I'm partial to any list that can combine Ths Smiths, The Replacements, and Bob Mould with my favorite Liz Phair song.

Although, I have to say that, in Johnny Rzeznik's defense, he's always admitted that he wants to be Paul Westerberg. And -- even though they're way tamer than they were in the early 90's -- The Goo Goo Dolls are fun live.

At 2/09/2007 3:32 PM, Blogger Jason said...

Intellectual, alterna-chicks circa 1995...that doesn't describe the Lilith Fair crowd does it.

Ain't no shame in your Goo Goo game. I'm just sayin'.

Don't even get me going on "How Soon Is Now." I've had hour-long conversations about how Johnny Marr acheived teh delay effect on the guitar for that song. Great tune, "I am human and I need to be loved. Just like everybody else does."

Now that you mention it, I believe have heard Johnny Goo Goo cop to the whole Westerberg thing. How about a 'Mats reunion to go with the Police one?

At 2/09/2007 4:49 PM, Blogger Momentary Academic said...

The Josh Rouse and Wilco selections made me love you a little.

That's appropriate given the holiday I suppose.

At 2/10/2007 9:10 AM, Blogger Matt said...

Your buddy must be a hipster too.


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