Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Songs for the Weak

"There Is An End" by Holly Golightly and The Greenhornes
Broken Flowers is terrible. Terrible! And about as slow as George W. Bush. But then the credits start rolling and the audience realizes: there is an end. Which might be why this is the song that's playing. And that's when you go and get the soundtrack.

"Seems Like Old Times" by Harry James
This Monday was pretty rough, especially cos I couldn't go to the pool to get out any of my job-related aggression (the Y's closed for Passover). I figured I would just go home to try to sleep it off, but then I saw that Annie Hall was on, and it made me feel a lot better. This is an old big-band version of a song that plays twice in the movie: once when Diane Keaton sings it in a club, and once over the montage at the end of Annie and Alvie. My friend Rosangela (who actually gave me this version) told me she thought it was cool how even though Diane Keaton isn't a great singer, Woody Allen doesn't go for any laughs in the scenes where she performs. I always think of that when I watch it.

"Androgynous" by The Replacements
God I love The Replacements. There's something so hot about a guy as masculine-sounding as Paul Westerberg defending the gender-benders of the 1980s (which was in some ways a lot more radical than today's culture). I'm from Jersey, but I gotta admit that The Replacements did the working-class, big-'80s-American-rock sound a lot better than Bruce. Listen to "Bastards of Young" if you don't believe me! This song, by contrast, is kind of minimalist - mostly just a piano and a snare drum (it's better than it sounds, promise). And then there's him, singing about kewpie dolls and urine stalls, and all kinds of other things that should make a song sound ridiculous.

"The Fly" by U2
Even when I was going through my whole "I hate U2" phase in college, I found this song pretty irresistible. It was the first single from 1991's Achtung, Baby album, the one that introduced their more electronic dance-rock sound. A lot of people (band members included) like to paint U2 in the '90s as a big, ironic experiment, but this song shows that they could still be passionate when they wanted to be - just listen to the chorus. Ever since I was 10, I've been a little obsessed with the verse that goes

Every artist is a cannibal
Every poet is a thief
They all kill their inspiration
And then sing about the grief...

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