Friday shuffle

April 6, 2007

One of those things that “bloggers” do, I guess… this is what came up when I put my mp3 player on ‘shuffle’. I’ve taken the liberty of writing briefly about each song as well, rather than just providing a list.

  1. Ratatat — “Everest”
    I loves me my Ratatat, I do, but the best part of a Ratatat song is always the ending, when they suddenly change around the beat you were grooving to and turn it into something bigger than the whole world and suddenly you find yourself stomping on the gas pedal or gyrating your entire body against a big heap of sand, depending on the particulars of your circumstances at the time. This song doesn’t do that, so while it’s quite nice it’s middling at best in the Ratatat canon.
  2. The Beatles — “Paperback Writer”
    Great song. But man oh man how I loathe the early days of stereo. I’m sure that, at the time, it was all kinds of cool to be able to play around with different channels at all, but there’s absolutely no reason to put every instrument hard left or hard right. It sounds terrible and it’s very difficult to listen to.
  3. Elliott Brood — “President”
    Elliott Brood are the original “death-country” band, but this song has too much country and not enough death. Anyone can play banjo (though admittedly the Brood do play it quite mean), but when I listen to these guys I want to hear some screaming too. That’s why I like Tin Type better than Ambassador.
  4. Mew — “156”
    As with every Mew song, this one requires multiple careful listens to get to the bottom of. As with most Mew songs, this one is well worth the trouble.
  5. Evan Dando — “My Idea”
    A nice enough twist on the standard wistful post–break-up song; he doesn’t necessarily want to get back together, he just wants people to think it was his idea.
  6. Sublime — “5446 That’s My Number / Ball and Chain”
    Dear lord I’d forgotten how goddamn bass-heavy Sublime mixed their early stuff.
  7. Miles Davis — “Freddie Freeloader”
    I like
  8. The Jimi Hendrix Experience — “House Burning Down”
    See “Lucy”, below, regarding “…the worst excesses of 60s psychedelia”, and know that I was not talking about this song (some other songs on Electric Ladyland, though…). The intro is certainly all kinds of trippy and effects-laden, and is definitely an artifact of its time, but it’s also the work of a master craftsman with unsurpassed familiarity with the tools at his disposal. And the rest of the song ain’t half bad either.
  9. Men at Work — “Who Can It Be Now?”
    Probably the best song ever written about having an unknown somebody at one’s door. Not only is it incredibly catchy, the lyrics are brilliant as well. I can’t explain why lines like “If he hears, he’ll knock all day / I’ll be trapped, and here I’ll have to stay” appeal to me so much, but they do.
  10. Carole King — “Will You Love Me Tomorrow?”
    Don’t get me wrong: Carole wrote a lot of very very good songs, and this is one of them. She just wasn’t the best performer. When she lets herself go, she’s phenomenal, but most of the time you can hear the timidity and trepidation.
  11. The Beatles — “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”
    My opinions about this song, both positive and negative, are very similar to my opinions about the Simpsons episode where Homer gets a job with Hank Scorpio. Taken on its own merit, that episode is a masterwork: full of hilarity, an instant classic, and since become constantly referenced in the vernacular. In a broader context, though, it opened the floodgates for a storm of derivative, self-indulgent, self-referential crap to follow. I didn’t realize it at the time, but that episode was when The Simpsons jumped the shark. Continuity had never been important, but with this episode it just flew out the window, never to return again. And they’d had celebrity voices before, but I feel like this episode was the beginning of the revolving-door celebrity cavalcade that the series has been reduced to. “Lucy”, on the other hand, merely paved the way for the worst excesses of 60s psychedelia and other such crap, and lent the entire genre an undeserved air of legitimacy. I can’t decide which is a graver sin.

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