Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Ten Random Tunes 2.3.09

Last night I watched Almost Famous for the upteenth time. Every time I watch that movie, all I want to do for days is sit around and listen to music. Back in college I went through a serious "I'm with the band" phase. Nothing was more exciting than standing off to the side of the stage (or right in front) and watching people make music, nothing more fun than breezing past the line of people waiting to get in to see a show because we were "on the list."

In the movie, Lester Bangs (played by the always-terrific Philip Seymour Hoffman) tells William (the Cameron Crowe character): "The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you're uncool." That's my blog, me here with you, being uncool.

Without further ado, this week's tunes:

"Wooden Ships," Crosby Stills & Nash. Crosby Stills & Nash. My parents had this album, and possibly the eight-track, and now I have it on CD. I cannot remember a time when this album was not in my life. My inner hippie loves CSN, and this song definitely goes with my Almost Famous vibe.

"What Becomes of The Brokenhearted," Jimmy Ruffin. MP3 single. See, I do buy single songs, although I admit I bought this as part of a Motown playlist. This is the song that plays on my internal soundtrack when I am upset about something, anything: "I walk in shadow, searching for light..." It's wrenching, but such a pretty song.

"Unsatisfied," The Replacements. Let It Be. This song was on a mixtape someone made for me in college, and I still have the tape even though I no longer have a way to play it. Up to that point, I had a real prejudice against The Replacements, because I lived next door to a girl who played "Kiss Me on The Bus" at least ten times every morning while she got ready for class (even scarier--she alternated that song with "Breakout" by Swing Out Sister). Clearly, I recovered from the trauma, came to my senses, and now love The Replacements as I should.

"Paint It Black," The Rolling Stones. Aftermath. I am a lifelong Rolling Stones fan. (Yes, I prefer them to The Beatles.*) They were also my first stadium concert, with The Fabulous Thunderbirds and ZZ Top at the Cotton Bowl in--wait for it--1981. Seventh grade! It rained on us through the entire show, and it was completely worth it. I still have the t-shirt. Almost Famous tie-in: Dennis Hope (Jimmy Fallon), trying to convince Stillwater to use him as their manager, says, "If you think Mick Jagger will still be out there trying to be a rock star at age fifty, you are sadly mistaken."

"Play The Breaks," The Plimsouls. Everywhere at Once. Valley Girl shaped many a young girl's dreams in the early 1980s. Oh, Nicolas Cage, you are the reason I spent years developing crushes on punk boys who would not look twice at me. Thanks for that. Incidentally, this is a good album, and if you like The Replacements and the early Goo Goo Dolls, then you should definitely seek this out.

"Shadrach," The Beastie Boys. Paul's Boutique. I can't say I am huge fan of The Beastie Boys, but I do think this is their best album, and I still listen to it (it was released in 1989). It's better now for the treadmill instead of the drinking of the beer, if you get my drift.

"A Time to Be So Small," Interpol. Antics. The pull to this album for me was the song "Slow Hands," and I thought for sure I would get the album and only like one or two songs. Oh no. This was one of those albums I listened to over and over, the whole thing. It took me about a year to get tired of it. Funny thing is, when I hear one song off this album, I have to listen to the whole thing from that point on. It's like when you click past a show on television and even though you've seen it before (many times), once you run into it you have to watch the whole thing.

"I Am Weary, Let Me Rest," The Cox Family. O Brother, Where Art Thou? Soundtrack. Yes, another soundtrack. I admit up front, I don't care at all for modern country music, and by modern I mean anything after about 1982. But I do love bluegrass, and this album has some terrific songs on it. It's the side of the South that I like, these songs.

"Spit on A Stranger," Pavement. Terror Twilight. I am pretty sure I am the only Pavement fan who claims this as her favorite Pavement album. I like the low-key twists and turns. This was another album I listened to over and over. Just a little OCD. Nothing harmful.

"Letter to Memphis," The Pixies. Trompe Le Monde. iTunes tells me this is the most played song on this album (in my collection, that is--not universally), next to Alec Eiffel. This song reminds me of college, the time when people were starting to disperse. It was an exciting but melancholy time. Everyone was leaving, but at the same time, all doors and windows were open. This song fills me with nostalgia the same way Almost Famous does, so it's an appropriate end to today's list.

*In fact, I was well into my 20s before I started to appreciate The Beatles. I still like The Stones better.
**images from amazon.com