May 28, 2006
May 22, 2006
Whenever I try to put together a playlist for a get together I realize that the majority of my music collection is best listened to on the couch at 2am under low lighting conditions and with an ample supply of snacks. There are historical reasons for this ... college, I believe it's called.
The point is I have a lot less backyard-on-a-sunny-day music. That being said, here are ten tracks that I always think would be best listened to while driving down Highway One in a convertible. Unsurprisingly, this list favors the perfect pop song and is further colored by my own nostalgia of previous sunny day drives:
- The Boy With the Arab Strap (Belle & Sebastian): Guaranteed to awaken the steering wheel drummer in anyone.
- Love Athena (Olivia Tremor Control): The closing credits soundtrack of the best movie never made.
- Pure (Lightning Seeds): Aaron had this song on a tape we listened to on the drive back from UIUC in 1996. And if that weren't enough for you it has an amazing New Order bassline thrown in at the end.
- Birdhouse in Your Soul (They Might be Giants): Aaron's sister had this song on a mixtape labeled REM. Both the actual artists responsible and the nitelight conceit of this song eluded me for many, many years.
- Blitzkrieg Bop (Ramones): Such a good highway song that it actually makes you sing "Hey ho, let's go!"
- Don't Worry About the Government (Talking Heads): Makes you wish you could.
- Surf Wax America (Weezer): Listening to this at the bus stop the other day (while not taking my board to work) was the inspiration for this list.
- Fortunately Gone (The Breeders): Delightful nonsense.
- Flat Lay the Water (The Sea & Cake): Road-tested - probably the song I've most listened to while driving along the coast.
- It's the End of the World as We Know It (REM): Sort of the Infinite Jest of sing-a-longs. Plus there's the alleged debate tournament connection which debaters pass along to one another like a comfort blanket of acceptance.
While I figured this list was probably highly idiosyncratic, when I asked CW for his list, he was adamant that Boy with the Arab Strap had to be #1. And Mai called out Pure. So this must mean something.
May 20, 2006
May 18, 2006
Risky Business, Say Anything and Clockwork Orange. All three contain canonical examples of characters interacting with practical music playback ("Old Time Rock and Roll," "In Your Eyes" and Beethoven's 9th, respectively). It's an awesome device for pulling the audience into the character's headspace.
But what, you ask, are good examples of this effect on television?
- Six Feet Under Series Finale: "Breathe Me" by Sia
It's a good thing this isn't actually a good song because I can't hear it without getting all weepy in remembrance of the best last episode ever.
- Lost Season S2E1: "Make Your Own Kinda Music" by Mama Cass
I'd basically given up on Lost midway through the first season. The introduction of the Hatch in this tantalizing obtuse way brought me back around.
- Star Trek: TNG S2E2: Gymnopedie #1 by Eric Satie
The Enterprise is going to be blowed up so an alien force can learn what death is like. Picard's response is to mope while waiting for a firey death with this as the soundtrack. How emo is that?
- Battlestar Galactica S2E2: Metamorphosis #1 by Philip Glass
Starbuck returns to Caprica and drops by her old pad. What will she pop in the hifi to unwind from being hunted by Cylons? Serialist piano music, of course.
- Buffy S2E1: "Sugar Water" by Cibo Matto
This one's kind of a cheat because rather than having the track played back, Cibo Matto performs it. And there's a dozen better examples from West Wing of the use of live musical performance. But none of those episodes have Sarah Michelle Gellar performing some sort of upright lap dance in a slinky dress.
Posted at 16:22
May 15, 2006
I pick up the shuttle to work at 24th St. & Mission, right at the entrance to BART. This morning a dude on a crate was belting out Mexican-reggae tracks for the assembled commuters. Self-accompanied by electric organ, all of his songs were based on the same dub riff that he'd occassionally punch up by interspersing a skanky version of Für Elise.
Unfortunately, his vocal stylings were not as creative. The dude sang like a Mexican Tom Waits on subjects as varied as "Love," "Peace" and "San Francisco General Hospital" but all of those in exactly that much depth. His love song started out with pleadings to an erstwhile lover, but degenerated into a chorus of "George Bush! George, George, George, Bush, Bush, Bush! I wanna fight you."
His performance was not much appreciated by the professional drunks who hang out on that corner. And I eventually retreated into my headphones and Weezer's eponymous album as I waited for the tardy bus.
Posted at 13:08