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The gift my mother gave me

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I have a really, really wonderful mom. I don't know how much of it was natural for her and how much of it was her willingness to learn how to parent the kid she had, but she did a great job. Often, when I am asked about some good trait I have, I can draw a straight line from it right back to her. I think of these traits, in general, as the gifts she gave me.

One of those gifts, perhaps not the most important one, but the one that I am lately feeling the most thankful for, is an appreciation for lyric. My mom is a music lover, but more than anything, she's a lyric lover. She can't play an instrument, she can't sing (but don't tell her that, because it doesn't stop her), and she can't dance. She's into music for the words. And I am exactly the same way. I don't get much out of a song with no lyrics, and I can't necessarily tell one bass line from another, but I always know the words.

Some of my earliest memories are of my mom singing along with albums (and yeah, at that point, they were literally albums--I'm old). She had a varied collection, but the ones I remember the most clearly are these:

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(Lest you think mom's taste was country specific, the other album I remember clearly, which I can't find online anywhere, was a live Holly Near record.)

To this day, I know every song on either of those records, and on the Kristofferson one, I can still remember the places were the album skipped. I remember very clearly my mom asking tiny me (maybe I was five or so?) if I didn't think the following was the most beautiful thing ever:

I have seen the morning burning golden on the mountains in the skies.
Achin' with the feelin' of the freedom of an eagle when she flies.
Turnin' on the world the way she smiled upon my soul as I lay dying.
Healin' as the colours in the sunshine and the shadows of her eyes.

Yeah. I do. I still do.

I absolutely believe that this early, constant exposure to poetry, in the form of songs, is why I'm a writer. I know it's more likely to be about the books she read me or exposed me to (this is same mom who let me read Sophie's Choice when I was about 12). But that doesn't resonate with me the way the lyrics do. I knew, from such an early age, that you could take a few pretty words, twist them so they meant exactly what you were feeling, put them to a beat, and make people feel it with you. There is incredible power in that.

I've written before about how I found my own music taste, reaching into heavy metal, pop, and even electronic music in high school and college (I have a brief, embarrassing memory of trying to get my mom to recognize the genius of Faith No More at some point). And I still don't quite have the same taste as Mom does (I just don't get Jimmy Buffett, for example)--but I've always come back to those early albums. I never, for a minute, stopped loving Kris Kristofferson. When Mark was excited about A3's version of "Speed of the Sound of Loneliness," I argued with him for days about its inferiority to John Prine's original (though I really do love A3). I've been known to quote song lyrics at length (though I don't share Mom's habit of breaking into singing them whenever anything brings them to mind). And every time I discover a new artist who strikes that cord (most recently Jamey Johnson, before that Dale Watson--it doesn't happen very often), my mom is the first person I tell about it.

I've written here before about classic country music as part of my legacy, my heritage. This is more than that. It's not necessarily even about country, it's about paying attention to the words. My mom taught me to do that. And every time I write a line that doesn't suck, a little piece of my heart thanks her for it.

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Well said, Grace.

I had to laugh about "Mom's habit of breaking into singing them whenever anything brings them to mind..." because my mother does the SAME thing.

I love lyrics too. I also love the music part and had an early in life love affair with classical music which still endures though I listen to it a lot less often now. But lyrics are so important to me and they really are a special form of poetry and have had a profound influence on my life as a writer too.

I don't like They Might Be Giants but Max and Philip love them and so I listen to them and there are some lyrics they write that I loathe, they just irritate the ever loving crap out of me and so even if the musical part was pure genius, I can't get past the lyrics which I think are stupid but which my guys and a huge proportion of my friends really love.

I love "The Speed of the Sound of Loneliness" but have never heard the original. I am only familiar with Nancy Griffith's version which I think is beautiful.

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Songs that make me cry

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The other day, I got into a conversation about songs that make people cry. So, I asked my FB peeps what songs made them cry, talked about it with some other people, and came up with my own playlist. On days when you just need a good cry, this should do it.


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The contenders:

1. Simon & Garfunkel, "America (Kathy's Song)"

This song has always really gotten to me. A lot of S&G's songs do, but there is just something in this one that is so bleak.

The line that starts the waterworks: "'Kathy, I'm lost,' I said, though I knew she was sleeping. 'I'm empty and aching and I don't know why.'"

2. Warren Zevon, "Keep Me In Your Heart."

I think this one gets me because I connect it to the saddest part of Joan of Arcadia. I had heard it before then, but it wasn't something that had stuck in my mind.

The line that starts the waterworks: "These wheels keep turnin', but they're runnin' out of steam. Keep me in your heart for awhile."

3. Stephen Trask, "The Origin of Love" (from Hedwig & the Angry Inch)

I cried the first time I heard this, and if I pay attention when it's on, I'll cry every time. It's just such a sad, beautiful story.

The line that starts the waterworks: "And the storm clouds gathered above, into great balls of fire." If that doesn't do it? "The last time I saw you, we were just split in two. You was lookin' at me, I was lookin' at you. You had a way so familiar, I could not recognize, cuz you had blood in your face. I had blood in my eyes."

4. Counting Crows, "Anna Begins"

This one is, I'm sure, partially nostalgia. This is a big high school album for me, and though none of the actual events that took place make me feel sad anymore, the feeling is still there.

The line that starts the waterworks: "She can't stop shaking, and I can't stop touching her. And this time, when the kindness falls like rain, it washes her away. And Anna begins to change her mind."

5. Kris Kristofferson, "Casey's Last Ride"

There are a ton of Kristofferson songs I could have added to this list--the man is a tearjerker--but this one is so haunting. And the line that makes me cry is seriously like turning on a faucet.

The line that starts the waterworks: "Oh,' she said, 'I suppose you seldom think about me.' 'Now,' she said, 'now that you've a family of your own.' 'Still,' she said, 'it's so blessed good to feel your body.' 'Lord,' she said,' Casey it's a shame to be alone.'"

6. Johnny Cash, "Hurt"

This one is a no-brainer. And if you think it won't make you cry, watch the video. I can't even think about it...

The line that starts the waterworks: "What have I become, my sweetest friend? Everyone I know goes away in the end."

7. Sarah McLaughlin, "Full of Grace"

Sarah McLaughlin is another one who has lots of tearjerkers. This one is the most poignant to me, though, for TV reasons. Every time I hear it, I see Buffy pulling away on the bus during the last episode of Season 2. So heartbreaking.

The line that starts the waterworks: "I know I could love you much better than this. Full of grace. It's better this way." or "I'm pulled down by the undertow. Never thought I could feel so low. Oh, darkness, I feel like letting go."

8. The Pogues, "And the Band Played Waltzing Mathilda"

Too cliched? Too bad.

Where I start crying: "And the band played 'Waltzing Mathilda," as we stopped to bury our slain. We buried ours, and the Turks buried theirs, and then we started all over again."

9. Israel Kamakawiwo'ole, "Somewhere Over the Rainbow"

The original of this song never did anything for me, but this version slays me. I heard a special on NPR once about the sad and beautiful life of Israel Kamakawiwo'ole, and I've gotten misty eyed every time I've heard it since then.

Where it gets me: When he breaks into the "What a Wonderful World" part.

10. Jim Croce, "Time in a Bottle"

Another gimme. This one was meant to make people cry, I think. And the older I get, the sadder it gets.

The crying part: The chorus. "There never seems to be enough time to do things you want to do once you find them. I've looked around enough to know that you're the one I want to go through time with."

11. Tim McGraw, "Angry All the Time"

I'm not a Tim McGraw fan or anything, but this song breaks my heart. So much bitterness and wasted time. Gah. It kills me.

The line where I start crying: "Our boys are strong, the spitting image of you when you were young. I hope someday they can see past what you have become. I remember every time I said I'd never leave. But what I can't live with is memories of the way you used to be."

12. Stevie Nicks, "Landslide"

Another fairly classic choice. Stevie Nicks' voice is spooky anyway, and this song is just so desperate and hopeful.

The sprinkler starts at: "But time makes you bolder. Children get older. I'm getting older, too."

13. Pearl Jam, "Black"

Another piece of nostalgia, but seriously, listen to the words! It's so painful.

The part that makes me cry the fastest: "And all I taught her was everything."

14. Jeff Buckley, "Hallelujah"

I've mentioned here before that this is my favorite song. This is not my favorite version, but it's the most tear-jerking version. The words are heartbreaking in that special, Cohen way, and it also makes me remember that sad sad sad episode of The West Wing.

Saddest part: "I've seen your flag on the marble arch, and love is not a victory march. It's a cold and it's a broken hallelujah."

15. Michelle Branch, "Goodbye to You"

This one is all about Buffy. At the end of "Tabula Rosa," when Tara moves out and Giles leaves. You just know it's only the beginning of shit going really really bad.

The crying part: "And it hurts to want everything and nothing at the same time. I want what's yours and I want what's mine. I want you, but I'm not giving in this time."

16. Brad Paisley & Allison Krauss, "Whiskey Lullaby"

I have no personal associations with this song, I just find it exceptionally sad. There's something particularly poignant about people drinking themselves to death. Such a slow, humiliating suicide.

The tears start at: "Life is short, but this time it was bigger. Than the strength he had to get up off his knees."

17. Eric Clapton "Tears in Heaven"

Confession: I went through a phase where I was obsessed with the film "Rush." Since then, this incredibly typical song has torn me up.

The part that kills: "I'll find my way, through night and day. Cuz I know I just can't stay here in heaven."

18. Bonnie Raitt, "I Can't Make You Love Me"

Yet another one with TV ties, but these ones are really vague. I believe I heard this song the first time on General Hospital. I have no idea what the context was, but I remember being just so broken up about the hopelessness and the way the singer is conceding to defeat. So sad.

The lyric that gets to me the most: The part where her voice gets softer and she says "and you don't."

19. Portishead, "Roads"

Some of the songs on the list are high school, this one is immediately post-college. God, it makes a lump rise in my throat just to think about that time.

The faucet starts at: "Ooh, can't anybody see? We've got a war to fight. Never find our way. Regardless of what they say. How can it feel...this wrong?" (And yes, that is the very first line.)

20. Hollies, "He Aint' Heavy, He's My Brother"

I have no context for this song. I don't remember when I first heard it. But the lyrics just blow me away. It's so simple, and so moving.

I cry when: they sing the chorus.

21. George Jones, "He Stopped Lovin' Her Today"

Country music is all about the sad song, but it doesn't come a whole lot sadder than this one. I actually get misty when I heard "It's Been a Good Year for the Roses," too, but I didn't want to feature George Jones on the list twice.

The line that gets to me: "I went to see him just today, but I didn't see no tears. All dressed up to go away. First time I'd seen him smile in years," and then it goes into the first chorus.

22. The Sundays, "Wild Horses"

Yet ANOTHER Buffy song! This one's from the Prom episode, which was the first time Buffy had me in tears (though certainly not the last). I am such a sucker.

The lyric that gets me started: "Faith has been broken. Tears must be cried.Let's do some living after we die."

23. Jim McCann, "From Clare to Here"

I don't think there is any version of this song that won't make me cry if I am already feeling homesick. It's my ultimate homesickness song.

Line that gets to me the most: The chorus. "It's a long long way. It gets further by the day. It's a long way from Clare to here."

24. John Prine, "Sam Stone"

A song about an addicted vet? How's that gonna not make you well up?

The waterworks start with: The first "there's a hole in Daddy's arm where the money goes. Jesus Christ died for nothin, I suppose."

25. Willie Nelson, "He Was a Friend of Mine"

I put the Cat Power version on this list, since I couldn't access Willie's, but it's really the one Willie does, featured in Brokeback Mountain, that gets me. It's just so freaking...sad.

I start crying: at the very beginning and then the whole way through.

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The Zevon song is even sadder thinking that he was dying when he wrote it. "I'm tied to you like the buttons on your blouse, keep me in your heart for awhile."

Another one that gets me is Joni Mitchell's Circle Game, but that's mostly because my daughter is getting married in the fall.

I'm working my way through some of this list- some are already favorites of mine like "Waltzing Mathilda" by the Pogues, and "From Clare to Here" (Nancy Griffith's version), and I have no idea where I heard this version of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" but it's really sweet and what a wonderful voice! I'm so happy to know who sang this version, wish I could remember where I heard it though.

I LOVE "Full of Grace" which I also first heard on that episode of Buffy. I played that scene over and over until I got myself a copy of the song so I could play it without the video.

Really great list.

Yes, really great list and couldn't agree more about the need to cry now and again. I love so many songs you have here already (and they make me cry too). I also love the new ones you've exposed me too.
On my own list I would add two that come to mind right away. I have my own personal stories and waterworks reactions behind these two sad songs: Decemberists "The Engine Driver" (particularly the chorus "And if you don't love me let me go" and Dead Can Dance "The Ubiquitous Mr Lovegrove" (Never let it be said I was untrue; I never found a home inside of you; never let it be said I was untrue; I gave you all my time)...

Maybe this is because I'm a musician, but my cry list is completely unlike this one.

I'm hardly ever moved to tears by the recording of a slow-dance or ballad - songs with samey dynamics do not tend jerk tears from my eyes. I get more choked up by big crescendos or really fierce vocal performances. For example, "Landslide" doesn't really get me, but "Go Your Own Way" sometimes does.

That said, a ballad that also has one of those big dynamic moments will definitely crush me - the last verse of Tori Amos's "Playboy Mommy" comes to mind, as does Carole King's version of the poem "Pierre."

Prince does an awesome version of "I Can't Make You Love Me."

The story behind "Tears in Heaven" gets me every time -- Clapton wrote it for his 4 year old son who died in a tragic accident.

Billy Idol "Eyes Without A Face" gets me water-eyed almost every time. You can add that one to the list.

Ol Shep by Elvis, Three Wooden Crosses Randy Travis, Conway Twitty Who did they think he was, Would you Crucify him by John Michael Talbot, Here I am lord, John MIchael Talbot, Wisteria RIchard SHindell, Cold Missouri Waters, Richard shindell, That's my job, Conway Twitty, The only Way Mark Erelli, Speaking with an Angel, Lucy Kaplansky, Family Dar Williams, Puff the Magic Dragon Peter Paul and Mary. Just the Hem of his Garment Sam Cooke, A change gonna Come Same Cooke, Father and Son Cat Stevens.
Thought I'd see a few of mine own here, didn't so i added them.

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I've mentioned my love for classic country music before. I am a complete sucker for that sound--Waylon, Willie, Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Kris Kristofferson, you name it. Good lyrics about hard lives with a twanging guitar. Gets me every time.

So, flipping channels a few weeks ago, I stopped when I saw Shooter Jennings. I like Shooter Jennings--don't love him, haven't bought an album, but have been interested in what I've heard. And then I saw that he was singing with another man. A bearded dude who reminded me a whole lot of a country version of a younger James Hetfield. They were singing a song about "between Jennings and Jones." And two verses in, I was hooked.

Jamey Johnson is the first musician I've heard since the day I was introduced to Grace Potter & the Nocturnals several years ago that has really struck any cord at all with me. And as I listened to him swap songs with Shooter, I liked him more every time he opened his mouth. That gravel voice, soft Alabama accent, no-bullshit guitar. Wonderful.

5678a2bc-543a-4114-be02-e940b9d39578.jpgAs soon as the show was over, I hopped on iTunes and looked for the album with the Jennings and Jones song on it. I found out it was Johnson's first studio album, "That Lonesome Song", and decided to take a chance, spend my $10, and buy the whole record.

Every song on it is good. And a few of them are great. I think my favorite is Mary Go Round, but I'd probably tell you different on another day. The lyrics are poetic, but straightforward, and the music is all traditional country, with an occasional moment that makes you think a bit of southern rock (think Skynyrd). The influences are pretty clear--I can't help but hear Merle Haggard in The Cost of Living High and Waylon himself on Between Jennings and Jones, and the pun of Mary Go Round is all Kristofferson--but this is a tribute more than an impersonation, and Johnson's original songs are so good I didn't for a second wish he would just give up and do covers (which tends to be the case whenever I hear anybody with a good classic country voice).

So, now that I have That Lonesome Song more or less memorized, I'm going to buy Johnson's second studio album, the double "The Guitar Song" as soon as it comes out in September. And these are the first records I've bought in years, y'all. Even with Grace Potter, I was satisfied to buy one. This is a big endorsement coming from me.

So if you like classic country, here's what I want you to do. Go here and watch the video for "In Color" or here to watch "Mowin' Down the Roses." Look how cute he is! Listen to how great those songs are! Then run out and buy his CD or his MP3s. Then come back and thank me.

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Absolutely agree on JJ. I first heard In Color and became an instant fan. It would be hard to name my second favorite. Between Jennings and Jones comes close. For Classic Country today, he is to me the greatest singer on the charts.

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Living Out Loud 9: Your Theme Music

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Being, as I tend to be, terminally behind, I missed Genie's 9th Living Out Loud project. I meant to do it, but it was due yesterday and I didn't.

However, it's such a good question, and food for such thought, that I'm gonna blog about it anyway.

Genie asked about theme music. What's your theme music? I've answered this before, at various times and in various ways. Lots of songs about being too far from home, about loneliness and living in your head. Not unexpected, probably, for anybody who knows me or who has read here for very long. When I try to think of one single song, though, to play in the background of my entire life, the one I come up with isn't about either of those things. It's strangely more positive.

Boats to Build
It's time for a change
I'm tired of that same ol' same
The same ol' words the same ol' lines
The same ol' tricks and the same ol' rhymes

Days precious days
Roll in and out like waves
I got boards to bend I got planks to nail
I got charts to make I got seas to sail

I'm gonna build me a boat
With these two hands
It'll be a fair curve
From a noble plan
Let the chips fall where they will
Cause I've got boats to build

Sails are just like wings
The wind can make 'em sing
Songs of life songs of hope
Songs to keep your dreams afloat

I'm gonna build me a boat
With these two hands
It'll be a fair curve
From a noble plan
Let the chips fall where they will
Cause I've got boats to build

Shores distant shores
They're where I'm headed for
Got the stars to guide my way
Sail into the light of day

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It's funny you think of this as an upbeat song, because from the lyrics without the music it comes across as pretty downbeat. Maybe it's just because I'm a homebody - but the uncertainty of it all, the compulsion to move around, that all sounds damn gloomy to me.

I still added you to the list of participants. :) You can't hide from me!

And the first thing I thought of after reading the lyrics was Lyle Lovitt's "If I Had a Boat".

Boating is a nice analogy for life in general.

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As promised

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My non-sucky Christmas play list. It is still under construction, but I've been listening to it.


Christmas play list

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This is a great list! We have made a tradition of collecting Christmas CD's every year and have gotten some great ones.

The Sufjan Stevens set, I forget the name, is awesome. There is a compilation called It's a Cool, Cool Christmas that we love. Another by Mint Records called "It's a Team Mint Xmas" is good. This year we bought my very favortie one, though. It's "The Hotel Cafe Presents Winter Songs". It's all female musicians performing some standards and some new songs. It's amazing.

AND! I can't believe I forgot "Fairytale of New York" by the Pogues! Add it! Add it!

I can usually only handle Christmas music in small doses, but this list looks really good. Makes me wish I had an iPod. And while it's not specifically a Christmas song, I've thought of "Give a A Little Bit" as Christmasy ever since the year that GAP used it in their holiday commercials, the one that had all the celebrities singing it.

Any way, I found your blog a few weeks ago from your MDC signature and have been lurking, but I figured I should stick my head out and say hi. So...hi. :)

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Repeat the sounding joy

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Do you like Christmas music? What's your favorite carol?

Mine is a bit odd, since I'm not religious, but I just love the song.

Joy to the World

Joy to the world, the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room,
And heaven and nature sing,
And heaven and nature sing,
And heaven, and heaven, and nature sing.

Joy to the world, the Savior reigns!
Let men their songs employ;
While fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat, repeat, the sounding joy.

No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found,
Far as the curse is found,
Far as, far as, the curse is found.

He rules the world with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders, wonders, of His love.

Favorite version? Lest you think I've totally lost it, how about Bad Religion?

Coming up: a playlist of Christmas music that doesn't suck.

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The Christmas Song (chestnuts roasting on an open fire...) My ALL time favorite Christmas Song. Of course there is no version better than Nat's version.

Even though I can't stand the woman, I really like Mariah's " All I want for Christmas..." because it's so cheery and fast, and I also like "Come and hear the angels sing, etc."
Right now, my kids are really into "Silent Night" because they saw it on a tvshow they love.

Christine

I'm a sucker for Mannheim Steamroller's first Christmas album (I know, I KNOW!), and some hymns, and then Christmas Song and some others by Jethro Tull.

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Friday I'm in Love

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And in honor of all of those bloggers who regularly use Friday to list things they love (and make all of our days brighter), I give you a playlist of songs I unabashedly and completely love. Enjoy.

MixwitMixwit make a mixtapeMixwit mixtapes

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Heh. We sure have a lot of musical similarities... the first 4 songs on your mix are definitely some of my all time favorites. Also, the Ani. That "I Drink" song is amazing, I hadn't heard it before. Going to have to check out more of her stuff, for sure.

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Nevermind

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nevermind album coverI read somewhere today that this baby just turned 18.

Folks, there's no two ways about it: I'm old.

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No. Just... NO.

How is that possible?

I am 100.

I saw an interview with him online somewhere. I wish I could remember where!

The little guy also has the same surname as my former tutor, which caused endless amusement in a class who'd grown up with Nirvana.

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If a Song Could be President

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Go here and listen.

Indeed.

If A Song Could Be President

If a song could be president
We'd hum on Election Day
The gospel choir would start to sway
And we'd all have a part to play

The first lady would free her hips
Pull a microphone to her lips
Break our hearts with Rhythm and Blues
Steve Earle would anchor the news

We'd vote for a melody
Pass it around on an MP3
All our best foreign policy
Would be built on harmony

If a song could be president
We'd fly a jukebox to the moon
All our founding fathers' 45's
Lightnin' Hopkins and Patsy Cline
If a song could be president

If a song could be president
We could all add another verse
Life would teach us to rehearse
Till we found a key change

Break out of this minor key
Half-truths and hypocrisy
We wouldn't need an underachiever-in-chief
If a song could be president

We'd make Neil Young a Senator
Even though he came from Canada
Emmylou would be Ambassador
World leaders would listen to her

They would show us where our country went wrong
Strum their guitars on the White House lawn
John Prine would run the FBI
All the criminals would laugh and cry
If a song could be president

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I have an OTR bumper sticker on my car that says "Detweiler/Berquist '08 If a Song Could Be President" on it that has everyone thinking i'm voting for a fringe indie candidate. ; ) I love it - and them...and if they were willing I'd totally vote for them or any of the people they mention in this fantastic song!

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Music from your birth year

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Have you ever thought about what was on the radio the year you were born? I was actually born into kind of an interesting musical moment--disco was still king, but it was failing, there was still a punk undertone, but Sid Vicious died. And some legendary country songs were released, too. It's fascinating. I had no idea, until I started making this list, that 1979 gave birth not only to me, but also to London Calling and The Wall.

What about you? What was playing the year you were born?

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Lots of my faves are in the top 100 of the year I was born

Joy to the World - 3 Dog Night
Me and Bobby McGee - Janis Joplin
It's too late - Carole King
The Night they drove old dixie down - Joan Baez
Signs - Five Man Electrical Band
If you could read my mind - Gordon Lightfoot
Proud Mary - Tina Turner
Sweet City Woman - The Stampeders
Wild Word - Cat Stevens

Gotta wonder about a list who has the Doors, followed by Perry Como. Ha!


Among the songs I love, there was some disco (BeeGees!), some sap (The Osmonds), and some annoyances (Tom Jones).

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Play List: Power ballads

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This one is too funny not to share. I'll admit it, I love hair metal ballads. Love to sing 'em at the top of my lungs. You should try it. I know you remember the words.

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Oooh, I love hair ballads! These will brighten my day with some 80s cheese. Thanks! ("Heaven" is def. one of my favorite sing along in the car songs.)

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I hate emo

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In the way of living somewhere where everything comes late, I have been noticing a ton of emo kids in Austin lately. They were around Portland before I was ever out of Reed, but I've only noticed them down here in the last year or so. The ones in Portland are probably on to something else by now.

If you don't know what emo is, you can start here, but basically it's a fashion/lifestyle "subculture" characterized by a certain style of dress and a heavy dose of misery, as well as allegiance to some specific music. Those kids with the tight jeans, stringy black hair in their faces, and constant expression of contemplation constipation? They're emo.

And there is no way for me to properly emphasize how much I hate emo.

Now this is almost inevitably due to my being too old and uncool to properly understand. I get that. But I hate it all the same. It is definitely not that I have a problem with wallowing in your own angst (I mean, c'mon, that's pretty much my favorite past time), or a particular issue with your hair being in your eyes. I'm not even bothered as much as I once was by folks who don't shower often. Emo music is all bad, as far as I can tell, but I've heard worse.

What bothers me is the way emo looks an awful lot like a really, really poor imitation of two subcultures that I do have a bit of experience being in and around: goth and grunge. These kids think they're miserable? I remember when you could be miserable AND sexy.

I was never really goth (though I've made the occasional attempt). I'm a bit young for it. Goth culture came to the U.S. in the late 80s and early 90s (from England and Germany, mostly), when I was still adolescent. However, it was still very much alive and kicking by the time I was in high school and college in the mid-late 90s. One of the annual events at Reed was a "Fetish Ball," where the goth kids got up in their finest leather and lace and did things like bit and flogged one another. I attended. I wonder, now, how much of the sexual subculture that was being celebrated so publicly was really taking place privately, but that wasn't really the point. The point was to celebrate pain, to indulge in thinking it was sexy, and for everybody to look hot. It is undeniably silly now (and was then, too, actually), and there was definitely an aspect of commercialism and commodification to it even then, but there was also something real behind it. For the most part, those indulging were freaks, even within the already freaky Reed social hierarchy. It was a way to embrace being an outcast.

I did grunge a lot better than I did goth. Partially it must have been regional, since I grew up in Oregon in the shadow the of the Seattle scene, and partially it was just better timing, with grunge hitting big right as my early teen hormonal flood kicked in. I don't have a picture to show you, but I wore my jeans-black tee shirt-flannel-Docs combo faithfully, even if my hygiene was always a little bit too good. And it wasn't just about fashion. Wikipedia describes grunge music as being "typically angst-filled, often addressing themes such as social alienation, apathy, confinement, and a desire for freedom." That's pretty much Grace, circa 1992-1997. Grunge was, to those who embraced it in my generation (and the one before mine, really), what punk was in the years before that--a reply to a mean, confusing, alienating world that was both defiant and resigned. And again, it was for outcasts--those who saw what was happening in the society around them and in their own lives and, for whatever reason, couldn't pretend it was going to be OK.

Given that I grew up with and identified with both goth and grunge, two subcultures that were built on angst (remember, I could have been a rave kid instead if I'd wanted to be happy), it seems like I'd be all over emo, right? No. Emo may look something like a goth-grunge slushy, but it strikes me as a very pale imitation of the real things. Unlike goth, there's no sexiness to emo. The emo kids want to cut themselves, but the pleasure-from-the-pain element doesn't seem to come into it. And the emo-ers may not wash, but there's none of the rebellion of grunge, none of the insistence that this outside part doesn't matter anyway.

It is almost inevitable that I am missing some important core element of emo here, just by virtue of being too old and too far outside of it to understand what it means to the people who are inside it. The commodification and fake misery I see when I look at emo kids is probably very similar to what old-school punks say when they looked at grunge kids, and it definitely resembles the Hot Topic-ization of goth. And much as it annoys me, if emo culture is providing to kids now some of what goth and especially grunge culture provided to me as a fucked-up outsider kid, them more power to it. But I still can't help but resent how fake it looks, and how it doesn't seem to recognize its roots, and how we did it better in my day.

12 Comments

yes! good god yes. this is brilliant and perfectly describes what i couldn't put my finger on. i see remnants of grunge at political events and rallies but i've yet to see any emo kid, in the supposed hotbed of liberal political activism, at any meeting i've attended.

Yeah, this is a great entry.

Emo seems to me like all of the bullshit without any of the good stuff.

~Jess (who is too young to be grunge, but is a total wannabe ;) )

Fuckin hippie ass emo kids.

Part of me wants to adopt these little emo-lings and turn them into *proper* goths. But frankly i couldn't stand the whining...

Isn't grunge a "really, really poor imitation" of punk?

This was really interesting, to hear what the world at large thinks of emo subculture.

While I'm by no means "emo" myself, all of my friends are of the diehard, My Chemical Romance-loving, skinny jean-wearing persuasion, so maybe I can try to address some of the issues you brought up.

I wasn't around for the punk, grunge, or goth eras, but it sounds like they have only two things in common with "emo" subculture-- music with similar roots, and a reputation with outsiders as being "alternative", "freaky", or otherwise out of the mainstream.

The difference, though, is that there really is no "emo subculture" beyond the prescribed music. There are hopeless, numb-by-choice apathetics, and there are cutters who like to wallow in pain. Strikingly, most emos hate other emos. Not much of a subculture at all.

The only thing that I like about "emo" is exactly what you address in the last paragraph of your post-- emo does provide a group for social misfits. It's been a place where writers and neglected children of alcholics and kids who are afraid to come out to their parents have been able to make friends. (All of these people exist in our group of 6-8).

As for the lack of sexiness, I'd attribute that to the general affiliation with LGBTAPQ subculture-- in the same group of 6-8, I am the only kid confirmed straight. Emo culture is a safe haven for teenagers who are still undecided, where being gay or bisexual is more than normal and okay, it's almost encouraged. I'm just guessing, but maybe emo is supposed to look "unsexy" or at the very least, androgynous, for this very reason.

Great post, and great observations.

I think they're cute, in the same way any large "anti-conformist" teenage trend is. It's more attractive than the other teenage subcultures, at least.

It's rockabilly kids that drive me up the fucking wall.

Did you see that in Mexico, there are anti-emo protests happening? And pro-emo protests in response?

ok well idk if ur too old to understnad and watnot but im sure you can get it. my mom gets it. and shes not young.
emo is completley diffrent than goth and grunge/punk and thats what people miss. they think that first you go punk then emo then goth like its all in stages or something.
emo is just a tpe of music that just happened to have a style along with it. im emo and i may not be sexy but there are tons of emos that are including my boyfried and my best friend. maybe the reason emos go home and cry is becuase people like you ragging on them. me and my best friend laugh all the time have a ton of inside jokes but were emo. so what now?

To start, it states in the bible to judge nobody. It is his job and his job only. Now if you don't believe in God, then I have plenty of other things to say.
It is somebody else's life stop wasting yours hating somebody. Your stereotypical ranting is actually pretty funny though I have to say. Until it gets serious. Until you have people in Mexico protesting against...emos? Congrats guys you are protesting against a label that you gave them. That is a really sad life if all you can say is you started the emo protest.
This article is YOU whining about other people. Obviously you are very close minded and I pity you for that. If I had to live with my mind that closed to others I would whine too. Your only hurting yourself.
It is humanity's habit to hate things that are different from yourself. It takes strength to throw that state of mind away I know. It is also humanity's habit to judge people and pretty much everything. To divide everything. To name it. Divisions cause hate, hate causes the world to sink deeper into its peril.
So to conclude, get over yourself, open your mind, and stop hating people.
Oh and labels are for canned food, not people.

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New toy

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So, hard as it may believe for most of you to believe, there is actually at least one person out there who is interested in my music taste and endless play lists. And I totally love her for it. And I have a new toy now. Something that can show you, in more-or-less real time, what I am listening to. You'll be able to find it on the sidebar anytime you're interested.



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List 17b: Songs from TV

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That last list got me thinking about great songs featured on TV shows I love. Here's a list of a few. Do you know what shows they are/were from? Put guesses in the comments. Shouldn't be too hard to guess--there aren't/haven't been all that many shows I like.

1. "Way Down in the Hole" by Steve Earle (originally Tom Waits) Theme song from The Wire, last season's version (Kelly Cat)
2. "L.A. Song" by Christian Kane
3. "Goodbye to You" by Michelle Branch Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Tabula Rosa episode (Amanda)
4. "Keep Me in Your Heart" by Warron Zevon
5. "Woke Up This Morning" by A3 Theme song from The Sopranos (Melinda)
6. "Out Of This World" by Bush
7. "I Wanna Be Sedated" by The Ramones My So-Called Life (Kasia)
8. "Hallelujah" by Jeff Buckley (originally Leonard Cohen) The West Wing, the episode when Simon dies (Frog)
9. "Teardrop" by Massive Attack Theme song from House, M.D. (Melinda)
10. "Have a Little Faith in Me" by John Haitt

6 Comments

5. is the sopranos, and 9. is house, md...not that i was ever addicted to it, nooooo.

1) The Wire (Steve Earle fan here)
10) Not taking credit for it since I didn't know, but googled it because I liked John Hiatt in the 80's and 90's. I can imagine Mandy Moore singing that song. But on *that* show?

Goodbye to You was on Buffy, wasn't it?

#8 was on The West Wing.

Rayanne and Jordan Catalano sang The Ramone's "I Wanna Be Sedated" in a My So-Called Life episode.

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List 17: Covers

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I love covers of songs. Love them. Never met one I didn't like. Here are some of my favorites:

1. "Smells Like Teen Spirit" by Tori Amos (originally Nirvana)
I don't like most covers of this song. I like this one.
2. "Tainted Love" by Marilyn Manson (originally Gloria Jones)
3. "Wild Horses" by The Sundays (originally The Rolling Stones)
Gah. The prom scene in Buffy. Always.
4. "Hurt" by Johnny Cash (originally Nine Inch Nails)
Still my pick for best. video. ever.
5. "Mad World" by Gary Jules (originally Tears for Fears)
And I bawl and bawl.
6. "Come On, Eileen" by Save Ferris (originally Dexys Midnight Runners)
This is just silly.
7. "Angel from Montgomery" by Bonnie Raitt (originally John Prine)
This song reminds me of "Into the Wild" now.
8. "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" by Cat Power (originally The Rolling Stones)
9. "Hazy Shade of Winter" by The Bangles (originally Simon & Garfunkel)
10. "Helpless" by k.d. lang (originally Neil Young)
I actually like Patti Smith's version of this song as well if not better, but I can't find it online.
11. "It Ain't Me, Babe" by Lucy Kaplansky (originally Bob Dylan)
I like her cover of Lyle Lovett's "God Will" even more, but I can't find it anywhere.
12. "He Was a Friend of Mine" by Cat Power (originally Bob Dylan)
13 "King of the Road" by Rufus Wainwright (originally Roger Miller)
From Brokeback Mountain. All the best covers are from movies or TV, seems like.

There are so, so many more...some of which I have told you about before (Patti's Smith's covers from Twelve, all the great Dylan and Leonard Cohen covers...). What are your favorites?

2 Comments

I love covers to. Two of my favorites are:

1. The Hold Steady's cover of Dylan's Can you please crawl out your window

2. The Gourd's (Austin band btw) cover of Snoop Dogg's Gin & Juice.

#4 and #5 are fantastic!

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List 14: Song lyric meme

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Same meme as Wednesday, only with song lyrics. These aren't my favorite, though, just the first lyrics from each of the first 10 songs to pop up in my iTunes. Guesses?

1. "I pulled out of Shaky Town, goin' up-country, sinking down."
2. "I walked into a honky tonk, just the other day." "Juke Box Blues" by Reese Witherspoon (originally June Carter Cash) (Delia)
3. "If I have to go, will you remember me?"
4. "Because I love you I get tongue-tied around you." "One Dance" by Dan Bern (Jenny)
5. "Life in the circus ain't easy." "Freakshow" by Ani DiFranco (Chips)
6. "Mamma Svetlana, I know you wanna, shriek at what your daughter done done."
7. "Well my friends are gone and my hair is gray." "Tower of Song" by Leonard Cohen (Chips, Nella)
8. "What is that you're saying, you roulette girl?" "Roulette Girl" by Mary Prankster (Melinda)
9. "Well it's early in the A.M. and I'm feeling kind of blind."
10. "Last night I stood at your doorstep, trying to figure out what went wrong." "Long Walk Home" by Bruce Springsteen (Amanda--close enough!)

7 Comments

7 is Leonard Cohen, Tower of Song. That's the only one i know though.

8. is roulette girl by mary prankster!

4. one dance by dan bern

5 is Freakshow, Ani D.
&
7 is Tower of Song - covered by many, written by Leonard Cohen.

Yeah! I never get these things.

the last one is springstein, but i don't know what song

#2 "Jukebox Blues", sung by Reese Witherspoon in Walk the Line... so I'm guessing it was originally by June Carter Cash?

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List 10: Rain Songs

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1. It is raining.
2. I haven't done a list yet today.
3. I haven't done a play list in a bit.

So, of course, a rain songs list. Now, rain is a pretty damn common trope in music (so emo, you know?), so I limited this list to songs about rain I actually like. Hence no Gene Kelly (I'm sure he's very upset). Please note my (judicious?) use of hair bands.

1. "I Remember You" by Skid Row
"Woke up to the sound of pouring rain..."
This was my oh-my-God-very-favorite song for quite some time in my teeny bopper years. Sebastian Bach was just. so hot. in the video! I'm happy, actually, to see that Sebastian Bach is at least kind of still around, and not so skinny anymore. And I still like the song. Sometimes, only a power ballad will do.

2. "It Can't Rain All the Time" by Jane Siberry
"It won't rain all the time/the sky won't fall forever."
From The Crow soundtrack! And at this point, I become a goth. For you kiddies, that's what we used to call emo. ;)

3. "Purple Rain" by Prince & The Revolution
"I only want to see you laughing in the purple rain"
The best line in the song, though, is "I don't want to be your weekend lover." I am not actually old enough to truly appreciate Prince for when he was hot, but I still love him. As a side note, Ani used to cover this song every now and again, which was fantastic.

4. "I Can't Stand the Rain" by Tina Turner
"I can't stand the rain against my window/bringing back sweet memories"
This song rules just for the way Tina sings "rain."

5. "Have You Ever Seen the Rain? by Credence Clearwater Revival
"Someone told me long ago theres a calm before the storm,/I know; its been comin' for some time."
CCR is probably one of those bands that proves my dorkiness. Oh well.

6. "Blue Eyes Cryin' in the Rain" by Hank Williams Sr.
"Love is like a dying ember/Only memories remain/And through the ages I'll remember/Blue eyes cryin' in the rain."
Doesn't get much cooler than Hank Sr. Usually, though, I think of Willie Nelson when I think of this song.

7. "November Rain" by Guns N Roses
"Nothing lasts forever, even cold November rain."
Another one from the power ballad period. I can't help it.

8. "I Wish I Never Saw the Sun" by Beth Orton
"I wish I never saw the sun shine, then maybe I wouldn't mind the rain."
This song makes me bawl. Seriously.

9. "Rush Hour" by Ani DiFranco
"Rush hour/at the day's dawning/the rain came/and pushed me under the awning."
I love the sound of this song, it's intensity. And the very basic guitar line.

10. "Raining in Baltimore" by The Counting Crows
"It's raining in Baltimore, 15 miles east, but everything else is the same."
Another sad one. Surely I've mentioned before how much I LOVE this album?

11. "You Never Even Call Me By My Name" by Merle Haggard (and others)
"I was drunk the day my mom got out of prison/and I went to pick her up in the rain/But before I could get there in my pick-up truck/She got runned over by a damned old train."
This is a favorite of my mom's. She sings it. Often. Not this version, but the live Steve Goodman one. But I couldn't find that one online. And this one is pretty amazing. The perfect country western song.

12. "I Think It's Gonna Rain Today" by Nina Simone
"Human kindness is overflowing/and I think it's gonna rain today."
This song reminds me of Beaches, when Bette Midler sings it. This is Nina Simone's version, though. The whispered "lonely" just kills me.

13. "It's a Hard Rain Gonna Fall" by Bob Dylan
"And it's a hard, and it's a hard, it's a hard, and it's a hard/And it's a hard rain's a-gonna fall."
Another uplifting one. This is Dylan-as-poet though, and it's so lucid and beautiful. ("Saw a room full of men with their hammers bleeding.")

14. "Done Wrong" by Ani DiFranco
"It's a hard rain, it's a cold rain, the kind that you find in songs/Guess that makes me the jerk with the heartache, here to sing for you about how I've been done wrong."
I love the sound of this song, but it's the self-awareness and meta-ness of it that really kills me.

15. "Fire and Rain" by James Taylor
"I've seen fire and I've seen rain/I've seen sunny days I thought would never end/But I always thought that I'd see you again."
This song is cheesy and reminds me of Running on Empty and I love it.

16. "No Rain" by Blind Melon
"All I can say is that my life is pretty plain/I like watching the puddles gather rain."
I know, 16 is a weird number. But there wasn't one I wanted to leave out. So there you go.
Incidentally, I used to have a flannel with "Blind Melon" stitched into the back. Rad.

3 Comments

this is fan-friggin-tastic list that i am going to force upon my labmates asap. (except for the james taylor, but that's a small thing.) the only other thing i would have included is "sometimes" by james, and if you haven't listened to it ever, do it now.

What, no "Raindrops keep fallin' on my head"?!

You forgot to mention "Riders on the Storm" by the Doors! It's the ultimate rainy day song!

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Play list: Something blue

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(This is the final installment in the blog carnival hosted by the OTHER mother.)

C'mon, something blue? Of course I'm going to do a play list. It's just too easy. Especially if you happen to actually LIKE classic country.

1. "Blue" by Leanna Rimes
Remember when this came out? She was like 12 and sounded like Patsy Cline? It was amazing.

2. "Blue Suede Shoes" by Elvis Presley
This one is a gimme.

3. "Looking for Blue Eyes" by Jessi Colter
I love this song. I used to listen to it on the Outlaws album. Heh. I thought Jessi Colter must be SO cool, since she was the only girl in that bunch.

4. "Blue Hotel" by Chris Isaak
Chris Isaak has a lot of "blue" songs. Goes with the depressing wish-I-was-Morrissey persona, I guess.

5. "Pale Blue Eyes" by The Velvet Underground
This song gives me the creeps. The way Lou Reed says "make me mad" chills me.

6. "Blue Bayou" by Roy Orbison
Another gimme. This song always reminds me of the movie "Steel Magnolias," even though it wasn't actually this song in that movie.

7. "Tangled Up in Blue" by The Indigo Girls and Ani DiFranco
This is, of course, a Bob Dylan song, but like Chris Isaak, Bob Dylan has a lot of "blue" songs, so I decided to use a cover of this one. Always best to use a Dylan cover when you can anyway, I think. Plus I LOVE The Indigo Girls on this song. Can't you just see Amy Ray working for a while on a fishing boat just outside of Delacroix?

8. "Blue Eyes Cryin' in the Rain" by Hank Williams, Sr.
Do you like this version better, or Willie Nelson's?

9. "Blue Skies" by Frank Sinatra
Heehee.

10. "Blue Highway" by Billy Idol
Mostly I just like the Frank Sinatra to Billy Idol transition.

11. "Blue Moon of Kentucky" by Patsy Cline
God I love Patsy Cline. This is not her best work, granted, but wow, I forget how amazing she is.

12. "Almost Blue" By Elvis Costello
An awful lot of my play lists seem to include Elvis Costello.

13. "Devil with a Blue Dress On" by Paul Revere and the Raiders
Remind me sometime to tell you about going to see Paul Revere and the Raiders at the county fair when I was a kid. It's actually one of my first really really clear memories.

14. "Famous Blue Raincoat" by Leonard Cohen
Leonard Cohen is another artist for whom I'll usually pick a cover, but I really don't like the available covers of this song.

15. "Don't It Make My Brown Eyes Blue" by Crystal Gayle
Oddly, this is the first song I thought of for this list. Does Crystal Gayle still have super-long hair?

16. "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue" by Bob Dylan
This would be the other Dylan song. Don't love it, frankly.

17. "The Grass Is Blue" by Dolly Parton
If you don't have this album, you should get it. Period.

18. "Bullet the Blue Sky" by U2
Apparently this list just wasn't depressingly pretentious enough.

19. "True Blue" by Madonna
OK, there goes the depressing pretention.

20. "Blue" by Joni Mitchell
Nice to bookend both ends with a song that's just "Blue," don't you think?

Clearly there could be 100 more songs on this list. What would you include?


1 Comments

"Judy Blue Eyes" - it reminds me of my mom.

Also "Venus in Blue Jeans".

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Play List: Cat songs

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In honor of my kittens birthday today, I give you cat songs.

1. "Everybody Wants to be a Cat" from The Aristocats

2. "Cats in the Cradle" by Cat Stevens

3. "What's New Pussycat?" by Tom Jones

4. "Mean-Eyed Cat" by Johnny Cash

5. "Cat Scratch Fever" by Ted Nugent

6. "The Siamese Song" from Lady & the Tramp (as performed by Hilary and Haley Duff)

7. "Stray Cat Strut" by The Stray Cats

8. "Cat in the Window (Bird in the Sky)" by Petula Clark

9. "Leave My Kitten Alone" by The Detroit Cobras

10. "Cool Cat" by Queen

11. "An Cat Dubh" by U2

12. "Cats Without Claws" by Donna Summers

13. "All Cats Are Gray" by The Cure

14. "My Cat's Name is Maceo" by Jane's Addiction

15. "The Love Cats" by Tricky

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Songs to hate men to

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I'm going to have something more serious to say about this later, but in the meantime, here is my response, through music, to the claim that I hate men. Why on Earth wouldn't I?

1. "Letter to a John" by Ani DiFranco
"Women learn to be women/and men learn to be men/and I don't blame it all on you/but I don't want to be your friend."

2. "Goodbye Earl" by The Dixie Chicks
"Well it wasn't two weeks/after she got married that/Wanda started gettin' abused/She put on dark glasses and long sleeved blouses/And make-up to cover a bruise/Well she finally got the nerve to file for divorce/She let the law take it from there/But Earl walked right through that restraining order/And put her in intensive care."

3. "Polly" by Nirvana
"Polly wants a cracker/I think I should get off her first/I think she wants some water/To put out the blow torch."

4. "Ballad of Yvonne Johnson" by Eliza Gilkyson
"I didn’t have a language for the pain I suffered through/escaping into marriage, but your past just catches up with you/until I had three children and a ragged family/a desperate urge to keep them from the wolves that got to me, boys/wolves that got to me."

5. "Cell Block Tango (He Had it Coming)" from Chicago!
"He had it coming/He had it coming/He took a flower/In its prime/And then he used it/And he abused it/It was a murder/But not a crime!"

6. "Fast Car" by Tracy Chapman
"You got a fast car/And I got a job that pays all our bills/You stay out drinking late at the bar
See more of your friends than you do of your kids/I'd always hoped for better/Thought maybe together you and me would find it/I got no plans I ain't going nowhere/So take your fast car and keep on driving."

7. "The Thunder Rolls" by Garth Brooks
"She's waitin' by the window/When he pulls into the drive/She rushes out to hold him/Thankful he's alive/Through all the wind and rain/A strange new perfume blows/And the lightnin' flashes in her eyes/And he knows that she knows/And the thunder rolls."

8. "Janie's Got a Gun" by Aerosmith
"They said when Janie was arrested/they found him underneath a train/But man, he had it comin' Now that Janie's got a gun/she ain't never gonna be the same."

9. "Luka" by Suzanne Vega
"They only hit until you cry/And after that you don't ask why/You just don't argue anymore."

10. "Behind the Wall" by Tracy Chapman
"And when they arrive/They say they can't interfere/With domestic affairs/Between a man and his wife/And as they walk out the door/The tears well up in her eyes."

11. "Caleb Meyer" by Gillian Welsh
"Caleb Meyer, your ghost is gonna/wear them rattlin' chains./but when I go to sleep at night,/Don't you call my name."

12. "Me and a Gun" by Tori Amos
"Me and a gun/and a man/On my back/But I haven't seen Barbados/So I must get out of this."

13. "Only Women Bleed" by Lita Ford (originally Alice Cooper)
"He lies right at you/You know you hate this game/He slaps you once in a while and you live and love in pain."

14. "Ladykillers" by Lush
"So he talks for hours about his sensitive soul/And his favorite subject is sex/I don't think he even wanted it/But, Christ this guy's too much."

15. "I Hate Men" from Kiss Me Kate
"But I hate men./Of all the types I've ever met within our democracy,/I hate most the athlete with his manner bold and brassy/He may have hair upon his chest but, sister, so has Lassie."

5 Comments

I've been thinking a lot lately about hating men, and also about all the wonderful male friends that I have. Mostly thinking about how those things maybe seem contradictory to certain groups of people...but they really aren't.

Anyway.

Word.

I absolutely HATE men! I think they are worthless, selfish, inconsiderate bastards!! They have no respect, and think who the hell they think they are; when it comes down to the bottom line, they are worth NOTHING! Women are much stronger, and are able to live on their own. In my opinion, they do not need a man. Women should learn to be more independent and live by themselves; they would have a much better lifestyle and less CRAP AND AGGRAVATION! I am alone and independent, and have always been, and I LOVE EVERY MINUTE OF IT! I do not miss having a man in my life whatsoever. Being along and lonely are two very d different things. I am alone, but I enjoy every single aspect of it. If men know a women is vulnerable, he will take advantage. It is better to give them the boot then to put up wiht their BULLSHIT!

To all the man haters out there.... I don't even know what to say, but I think it is bull. I bet you $1,000,000 that every one of you is not a political warrior, ,but rather a girl who has not been paid not been paid enough attention to by the boys you wanted, or has been the dumpee instead of the dumper, thus holding on to resentment ( we have all been the the dumpers & dumpees) So, you feel hurt and powerless, an take it out on all men. It couldn't possibly of been your fault? Lets just lump all my inadequacies in a convenient little man hating ball. That makes it all more simple doesn't it. Men are just one side of the coin. Men and women are two halves of the same whole. To make a blanket statement that you hate men, is like making a blanket statement that you hate "blacks". Im sorry if you aren't as pretty or deserving, or whatever your issues are. But don't blame your shortcomings on "MEN"(said with disgust). I tell you, some times I hate women, and I am one.

I don't hate ALL men. In fact I hate very few of them. But that is the GREAT thing about being a woman. When we are screwed over by one man (or a few over time) we can sit back and partake in the man hating game (that I am sure even your stuck up self, lizard, has enjoyed from time to time) that allows us to blame all our problems on the opposite sex, AND GET AWAY WITH IT. Its part of being upset, Lizard. And if you arent able to realize that then all of them fancy smancy analogies, comparisons, and every last bit of your grammatically correct rant do not help cover up the fact that your an idiot... Your distain for the women who are in man hating mode, and your pathetic attempt to get your point across makes me wonder if you are one of those women who are saving up for that big operation... But I suppose I have wandered a tad off subject. Let me end this by saying, women hating men... Its an exageration of a broken hearted woman... Plain and simple. SOOOOOO Lumber Jack Jane, you can pack it in a bit and let us be women you dumb dyke bitch...

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Play List: Ash Wednesday ash songs

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Today's play list is inspired by Ash Wednesday, and by the first song on the list, which is, to my mind, hysterical. All the songs contain ash references/imagery.

1. "Mary Catherine's Ash Wednesday Journal Entry" by Christine Kane
"Easter's just around the bend/Once again it is Lent/And my face is smeared with ashes/And either I will run away/Or I'll stay and sit through/Another hundred million masses."

2. "Ashes to Ashes" by David Bowie
"Ashes to ashes, funk to funky/We know Major Tom's a junkie/Strung out in heavens high/Hitting an all-time low."

3. "Ashes by Now" by Leanne Womack
"Baby, I can't go through this again/I don't need to go down more than I've already been/Just like a wildfire, you're runnin' all over town/As much as you've burned me baby, I should be ashes by now."

4. "We'll Sweep Out the Ashes in the Morning" by Gram Parsons
"We know it's wrong to let this fire burn between us/We've got to stop this wild desire in you and in me/So we'll let the flame burn once again until the thrill is gone/Then we'll sweep out the ashes in the morning."

5. "Northern Star" by Hole
"They run to the pines/It's black in here, blot out the sun/And run to the pines/Our misery runs wild and free/And I knew, the fire and the ashes of his grave."

6. "Ashes" by Rufus Wainwright
"But now there's ashes, from exquisite eyelashes/So far away, past the border, past the turnstyle/And even I know, and I do believe, and I do believe that there was a morning/I saw your true love burning next to me."

7. "Smoke and Ashes" by Tracy Chapman
"I've got a red hot heart/And your heart's as blue as the blood in your veins/I say there's fire down below/You say it's only smoke and ashes baby."

8. "All Apologies" by Nirvana
"Find my nest of salt/Everything is my fault/I'll take all the blame/Aqua seafoam shame/Sunburn with freezerburn/Choking on the ashes of her enemy."

9. "Ashes to Ashes" by Steve Earle
"And someday even man's best laid plans/Will lie twisted and covered in rust/When we've done all that we can but it slipped through our hands/And it's ashes to ashes and dust to dust."

10. "Ashes" by KT Tunstall
"Everyday, like a power station/You know it isn't good/I know you're burning too much wood/Oh, and you burn out/The twisted irony is/Your ashes come home to me."

11. "So Tonight That I Might See" by Mazzy Star
"Come up crash with the muses fells dust into ash."

12. "Ballad in Plain D" by Bob Dylan
"All is gone, all is gone, admit it, take flight./I gagged twice, doubled, tears blinding my sight./My mind it was mangled, I ran into the night/Leaving all of love's ashes behind me."

13. "Mexican Wine" by Fountains of Wayne
"He was killed by a cellular phone explosion/They scattered his ashes across the ocean/The water was used to make baby lotion/The wheels of promotion were set into motion."

14. "Self Evident" by Ani DiFranco
"Even as the blue toxic smoke of our lesson in retribution/is still hanging in the air/and there's ash on our shoes/and there's ash in our hair."

What did I miss?

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the refrain for "flood i" by the sisters of mercy (ha!) repeats the phrase "sackcloth and ashes." and the band 16 horsepower has an album entitled "sackcloth and ashes."

Only the first is Jesusy, but...

Tiny Cities Made of Ashes--Modest Mouse OR Mark Kozelek

Ashes of American Flags--Wilco
"I would like to salute
the ashes of American flags
And all the fallen leaves
filling up shopping bags"

Dancing on Ashes-- Robbie Fulks

I think that Gram/Emmylou song is the conclusive evidence that they totally got it on. I cannot believe otherwise.

you forgot ashes by pepper. not really an ash wednesday song, but hey, look at the title.

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Play list: Super songs

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In honor of Super Tuesday, and by suggestion of my friend Frog, today's play list is Super Songs:

1. "Superhero" by Ani DiFranco
"I used to be a superhero/no one could hurt me/not even myself/You are like a phone booth/that I somehow stumbled into/And now look at me/I am just like everybody else."

2. "That's Really Super, Supergirl" by XTC
"Hurt like kryptonite/Put me on my knees/Now that I've found out just what you're doing.With your secret identities."

3. "Superman's Song" by The Crash Test Dummies
"Superman never made any money/For saving the world from Solomon Grundy/And sometimes I despair the world will never see/Another man like him."

4. "Superstar" by Tegan and Sara
"Hardcore superstar by far/You're the ultimate star/Hardcore superstar by far/You're the ultimate star/Do you wanna be a superstar?"

5. "Super Duper Love" by Joss Stone
"Your love is super/Are you diggin on me coz im diggin on you/I'm just trying to tell you/Oh this love is super duper."

6. "Super Hyperspastic" by Sugarcult
"I'm super hyper spastic, yeah.I lost my sex drive and I'm holdin' out on you."

7. "Superfreak" by Rick James
"That girl is pretty wild now/The girl's a super freak/The kind of girl you read about/In new-wave magazine."

8. "Superman (It's Not Easy)" by Five for Fighting
"It may sound absurd/but don't be naive/Even heroes have the right to bleed/I may be disturbed/but won't you concede/Even heroes have the right to dream/It's not easy to be me."

9. "Super Trouper" by ABBA
"Super trouper beams are gonna blind me/But I wont feel blue/Like I always do/cause somewhere in the crowd theres you."

10. "Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps)" by David Bowie
"Scary monsters, super creeps/Keep me running, running scared."

11. "Super Disco Breakin'" by The Beastie Boys
"Money Makin Money Money Makin Manhattan Super Disco Disco Breakin'"

12. "(Wish I Could Fly Like) Superman" by The Kinks
"I need you, but I hate to see you this way/If I were Superman then we'd fly away/I'd really like to change the world/And save it from the mess it's in/I'm too weak, I'm so thin/I'd like to fly but I can't even swim."

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Play list: Songs for Monday morning

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I haven't done this in a while, but got the urge today. Go here to listen to my special Monday morning play list. Note that these are mostly songs that appeal to me as an office drone, not labor songs.

1. "9 to 5" by Dolly Parton
Doesn't get any better than this, ever.
"Its a rich mans game/No matter what they call it/And you spend your life/Putting money in his wallet."

2. "Manic Monday" by The Bangles
C'mon, like I wasn't going to lead with this one?
"But I can't be late/'Cause then I guess I just won't get paid/These are the days/When you wish your bed was already made "

3. "I Don't Like Mondays" by Bob Geldof and the Boomtown Rats
Not strictly about work, but hard to resist. At least I'm not using the Bon Jovi cover. Don't think I didn't consider it.
"Tell me why/I don’t like Mondays/I wanna shoot the whole day down."

4. "Take This Job and Shove It" by Johnny Paycheck, as covered by The Dead Kennedys
I love The Dead Kennedys covering this. Opens up a whole new world of funny for me.
"You better not try to stand in my way/As im a walking out the door./Take this job and shove it/I ain't working here no more."

5. "Come Next Monday" by K.T. Oslin
Again, not strictly about working, but I love this song and have since my mom had the 80s Ladies CD. Can't help it.
"Come next Monday/I'm going to bed early/I won't talk dirty for a week or maybe two/I'm going on a diet/Just like sugar, honey/Come next Monday/I'm gonna give up on you."\

6. "Welcome to the Working Week" by Elvis Costello
A classic.
"Welcome to the workin' week./Oh I know it don't thrill you, I hope it don't kill you./Welcome to the workin' week./You gotta do it till you're through it so you better get to it."

7. "Work is a Four-Letter Word" by The Smiths
I'll go on record not being a Smiths fan. Still, though...and ode to a lazy woman? How can I not dig that?
"I don't need/A house that's a showplace/I just feel/That we're going no place/While you say that/Work Is A Four-Letter Word."

8. "Rainy Days and Mondays" by The Carpenters
Could someone who actually LIKES folk music really leave this one off? Plus, it's actually a song about depression, which I'm all for (all for songs, that is, not so much all for depression).
"Talkin' to myself and feelin' old/Sometimes I'd like to quit/Nothing ever seems to fit/Hangin' around/Nothing to do but frown/Rainy Days and Mondays always get me down."

9. "Blue Monday" by New Order
Again, a shoo-in, even if it's not so much about work. Plus I need something to cheer me up after The Carpenters.
"Those who came before me/Lived through their vocations/From the past until completion/They will turn away no more."

10. "Except for Mondays" by Lorrie Morgan
I hadn't heard this for years before I made this list, and yet I still get it in my head regularly. I don't know what that means about it, exactly, but I had to include it.
"Except for Monday which was never good anyway/Tuesday I get a little sideways/Wednesday I feel better just for spite/Thursday and Friday take too long/Before I knew it,Saturday's gone/But it's Sunday now you can bet that I'm alright."

11. "Hey Julie" by Fountains of Wayne
Probably the best modern day "labor" song I can think of.
"Why must I spend my time/Filling up my mind/With facts and figures that never add up anyway?/They never add up anyway."

12. "Workin' for the Weekend" by Loverboy
Again, need some levity on this list.
"Everybody's workin' for the weekend/Everybody wants a new romance/Everybody's goin' off the deep end/Everybody needs a second chance."

13. "16 Tons" by Tennessee Ernie Ford
I know I said no labor songs, but I couldn't resist. Besides, the parallels to our modern debt-based system keep it relevant.
"You haul Sixteen Tons, whadaya get?/Another older and deeper in debt/Saint Peter don't you call me cause I can't go/I owe my soul to the company store."

14. "It's 5 O'Clock Somewhere" by Jimmy Buffet and Alan Jackson
Well, maybe it's just me, but Monday makes me want a drink...
"Gettin' paid by the hour and older by the minute/My boss just pushed me over the limit/I'd like to call him somethin'/But think I'll just call it a day."

15. "The Job That Ate My Brain" by The Ramones
Amen.
"Five o'clock rolls around/I feel so glad I kiss the ground/Ain't enough hours in the day/There's go to be a better way."

Happy Monday, y'all.

Editing to try to embed it...

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May I suggest the Smiths' "Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now?"

I was happy in the haze of a drunken hour/But Heaven knows I'm miserable now....I was looking for a job and then I found a job, and heaven knows I'm miserable now.

Brilliant. Duly added. :)

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Happy Thanksgiving!

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Happy Thanksgiving! I'm posting early today because we are having guests and plan a full day of cooking, eating, drinking, and socializing. Mark and I generally do Thanksgiving by ourselves (though we have had guests before), so this is a nice change and I'm really excited.

Thought I'd share the Thanksgiving playlist I made up for us last year and to which we are currently listening. I'll probably make up another one today if I have time, as this one is seeming a bit outdated and also completely non-thematic. I was kinda drunk last year.

Nevertheless:

1. "I Ain't Marching Anymore" by Phil Ochs
2. "My Ai'n True Love" by Alison Krauss
3. "Do Re Mi" by Ani DiFranco
4. "When the Man Comes Around" by Johnny Cash
5. "Have I Told You Lately that I Love You" by The Chieftans and Van Morrison
6. "Sunday Mornin' Comin' Down" by Shawn Mullins
7. "Lullaby" by Shawn Mullins
8. "Righteously" by Lucinda Williams
9. "Everest" by Ani DiFranco

More later...guests are here!

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This is Somewhere

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This is Somewhere album coverOn the recommendation of a smart friend with similar musical tastes, I recently picked up the latest release by Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, This is Somewhere. And boy am I ever not sorry. This is Somewhere is one of those albums that I will listen to again and again. I don't think there is a bad track on it, and I can play it all day and never be annoyed, which speaks volumes about both the quality of the music and the diversity of the sound.

Vocally, Grace Potter sounds a lot like a younger Bonnie Raitt (nods to Frog for that brilliant observation). Over the course of the album, she lends that voice to songs that range from straight-up rock (I particularly like the opener, "Oh Mary") to folkie ("You May See Me" and the Dylan-flavored "Ain't No Time") to sultry pop ("Stop the Bus," which is likely my favorite track on the album) to nearly gospel ("Big White Gate"), and each style is believable. My preferences being what they are, I could stand to hear more folk-style stuff on the album, but I really enjoy the style mix.

The instrumentation is solid if not remarkable. Potter plays piano and some guitar, and she's accompanied by Scott Tournet on lead guitar and occasional harmonica and lap steel, Matt Burr on percussion, and Bryan Dondero on bass. Again, I'm a fan of the folky feel (especially the lap steel and accordion in "Apologies"), but they do a good job with the more straightforward pop and rock tracks as well.

Lyrically, Potter is capable of a phrase that sounds like a knowing grin ("could be all the booze we drank in Austin/could be we're just scared of growing old/could be this ain't no way of living/but there ain't nothing like that rock 'n roll") or a bitter cry ("I sang to my children/before they strayed so far/I sang for my lovers/or a nickel in a tip jar/I never knew Jesus/I never read the good book/but on my day of dying/I'm giving life a second look"). Her songs cover the usual ground of relationships and regrets, with enough naiveté to be believable and enough maturity to keep it interesting ("you got the eyes to look for what you saw/and when you don't win or lose I guess you draw/I had to leave I guess you had to stay/don't come looking babe/'cause if you look to hard/I just might look away"), and there is an undercurrent in everything of friendship and music and good times that reminds me of nothing so much as Janis Joplin. I was shocked to learn Potter is younger than I am--she both writes and sounds like a more seasoned musician.

This is Somewhere is an all-around fantastic album, and one I'll be recommending to anybody who will listen for months. Consider yourselves warned.

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Hard Times in Babylon

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I am listening to Eliza Gilkyson's newest CD, Your Town Tonight. It's a live recording and it's amazing. Rather than a review, though (since you already know how I feel about Eliza and this CD is mostly live versions of songs that I have already reviewed on other albums), I wanted to share this with you.

Hard Times in Babylon
I light a candle in your name
Long past midnight
Memories bright in the freeze frame
And I’m asking myself why

I see you at the Marriott
Funny little grin
Driving those drums like a chariot
Did it hurt too much to try?

Woody you were my hero
A shoulder to cry on
When I bottomed out at zero

In the hour of the wolf
Just before the dawn
Hard times in Babylon

OK, so you had to go
Talk a walk on the wild side
Down through the valley of the shadow
But it just don’t seem like you

Woody you could have called out
There’s not a man or a woman
Gathered here tonight in the big house
Who wouldn’t run to pull you through

An incident so grievous
Twenty years ago who’d have thought
That this was the way you’d leave us?

But in the hour of the wolf
Just before the dawn
Hard times in Babylon

We’ve gotta hang together
When the air’s this thin
Hand out the masks for the oxygen
Live for something

Coming up on the time in our lives
When the little dreams live
But the big dream dies
Not for nothing
Not for nothing

I know the love don’t end
But nothing I can do is gonna bring you back
Or let me see you again

In the hour of the wolf
Just before the dawn
Hard times in Babylon

In the hour of the wolf
Just before the dawn
Hard times in Babylon

Doesn't that just break your heart? I have always wondered who it was about, since it sounds like it was someone in the Austin music community, but it seems to refer to something that happened quite a while before I moved here, so I don't know. Anyway, it's a great song and I'm in a morose mood, so I wanted to share.

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What is this song about and WHO?

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Play list: Patriotic songs

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With today being "Patriot Day" and everything, I thought a list of songs that are, to me, patriotic, would be appropriate. So...

Songs for America

1. "Kathy's Song (America)" by Simon & Garfunkel. My favorite America song ever. Makes me weepy.

2. "'Tis of Thee" by Ani DiFranco. Sad, sad stuff. Ani probably has a wider selection of what I think of as patriotic songs than anybody else. So she's on the list twice.

3. "This Land is Your Land" by Woody Guthrie. This one is a gimme.

4. "Bread and Roses" by Judy Collins (well, this version is). Nothing makes me feel patriotic like a labor song.

5. "Born in the U.S.A." by Bruce Springsteen. Probably the most inappropriately used song ever.

6. "Across the Great Divide" by Kate Wolf (again, this version). To me, the US as an idea is intimately connected with the land itself. This song does a good job with that.

7. "Proud Mary" by Ike & Tina Turner. I dunno if it's normal to think of this song as patriotic, but I do.

8. "I Ain't Marching Anymore" by Phil Ochs. Truer now than ever. Gah. He's gotta be turning over in his grave to see the mess we're in these days.

9. "City of New Orleans" by Arlo Guthrie. American=trains. Clearly.

10. "Your Flag Decal Won't Get You Into Heaven Anymore" by John Prine. Some much needed clear headed levity.

11. "Grand Canyon" by Ani DiFranco. A look at history from a woman who loves her country. I approve.

12. "I'm Afraid of Americans" by David Bowie. It's a perfectly fair sentiment.

13. "Pretty Good Year" by Tori Amos. Again, sad, but rings true.

14. "Omaha" by The Counting Crows. Another band I could have used multiple songs by. This one really makes my heart sing, though.

15. "Talkin' 'Bout a Revolution" by Tracy Chapman. To end on a positive note.

As always, you can hear the list here.

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Football and Ursula Le Guin

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First, about football. Both of my teams won on Saturday. Oregon's butt-stomping of much higher-ranked and more-respected Michigan was a particular cause for joy at my house. Today, the AP has Texas at No. 6 and Oregon at No. 19. From what I've seen so far, I think that is an over-ranking for Texas and an under-ranking for Oregon, but we'll see.

Left Hand of Darkness book coverIn other news, I read Ursula K. Le Guin's The Left Hand of Darkness this weekend. No fewer than a dozen people have recommended Le Guin to me over the past few years, and a couple of people whose tastes I generally trust recommended to me recently that I start with this particular book, so I picked it up at the library last week. And...I don't get it. I read the whole book, but I probably would have put it down less than halfway through if it hadn't been so highly recommended. To me, it seemed unnecessarily opaque and kind of poorly written. I had very little empathy for the characters, particularly the protagonist, Genly Ai, and spent most of the time I was reading it hoping it would be over soon. While I found the concepts very cool, the execution just didn't do a thing for me. So now I'm not sure if I should give up on Le Guin completely or try another of her novels. I had so hoped she would be a new author I could really get into.

Not all recommendations are futile, though! Another friend recently suggested that I give Grace Potter and the Nocturnals a listen, and I am rawkin' out. As soon as I can justify buying more new CDs, their new one is going to be headed my way.


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I've always preferred her Earthsea series; I liked TLHOD, but it's a wee bit contrived with the gender stuff. If you want to give her another shot, I'd start with A Wizard of Earthsea.

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Over the Hills

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Over the Hills album coverI've told you before how much I like New York-based folkie Lucy Kaplansky. I bought three copies of her 2004 album The Red Thread (one to keep and two to give away). So I was stoked to see she had released a new CD, Over the Hills, and grabbed it up as soon as I had some CD-buying cash to spare.

Over the Hills isn't as good as The Red Thread. This doesn't surprise me, as The Red Thread was a masterpiece, once-in-a-lifetime kind of record. The overall sound of the record is very classic, with mostly vocals and acoustic guitar by Lucy herself, accompanied by excellent slide and steel guitar by Larry Campbell, as well as occasional electric guitar, mandolin, and fiddle. It's musically very solid, but I don't hear anything particularly inspired or original on it.

The songs on Over the Hills are about half original compositions by Lucy and her husband/writing partner Richard Litvin and half covers. The original songs follow the trajectory begun on The Red Thread; they are very family-centered and concerned mostly with parenthood ("Manhattan Moon") and the loss of friends and family ("Today's the Day," "Over the Hills," and "The Gift"). These are the album's strong suit. Lucy's voice shines brighter and seems to convey more feeling when she sings her own songs. Though I very much like some of the covers she chooses (especially Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire" and Loudon Wainwright III's "Swimming Song"), she just doesn't seem to feel them as much as she does her original compositions, so I don't feel as much listening to them. The exception to this is Lucy's version of "Someday Soon," a country song written by Ian Tyson and made famous a number of years back by Suzy Bogguss. I've always liked the song, and is much improved by Lucy's pared-down vocal and slightly wry delivery.

The real don't-miss track on the album, though, is Lucy's inter-generational women's anthem "Amelia," a story told by an old woman who is unsatisfied with but resigned to the life she's led ("My name is Amelia/I used to be a pretty girl/Got married 'cause it was time/No reason to finish school") but hopeful for the next generation ("The world outside her room/Is a place she calls her own/My story's almost over/Hers has just begun"). Here you see both Lucy's writing talent and her vocal talent shine, in the most unpretentious of ways.

Overall, Over the Hills is a very good album, and one I'm happy to now have in my collection. I will continue to try and see Lucy perform whenever she is in town and to follow her career.

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Play list: Friendship songs

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In honor of my fabulous weekend with my friends, the theme of today's play list is friendship. There are absolutely tons of great songs on this subject, several of which I sadly couldn't find on iMeem (including Ani's "If He Tries Anything" and Deirdre Flint's "King of the Rollerama"), but these are the 15 I chose. Apologies in advance for the cheesiness of some of them.

1. "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother" by The Hollies. I love, love, love this song. It makes my inner hippy dance.

The road is long
With many a winding turn
That leads us to who knows where
Who knows where
But I'm strong
Strong enough to carry him
He ain't heavy, he's my brother

2. "Old Friends" by Everything But the Girl. Pre-electronic EBTG. Weird.

standing here with my arm around you, life's moved on
and all its borderlines are being redrawn
the winter has come the roads are white
everyone's home late tonight
may we stay or will it depend
as old friends
in the end , still old friends

3. "With A Little Help from My Friends" by Tori Amos. Yes, I know this is a Beatles song, but since I generally try to stay away from The Beatles, I included Tori's live cover. This song reminds me of nothing so much as "Life Goes On."

What would you think if I sang out of tune,
Would you stand up and walk out on me.
Lend me your ears and I'll sing you a song,
And I'll try not to sing out of key.
Oh I get by with a little help from my friends,
Mmm I get high with a little help from my friends,
Mmm I'm gonna try with a little help from my friends.

4. "You've Got a Friend" by James Taylor. Oh, come on. Like I was going to leave this one off. Besides, I kind of love James Taylor.

You just call out my name,
And you know where ever I am
I'll come running, oh yeah baby
To see you again.
Winter, spring, summer, or fall,
All you have to do is call
And I'll be there, yeah, yeah, yeah.
You've got a friend.

5. "He Was a Friend of Mine" by Cat Power. Again, a cover version not an original. I like Willie Nelson's version (from "Brokeback Mountain") as well, but couldn't find it on iMeem.

He was a friend of mine
He was a friend of mine
Every time I think about him now
Lord I just can't keep from cryin'
'Cause he was a friend of mine

6. "So Far Away" by Carole King. I get this stuck in my head all the time. Then I feel sad. I'm using this instead of her more famous Gilmore Girls theme song, because this one speaks to me more directly.

One more song about moving along the highway
Can't say much of anything that's new
If I could only work this life out my way
I'd rather spend it being close to you
But you're so far away
Doesn't anybody stay in one place anymore?
It would be so fine to see your face at my door
Doesn't help to know you're so far away
Yeah, you're so far away

7. "Wish You Were Here" by Pink Floyd. Maybe not supposed to be about friendship, but like the previous entry, I get it in my head and then think about how far I am from my friends, so it's on the list.

How I wish, how I wish you were here.
We're just two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl, year after year,
Running over the same old ground.
What have you found? The same old fears.
Wish you were here.

8. "I See a Darkness" by Johnny Cash. Again, not the original, but a brilliant version of a truly sad song.

Well, you're my friend
And can you see
Many times we've been out drinking
Many times we've shared our thoughts
Did you ever, ever notice, the kind of thoughts I got
Well you know I have a love, for everyone I know
And you know I have a drive, for life I won't let go
But sometimes this opposition, comes rising up in me
This terrible imposition, comes blacking through my mind

9. "Alcoholic Friends" by The Dresden Dolls. On a less serious (at least for me) note...heh.

should I choose a noble occupation
if I did I’d only show up late and
sick and they would stare at me with hatred
plus my only natural talent’s wasted on my alcoholic friends
my alcoholic friends

10. "Outside of a Small Circle of Friends" by Phil Ochs. Sad and bitter truth, and a bit about political compatriots as friends.

Smoking marijuana is more fun than drinking beer,
But a friend of ours was captured and they gave him thirty years
Maybe we should raise our voices, ask somebody why
But demonstrations are a drag, besides we're much too high
And I'm sure it wouldn't interest anybody
Outside of a small circle of friends

11. "My Drug Buddy" by The Lemonheads. Another amusing one.

We have to laugh to look at each other.
We have to laugh cause were not alone.

12. "My Only Friend" by The Magnetic Fields. Another sad, and, IMO, fabulous one.

Billie you're a miracle and God knows I need one
Sing me something terrible
that even dawn may come
You and me, we don't believe in happy endings

13. "As Cool As I Am" by Dar Williams. This song may not technically be about friendship, but it gives me a stronger pro-female friends feeling than any other song ever, so I'm including it.

Oh -- I'm not that petty, as cool as I am, I thought you'd know this already,
I will not be afraid of women, I will not be afraid of women.

14. "We're All in This Together" by Old Crowe Medicine Show. This is a new one for me, and I'll be listening to it on repeat now.

Well my friends, I see your face so clearly
Little bit tired, little worn through the years
You sound nervous, you seem alone
I hardly recognize your voice on the telephone

15. "Fire and Rain" by James Taylor. Yeah, I know, I know...but I see the scene dancing in the kitchen in "Running on Empty" every time I hear this, and therefore it gives me fuzzy River Phoenix feelings and I listen to it. So sue me.

I've seen fire and I've seen rain
I've seen sunny days that I thought would never end
I've seen lonely times when I could not find a friend
But I always thought that I'd see you again

To listen to my play list, go here. And tell me what I should have included in the comment.

2 Comments

The first thing that popped into my head was "Reach Out Of the Darkness," a sortof obscure oldie by Friend and Lover. I'm sure I'll think of a dozen more in the next few days ("In My Life"), but that was my first reaction.

Are you from Philadelphia? Deirdre Flint used to be in the same zip code as me on Mp3.com. I never knew her music made it out of the city.

No, I'm not from Philadelphia, but I was introduced to Deirdre Flint by a friend who is.

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Christine Kane: Right Outta Nowhere

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Right Outta Nowhere disc coverIt's no secret that I'm a sucker for a girl with an acoustic guitar. Pretty much any woman wearing the singer/songwriter mantel gets at least a try from me. That being said, I'm a lot pickier about my songstresses than I used to be, and as my adult music taste has formed I've culled a lot of them from my collection. It's not enough that a girl can play the guitar now--she has to actually have something to say.

This being the case, I was tentatively excited to meet Christine Kane at BlogHer, and to listen to her CD, Right Outta Nowhere, which was included in the BlogHer swag bag. My excitement increased after meeting her and attending the BlogHer session during which she co-presented. She was very nice and approachable, and had a seriousness about her craft that I appreciated. I also attended her show at BlogHer, but it was more a party than a show atmosphere and I could barely hear her. Then I came home and proceeded to lose her CD for a month.

But then I found it, and now I am listening to it, and I think you should too.

Right Outta Nowhere is Christine's second most recent CD, released in 2004. (Her most recent release, A Friday Night in One Lifetime, just came out and can be ordered off her website.) The sound is pretty basic girl and guitar, and Christine's voice is very nice, though a bit more professional and less raw than I'd like (her live CDs may suit me more on that front). The brilliance, as is generally the case in this genre, is in the lyrics.

Right Outta Nowhere is an eleven song disc, with ten studio tracks and a live bonus track. It begins with the title piece, a song about jumping in and following your dreams that is at once pretty and anthemic ("She hit that highway/With every ounce of faith she could summon/When courage finally comes/You never see it coming"). The next song, "Made of Steel," reminds me a little bit of Ani lyrically, with a "fuck it, at the very least this is gonna be fun" feel that I just love ("You can round up all your reasons/Tell me that my plan's all wrong/Say you're on the path to Jesus/But I'll be he'd come along"). Most of the other songs on the disc have the same lyrical style, dealing with growing up, relationships, travel, and the ups and down of life with a slightly biting humor, and though some of the songs resonate with me more than others (I particularly like "Falling in Love with the Wind"), I don't see any weak points. The strengths, however, lie in the two tracks that are outside this mold.

The first of these tracks is "Four Legs Good, Two Legs Bad," which I have to quote in its entirety as I love it beyond belief:

Jenny found Mariah back in 1999
When she was living in a town called Bend
The dog was in a dumpster and she went and got it neutered
And Mariah's had it made since then
Then a little while later at a truck stop in Decatur
She saved a skinny cat she calls Clyde
And then she found another and another and another
If you add it all together there's five

Oh to be a dog or cat
Who's living in a house like that
Where sofas become scratching pads
Four legs good two legs bad

Jenny met Bob a man not a dog
And her mother had a moment of peace
Jenny thought he was her soul mate and a year after their first date
He moved in and started sharing her lease
There was so much to get used to like the dog hair in his tofu
And tripping over all the cat toys
And each time they eliminated each one was congratulated
In a squeaky high-pitched voice

Obviously Bob is of the opinion
That something must be
Different if they live together
Four legs good two legs better

Bob had been there half a year when all the things he'd found endearing
Were beginning to get on his last nerve
Making love at dawn with all the vermin looking on
Made him think he would give up boycotting fur
So when Jenny brought a kitten home
She'd found outside a nursing home it finally reached the very last straw
At the risk that she would hate him he gave her his ultimatum
It was high time that he laid down the law

He said choose
You must choose
Between paws and this relationship
And please, it's dog-doo
Not a cause for celebration
If those beasts of yours are not gone before
I go out and then I come back again
You can be assured I will slam the door
It is them or me it is me or them

Cut to noon the next day she was waving from the driveway
As his pickup disappeared in the dust
It was a good thing while it lasted too bad he became a bastard
He was lucky to be living with us
So she took the brand new kitten and they went into the kitchen
And she made herself some corn-on-the-cob
The dogs and cats all showed and she took everybody's vote
And they decided they would name the kitten Bob

Once again the dogs and cats have taken their dominion back
Sofas should be scratching pads
Four legs good Two legs bad

On the strength of that song alone I'll gladly buy the rest of Christine's CDs. However, things just keep getting better with the disc's last track, the "channeled" song "Mary Catherine's Ash Wednesday Journal Entry," in which Christine takes on the persona of 14 year-old Mary Catherine, suffering through Lent in a typically teenage way ("Easter's just around the bend/Once again it is Lent/And my face is smeared with ashes/Either I will run away or I'll stay/And sit through/Another hundred million masses") and reminds me a lot of Dar Williams at her best.

All in all, Christine Kane represents most of what I really love about singer/songwriters. Reasonable to excellent musical abilities mixed with truly being a writer. I plan to buy her new CD and then make my way back through her past ones, and I'm very thankful to have met her at BlogHer and been given this disc, as it renews my hopes that there are wonderful musicians out there I just haven't discovered yet.

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Play list: Coffee songs

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I was sitting here this morning, sipping my coffee, thinking about what type of play list I'd like to make. So, I decided to go with the obvious and make one about coffee. You can give it a listen here. I know it barely scratches the surface of coffee songs--there are TONS--but it's a good start, I think.

1. "One More Cup of Coffee" by The White Stripes (originally Bob Dylan).
One more cup of coffee for the road,
One more cup of coffee 'fore I go
To the valley below.

2. "Dog Coffee" by Ani DiFranco. Ani actually has a bunch of songs that mention coffee, so I sort of picked one at random.
Would you like some dog coffee
It's all that we've got
You can have some
You can have not

3. "Tom's Diner" by Suzanne Vega. An obvious choice.
I am waiting
At the counter
For the man
To pour the coffee

4. "Heartstopper" by Emiliana Torrini.
Coffee is pouring out my ears
It's the only thing they have in here
And my heart stops beating

5. "Cup of Coffee" by Garbage. This song is so sad. I had forgotten about it...just hearin it again was worth making this list.
You tell me you don't love me over a cup of coffee
And I just have to look away
A million miles between us
Planets crashing into dust
I just let it fade away

6. "Starfish and Coffee" by Prince. My mind must not be free enough, because this is just silly.
If u set your mind free, baby
Maybe you'd understand
Starfish and coffee
Maple syrup and jam

7. "Coffee & Cigarettes" by Michelle Featherstone. (There are other songs with this title as well, including one by Otis Redding.)
I gave up coffee and cigarettes
I hate to say it hasn’t helped me yet
I thought my problems would just dissipate
And all my pain would be in yesterday

8. "Black Coffee" by Black Flag. (Again, there are other songs with this title as well, including a Tricky track and an Ella Fitzgerald song.)
Who are you with, where have you been
Imagination turns thoughts, reason can't change
Staring at the walls, think I know what I see
Anger and coffee, feeling mean

9. "The Opposite of Coffee" by The Lucksmiths.
She often speaks so softly
She sends me to sleep
She’s the opposite of coffee
She’s the last thing I need first thing in the morning

10. "You Were Meant for Me" by Jewel. Couldn't resist.
I called my momma, she was out for a walk
Consoled a cup of coffee but it didn't wanna talk

11. "Black Coffee in Bed" by Squeeze.
The stain on my notebook
Remain all that's left
Of the memory of late nights
And coffee in bed

12. "Smoking Cigarettes and Drinking Coffee Blues" by Lefty Frizzell
Smoking cigarettes and drinking coffee all night long
Wondering how a love so right could suddenly go wrong
I'd take the next bus out of town but I gotta be near you
I got those smoking cigarettes and drinking coffee blues

13. "Taylor the Latte Boy" by Kristen Chenoweth. This is just too damn funny.
Taylor the latte boy,
Bring me java, bring me joy!
Oh Taylor the latte boy,
I love him, I love him, I love him…

14. "Intergalactic" by The Beastie Boys. Not exactly a coffee song, but a line that is reminiscent of how I take my coffee.
When it comes to beats well I'm a fiend
I like my sugar with coffee and cream

15. "Wake Up and Smell the Coffee" by The Cranberries.
Come on now
Wake up, wake up, wake up, wake up
Shut up, shut up, shut up, shut up
It's time, smell the coffee, the coffee

2 Comments

Great mix! I actually love "Starfish and Coffee" by Prince... sure, it's silly, but it has an infectious childish happiness that I love, and it is such a funny change from the themes of many Prince songs.

"Five Cups of Coffee" by the Jayhawks, back in the day. "And the long black dream is over / as the snow falls on and on / and it takes five cups of coffee / to come down before I sleep."

(Some say "calm down," but I like "come down" better and that's what I sing when I sing along.)

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Women blogging on music

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Yesterday, Maria over at BlogHer posted an answer to a question that has been rolling around in my head lately as well: are there any women blogging about music? Turns out there are a good handful, including one I'll definitely be watching, Collected Sounds. Big thanks to Maria for this round-up, and if you are interested in reading women's music writing, definitely check out the post and comments for more places to look.

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Kane

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Kane CD coverI mentioned a few days ago that I loved the song Christian Kane did for Angel, "L.A. Song." On the strength of that track, I visited the website for Christian's band, Kane and listened to the sample cuts, and I liked them as well, so I popped over to MxMerch and bought Kane's CD.

Not a bad series of moves by yours truly. I'm very much enjoying the record.

iTunes classifies Kane as country, but I'd put it more in the realm of rockabilly or southern rock--it's driven mostly by guitar and Christian's vocals, with welcome additions of fiddle, lap steel, mandolin, and dobro by Craig Eastman. Lyrically, the songs deal with love lost and found, southern geography (references to Carolina, Dallas, Mexico, I-35, and Oklahoma), drinking, Vietnam, God, dirt roads, neon signs, and many of the usual tropes of good old-fashioned country songs (with extra points for a reference to David Allen Coe that would make my mama proud). Which isn't to say it's all rote--there are moments of lyrical brilliance, and enough references and visuals to keep me interested.

To my ear, the best track on the album is the opener, "Sweet Carolina Rain," which is lyrically interesting ("Preacher man's daughter said I was goin' to hell/And I'm a little superstitious now/Driving down the road going a hundred and ten/Braggin' to your mama's little boy he's a man"), with a fantastic reference to Huck Finn, a sing-along chorus, and a fun fiddle line. I'm also a little bit enamored with the closing track, "Oklahoma State of Mind," which reminds me (in a positive way) of the fun and wild feel of Garth Brooks' "Ain't Goin' Down 'Til the Sun Comes Up." On a sadder and more serious note, the heartbreak and self-loathing that comes across in "Don't Come Home" ("I just called to tell you/That I was wrong and you were on my mind./If you want I'll leave you alone right now/'Cause I know why you're saying, why you're saying/Don't come home") is just about enough to break your heart, and Christian's vocal on it is just perfect.

All in all, this is a solid album for anyone who has a particular affection for Christian's voice, or for country/southern rock hybrid style music. Don't, however, buy the album thinking it's going to be like ten tracks of "L.A. Song"--the feel is much different. Be forewarned that you won't find L.A. lawyer Lindsey McDonald on the Kane album--these boys are southern and you can hear it. And that's just fine by me.

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Is L.A. Song the title track to Angel, or is it in a specific episode?

It's in a specific episode--the one where Lindsay sings at Caritas. You hear the whole song. I'm not such which ep it is, but it would be in either season 2 or season 3. Probably season 2.

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High School Play List

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Given my previous post mentioning my upcoming ten year high school reunion, I was inspired to make a play list today featuring songs I remember from high school. Please note that these are definitely not all songs I personally chose to listen to when I was in high school, just the stuff I remember being popular, playing at school dances, that kind of thing. Presented in roughly chronological order, you can hear the list here.

The List:

1. "I Can't Help Falling in Love with You" by UB40. This was huge my first year of high school, if I'm remembering correctly. Another UB40 cut, "Red Red Wine" was also big. For reasons I don't understand, I associate UB40 with my ill-fated first high school boyfriend.

2. "Runaway Train" by Soul Asylum. No words for how huge this song, and Soul Asylum's album "Grave Dancer's Union," were. It was actually the first CD I ever bought, when I was, I think, 14. I have special romantic girly associations with another track on that album, "The Sunmaid," but this was the one that everyone knew. It stands in for other stuff, too, coming, like I did, at the tail end of real grunge and the beginning of the faux-grunge sell-out movement.

3. "What's Up?" by 4 Non-Blondes. This song makes me think of my best friend Scand. She loved 4 Non-Blondes. I hadn't heard this in years until I put it on this list, and it actually holds up pretty well to my ear.

4. "Cryin'" by Aerosmith. The mid-90s were a big 70s flashback period, as you probably remember, and who better to celebrate that than Aerosmith? I think this song played at every dance I ever went to in high school. And the videos--for this and especially for "Crazy" a bit later? Huge stuff. Everybody wanted to either be Liv Tyler or do Liv Tyler (or, in my case, both).

5. "Hey Jealousy" by The Gin Blossoms. And so we begin to embrace corporate 90s rock...little did we know that in a few years, rock would be so dead we'd be nostalgic for the Gin Blossoms.

6. "Stay" by Lisa Loeb. Another song I associate with Scand, and also with the sexy/smart girl I was planning to be in college by the time this came out. Wonder what happened to her? Probably the same thing that happened to Lisa Loeb. Anyway, this song also brings up the movie "Reality Bites," which was not exactly a small deal at this point.

7. "Whatta Man" by Salt N Pepa. I'm not proud when I say that I grew up in an all-white community, I'm just stating a fact. And, looking back, a lot of the music we listened to was all-white too. There were things happening in rap and R&B when I was in high school that I had no idea about, and the rest of young America did. Not much I can do about that now, of course, but it's a strange thought. Anyway, white as we were, Salt N Pepa did penetrate, and I personally still have a soft spot there.

8. "Linger" by The Cranberries. Not much to say, except DAMN I still love this song.

9. "Don't Take the Girl" by Tim McGraw. Where I grew up, there was a good bit of country music. I'm sparing you most of it, though I do remember it vividly. However, I have to include one country song on this list, just to be fair, and this one was both huge and not that annoying. Damn contemporary country, anyway.

10. "Gangsta Paradise," by Coolio. See above re: whiteness of my community, but I don't think anybody anywhere missed this one.

11. "Carnival" by Natalie Merchant. By the time I started listening to Ani DiFranco, in around 1994, the chick singer was starting to make some headway on the regular radio airwaves as well. These women didn't do half what Ani did for me, but it was still nice to hear the odd girl voice on airwaves that were previously so testosterone soaked. Natalie Merchant is one of those.

12. "Always" by Bon Jovi. I think this song may have been the theme of my senior prom. Or some similar event.

13. "You Ought to Know" by Alanis Morisette. One of my best high school memories is connected to this song. It involves riding around with Scand in her car, screaming along to this CD. Well, I screamed--she sang. Anyway, it gives me the warm fuzzies even all these years later. Gotta love Alanis for that. I don't quite think it is what she was going for, but whatever.

14. "Breakfast at Tiffany's" by Deep Blue Something. And so we return to corporate music. As far as corporate music goes, I actually like this song, but man I hated it then. It was on all. the. damn. time.

15. "1979" by The Smashing Pumpkins. Ending on this note likely makes my generation seem a lot cooler than it actually is, but a little revisionist history never hurt anybody, did it? And this song was big, as was whole album. A last breathe into grunge. And poetically, the year I was born. Incidentally, if you've never thought about the lyrics to this song, you should. There's a lot going on there.

OK, here ends my trip down memory lane. I challenge all you out there to try to do this--I'd love to read/listen to your memories.

2 Comments

I think every girl in our age group has that You Oughta Know experience. And it's about Uncle Joey on Full House. Ew.

And I think some people might say revisionist history did hurt some people. You know, like, Holocaust deniers? :) Ha. History jokes are funny.

Lisa Loeb had a TV show with then BF Dweezil Zappa. I only wish that happened 10 yrs later so they could have a reality show.

I just came across my old tapes, and among those were the Soul Asylum, 4 Non Blondes, and The Cranberries tapes you mentioned. Of those, only 4 Non Blondes still really resonates with me, and I think it was because it's the only tape I bought solely for the reason that I liked the music on it. Soul Asylum was my attempt to fit in, and The Cranberries was somewhat of a compromise (my students love the Cranberries tape, though--"wow, my [mom/older sister] used to listen to this!". Makes me feel old.).

I can't come up with 10 songs, and our lists overlap a lot as it is, but I'd add a couple more:

"Stairway to Heaven" -- Did we have any dances that did not include this song? And did I get stuck dancing this with Gusty every time?

"Out of Range", Ani DiFranco -- Still makes me think of watching you wash dishes in the kitchen with the door slid closed, trying to talk about teenage angst above the music and under your parents' tv.

"Shine", Collective Soul -- The 1st cd I listened to in my new cd player, which was in my sweet '84 Chevy Cavalier.

"Lovefool", The Cardigans -- I had to look this one up online, but Joe used to play the Romeo + Juliet soundtrack in his truck all the time. Pop-y and non-descript.

"Brass Monkey", Beastie Boys -- Another Joe staple, but I still have a soft spot for the Beasties.

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Today's Play List: Better than Dylan

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I can't stop. I am an iMeem addict.

Today's play list is a celebration of the songs of Bob Dylan. Which are, of course, so much better if Bob Dylan is not singing them. It is by no means a representative sample of Dylan covers--I definitely have preferences here (which is why there are two different versions of my favorite Dylan song included in my 15 choices, and there could easily have been at least one more). Still, a few unusual things on the list that are fun to listen to. If you want to check them out, go here.

The list:
1. "Just Like a Woman" covered by Nina Simone
2. "Hurricane" covered by Ani DiFranco
3. "Don't Think Twice (It's Alright)" covered by Social Distortion
4. "He Was a Friend of Mine" covered by Cat Power
5. "I Shall Be Released" covered by Jack Johnson
6. "It Ain't Me, Babe" covered by Lucy Kaplansky
7. "Like A Rolling Stone" covered by Bob Marley
8. "Tangled Up in Blue" covered by the Indigo Girls with Ani DiFranco
9. "Trouble in Mind" covered by Janis Joplin
10. "Death is Not the End" covered by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
11. "Maggie's Farm" covered by Rage Against the Machine
12. "When I Paint my Masterpiece" covered by Elliot Smith
13. "Isis" covered by The White Stripes
14. "Just Like a Woman" covered by Van Morrison
15. "Girl From the North Country" covered by The Rolling Stones

Anybody who can point me towards a full version of any of Nina Simone's Dylan covers gets a cyber-cookie.

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Today's play list: L.A. Songs

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I had such a good time playing with iMeem yesterday; I decided to do it again today. Today's subject: a play list of songs about Los Angeles. Obviously, there are A LOT of songs about L.A., and I kept it down to 15, so if I missed your favorite L.A. song, my apologies (I missed a couple of my own as well, due to them not being available on iMeem). If you want to hear the ones I did choose, go here. And if you just want to read about them...

1. "L.A. Song" by Christian Kane
I started off with this one because it's the song that got me started thinking about L.A. It's from Angel.
Pretty girl on every corner
Sunshine turns the sky to gold
Warm, warm it's always warm here
And I can’t take the cold

2. "Screenwriter's Blues" by Soul Coughing
Probably my favorite L.A. song ever. Puts my in a semi-hypnotic state.
It is 5 am
and you are listening
to Los Angeles

3. "Los Angeles is Burning" by Bad Religion
A classic.
A placard reads "the end of days"
Jacaranda boughs are bending in the haze
More a question than a curse
How could hell be any worse
The flames are stunning
The cameras running
So take warning!

4. "A Long December" by The Counting Crows
I can't help it, I have a soft spot for the Counting Crows. Plus this song is just so damn sad and lonely, I am using it as a stand-in for Dan Bern's "Wasteland," which isn't available on iMeem.
And its one more day up in the canyons
And it’s one more night in Hollywood
If you think you might come to California...I think you should

5. All I Wanna Do by Sheryl Crow
Not the most original choice, I know, but I had to include something that implies L.A. might be fun...
All I wanna do is have some fun
I got a feeling I'm not the only one
All I wanna do is have some fun
I got a feeling I'm not the only one
All I wanna do is have some fun
Until the sun comes up over Santa Monica Boulevard

6. "California Dreamin'" by The Mamas and the Papas
Another classic.
All the leaves are brown
And the sky is grey
I’ve been for a walk
On a winters day
I'd be safe and warm
If I was in L.A.
California dreamin
On such a winters day

7. "California" by Joni Mitchell
For a Canadian, Joni Mitchell really makes you believe she's homesick for California. Regardless of the Sunset reference, though, this song always makes me think more of Northern California than L.A. Regardless, it's another classic that had to make the list.
California I'm coming home
Oh will you take me as I am
Strung out on another man
California I'm coming home

8. "Welcome to the Jungle" by Guns N' Roses
I'm not going to bother commenting on what currently passes for Guns N' Roses, but the original GNR line-up was, to my mind, the ultimate in L.A. bands, and this is their ultimate L.A. song.
Welcome to the jungle
It gets worse here everyday
Ya learn ta live like an animal
In the jungle where we play
If you got a hunger for what you see
You'll take it eventually
You can have anything you want
But you better not take it from me

9. "Lullaby" by Shawn Mullins
Since it's both a great L.A. song (again with the loneliness theme) and one of my favorite songs ever, this one had to make the list. Plus I just love this line:
I told her I ain't so sure
about this place
it's hard to play a gig in this town
and keep a straight face
seems like everyone here's got a plan
it's kind of like Nashville with a tan

10. "Why You'd Want to Live Here" by Death Cab for Cutie
I'm not a huge fan of DCFC, or their whole genre, but this is a good song, and I'm a sucker for outside criticism of L.A.
And I can't see why you'd want to live here.
Billboards reach past the tallest buildings,
"We are not perfect - but we sure try."
As UV rays degrade our youth with time.

11. "Celluloid Heroes" by The Kinks
I unabashedly love this song.
And those who are successful,
Be always on your guard,
Success walks hand in hand with failure
Along Hollywood Boulevard.

12. "California" by Rufus Wainwright
The really fabulous thing about this song is the feeling of exhaustion and fed-up boredom. Nobody does boredom like Rufus Wainwright.
California, California
You're such a wonder that I think Ill stay in bed
Big time rollers, part time models
So much to plunder
That I think I'll sleep instead

13. "Los Angeles, I'm Yours" by The Decemberists
Nothing like a little L.A. love from a Portland band...
There is a city by the sea
A gentle company
I don't suppose you want to
And as it tells its sorry tale
In harrowing detail
Its hollowness will haunt you
Its streets and boulevards
Orphans and oligarchs it hears
A plaintive melody
Truncated symphony
An ocean's garbled vomit on the shore,
Los Angeles, I'm yours

14. "City of Angels" by The Distillers
The Distillers add a much-needed dose of California punk to the list. Plus, extra points for bitterness.
It’s a ghost town rabid underworld
Dionysian night vitriolic twilight
A mirage comes up it never ends
Once you get burnt you’re never the same
Left behind erased from time
Ain’t no decency in being boxed up alive
Look around ain't no R.I.P. signs here
We don’t rest in peace
We just disappear

15. "Under the Bridge" by Red Hot Chili Peppers
Gotta end on a sad note, with a song that brings my adolescence to mind in the first three chords. This is a band that has a lot of L.A. songs, and this is the only one that does a damn thing for me. I'm such a sucker.
It's hard to believe that there's nobody out there
It's hard to believe that I'm all alone
At least I have her love, the city she loves me
Lonely as I am, together we cry

So hit me--what L.A. song should I have included that I missed?

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Beth Hart, "L.A. Song"

California Love by 2Pac!
Beverly Hills by Weezer
Hotel California by the Eagles

Nij used to live on Santa Monica and when I was in LA I could not get that Sheryl Crow song out of my head.

I am sure there's something Motley Crue I am not thinking of right at the moment.

"Come A Long Way" by Michelle Shocked:

Through the sweet green icing of MacArthur Park
And then I crossed the river into East L.A.
Pescado mojado me encontre
And I've given up on rock 'n roll
And I'm saving up for norteno
The river she runs by the railroad tracks
I swear I'll never take it back
A train, she cries on the midnight hour
All along the Watts Tower
Ohhhhhhhhhhh

I've come a long way
I've come a long way
I've gone 500 miles today
I've come a long way
I've come along way
And never even left L.A.

I gunned it down to San Pedro Bay
Watched my ship sail in, watched her sail away
The sun was sinking into the sea
But a ball of fire inside of me
Was burning my motor and driving me hard
Past the big hair on the Boulevard
And up Mulholland where I made the scene
Like the one that took little Jimmy Dean
And then I shimmied up Wilshire like a little silk worm
Past the rodeo and the pachyderm
And then I stopped for coffee at an art cafe
I saw the repo man and made my getaway
Doing the Eagle Rock
Heading for the hills
Oh try to let my engines cool
And it is not my fault that this town shakes
I saw the falling rock and I hit my brakes

I've come a long way
I've come a long way
I've gone 500 miles today
I've come a long way
I've come along way
And never even left L.A.

"Under the Bridge" and "Lullaby" are perfect...and I'm also a not so closeted Counting Crows fan, so you have mine covered. : )

The Beatles' "Get Back" is very LA to me although it never references the city, just the state...The Doors, "LA Woman", for sure...As for Motley Crue, anything off of "Dr. Feelgood" probably qualifies as an LA song. ; ) "Wild Side", "Dr. Feelgood", "Girls Girls Girls" (was a metalhead long ago and far away.)

Nice list. Fun, isn't it?

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Hallelujah reviews

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In a melancholy mood today, I decided to use my new best friend iMeem to make myself up a play list of all of the covers of "Hallelujah" I could find. Because really, what better way to wallow in it, and also to follow up my Patti Smith-related covers theme from yesterday? And after finding them all, what better than to review them, right?

Bon Jovi: The full version of Bon Jovi's "Hallelujah" isn't available on iMeen, just a 30 second clip, but I've heard it before. It's not a bad version, and I salute them for picking this song to cover, but it's pretty standard and a bit too choir-y in the chorus for my taste. A solo version of just Jon and a guitar doing it would likely be better. I think they use all of the regular verses.

John Cale: John Cale is a Welsh musician who does a fairly standard take on the song, accompanied by a piano and with a slightly speedier tempo than many others. He includes all of the typical verses.

Leonard Cohen: Unlike Bob Dylan, I often really like Leonard Cohen's versions of his own songs. I think his "Chelsea Hotel" is fabulous. But honestly, I prefer other people doing this one. Cohen's version is so sedate compared to some others, I don't get as much pain from it. Clearly it's his song, and he can do it however he wants, but I think adding a singer with bigger vocal range improves the song. The great thing about the Cohen version, however, is the inclusion of the verses nobody else uses in place of the final two verses:

You say I took the name in vain
I don't even know the name
But if I did, well really, what's it to you?
There's a blaze of light
In every word
It doesn't matter which you heard
The holy or the broken Hallelujah

I did my best, it wasn't much
I couldn't feel, so I tried to touch
I've told the truth, I didn't come to fool you
And even though
It all went wrong
I'll stand before the Lord of Song
With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah

Sheryl Crow: This song is out of Sheryl Crow's league, no doubt, but given that, she does an OK job with it. Her's is a spare, guitar-accompanied version, a bit too fast for my taste, but not terrible. And one thing I will say for Crowe is that she includes that fourth verse that most of the women who cover this song take out, and I appreciate that.

Allison Crowe: Canadian singer-songwriter Allison Crowe brings a nice piano and fantastic pipes to the song, and this is a good, solid version, with enough loss of control in the later verses to make me believe it. She includes the all of the standard verses. Makes me want to give a listen to Crowe's original work.

Dresden Dolls: The Boston-based Dresden Dolls call themselves "brechtian punk cabaret," and that's as good a name for what they do as anything else. The wringing pain in the vocal on their piano-driven live version of "Hallelujah" is the most excruciating take on the song I've heard. Their version is slow and drawn out, clocking in at two minutes or so longer than most cuts of it, and it leaves my breath baited for the whole time. By the end, it sounds as if the band's singer is being ritually tortured while singing. Yeah, it's that good.

Gavin Degraw: Poppy Gavin Degraw's version of the song does almost nothing for me. It's a basic vocal+piano, with not much real emotion I can find in it. It sounds almost as if he's trying to make the song sexy, and it's so just not supposed to be that way. Making matters worse, he skips the final verse ("well, maybe there's a god above/but all I’ve ever learned from love/was how to shoot somebody who outdrew you/it's not a cry that you hear at night/it's not somebody who's seen the light/it's a cold and it's a broken hallelujah") and does a weird high-note thing at the end. Bah.

Imogen Heap: I'm not generally a huge fan of English singer-songwriter Imogen Heap--I think she's melodramatic. But this is a melodramatic song, and her a capella version does not disappoint. She skips the first two verses and just sings the last three, giving a whole lot more romantic imagery and a whole lot less religious imagery, which is an unusual take.

Jeff Buckley: Jeff Buckley's version (from the album "Grace") tends to be the gold standard of "Hallelujah," and that's the case for a reason. He breaks my heart every time. His full version isn't available on iMeen either (stupid record companies!), but it's worth buying from iTunes if you've not heard it. He includes all of the regular verses and it's mostly a boy+guitar type of a take. It's not my favorite version ever, but it's probably the most accessible, while still sounding emotionally honest. Plus Buckley's story is such a sad one that it gives the song an extra poignant feel when you listen to him sing it.

Jake Falana Band: This is an alternative-indie band out of New Jersey, and their version is mellow and haunting, with soft vocals and slightly twangy guitar. Not my favorite version--the vocal is too low and the guitar to high for me, and the singer doesn't have the vocal range I'd really like to hear for this song, but it's not a bad try at it, either. All of the regular verses.

k.d. lang: It was k.d. lang who brought me the love for this song in the first place, on the day that I listened to her version, from "Hymns of the 49th Parallel," over and over again, bawling like a small child. I have since found covers of it I actually prefer, but this one is certainly easy on the ears, with lang giving it a sultry treatment that I never would have expected to suit it so well. I wish she didn't skip the fourth verse.

Espin Lind, Kurt Nilsen, Alejandro Fuentes, and Askil Holm: This version of "Hallelujah," done with each man taking a verse and four-part harmony on the chorus, is probably the single best one of I've ever heard. The singers are (I think) all Norwegian, with solo careers, but seem to have made one album together, featuring this song. It's just beautiful, though not as emotionally gripping as some of the other versions. In order to have the right number of verses to go around, though, they skip the fourth one, which is just too bad.

Jack Lukeman: Irish singer-songwriter Jack Lukeman (also known as Jack L) has a much deeper voice than most of the people who take this song on, and it doesn't quite work for me. The lowest parts of the song seem almost farcical when he does them, with none of the voice shaking and tremble that makes the song seem prayerful when other people do it. Like so many others, Jack L skips the fourth verse.

Regina Spektor: Tori-esque singer/pianist Spektor's version of "Hallelujah" is only barely musical, with a soft drum and organ type background, mostly just vocal. It's very slow and very raw, with almost breaking vocals in a couple of places and a chorus that veers off the original melody. It's painful to listen to, and, I think, fabulous. Spektor skips the fourth verse ("well there was a time when you let me know/what's really going on below/but now you never show that to me do you/but remember when I moved in you/and the holy dove was moving too/and every breath we drew was hallelujah"), which is disappointing to me, but overall, she hits it out of the park.

Rufus Wainwright: I love me some Rufus Wainwright--I think he was fabulous on the soundtrack to "Brokeback Mountain," and I love his cover of Cohen's "Everybody Knows," but his "Hallelujah" doesn't give me the big love. The tempo is too fast, making it seem almost upbeat, and he doesn't use as much of his range as he could. He includes all of the typical verses.

Any versions I missed?

Editing later to add that if you want to check out the playlist and hear most of these versions (though not the entirety of the Bon Jovi or the Jeff Buckley), go here.

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It's worth noting that John Cale created the "standard" arrangement. Nearly every cover since has been a cover of his arrangement.

I'd love to hear some of these, especially the four-man version. I do like Cohen's almost-jeering version - I'd like to see someone take on that version and produce a new arrangement.

I didn't know that, but it makes sense, as a lot of the other versions (particularly Rufus Wainwright's) seem to resemble Cale's.

If you're interested, check out the playlist I made. You can hear the Norwegian ensemble there, as well as the bloody brilliant Dresden Dolls version.

I think the Norwegian version is the prettiest--so glad I happened to catch it on TV over here, and I am glad you like it.

Buckley's version is fucking haunting, esp., as you say, given his life and far-too-early death.

i always assumed the cohen version was the original...huh, you learn something new every day.

Halleluah is a most glorious song - in all the versions I've heard. And, indeed, John Cale deserves credit for the popular arrangement. As for hearing Allison Crowe's original songs, yup, iMeem has many, and, you can hear everything she's recorded - over 100 songs - on her own website.

jenny - indeed, Cohen's IS the original, he is the creator of Hallelujah. It's the arrangement by Cale which has been followed by most performers since...

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Twelve

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Twelve CD CoverIt's been a good long time since I've fallen in love with a new CD. But I am, for the moment, crushing fairly hard on Patti Smith's new(ish) cover CD, Twelve. Covers are nothing new for Patti, and she's gotten a lot of criticism for the more mellow and less drastic versions she offers on this album, but to my ear, this is some of her best work ever. It has a mature, almost tired, sound that makes sense to me, given Patti's age and everything she's seen, and also fits well with the songs themselves, most of which are decades old and some of which haven't aged all that gracefully.

The twelve song collection begins with fairly low-key version of Jimi Hendrix's "Are You Experienced?" and culminates with Stevie Wonder's "Pastime Paradise" (which brings Coolio's "Gangster's Paradise" to my mind much more readily than Wonder's original, but that may just be due to my age). In between, Patti brings the house down with the best versions I've ever heard of both Tears for Fears "Everybody Wants To Rule the World" and Neil Young's "Helpless," my favorite track on the album, and a song I didn't even know I liked until I heard her do it.

Other surprisingly strong points are Patti's version of The Doors' "Soul Kitchen" and her Stones-true take on "Gimme Shelter" (a song that takes on a whole other thing when sung by a woman). The places where the album lacked for me were the songs I was most looking forward to hearing--the nonsensical ramblings of both Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" (which, much as I love the original, probably didn't ever need to have its lyrics enunciated so clearly) and Jefferson Airplane's "White Rabbit." The anthemic and hallucinatory nature of both of these pieces seems out of place on this subtle and melancholy album.

The collection is rounded out with the Beatles "With You Without You," Bob Dylan's "Changing of the Guard," Paul Simon's "The Boy in the Bubble," and the Allman Brothers' "Midnight Rider," with "White Rabbit" the only track where Patti takes on lyrics originally sung by another woman. Normally, ignoring songs originally done by women would bother me, but with the way Patti takes these guys' songs and makes them hers (reminding me a wee bit of the better parts of Tori Amos' Strange Little Girls), it works out pretty well.

This album brings up the question, though, if you are a musician or wish you were--which twelve songs would you choose to cover? I'll think about it and post my list later.

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Songs they see you in

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I woke up this morning, for whatever reason, thinking about the songs I've been told I remind people of over the years. I can actually only think of three (should there be more?), but I think it's an interesting list. And it would make a good meme-type question, so readers, comment or add this to your blog? What songs have reminded people of you?

The first time I remember being compared to a song, it was Soul Asylum's "The Sun Maid." (Their album, "Grave Dancers Union" was very popular at the time.) Here are those lyrics:

The Sun Maid
Tell me how you get that shine
You must polish all the time
Though I know your job is thankless
They will thank you up in heaven
Oh the Sun Maid
Looking for the shade
Though they say she's not too bright
She takes care of all the light
Without you it's cold and stark
We would all be in the dark
Without the Sun Maid
She never gets paid
Searching for the shade
Oh the Sun Maid
You are so taken for granted
With each and every seed that's planted
And the earth is so demanding
All the young girls are out tanning
The Sun Maid
She's such an old maid
She never gets laid
Oh the Sun Maid
Now you're tired, your day is over
Now the moon is one day older

Now you tell me what that comparison was about...

A few years later, a slightly less insulting song brought up thoughts of me--U2's "Who's Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses?" (From Achtung Baby, also very popular when I was in high school.)

Who's Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses?
You're dangerous 'cause you're honest
You're dangerous, you don't know what you want
Well you left my heart empty as a vacant lot
For any spirit to haunt

Hey hey sha la la
Hey hey

You're an accident waiting to happen
You're a piece of glass left in a beach
Well, you tell me things I know you're not supposed to
Then you leave me just out of reach

Hey hey sha la la
Hey hey sha la la

Who's gonna ride your wild horses?
Who's gonna drown in your blue sea?
Who's gonna ride your wild horses?
Who's gonna fall at the foot of thee?

Well you stole it 'cause I needed the cash
And you killed it 'cause I wanted revenge
Well you lied to me 'cause I asked you to
Baby, can we still be friends?

Hey hey sha la la
Hey hey sha la la

Who's gonna ride your wild horses?
Who's gonna drown in your blue sea?
Who's gonna ride your wild horses?
Who's gonna fall at the foot of thee?

Oh, the deeper I spin
Oh, the hunter will sin for your ivory skin
Took a drive in the dirty rain
To a place where the wind calls your name
Under the trees the river laughing at you and me
Hallelujah, heavens white rose
The doors you open
I just can't close

Don't turn around, don't turn around again
Don't turn around, your gypsy heart
Don't turn around, don't turn around again
Don't turn around, and don't look back
Come on now love, don't you look back!

Who's gonna ride your wild horses?
Who's gonna drown in your blue sea?
Who's gonna taste your salt water kisses?
Who's gonna take the place of me?

Who's gonna ride your wild horses?
Who's gonna tame the heart of thee?

I have to admit that one remains my favorite. Makes me sound exciting, don't you think? Incidentally, this is the only one that WASN'T suggested by someone I was sleeping with/someone who was trying to get me to sleep with him.

The most recent comparison, which has still been a number of years ago, was to "Swords" by Leftfield (off the album of the same name). Also a bit strange...

Swords
Danger, in every corner.
I have become pure water.
I can identify.
I close my eyes.
I wear my sword at my side (x2).
Cleanse me.
Deep in the fire.
I have become pure water.
I wear my sword at my side (x4).
I have become pure water (x2).
I have become pure water (distorted and echoed)

So those, such as they are, are mine. What are yours?

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Halleluja

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As I think I've mentioned before, I am a big, big fan of Leonard Cohen's song, "Halleluja." In fact, if I had to pick a #1 favorite song, that would probably be it. As such, I'm a sucker for a decent cover of it (the Dresden Dolls do a great one, as does k.d. lang). My expatted-to-Norway friend S. just sent me a link to a Norweigan group doing it, which she'd seen on TV. You should give it a watch/listen. It's goddamn brilliant.

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I did not expect the one guy to have such a Southern US accent!

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Best of 2006

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Here is a list of some of my favorite things in 2006.

Top 5 Books
5. I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence by Amy Sedaris
4. My Life in France by Julia Child
3. The Class Castle: A Memoir by Jeanette Walls
2. The Mercy of Thin Air by Ronlyn Domingue
1. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

Top 5 Movies
5. Wordplay
4. The Science of Sleep
3. V for Vendetta
2. Little Miss Sunshine
1. Kinky Boots

Top 2 TV
2. House, Season 3
1. The Wire, Season 4

Top 5 CDs
5. The Be Good Tanyas, Hello Love
4. The Little Willies, The Little Willies
3. Bruce Springsteen, We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions
2. The Dixie Chicks, Taking the Long Way
1. Roseanne Cash, Black Cadillac

What'd I miss?

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I just blogged about Wordplay and Kinky Boots. I really kinda hated Kinky Boots, though...

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Dar

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Dar Williams pictureThere's the wind
And the rain
And the mercy of the fallen
Who say they have no claim
To know what's right
There's the weak
And the strong
And the beds that have no answers
And that's where I may rest my head tonight

-Dar Williams, "Mercy of the Fallen"

Despite being in pretty bad physical and emotional shape this week (the headache that never ends, among other things), I went to see Dar Williams play at the Cactus Cafe on campus on Tuesday night. And she was great. Actually, she probably wasn't, by an objective standard, great, but it was great fun to see her anyway. It's a very small room, and I got there early, so I was in the first row, only a few feet away from her, which was excellent.

She did a few songs I hadn't heard her do live before, including one of my very favorites, "I Had No Right," which is about Jesuit priest Daniel Berrigan and his work for peace, and is a great song, so hearing her do that was a thrill. She also did favorites such as "The Christians and the Pagans" and "When I Was a Boy," and even did "Southern California Wants to be Western New York" by request, which was great.

While watching the show, I started thinking about my penchant for music driven by heady lyrics and performed by tiny women with big guitars. Who would have thought, in my heavy metal-transitions-to-grunge youth, that I'd end up so comfortable in a folk club, watching a performance that consists completely of a woman, her guitar, and her words. It's such an intimate experience (particularly from the first row). It feels so good, so honest. So like something I can relate to. When did that happen? When did bands become to loud and distracting? I've always, to a greater or lesser degree, liked singer-songwriters, but now they're generally the only people I care to see live. And I am more and more unwilling to sit in large venues and watch concerts that seem more like plays. The natural, flowing, personal nature of the shows I've seen at the Cactus Cafe, though--Lucy Kaplansky, Eliza Gilkyson, and now Dar--they are worth leaving the house for.

Once again, it leaves me feeling old. But not necessarily in a bad way. This is what I like. And there's nothing wrong with that.

3 Comments

I really wanted to go to that show, but my trip to California conflicted with it. Thanks for posting about the performance!

I feel like every show I go to, the guitars are turned WAY up and drown out the vocals, which are the part I most want to hear. It's so annoying. And it's EVERYWHERE for pretty much every genre. My classic example is that Dan Bern show we went to at the Roseland--sucked when electric b/c it was all guitars, awesome after. There have been only a few exceptions to this, recently. A Hank III show I went to had a reasonable vocal mix, the Drive By Truckers was okay, and most hiphop shows are fine (since vocals ARE the thing there). And Prince is always a good mix!

I'm totaly in love with Lucy Kaplansky lately. And Dar. Do you have/have you heard the album they did together (with some guy whose name I forget), "cry, cry, cry"? So good! Anyway, I'm only 21, so don't feel old! ;) Or I'll feel old with you....

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Thoughts on Hedwig

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A dream
Or a song
That hits you so hard
Filling you up
And suddenly gone

- "Midnight Radio", from Hedwig and the Angry Inch

I've seen several versions of Hedwig and the Angry Inch (one when it was originally off-Broadway, but sadly with Ally Sheedy rather than John Cameron Mitchell, two on stage in Portland, and the film in various venues). Every time, I've felt this amazing rush of emotions--sadness, grief, complete joy, and awe at the true brilliance of the work. Last night was no different. S. and I went to a "Hedwig Sing-Along" at our local cool-ass indie theater, and it was a great time. But it's more than a great time. It's more than, as the host said, "the greatest rock movie of all time." It's this trascendent, spiritual experience. I know that sounds weird, but there it is.

So if you haven't seen it (gah!) or haven't seen it lately, check it out again. If you are anything like me, it's a mind-blow, and ultimately and uplifting experience, every time.

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This may sound like a stupid question, but what do you like about it? I have never seen it live, but I found it a boring and mostly confusing (as I couldn't tell what anyone was saying) movie, and I didn't really like the music. I know everyone's totally batty for it, but I don't get it. I also don't get why anyone likes Rocky Horror, so maybe the whole transvestite rock musical is not for me...

First, I don't think it's anything like Rocky Horror. Rocky Horror is fun and all, but it's sort of dumb. Hedwig, on the other hand, is genius. It's hard for me to really say what I like about it, because I like everything about it. I think the music is amazing. I think the acting is good. I think the modern myth aspect of it is amazing. I love the animation. I think it's hysterically funny. I think it's freak-empowering. I connect to it on a pretty visceral level, and have since I first saw it, and more so each time. It's not necessarily something I can put into words.

I didn't even get the story. The whole movie I just didn't understand a damn thing that was going on. I still have no idea thing one what the story was about. I am always annoyed by musicals tho, so that probably added to it. And I could not understand anything Hedwig said. I had to put on subtitles. And it's not like I have a problem understanding German accents, generally.

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Music meme/game answers

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So here's what they were:

1. The first part of every day for me is good
Dar Williams, "It Happens Every Day"

2. I've been in and out of every honky tonk in town
Loretta Lynn, "Mrs. Leroy Brown"

3. Half the people you see these days are talkin' on cell phones
Greg Brown, "'Cept You and Me Babe"

4. Life is turned upside down
Badly Drawn Boy, "Life Turned Upside Down"

5. Out of nowhere this gust of wind brushed my hair
k.d. lang, "Pullin' Back the Reins"

6. Is it too much to ask?
Lucinda Williams (could have also been Mary Chapin-Carpenter), "Passionate Kisses"

7. You give me that look that's like laughing
Ani DiFranco, "Falling Is Like This"

8. It takes more love than a heart can hold
Maria McKee, "More Than a Heart Can Hold"

9. I can't do it, I can't conceive of everything you're trying to make me believe
Aimee Mann, "How Am I Different?"

10. Soon we'll come to the end of life's journey
Johnny Cash, "If We Never Meet Again"

11. You thought she was an angel, I can still hear you say
Y'all, I have no idea what this one was...

12. When I was four years old they tried to test my I.Q.

Ani DiFranco, "My I.Q."

13. C'mon people now, smile on your brother
Nirvana, "Territorial Pissings"

14. It's against the law to walk, it's against the law to talk
Billy Bragg and Wilco (could also be Woody Guthrie), "Against the Law"
15. The wind is ruthless and the trees shake angry fingers at the sky
Ani DiFranco, "Done Wrong"

16. Bye, bye bye baby, bye bye
Janis Joplin, "Bye Bye Baby"

17. Forgiving you was easy, but forgetting seems to take the longest time
Willie Nelson, "Forgiving You Was Easy"

18. She sat on the pavement as I pulled in the drive
Iggy Pop, "I Felt the Luxury"
19. You keep telling me I'm beautiful but I feel a little less so
Ani DiFranco, "Swim"

20. Words fell, like roses at our feet

Lucinda Williams, "Words Fell"

21. I walked 100 miles just to see you
Peter Wilde, "100 Miles"

22. I never knew I could feel like this
Again, I have no idea.

23. Don't you worry 'bout what's on your mind, woman
The Rolling Stones, "Let's Spend the Night Together"

24. My first lover
Gillian Welch, "My First Lover"

25. I wanted everything for a little while, why shouldn't I?
Everything But the Girl, "Wrong"


26. In the jukebox of her memory, the list of names flips by and stops
Ani DiFranco, "Jukebox"
27. I don't want to feel this way
Everything But the Girl, "Good Cop, Bad Cop"

28. Hear that lonesome whip-o-will
Johnny Cash (but could have been Hank I), "So Lonesome I Could Cry"

29. Everybody was estatic, about the light show on the farm
Dan Bern, "Thanksgiving Day Parade"

30. Well there was a little falter at the alter of confession
Dixie Chicks, "Tortured, Tangled Hearts"

Thanks for playing!

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Music meme/game

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This is from the fantastic Ms. Frog.

Instructions:
Step 1: Put your MP3 player or whatever on random.
Step 2: Post the first line(s) from the first 30 songs that play, no matter how embarrassing the song.
Step 3: Post and let everyone you know guess what song and artist the lines come from.
Step 4: Strike through the songs when someone guesses correctly.
Step 5: Looking them up on Google or any other search engine is CHEATING!

Here are mine:

1. The first part of every day for me is good
2. I've been in and out of every honky tonk in town
3. Half the people you see these days are talkin' on cell phones
4. Life is turned upside down
5. Out of nowhere this gust of wind brushed my hair

6. Is it too much to ask?

7. You give me that look that's like laughing
8. It takes more love than a heart can hold
9. I can't do it, I can't conceive of everything you're trying to make me believe
10. Soon we'll come to the end of life's journey

11. You thought she was an angel, I can still hear you say
12. When I was four years old they tried to test my I.Q.
13. C'mon people now, smile on your brother
14. It's against the law to walk, it's against the law to talk
15. The wind is ruthless and the trees shake angry fingers at the sky

16. Bye, bye bye baby, bye bye
17. Forgiving you was easy, but forgetting seems to take the longest time
18. She sat on the pavement as I pulled in the drive
19. You keep telling me I'm beautiful but I feel a little less so
20. Words fell, like roses at our feet

21. I walked 100 miles just to see you
22. I never knew I could feel like this
23. Don't you worry 'bout what's on your mind, woman
24. My first lover
25. I wanted everything for a little while, why shouldn't I?

26. In the jukebox of her memory, the list of names flips by and stops
27. I don't want to feel this way
28. Hear that lonesome whip-o-will
29. Everybody was estatic, about the light show on the farm
30. Well there was a little falter at the alter of confession

7 Comments

3. Greg Brown - 'Cept You and Me Babe

7. Ani DiFranco - Falling Is Like This

20. Lucinda Williams - Words Fell

24. Gillian Welch - My First Lover

28- Hank "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry" I just saw Hank 3 last weekend, so I have been boning up on my Hanks. Is 13 Get Together? ~J

12. Ani DiFranco, IQ And for 13, I can sing the whole damn chorus (I think the song name is the same as the lyric that's listed), but I can't come up with the name.

Hehe. It has a really odd title, I wouldn't have been able to come up with it either.

15. ani, done wrong 16. janis joplin, bye bye baby and i know the words to 13 too, but not the name!

19 - Swim (AD) 26 - Jukebox (AD)

30. The Dixie Chicks - Tortured Tangled Hearts

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iPod meme

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The first 25 songs that appear, when shuffling:

1. Greg Brown, "Slant Six Mind"
2. Counting Crows, "Blue Buildings"
3. Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson, "Don't Take Your Guns To Town"
4. Hole, "Malibu"
5. Olive, "I Don't Think So"
6. Guns N' Roses, "Right Next Door to Hell"
7. Carrie Newcomer, "Threads"
8. Nirvana, "Smells Like Teen Spirit" (live)
9. Dixie Chicks, "Without You"
10. Portishead, "Mourning Air" (live)
11. Everything But the Girl, "Big Deal"
12. Johnny Cash, "Rowboat"
13. Patti Smith, "Free Money"
14. Tracy Chapman, "Say Hallelujah"
15. Sarah McLachlan, "Home"
16. Roseanne Cash, "Radio Operator"
17. Madonna, "Candy Perfume Girl"
18. Rolling Stones, "Sympathy for the Devil"
19. Iggy Pop, "Nazi Girlfriend"
20. Ani DiFranco, "Out of Range" (live)
21. Kris Kristofferson, "Stranger"
22. Janis Joplin with Big Brother and the Holding Company, "Flower in the Sun"
23. Babes with Axes, "We Pay the Price"
24. Emmylou Harris, "Michelangelo"
25. Ani DiFranco, "Hurricane"

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The Pilgrim, Chapter 33

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This week's Austin Chronicle's cover story is about one of my personal heroes, as a writer, as an activist, and as a person, Kris Kristofferson. I suggest you read it.

When asked for his life's goals, Kris said, "Tell the truth. Sing with passion. Work with laughter. Love with heart." I can get behind that. I can so get behind that.

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CD Review: W.O.W. Live Babes!

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This album is a little bit hard to get a hold of, but it's so worth it. It's one my all-time faves, and is the first in a series of all-times faves I am going to review here.

Babes with Axes is a (former, unfortunately) band from Eugene, Oregon. It is comprised of four independent artists, Debbie Dietrich, Katie Henry, T.R. Kelley, and Laura Kemp, each of whom also performed (performs) solo. The album a live recording, done at the infamous (at least if you are me) University of Oregon W.O.W. Hall. The group performs each artist's solo songs together, with them all doing vocals and playing guitars and various other instruments. It's pretty straight up folk, but it's simply, beautifully done.

My favorite tracks are generally the ones written and led by Laura Kemp, who also has great solo records (as do the other artists--the only one I don't have is Katie Henry's). I am particularly enamored with the album's opening track, "I Know, You Know." Other favorites include another one of Laura's, "The Rootless Way," Debbie Dietrich's "The Road from Me to You," and T.R. Kelley's funny and telling "Downwardly Mobile (aka Government Cheese)," which I know I've mentioned here before.

These are basic folk songs--simple guitar melodies, beautiful lyrics, lovely singing. They are about relationships, about loss, about being far away from the people you love, about being a woman. Very salt of the earth. Highly recommended.

"I just put my plants into the ground/I was tired of always lugging them around/When I open up my eyes/I could not see a blue sky/I've got everyone I love so far away/And if I had the antidote/If I knew the cure/I'd be the first to change this rootless way/I'd be coaxing you to stay." -Laura Kemp, "The Rootless Way"

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Perspective

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Heard on the way to work this morning. Given my recent whinging about my job and Bush's oh-so poor friendly budget proposal, it seems fitting.

"We Can't Make it Here"

Vietnam Vet with a cardboard sign
Sitting there by the left turn line
Flag on the wheelchair flapping in the breeze
One leg missing, both hands free
No one's paying much mind to him
The V.A. budget's stretched so thin
And there's more comin' home from the Mideast war
We can't make it here anymore

That big ol' building was the textile mill
It fed our kids and it paid our bills
But they turned us out and they closed the doors
We can't make it here anymore

See all those pallets piled up on the loading dock
They're just gonna set there till they rot
'Cause there's nothing to ship, nothing to pack
Just busted concrete and rusted tracks
Empty storefronts around the square
There's a needle in the gutter and glass everywhere
You don't come down here 'less you're looking to score
We can't make it here anymore

The bar's still open but man it's slow
The tip jar's light and the register's low
The bartender don't have much to say
The regular crowd gets thinner each day

Some have maxed out all their credit cards
Some are working two jobs and living in cars
Minimum wage won't pay for a roof, won't pay for a drink
If you gotta have proof just try it yourself Mr. CEO
See how far 5.15 an hour will go
Take a part time job at one of your stores
Bet you can't make it here anymore

High school girl with a bourgeois dream
Just like the pictures in the magazine
She found on the floor of the laundromat
A woman with kids can forget all that
If she comes up pregnant what'll she do
Forget the career, forget about school
Can she live on faith? live on hope?
High on Jesus or hooked on dope
When it's way too late to just say no
You can't make it here anymore

Now I'm stocking shirts in the Wal-Mart store
Just like the ones we made before
'Cept this one came from Singapore
I guess we can't make it here anymore

Should I hate a people for the shade of their skin
Or the shape of their eyes or the shape I'm in
Should I hate 'em for having our jobs today
No I hate the men sent the jobs away
I can see them all now, they haunt my dreams
All lily white and squeaky clean
They've never known want, they'll never know need
Their shit don't stink and their kids won't bleed
Their kids won't bleed in the damn little war
And we can't make it here anymore

Will work for food
Will die for oil
Will kill for power and to us the spoils
The billionaires get to pay less tax
The working poor get to fall through the cracks
Let 'em eat jellybeans let 'em eat cake
Let 'em eat shit, whatever it takes
They can join the Air Force, or join the Corps
If they can't make it here anymore

And that's how it is
That's what we got
If the president wants to admit it or not
You can read it in the paper
Read it on the wall
Hear it on the wind
If you're listening at all
Get out of that limo
Look us in the eye
Call us on the cell phone
Tell us all why

In Dayton, Ohio
Or Portland, Maine
Or a cotton gin out on the great high plains
That's done closed down along with the school
And the hospital and the swimming pool
Dust devils dance in the noonday heat
There's rats in the alley
And trash in the street
Gang graffiti on a boxcar door
We can't make it here anymore

-Music and lyrics by James McMurtry

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The Man in Black

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Well, we're doin' mighty fine, I do suppose,
In our streak of lightnin' cars and fancy clothes,
But just so we're reminded of the ones who are held back,
Up front there ought 'a be a Man In Black.

Today is the opening day of Walk the Line, a movie (and, apparently, the rest of the country) am very much looking forward to seeing. I doubt I'll make it to the theater tonight (I had a very hard night last night and I'm exhausted), but I'm hoping to go tomorrow or Sunday. On this auspicious occasion, I thought I'd share with you some of my feelings about Johnny Cash.

I love Johnny Cash. I admire Johnny Cash. I mourned when Johnny Cash died. Johnny Cash has long been among the only music my boyfriend and I can agree on (and that's been true for several boyfriends in a row now). Johnny Cash is the epitome of cool. Johnny Cash's "Hurt" video made me less afraid to age. But it actually goes well beyond that, well beyond Cash's second incarnation as a post-country alt-hipster. It goes back home.

It goes back to my mom, and my stepdad, and the music I grew up with. The core of this music, as I remember it, consisted of what I now know is the very best of classic country music: my mom's personal favorite, and mine as well, Kris Kristofferson, Waylon Jennings, Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson, and, of course, Johnny Cash (with a healthy bit of Steve Goodman, John Prine, and Guy Clark thrown in, because when it really comes down to it, mom is more folk than she is country). We played these men on 8-tracks in the big, dusty, black late-70s Chevrolet my mom drove before she moved into the minivan class. I knew the words to songs like "Help Me Make It Through the Night" and "Folsom Prison Blues" well before I could have possibly grasped their subject matter, and I vividly remember bouncing into town on worn out shocks, singing "Mama Tried" along with the scratchy car radio. Neither I nor my mother has the best voice, but what we lack in tune we make up for in volume. And in love.

I remember flipping through my mom's albums, and the ones I wanted to play again and again as a kid. The Outlaws. Waylon & Willie. Live at Folsom Prison. Best of Kristofferson. I loved Cash's booming voice and Willie's smooth one, and it took me many more years to realize that Kris Kristofferson really doesn't have much of a voice at all. I really believed Waylon was a cowboy, and I was more impressed than scandalized when somebody told me The Hag had spent time in the penitentiary. Looking back on it now, I doubt my parents intended me to see these men as heroes, but I certainly did.

And then I grew up a little bit, and figured out how massively uncool country music was, and switched allegiances. And as I developed my own tastes, I found new heroes. The first bunch were more or less throw-aways (there isn't much good you can say for Axl Rose), but I still stand by my love for Kurt Cobain and Ani DiFranco, and still listen to both of their albums. In secret, though, in the car by myself, I never stopped tuning the radio to stations playing country music. Country had mostly turned to pop by then, so mostly it was the same crap as on the other stations, just with a cowboy hat, but occasionally one of those old songs would come on, and I'd sing along just like I had with my mom. But never in front of anybody.

In college I first heard Johnny Cash in the pool hall, and it slowly dawned on me that he'd been dubbed cool. But this was none of the cowboy I'd learned to love as a child, this was the sneering, coked up Cash I'd somehow not seen. No wonder he was cool--he looked like country Iggy Pop. Still, the songs were the same, and it was good to be able to listen to them in public again.

Finally, about the time Cash started putting out records with Rick Rubin, I'd come to my own enough that it no longer mattered what the verdict on Johnny Cash's coolness was--I was getting back into the music I'd loved all along, once again hearing the steel guitar and singing along to songs I'd now known the lyrics to for nearly 20 years. So of course I bought the records, and I was blown away by what I'd been missing. Now an old man, there was a beauty and grace and vulnerability in Cash's voice that he'd never had before. The songs he chose came from all over the map, and everything sounded so beautiful, so brilliant, and so brittle, so fragile.

Which, by that point, he was. While I'd been preoccupied with being a teenager and then a young adult, Johnny Cash had gotten old. Waylon Jennings had died. Kris Kristofferson had turned from the blue-eyed sex symbol of some of my earliest illicit thoughts to a gray-haired B actor. The first time I saw the "Hurt" video, I bawled my eyes out, a little bit for my own early-20s newfound fear of aging, but mostly for the old man in the video, a man who sounded a little bit like the outlaw I remembered, but mostly just looked like an old man.

One day I looked up and he's pushin' eighty
He's got brown tobacco stains all down his chin
Well to me he was a hero of this country
So why's he all dressed up like them old men?

Really, though, I realized upon further viewings, and upon listening to the song over and over again, there was nothing to cry about. This man had lived an amazing life, had been a part of an amazing love, and had carried on, almost til his dying day, with making his music. And making it well. Unlike so many musicians who wash up, who forget, after years of fame, why they do what they do, Johnny Cash continued until his last recording to make real music, the kind real people listen to, and to make it as well as anybody ever has or likely ever will.

Having done a good bit of studying American history, there aren't that many American legends left for me to believe in. I know JFK was a womanizer and a liar, and that no matter how sympathetic his portrayal by Kevin Costner, Wyatt Earp mostly just liked to kill people. I have a hard time sympathizing with Custer's last stand or thinking Lewis & Clark were heroes. Marilyn Monroe and James Dean weren't very smart; Jim Morrison and Janis Joplin were alcoholics, and the more of those I know, the less like legends they look. Johnny Cash, however, stands out in my mind as an American icon. This isn't because I'm not aware of the dark periods in Cash's life--I am--but because he never, to my knowledge, pretended to be anything but a man. A flawed, American man. And there aren't enough of those left.

It may just be chance that Johnny Cash--and the whole passle of American poet-cowboy-outlaw-singers he represents--speaks to me like he does. It may have something to do with growing up in the West, where such things are glorified, or with my own somewhat rebellious spirit. But it's good for us all, I think, to have something or someone speak to us once in a while. It's good to be able to believe in something or someone, no matter how silly. And it's good to have these things or people as links to the parts of our own lives that we are removed from. I still listen to old country songs, and I hear my mother's voice on them more often than not. When I look at pictures of Johnny Cash, I see our shared Native American ancestry in the set, square jaw that looks slightly like my grandmother's. And I don't just miss him, I miss her. I miss six year-old me, singing along to songs I couldn't have understood. And, maybe just for a minute, I'm her again. A piece of American history.

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Johnny Cash. Amen. live at folsom prison is one of those albums that i listen to over and over. howl

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iTunes: The Meme

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Swiped from Frog.

Question: What do you think of me, ITunes?
Answer: "Have I Told You Lately," The Chieftains with Van Morrison

Question: Will I have a happy life?
Answer: "Walking on Sunshine," Dolly Parton

Question: What do my friends really think of me?
Answer: "Is There Anybody Here?" Phil Ochs

Question: Do people secretly lust after me?
Answer: "Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend," Emmylou Harris

Question: What should I do with my life?
Answer: "Heart Shaped Bruise," Elvis Costello & the Imposters

Question: Why must life be so full of pain?
Answer: "Rain King," The Counting Crows

Question: How can I maximize my pleasure during sex?
Answer: "This Box Contains..." Ani DiFranco

Question: Will I ever have children?
Answer: "A Hymn for the Exiled," Anais Mitchell

Question: Will I die happy?
Answer: "Moment of Forgiveness," Indigo Girls

Question: Can you give me some advice?
Answer: "Speed of the Sound of Loneliness," Nanci Griffith

Question: What do you think happiness is?
Answer: "Roses and Hats," Laura Kemp

Question: Am I complete freak?
Answer: "Controversy," Prince

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Land of the Living

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I went to see Lucy Kaplansky play last night. It was really good--I've never been a huge fan of her's, but thought her last album, The Red Thread, was pretty exceptional. A lot of my love for the album was situational, however, as my very good friends S. and T. adopted a little girl from China about the same time Kaplansky and her husband did, so a lot of the subject matter on The Red Thread moved me on a personal level when I heard it.

Last night, though, it became clear that it wasn't just situational--they're great songs. Kaplansky also made a joke about Greg Brown being a womanizer, which was fabulous, if you are a folk geek like me.

Given everything that has happened lately, and the anniversary of 9/11, I was surprised she did it, but someone requested this, and she did it. And I cried. Not so much for 9/11, maybe, but for New Orleans. For Iraq. For all of us. So I thought I'd share it.

"Land Of The Living"
(Lyrics by Lucy Kaplansky and Richard Litvin,
Music by Lucy Kaplansky)

Late afternoon back in New York town
Waking up as the wheels touch down
Pick up my guitar and walk away
Wish I was going home to stay

Line of taxis, I wait my turn
Tar and asphalt, exhaust and fumes
Beside the road on a patch of ground
Taxi drivers are kneeling down

Beneath the concrete sky I watch them pray
While the people of the world hurry on their way
I think they're praying for us all today
And the stories that fell from the sky that day

CHORUS:
This is the land of the living
This is the land that's mine
She still watches over Manhattan
She's still holding onto that torch for life

Back home fire's still burning, I can see it in the air
Pictures of faces posted everywhere
They say "hazel eyes, chestnut hair
Mother of two missing down there"

I pass the firemen on duty tonight
Carpets of flowers in candlelight
And thank you in a child's scrawl
Taped to the Third Street firehouse wall

There's shadows of the lost on the faces I see
Brothers and strangers on this island of grief
There's death in the air but there's life on this street
There's life on this street

CHORUS

Then I got in a taxi, said "Hudson Street please"
He started the meter and he looked at me
I glanced at his name on the back of his seat
And I looked out the window at the ghost filled streets

I noticed cuts on his hand and his face
And I said "You're bleeding, are you okay?"
He said "I'm not so good, got beat up today
And I'm not one of them no matter what they say

I'm just worried about my family
My wife's in the house and she's scared to leave"
And I didn't know what to say
I didn't know what to say
But I said a prayer for him anyway

CHORUS

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Monday meme

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Yeah, I know, it's Friday. But this is last Monday's meme, from here.

1. What is your favorite song of all time? Does is bring back any special memories?
Probably Simon & Garfunkel's Bridge Over Troubled Water. Unfortunately, the memory it brings back is from the memorial service for a girl I knew slightly (I was friends with her brother) in high school who died in a terrible mountain climbing accident. So it's not exactly a happy memory. But I guess it's not exactly a happy song.

2. What song do you like the best of those released in the past year?
I am hard pressed to name a song that was released in the past year. I'm not really much for the popular music and I can't think of a new CD I've bought that was released in the past year...I like that Sugarland song, "Baby Girl." I'm sure I'm forgetting something.

3. Have you been to many concerts? What was your first? Which were your favorites?

I've been to quite a few shows. My first, I believe, was Paul Revere & The Raiders at the Douglas County Fair. Heehee. All I remember is him making a joke about CDs (new then) being "little tiny records that won't play on your turntable." I must have been about 6. Willie Nelson, also at the fair, but ten or so years later, was a great show. Ani is nearly always good. Dar Williams is nearly always good. I had a great time seeing Billy Bragg. I like to watch Greg Brown. Locally, it doesn't get better than Eliza Gilkyson. Getting to see Kris Kristofferson was a complete dream come true and something I'll never forget...I could go on, but I'll spare you.

4. If you were a musician, what genre of music would you preform? What would your band be called?
I'd be a folk singer/songwriter. No band name required. Too bad I can't sing. Or play the guitar. Or write songs.

5. Recommend 5 songs to your friends:

This is simply too broad a question. Which friends? What kind of music do they like?

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Also by way of Frog

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A list of music I have seen live in concert, in the order they pop into my head. To be edited many times, I'm sure.

Ani DiFranco (somewhere around 12 times)
Dar Williams
Dan Bern
Adam Brodsky
Kris Kristofferson
Willie Nelson
Bitch & Animal
Hamell on Trial
Maceo Parker
Paul Revere and the Raiders
Leanne Rymes
Allison Krauss and Union Station
Emmylou Harris
Eliza Gilkyson
Toshi Reagan
Sweet Honey in the Rock
Holly Near
Utah Phillips
Dave Carter and Tracey Grammer
The Cherry Poppin' Daddies
Faith No More
Carolyn Wonderland
Ruthie Foster
Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irian
Dale Watson
Michael Franti
Laura Love
Hole
Marilyn Manson
Blues Traveler
The Dave Matthew's Band
Lenny Kravitz
Ladysmith Black Mambazo
Peter Wilde
Katie Henry
Greg Brown
Billy Bragg

Curious about the circumstances under which I saw any of these folks? Please post in the comments--I love to tell concert stories!

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I'm it!

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Frog tagged me!

List your six favorite songs and tag six others to do the same.

1. Me and Bobby McGee, Kris Kristofferson
2. Pancho and Lefty, Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings
3. School Night, Ani DiFranco
4. As Cool As I Am, Dar Williams
5. Bridge Over Troubled Water, Simon & Garfunkel
6. Ruby Tuesday, The Rolling Stones

Who's it now?
Scand, from Sweat Equity
Melinda, from Drinking Coffee, Playing with Scissors
Nyarly, from Nyarlathotep's Miscellany
The Princess, from The Flooded Lizard Kingdom
Portia, from The Winding Sheet
Dana, from Dana, Shameless Agitator


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I don't have anyone to tag, unfortunately (*sniff*). But here're my 6 faves, in order of when I thought to write them down: Only Living Boy in New York, Paul Simon -- a timeless "parting with your best friend" song. April Come She Will, Simon & Garfunkel -- B. and I like to sing this one together. Awesome guitar melody. You Had Time, Ani DiFranco -- best fusion of piano and guitar. Urge for Going, Joni Mitchell -- as someone who dreads winter, this is my favorite song in mid-fall, when the leaves begin turning and I know I'm in for 5 long months of cold & snow. Night Swimming, REM -- always makes me think of when you, me, Tony, and Joe went skinny dipping at Loon Lake, and that summer in general. Ingrid Bergman, Billy Bragg & Wilco -- an honest and corny love song.

Woah. I had forgotten about that utterly ridiculous skinny dipping experience (and that whole utterly ridiculous time period). God I'm glad to be a grown up. :)

in no particular order, long-time favorites and recent discoveries, and by no means comprehensive, i give you my list: 1. hallelujah (leonard cohen and covers by various others) 2. cold, cold ground (tom waits) 3. big time sensuality (bjork) 4. charlotte sometimes (the cure) 5. good day (dresden dolls) 6. sometimes (james)

I just posted my failed attempt at this at http://www.livejournal.com/users/unwiredben/134857.html. It's once removed from your post, since I stole it from The Princess.

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Arlo's church

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I have a big, fat, depths-of-my-soul post to make, but I'm not quite there with it yet, so in the meantime, I wanted to relate a story I heard last night:

S. and I went to the Sierra Club's Songs to Save the Seashore benefit concert last night. The show was great--Eliza Gilkyson, Carolyn Wonderland, and Ruthie Foster all played and are worth seeing. Dale Watson was there, and I am now in love (real country music! YES!). The story I want to tell, though, came from the set played by Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irion. Sarah Lee is, as the name indicates, Arlo's daughter, and this story is about him.

***************************

About 15 years ago, Arlo (and I think some other folks) bought the church made famous in Alice's Restuarant Massacre. Not long after they bought it, Arlo was hanging out there, sweeping up the floor. A local preacher came by and knocked on the door. Since the door was glass, Arlo couldn't pretend he wasn't there, so he answered the door.

"Arlo, what are you doing here?" asked the preacher.

"Well, I'm sweeping up the floor," Arlo replied.

"No," said the preacher, "I meant what kind of church is this going to be now?"

Arlo thought a bit about that. He hadn't really considered it. He had a lot of plans for the church, was going to do a lot of great things there, but he hadn't thought much about what kind of church it was going to be.

"Well," he replied, "I guess it's a bring your own God church."

************************

Indeed.

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How do you get that lonely?

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I've been thinking a good deal about suicide lately. No, not my own--a coworker's wife killed herself a couple of weeks ago, there are small children involved, it's a terrible situation, and it's been buzzing around in my head. Then, today, I was home sick, and I was filling time, as I am both wont and apt to do, by watching the Top 20 on CMT. The video for this song came up:

"How Do you Get That Lonely", Blaine Larsen

It was just another story written on the second page
Underneath the Tiger's football score
It said he was only eighteen, a boy about my age
They found him face down on the bedroom floor
There'll be services on Friday at the Lawrence Funeral Home
Then out on Mooresville highway, they'll lay him 'neath a stone...

(Chorus)
How do you get that lonely, how do you hurt that bad
To make you make the call, that havin' no life at all
Is better than the life that you had
How do you feel so empty, you want to let it all go
How do you get that lonely... and nobody know

Did his girlfriend break up with him, did he buy or steal that gun?
Did he lose a fight with drugs or alcohol?
Did his Mom and Daddy forget to say I love you son?
Did no one see the writing on the wall?

I'm not blamin' anybody, we all do the best we can
I know hindsight's 20/20, but I still don't understand

(Chorus)
How do you get that lonely, how do you hurt that bad
To make you make the call, that havin' no life at all
Is better than the life that you had
How do you feel so empty, you want to let it all go
How do you get that lonely... and nobody know

It was just another story printed on the second page
Underneath the Tiger's football score...

There are a lot of songs about suicide. I could list 20 without skipping a beat, and frankly, a lot of them are better than this one. That being said, 30 seconds into watching this video today, I was in tears, and it took me 30 minutes to stop them. The kid who sings this song looks about 15. He's cute, blonde, with sticky-out ears. I looked up his bio and I guess he's actually 18 or 19, but either way, he's a kid. And everything about this video screamed home to me. The video is basically a bunch of different carloads (and truckloads) of people driving to the funeral of the boy in the song. There is a girl in a letterman's jacket who I could have played volleyball with. And Larsen himself reminds me uncomfortably of someone I thought I was in love with before I even know what that meant. Watching this video hurt worse than anything I've seen in years, and I'm going to be thinking about why for months.

So yeah. I don't know what I'm saying, I'm just sayin'.

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I usually can't listen to the whole song. It hits too close to home. Only in the past few months do I think I really have a good shot at beating this depression thing permanently. (I've made some changes in my life.) I've been battling this since early childhood and had my first episode of clinical depression at age 6. Struggling for almost 30 years with a disease bent on killing you is harder than I can explain. I think if you haven't lived it, you can't understand the pain. I've been on the edge a few times. The best way I know how to explain it is the pain is so overwhelming and you feel no hope for it ending, so death feels like the only option because it will make the pain stop. Some people think those who commit suicide are cowards because of the pain they cause their family and friends. But I've never talked with anyone who had considered suicide that hadn't already endured a lot just to avoid that. Having people around who care saves some of us. But for those who can't endure, and the disease takes us, please don't place blame. If you were in a hurry that day, or didn't notice your friend was in a bad mood, it likely wouldn't have made a difference. It's our own private hell and you can only be so supportive. Give yourself a break and try and remember the good times.

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In honor of the holiday

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"Jesus Was a Capricorn"
by Kris Kristofferson

Jesus was a Capricorn, he ate organic foods.
He believed in love and peace and never wore no shoes.
Long hair, beard and sandals and a funky bunch of friends.
Reckon they'd just nail him up if He come down again.

'Cos everybody's got to have somebody to look down on.
Who they can feel better than at anytime they please.
Someone doin' somethin' dirty, decent folks can frown on.
If you can't find nobody else, then help yourself to me.

Get back, John!

Egg Head's cousin Red Neck's cussin' hippies for their hair.
Others laugh at straights who laugh at freaks who laugh at squares.
Some folks hate the whites who hate the blacks who hate the clan.
Most of us hate anything that we don't understand.

'Cos everybody's got to have somebody to look down on.
Who they can feel better than at anytime they please.
Someone doin' somethin' dirty, decent folks can frown on.
If you can't find nobody else, then help yourself to me.

Help yourself, brother.
Help yourself, Gentlemen.
Help yourself Reverend.

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Mary Magdalene

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I am trying to write every day for Lent. Can't think of anything to say at the moment, though, so here's what I am listening to/thinking about:

"The Ballad of Mary Magdalene"
by Richard Shindell

My name is Mary Magdalene
I come from Palestine
Please excuse these rags I'm in
I've fallen on hard times
But long ago I had my work
When I was in my prime
But I gave it up
And all for love
It was his career or mine

Jesus loved me
This I know
Why on earth did I ever let him go
He was always faithful
He was always kind
But he walked off with this heart of mine

A love like this comes but once
This I do believe
And I'll not see his like again
As I live and breathe
And I'm sorry if I might offend
But I will never see
How the tenderness I shared with him
Became a heresy

Jesus loved me, this I know
Why on earth did I ever let him go
He was always faithful
He was always kind
But he walked off with this heart of mine

And I remember nights we spent
Whispering our creed
Our rituals, our sacrament
The stars our canopy
And there beneath an olive tree
We'd offer up our plea
God's creation, innocent
His arms surrounding me

Jesus loved me, this I know
Why on earth did he ever have to go
He was always faithful
He was always kind
But he walked off with this heart of mine

He was always faithful
He was always kind
But he walked off with this heart of mine

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Such a beautiful song, finally showing she was intimate with Jesus, which i know for a fact she was

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Blame it on the Sims

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All weekend I meant to blog, but I was distracted. You see, 5 years after the rest of the world, I finally got The Sims (for $5 at the Goodwill, no less). And I am an instant addict. It's not even funny. They had me at hello.

It was a busy weekend otherwise, as well. Mark is sick and had to be babied, I went to see Ani, I looked at a bunch of houses, and I watched the Puppy Bowl. Oh, and I attempted to make gingerbread from Laura Ingalls Wilder's recipe (did you know today is her birthday?). I don't suggest you try it. Either the recipe is bad, or one of the spices I used was too old, or something, because the shit isn't even edible.

Ani was amazing. Inspiring. Better than I have seen her in years. She played better, she played longer, she seemed relaxed and upbeat--like the old Ani. I was really really happy I forked out the $40 and went, and if you are of the Ani persuasion, I suggest you do the same--even if you haven't been impressed with her in the last handful of years. It's just her and an good, understated (cute) upright bass player named Todd. Then when you go, tell me what you think about Andrew Bird, who is opening for her on this tour. I am honestly perplexed as to what I think, except to say that the man has a mean whistle.

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You should get the new playboy game! I heard tell it rocks, and it was made by a place in Northampton.

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Anthem '84, revisited

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"Anthem '84"
If you're looking for a fighter who'll defend you
And love you for your Freedom. I'm your man.
And I ain't gonna leave you for the crazy things you're doing
But don't ask me to lend a helping hand.

You were such a pretty dream as I remember
You were young and strong and God was on your side.
But vision slowly faded like the wonder from your eyes
And you traded your compassion for your pride.

But I still believe in all that we believed in.
And I pray to God that you will in the end.
And you'll see the golden chances that you're wasting.
And be the loving beauty that you can.

But I still believe in all that we believed in.
And I pray to God that you will in the end.
And you'll see the golden chances that you're wasting.
And be the loving beauty that you can.

-Kris Kristofferson

God. It's been 20 years since he wrote that, and we're in the same place now. Kris, why aren't they listening?

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A meme by any other name

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From The Princess:

Here's how it works. You select ten CDs you'd take with you to a desert island. You can take them and no others. The only stipulation is that they must come from your current CD library. Modest anthologies (two, maybe three discs) are permitted, but, say, the dozen plus discs in the complete series of the late Isaac Stern, A Life in Music, would not be.

Further rules state that self-made mixes are not allowed, but tribute albums, soundtracks, etc. are OK.

My picks:

1. Ani DiFranco - Living in Clip
2. Dar Williams - Out There Live
3. The Essential Willie Nelson
4. The Hedwig and the Angry Inch Motion Picture Soundtrack
5. The Counting Crows - August and Everything After
6. A3 - Exhile on Coldharbour Lane
7. Hole - Live Through This
8. Nirvana - Nevermind
9. Johnny Cash - American IV: The Man Comes Around
10. Portishead - Dummy

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Jim White

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I heard Jim White on the radio this morning on the way to work. The name of the song I heard was "Today is a Perfect Day to Chase Tornadoes." I am intrigued. Anyone familiar with him?

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New CDs

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I went on a binge and bought three new CDs today. I am in heaven. I got:
Courtney Love, America's Sweetheart
Annie Lennox, Bare
and
Just Because I'm a Woman: The Songs of Dolly Parton, featuring the likes of Mindy Smith, Melissa Etheridge and Alison Krauss.

AND I ordered all three of Mary Prankster's CDs the other day, so those should be here soon.

YAY for new music!!

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If my life had a soundtrack...

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This is super cool. I stole it from Sister Ananke.

1) Opening credits: "Hungry Like a Wolf" (Courtney Love's cover of the Duran Duran song)
2) Dreaming about someone scene: "Lovin' Her Was Easier (Than Anything I'll Ever Do Again)" by Kris Kristofferson
3) Waking up scene: "Just Like a Woman" by Bob Dylan
4) Happy friends scene: "You Oughta Know" by Alanis Morrisette
5) Driving scene: "Me and Bobby McGee" by Janis Joplin
6) Action/fight scene: "Welcome to the Jungle" by Guns N' Roses
7) Chase scene: "Closer" by Nine Inch Nails
8) Happy love scene: "Rockabye" by Shawn Mullins
9) Mellow scene: "Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlife" by A3
10) Choreographed Dance Scene: "Lucky Star" by Madonna
11) Sex scene: "Protection" by Massive Attack
12) Angry/bitter scene: "Sour Times" by Portishead
13) Breakup scene: "School Night" by Ani DiFranco
14) Evil/Revenge scene: "Asking For It" by Hole
15) Contemplation scene: "Anna Begins" by The Counting Crows
16) Sad/breakdown scene: "It's Not Going to Stop" by Aimee Mann
17) Death scene: "Missing" by EVerything But The Girl
18) Funeral scene: "Bridge Over Troubled Waters" by Simon and Garfunkel
19) Nostalgia scene: "Hour Follows Hour" by Ani DiFranco
20) Closing credits: "Sinking" by A3

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Educated Guess

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I've seen two movies (The Triplets of Belleville and Rabbit-Proof Fence) since I last wrote a review, but I'm going to sidebar those for now in order to review Ani DiFranco's new CD, Educated Guess.

To begin with, I have to cop to my history with Ani. I'm one of those uber-fans. I've been listening to her since Out of Range was her new record, which means I'm a fan of (gulp) ten years. I expect a lot from her. She's been the #1 artist on my soundtrack for a long, long time now. And like a lot of her long-term fans, I've been pretty disappointed by some of her recent releases and her shows. I have no idea if the creature Ani sings about is herself, or if the story she weaves is her own, but I've always just assumed it is, and therefore been more than willing to grow with her and accept her expansions (and, in my view contractions) as part of that process. When her politics dimmed in favor of her broken and breaking heart in Dilate, I was right there with her. Even when she insisting on spending numerous albums recording with a band (folk travesty!), I was patient. I didn't fault her for getting married, I like all her phases.

But I think she may have lost me on this one. It's not the music--this album is back to just her, although it's a weird analog recording and some experimental mixing, rather than just her and her guitar. It's the utter lack of hope on the album. Even when she was wallowing in misery on Dilate, I always felt there was humor, hope, love behind the bitterness. And frankly, Educated Guess is just bitter.

I understand that this may just be another one of her turns--the marriage thing didn't work out, either for Ani herself or for the character Ani sings about, she gave herself wholly and now she's disappointed. I can see that. And maybe her hope will be back on later albums--I hope so, and I'll keep trying. But as for this one, I dunno.

The album begins with a short poem, Platforms,as follows:

life knocked me off my platforms
so i pulled out my first pair of boots
bought on the street at astor place
before new york was run by suits
and i suited up for the long walk
back to myself
closer to the ground now
with sorrow
and stealth

The poem sets the tone for the rest of the album, much of which is centered around needing to be alone, reconnect with herself, etc. In the second track, Swim, she sings, "i let you surround me/i let you drown me/out with your din/and then i learned how to swim." Similarly, the 7th track, Bodily, says "you broke me bodily/the heart ain't the half of it/and i'll never learn to laugh at it/in my good natured way/in fact i'm laughing less in general/but i learned a lot at my own funeral/and i knew you'd be the death of me/so i guess that's the price i pay." The trouble is that the way the songs are recorded, the way her voice sounds, the "I'll never learn to laugh at it" seems a lot truer than the "I learned a lot at my own funeral." It's easier to believe Ani is miserable, and harder to believe that she is learning.

Unsurprisingly, the political tracks are the album's strong points. Back to back on the record,Animal and Grand Canyon show the only sparks I can find of the old Ani. In Animal, she bemoans the imperialism, consumerism and "willful ignorance" of Americans, singing, "and there's this brutal imperial power/that my passport says i represent/but it will never represent where my heart lives/only vaguely where it went." Grand Canyon, however, is the real gem, starting out, "i love my country/by which i mean/i am indebted joyfully/to all the people throughout its history/who have fought the government to make right." She goes on to speak specifically about feminism, both acknowledging the work we have left to do and giving a much-deserved nod of respect to those who came before us, which of course warms my heart:

people, we are standing at ground zero
of the feminist revolution
yeah, it was an inside job
stoic and sly
one we're supposed to forget
and downplay and deny
but i think the time is nothing
if not nigh
to let the truth out
coolest f-word ever deserves a fucking shout!
i mean
why can't all decent men and women
call themselves feminists?
out of respect
for those who fought for this
i mean, look around
we have this

The album version of Grand Canyon doesn't warm my heart quite the way the song did when I saw her live last, when she raised her hands and looked around at an audience full of women, saying with wonder, "we have...this." The album track does a good job at bringing back the memory of that particular moment, though, so it's pretty damn good.

Aside from the usual politics and the bitterness and hopelessness I mentioned, the other common thread I see throughout the album is a sense of worldly exasperation with the weaker sex. In Origami, she sings, "i know men are delicate/origami creatures/who need women to unfold them/hold them when they cry/but i am tired of being your savior/and i am tired of telling you why." I was reminded immediately of Ani's much older work (Make Them Apologize, Fixing Her Hair) when I heard that, and it made me happy. It also made me sad, though--she's spent so long trying to make men into what she wants them to be, no wonder she's tired.

The albums final track, Bubble, she hints at another kind of relationship, writing, "i want you to always remember for me/baby, if you can/how much you hated the woman/who made you a man/and remember for me won't you/back further before that/how you loved her like a boy/cried from the joy/when you weren't laughing." If for no other reason, I'll buy her next album to see where that goes.

All in all, this album wasn't any more or any less disappointing than the last few--it has a few bright spots and a lot of darkness. However, I can't write my disappointment in this one off to the music, because all of the musicians are gone. This is raw Ani, all by herself, and I never thought that would be something I'd be disappointed in.

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When the rain turns to ice

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It's Friday the 13th, the rain has turned to ice, and today's play list has a special meaning to me that I'm not going to share. Just the songs. If you can pick out the common thread, good for you.

'Cause I've got a little one who loves me as much as you need me
And, darling, that's loving enough
For a hiking boot mother who's seeing the world
For the first time with her own little girl.

Holly Near, "Started Out Fine"

One night while I was out a ridin'
The grave yard shift, midnight 'til dawn
The moon was bright as a readin' light
For a letter from an old friend back home.

And he asked me
Why do you ride for your money
Tell me why do you rope for short pay
You ain't a'gettin' nowhere
And you're loosin' your share
Boy, you must have gone crazy out there.

Jerry Jeff Walker, "Night Rider's Lament"

Daddy Frank played the guitar and the french harp,
Sister played the ringing tambourine.
Mama couldn't hear our pretty music,
She read our lips and helped the family sing.
That little band was all a part of living,
And our only means of living at the time;
And it wasn't like no normal family combo,
Cause Daddy Frank the guitar man was blind.

Merle Haggard, "Daddy Frank (The Guitar Man)"

I have seen the morning burning golden on the mountain in the sky
Aching with the feeling of the freedom of an eagle when she flies
Turning on the world the way she smiled upon my soul as I lay dying
Healing as the colors in the sunshine and the shadows of her eyes

Waking in the morning to the feeling of her fingers on my skin
Wiping out the traces of the people and the places that I've been
Teaching me that yesterday was something that I never thought of trying
Talking of tomorrow and the money, love and time we had to spend
Loving her was easier than anything I'll ever do again

Kris Kristofferson, "Lovin' Her Was Easier"

It was the third of June, another sleepy, dusty Delta day
I was out choppin' cotton and my brother was balin' hay
And at dinner time we stopped and walked back to the house to eat
And Mama hollered out the back door y'all remember to wipe your feet
And then she said I got some news this mornin' from Choctaw Ridge
Today Billy Joe MacAllister jumped off the Tallahatchie Bridge

Bobbie Gentry, "Ode To Billy Joe"

But I'll hang around as long as you will let me
I never minded standing in the rain
You don't have to call me darlin', darlin'
But you never even call me by my name

Steve Goodman and John Prine, "You Never Even Call Me By My Name"

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Love lost songs

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In honor of the impending holiday of doom, today's play list includes some of my favorite lost love songs:

My lover's gone,
His boots no longer by my door,
He left at dawn,
And as I slept I felt him go
Returns no more,
I will not watch the ocean,
My lover's gone,
No earthly ships will ever bring him home again.

Dido, "My Lover's Gone"

It's been seven hours and fifteen days
Since u took your love away
I go out every night and sleep all day
Since u took your love away
Since u been gone I can do whatever I want
I can see whoever I choose
I can eat my dinner in a fancy restaurant
But nothing
I said nothing can take away these blues
`Cause nothing compares
Nothing compares 2 u

Sinead O'Connor, "Nothing Compares 2 U"

And the years have proved
To offer nothing
Since you moved
You're long gone
But I can't move on
And I miss you-
Like the deserts miss the rain

Everything But The Girl, "Missing"

This borrowed dress --
It doesn't do much for me, but it's doing it's best
This stolen purse --
it's got a bad history, but mine is much worse
I've been down on my knees drunk
While you're out doing standup
You're making love to your punchline, baby

When this just ain't my town
I'm just another luxury liner going down
And I guess we're through
Well lucky you

Heather Eatman, "Lucky You"

See the stone set in your eyes
See the thorn twist in your side
I wait for you

Sleight of hand and twist of fate
On a bed of nails she makes me wait
And I wait without you

With or without you
With or without you

U2, "With or Without You"

And I'm here to remind you
Of the mess you left when you went away
It's not fair to deny me
Of the cross I bear that you gave to me
You, you, you oughta know

Alanis Morrisette, "You Oughta Know"

well we put a thousand miles on that beat up forign car
whenever weather would permit we'd make love under the stars
our happiness completed by being attached and being free
we would each take turns being bobby mcgee
we were headed for salinis, but we hadn't got there yet
some girls you don't remember, some girls you don't forget

Adam Brodsky, "Some Girls"

maybe the moral higher ground
ain't as high as it seems
maybe we are both good people
done some bad things
i just hope it was okay
i know it wasn't perfect
i hope in the end we can laugh
and say it was all worth it

Ani DiFranco, "Hour Follows Hour"

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Rain songs

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By no means a complete listing, just a few to think about.

It won't rain all the time
The sky won't fall forever
And though the night seems long
your tears won't fall forever

Jane Siberry, "It Can't Rain All The Time"

Woke up to the sound of pouring rain
The wind would whisper and I'd think of you
And all the tears you cried, that called my name
And when you needed me I came through

Skid Row, "I Remember You"

well there is no time there is only this rain
there is no time, that's why I missed my plane

Greg Brown, "Two Little Feet"

There's rain down in the alleys
Rain down in the street
It was raining when we parted
It'll rain next time we meet
And I must, I must be in Oregon.
I know I must be, I must be in Oregon.

Greg Brown, "I Must Be In Oregon"

Buckets of rain
Buckets of tears
Got all them buckets comin' out of my ears.
Buckets of moonbeams in my hand,
I got all the love, honey baby,
You can stand.

Bob Dylan, "Buckets of Rain"

If I wait for cloudy skies
You won't know the rain from the tears in my eyes
You'll never know that I still love you
So though the heartaches remain
I'll do my crying in the rain

A Ha, "Crying in the Rain"

And she laughed
And she cried
She damn near died
On the day it rained forever

Eurythmics, "The Day It Rained Forever"

This old airport's got me down it ain't no earthy good to me
Because I'm stuck here on the ground, cold and drunk as I can be
You can't hop a jet plane like you can a railroad train
So I'd best be on my way in the early morning rain

Bob Dylan, "Early Morning Rain"

I've seen fire and I've seen rain
I seen sunny days that I thought would never end
I seen lonely times when I could not find a friend
But I always thought that I'd see you again.

James Taylor, "Fire and Rain"

I'm walking, I keep on walking down the street
I'm watching, I keep on searching every place I've been
I love her and now I've lost her, and love's in vain.
I watch her funeral in the rain

Chris Isaak, "Funeral In The Rain"

Someone told me long ago There's a calm before the storm,
I know; It's been comin' for some time.
When it's over, so they say, It'll rain a sunny day,
I know; Shinin' down like water.

Credence Clearwater Revival, "Have You Ever Seen The Rain?"

Here comes the rain again
Falling on my head like a memory
Falling on my head like a new emotion
I want to walk in the open wind
I want to talk like lovers do
I want to dive into your ocean
Is it raining with you

Eurythmics, "Here Comes The Rain Again"

Broken windows and empty hallways
A pale dead moon in the sky streaked with gray
Human kindness is overflowing
And I think it's going to rain today

Randy Newman, "I Think It's Gonna Rain Today"

I'm only happy when it rains
I'm only happy when it's complicated
And though I know you can't appreciate it
I'm only happy when it rains
You know I love it when the news is bad
Why it feels so good to feel so sad
I'm only happy when it rains

Garbage, "I'm Only Happy When It Rains"

And as I watch the drops of rain
Weave their weary paths and die
I know that I am like the rain
There but for the grace of you go I.

Simon and Garfunkel, "Kathy's Song"

Busted flat in Baton Rouge, waitin' for a train,
Feeling nearly faded as my jeans,
Bobby flagged a diesel down, just before it rained,
Took us all the way to New Orleans.

Kris Kristofferson, "Me and Bobby McGee"

I never meant 2 cause u any sorrow
I never meant 2 cause u any pain
I only wanted 2 one time see u laughing
I only wanted 2 see u laughing in the purple rain

Prince, "Purple Rain"

It was the night Rod Stewart played
And we were, were standing in the pouring rain
If I had known it was the last time I would see you again...
I would change everything...

Alanis Morrisette, "Rain"

These train conversations are passing me by
And I don't have nothing to say
You get what you pay for
But I just had no intention of living this way

I need a phone call
I need a plane ride
I need a sunburn
I need a raincoat

And I get no answers
And I don't get no change
It's raining in Baltimore, baby
But everything else is the same

Counting Crows, "Raining in Baltimore"

These are the seasons of emotion and like the winds they rise and fall
This is the wonder of devotion - I see the torch we all must hold.
This is the mystery of the quotient - Upon us all a little rain must fall.

Led Zepplin, "The Rain Song"

It's always one thing or another, seems like we never get ahead
Reaching out for the brass ring, and landing in the dirt instead
We can't get past yesterday, we're only counting down from ten
It seems like every move we make, brings us back where we began
You've gotta Run Between The Raindrops
If you wanna see the sun
Run, Run, Run, Between The Raindrops
Run Between The Raindrops, if you wanna see the sun
Run, Run, Run, - Run Baby Run

Pat Benatar, "Run Between The Raindrops"

I saw a friend who doesn't know
If I'm his friend just yet
His eyes and mouth were widely open
And his jaw was set
Like he'd fell off a cliff
And hadn't hit the bottom yet
I wish he wouldn't pull those things on me
Without a net
Without a net
I had him up to the house one time
And we was having a real good time
Then he went and lain
His Saddle in the rain

John Prine, "Saddle in the Rain"

The sky is crying,
Look at the tears rolling down the streets.
The sky is crying,
Look at the tears rolling down the streets.
I looked out my window,
The rain was falling down in sheets.

Eric Clapton, "The Sky Is Crying"

But baby it's alright
Break this chain of love and madness
It's alright
Take this rain as your new address
It's alright
Take this rain
It's alright
Take this rain
You're going to be free

Jackson Browne, "Take This Rain"

My tea's gone cold, I'm wondering why I
Got out of bed at all
The morning rain clouds up my window,
And I can't see at all
And even if I could it'd all be grey
Put your picture on my wall
It reminds me that it's not so bad
It's not so bad

Dido, "Thank You"

I thought I heard you laughing
I never wanted to make you cry
I only needed a reason
To see a teardrop caught in your eye

'Coz loving you keeps me from the storm
When It Rains in America

Sarah Brightman, "When It Rains in America"

And I don't understand why I sleep all day
And I start to complain that there's no rain

Blind Melon, "No Rain"

And you know the light is fading all too soon
You're just two umbrellas one late afternoon
You don't know the next thing you will say
This is your favorite kind of day
It has no walls, the beauty of the rain
is how it falls, how it falls, how it falls

Dar Williams, "The Beauty of the Rain"

(Many thanks to Rain Songs a la Carte for the help with this list.)

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February

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And we'll gather all our arms can carry,
I have lost to February.

Dar Williams, "February"

february stars
floating in the dark
temporary scars
february stars

Foo Fighters, "February Stars"

You said that this is crazy, you're a half a world away
Well I'm sitting and I'm thinking but I didn't know what to say
So I said something I can't touch, I always want way too much
Anyway

Goo Goo Dolls, "Two Days in February"

But February made me shiver
with every paper I'd deliver
Bad news on the doorstep
I couldn't take one more step

Don McLean, "American Pie"

Shall we remember
December instead
Or worry about February
Mourn our war-torn dead
Never seeing red

Pet Shop Boys, "My October Symphony"

Gee, do you see a pattern?

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All the federales say..

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All the federales say
We could have had him any day
We only let him slip away
Out of kindness I suppose

-"Pancho and Lefty"

I am so fucking thrilled. I have discovered that I can download all my mom's old-time country music from Kazaa and listen to it. It's making me homesick in a bittersweet way, but it's nice. It's really nice. I hear this stuff and I'm home again and I know exactly who I am. Nothing to reconcile, nothing to worry about. Just a small town Western girl.

Which is totally untrue, of course, but it's still nice to be in that place for awhile.

Another brilliant idea of the day? Buy Chance stuffed animals to play with from the Goodwill. They are cheap enough that way that I won't freak out when he rips them up. Hopefully Mark won't either. I can't believe how uptight Mark is about the damn dog. We're in the opposite roles I expected. That's probably good.

Oooh, I love this song!

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