Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Songs for the Weak

"Pain Killer" by Gretchen Wilson
"I've been pouring whiskey on your memory..." So long as she's not dousing her head in the stuff, I really like that line. This is a ballad from Gretchen Wilson's new album. She's best known for the rowdy anthem "Redneck Woman," which, incidentally, was a huge hit among sorority girls at Rutgers (though they'd probably think she was too butch to be a tri-delt). Gretchen's not as good as, say, Lucinda Williams at conveying heartbreak -- her voice never cracks or quivers, and the production's a little too slick to sound raw -- but I'd still love to find this on a jukebox.
[Available on iTunes]

"Sic Transit Gloria...Glory Fades" by Brand New
No matter how fancy the titles get, emo bands always end up singing about the same thing: girls stink. This song tells us that "he is the lamb / she is the slaughter." Deep! I'm still a sucker for a catchy, well-produced chorus though (the same reason I once downloaded a song by Ashley Parker Angel, the guy from O-Town...)
[Available on iTunes]

"Raise Up" by Petey Pablo
"Who am I? Petey Pab, muthafucka!" Next time I go on a job interview I'm gonna use that as inspiration. Who am I? Rahulsha, muthafucka!
[Available on iTunes]

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Religion doesn't poison everything.

Birds on a Wire

Songs for the Weak

"Conquer All" by Behemoth
Ever since we had cultural sensitivity training last week, I feel bad whenever I play Rotting Christ in the office. Behemoth is a more PC alternative, in part because their lyrics are even
harder to understand. This is my favorite song of theirs -- a sustained metal freakout for the behemoth in all of us!
[Available on iTunes]

"Baltimore Gas & Electric Co. #1" by Raymond Scott
"Am I high?!?" So asked my co-worker Selma when I played this. It's a good question, perhaps worth exploring in a later post. To me, it feels more like I'm being abducted by the funniest aliens ever. Raymond Scott also does a super-weird version of "Night and Day," which can best be described as blip, blip, boop! music (any resemblance to the Cole Porter original is purely coincidental).
[Available on iTunes]

"I'm Still in Love With You" by Sean Paul
I downloaded Sean Paul last week for the same reason there were six Bon Jovi songs in the iTunes top 100. The ghosts of summerjamz past -- so many memories... This song is a great introduction to dancehall for reggae fans who think it was all downhill after Phyllis Dillon (and with songs like "Thing of the Past," how could it not be?) It works off a sample from an old Marcia Aitken track, but don't let the title fool you -- Sean Paul's not in love at all, he's just answering a girl who is, breaking it to her that he's "a player, not a stayer." Just as not all poetry has to rhyme, it seems that not all rhymes have to be poetry. Still pretty addictive, though.
[Available on iTunes]

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

William Eggleston

Addendum to Songs for the Weak

"My greatest competition is, well, me . . . I'm the Ali of today. I'm the Marvin Gaye of today. I'm the Bob Marley of today. I'm the Martin Luther King, or all the other greats that have come before us. And a lot of people are starting to realize that now." -- R. Kelly

I just know they're gonna make up in Heaven...

Songs for the Weak

"Our Anniversary" by Smog
This song goes absolutely nowhere, and has none of the creeping intensity of earlier Smog tracks like "Bathysphere." What it does have, however, is a warm breeze that courses through it like so many pointless drives I'm going to miss this summer. It also has lyrics that are adorable without being even a little bit cloying. One of my favorites:

It's our anniversary, and you've hidden my keys
"This is one anniversary
you're spending with me"

There's a couple I'd consider rooting for.
[Available on iTunes]

"Monster Mash" by Bobby "Boris" Pickett
The best version of this song is from the album K-Tel's Goofy Greats. Have you ever really listened to the lyrics? They're infinitely more imaginative than anything Goethe or Dylan ever came up with. (And yes, I will use the exact same criteria to judge all of them!)
[Available on iTunes]

"I'm a Flirt (Remix)" by R. Kelly ft. TI and T-Pain
There are no guilty pleasures -- unless of course you're talking about R. Kelly. In fact, I'm not sure there are any pleasures when you're talking about R. Kelly. I regretted buying this song as soon as it finished downloading. That unctuous voice! And who the hell rhymes "chick" with "chick" (or "holler at her" with "holler at her")? And don't even get me started on T-Pain calling himself Teddy Pinned-her-ass (as opposed to Pendergrass, get it?). I still listen to this though, partly because it reminds me of how Beck supposedly once said, "Look, if R. Kelly is joking, he is the greatest performer of all time."

[Available on iTunes]

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Found photo


Songs for the Weak

"Addicted to Love" by Ciccone Youth
It's such a trip to hear Kim Gordon put absolutely no effort into singing this and still manage to stand up the original. A music snob like me would call this a lo-fi masterpiece; everyone else would just call it karaoke.
[Available on iTunes]

"Ponderosa" by Tricky
Mark Pytlik was
right -- as fun as the new Bjork song "Earth Intruders" is, it's not as good as we would have imagined a collaboration between her and Timbaland would be. Wanna hear what it should've sounded like? Download this song, a hypnotic little thing from Tricky and guest vocalist Martina Topley Bird. The pseudo-tribal percussion is all Timbaland, except of course for the fact that he didn't break onto the pop scene until the next year, as the producer of Ginuwine's debut. The new Bjork album sounds pretty muddled, but after listening to this song it's hard to blame her: there's such a fine line between mystery and confusion.
[Available on iTunes]

"Ibitsu" by Boris
Some of the most avid consumers of world music are metalheads. From Sepultura (Brazil) to Opeth (Sweden) to Boris (Japan), metal has made it here in way that's almost inspiring -- wrath may be the world's true universal language.
[Available on iTunes]

"Glider" by My Bloody Valentine
If I ever have snotty teenage kids who want to sleep in all day, I'm gonna blast this song till they get up or their ears bleed. Wish me luck!
[Available on iTunes]

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Ideas for how to spend the afterlife...

Summer's on the Way!

Songs for the Weak

"Down in Mexico" by The Coasters
I have a like-hate relationship with Quentin Tarantino soundtracks. On the one hand, I always discover a couple of songs that I really enjoy. On the other, there's an immature show-off quality in his picks, and I have trouble hearing them without imagining the kind of violent, over-stylized scenes he used them in. This is from the soundtrack to Death Proof, his half of the double feature Grindhouse. The Coasters did that song "Yakety Yak," and the big surprise is that they're as much fun in the lower octaves as they are in the upper ones.
[Available on iTunes]

"Running Up That Hill" by Kate Bush
When I listen to this on my headphones, it's like a soundtrack to the world: everything moves in sync (even when it doesn't), and everything seems important, even that woman putting an envelope into the big blue mailbox...
[Available on iTunes]

"Absolutely Nothing" by Lily Allen
Lily Allen's the sweet girl down the block who'll cut your tongue out if you double-cross her -- but at least she'll do it with a smile. That's the way she's depicted in the press, which is true enough, but they're also ignoring her more vulnerable moments, like this song. Something terrible has happened (she doesn't say what), and the vile boyfriend adds insult to injury by trying to be nice -- he asks her how she feels. It's pretty easy to guess what she says from the title of the song, but I still can't figure out why it isn't a hit.
[Available on iTunes]