Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Ten Random Tunes 02.10.09

“One of These Things First,” Nick Drake. Garden State Soundtrack. I’m ashamed to admit, I didn’t discover Nick Drake until Volkswagon used his song “Pink Moon” as a soundtrack for one of their commercials seven or eight years ago. I went right out and bought the album of the same name, and I listened to it all the time for several months. I hate to admit, I haven’t listened to it in years. Maybe I’ll do that today. Music is like books that way--too many good things fall away from us, are easily forgotten in the light of something new.

“Middle of the Road,” The Pretenders. The Singles. So let’s see, this song was released when I was thirteen or fourteen. It cracks me up to hear her sing about being thirty-three: “I’m not the kid I used to be/I’ve got a kid/I’m thirty-three baby,” since back then that seemed so far away and so old, and now I’m older than she was. Back then I expected something like what Bridget Fonda’s character Janet expected in Singles: “I thought people were going to be traveling in air locks, and I would have five kids.” Except in the movie, that character is only 23. I probably felt that way then, too. Hah! Tricky life.

“All the Things You Are,” Ahmad Jamal. Cross Country Tour 1958-1961. If you are a Mad Men fanatic like I am, then you would probably love this. I cannot listen to this music now without thinking of being in some Manhattan club, dressed to the nines, listening to Jamal play. Sometimes I think I was born in the wrong era. There was some real grace to being an adult then. Marketers weren‘t shoving wrinkle creams and toxins at us, the clothes were wonderful (a world without “business casual”--how nice!), children were children and not tiny tyrants, and adults were grown-ups. Of course, that show does a fine job of showing us the dark side as well, but I sometimes wonder if all that’s really gone, or we just got better and better at masking things.

“Oldest Story in the World,” The Plimsouls. Everywhere at Once. The Plimsouls made it onto the list last week, too, so the little man in my iTunes must have decided he’s tired of Beck (most days, every other song is off Odelay) and that he likes these guys. This song is actually featured in Valley Girl, if you remember--right after Julie breaks up with Randy and he goes back to the club where they went the first night with Fred and Stacey…Yes, this movie is burned on my brain. Want to make something of it?

“What We Do Is Secret,” The Germs. GI. Nothing like a little Darby Crash to get your blood flowing on a Tuesday morning. I don’t have any Cramps on here with which to pay tribute to Lux Interior, so I’ll just say this is a general tribute to punk rock.

“The Love Cats,” The Cure. Staring at The Sea. Two words: high school. Oh, the Eighties. I remember seeing this parody on MTV of Robert Smith as a guest on “This Old House.” You may laugh out loud, so be careful watching this at work. You don‘t want people to think you‘re having fun.

“After You’ve Gone,” Eddie Lang & His Orchestra. Woody Allen Film Music. This song is from Sweet and Lowdown. You might as well know if you don’t already: I love Woody Allen. Sean Penn is wonderful in the role of Emmett Ray. This one and Purple Rose of Cairo (same time frame) are two of my favorites.

“Take Me to The River,” The Talking Heads. Stop Making Sense. The first time I heard The Talking Heads was in the movie Times Square, a movie about two teenage runaways living the punk life in New York City…a Robert Stigwood production! Old Robert Stigwood was responsible for, among other things, Tommy, Saturday Night Fever, and Grease. The movie is terrible but the soundtrack is terrific. I think he must’ve seen something in the punk/new wave movement of the late 70s and believed he could do for it what he did for disco. It also featured XTC, Roxy Music, Patti Smith, The Pretenders (ha!), Lou Reed, and The Cure (ha!). It definitely made me a Talking Heads fan, just on the basis of one song, “Life During Wartime.”

Strangely enough, even though Stop Making Sense is one of my favorite albums of all time, I’ve never seen the film!

“Gasoline Rain,” Moondogg. SLC Punk Soundtrack. Okay, little iTunes man is clearly on a punk kick today. Truth be told, I don’t like this song and usually skip it when I listen to the whole album, which includes tracks from Blondie, The Dead Kennedys, and Generation X (you know--Billy Idol!). SLC Punk tells the story of two best friends--punks!--in Salt Lake city in the mid-80s. Don’t tell anyone, but last I checked, you can watch the whole thing on YouTube.

All this punk music. I’m almost 40, and I’m thinking you would laugh if you could see how preppy I am.

“Let’s Get Lost,” Chet Baker. The Best of Chet Baker Sings. Bringing it all back around to what seemed like a more civilized era, the 1950s. Were we talking about the dark side earlier? Poor Chet Baker, so silken-voiced, had a wee bit of a heroin problem (uh, it killed him in 1988). He sounds so melancholy, and I imagine that like a lot of artists he was too romantic for his own good, hence the need for escape. I leave you with this:

*videos from YouTube, images from tvguide.com and amazon.com