Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Inside My Music Mind Right About Now

Okay, here’s some songs that have been rattling around upstairs as of late, with the usual paragraph of explanation and/or accompanying anecdotal jive, ala Matt (um…) Fraction, who I stole this idea from, although my taste in music is much better than his:

“Friendship” by Tenacious D.

Thanksgiving night, while getting my ass handed to me in a game of Rummy 500 with my brother (always the winner in this game, though I am always eager to play him, continuing an unaccountable score that ranges, by now, in the millions with me behind by several tens of thousands) I heard this song via my brother’s iPod, on shuffle, well packed with gems, some dusty (to me), as was this one. I was fond of the D at one point, and I suppose I still am, though I might guess that to be so is to deviate from current hipster fashion. Nevertheless, this song from their debut record is pretty catchy and has a chord change that is as alluring as any I’ve heard in my thirty-seven, going on thirty-eight years. Maybe this is where I ought to be looking for music, in the humorous mining of rock and metal past. Lord knows I ain’t hearing much come from elsewhere.

“Tunnel of Love” by Dire Straits

I am, unapologetically, a fan of the third Dire Straits album, Making Movies, though I admit that the record could have been a brilliant EP if they would have chopped two tracks that haven’t grabbed me the way the first four have. And those first four songs are flawless. My favorite changes depending on my mood, but right now it’s the opener, “Tunnel of Love” with its eight minutes of shifting rock and balladry, with a refrain so beautiful it makes me come close to breaking the hell down in glorious, hot tears. (I’m writing this with the record on, and right now the song “Skateaway” is on and I must say that it is starting to combat “Tunnel of Love for my favorite. It’s a tough call.)

“Die, Die My Darling” by The Misfits

Always a favorite from a band that makes it hard to pick a favorite. Much loved by my old buddies from the burbs and much maligned by my snootier pals from the north side, the Misfits often amused and always enlivened any situation. They’re my go-to band when I get bored or depressed with the fluff in my collection, not that any of it is fluff, but, you know, you’re not always in the mood for the Arditti String Quartet or some other high-brow jazz.

“Crash Course in Brain Surgery” by Metallica

Speaking of the Misfits… well, my favorite Metallica record is still the Garage Days Re-Revisited EP that came out after Cliff Burton died and before the band sank deep into tedious waters. This EP, all covers, was sold on vinyl for a discounted price (it said so right on the cover in a warning to the customer not to pay more than seven or eight bucks) and introduced fans to the new bass player, Jason Newsted. Of all the songs, this one from the band Budgie stands out for many reasons, but perhaps it’s tops on my list because I had the T-shirt (ill-fitting in my chubby high school days, but I wore it anyway). These days, if you want to hear the ol’ Garage Days material (and it really is the finest by Metallica, proving that they were, if nothing else, a great cover band) you have to buy a 2 CD set called Garage Inc., which has plenty of dispensable moments and costs a helluva lot more than seven or eight bucks. Luckily, I had a coworker bring it in and I ripped a copy to the hard drive, eschewing “Turn the Page” and “Whiskey in a Jar” and other lackluster renditions of songs by better bands.

“Tiny Boy” from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia

Thank god the season is over so I can stop obsessing about whether or not it is the greatest show on television, which it is, if you ask me, but it’s the only show I watch with any regularity. Anyway, this is a song from the season finale, “The Nightman Cometh” which was… odd.

“Blue Moon Baby” by the Cramps

A cover by the best cover band ever, who also wrote some pretty great material themselves. Still, there’s a reason a collection of rockabilly and “obscure” songs was released called Song the Cramps Taught Us, and here’s one of them. Originally recorded by Dave Diddle Day, this version care of Lux, Ivy & Co. comes as an extra on the Date with Elvis CD. It was, when I had a car, my favorite song to crank up and drive to. Now I just hum it while walking.

Okay, that’s it for now. Now a long list, but that’s all I can find in the nasty confines of my head. Most of that space is reserved for the book I’m still reading (take a guess) and trying to figure out what to do with the precious gift of life. Stay tuned for more stabs at philosophy and bullshit tinkering.