Monday, August 06, 2007

People Keep Calling Me Five Alive

Brushback tagged me for the favorite five songs thing that's going around -- probably in the hopes that I'd just list off five No For An Answer songs. Unfortunately "You Laugh" has six songs and I can't decide which to leave out, so I'll look elsewhere.

This is just about an impossible task -- I've decided on some really half-formed criteria, basically that it has to be a song that I'm pretty confident has staying power (i.e. I'll probably still be listening to it in a decade), and it has to be one of the limited subset of musical creations that I'll punch up two or three times in a row on a jukebox or car stereo or whatnot.

Anyway, in no particular order:

Wilco "Dreamer in My Dreams" -- I was slow to get into Wilco, partly because I came into them through Uncle Tupelo and always preferred Farrar to Tweedy (still do -- though I'd take Wilco over Son Volt. Go figure.), partly because the first album I heard was "Being There" and it was kind of a sprawling mess, something that would have been fine at 3/4 the length. My attention span wasn't great in those days, either. This became for me what "Passenger Side" was for a lot of other people -- the song I just couldn't hear enough, the song no live set was complete without.

Neil Young "Barstool Blues" -- from these first two, I'm obviously a sucker for the wistful lamentations of the sad old guy at the end of the bar, as long as it's put in song form. I'm far from being the most committed NY fan. For most of his stuff, I've gotta be in the right mood. This, though? Play it 30 times in a row. Especially if I'm drinkin'.

Cavity "Sweat and Swagger" -- switching the pace here. I've been kicking around a post on Cavity for a while now, so I won't go off on too much of a tangent here. Suffice to say that swampy fucked-up Cavity is one of the only enduring bands from my mid-late '90s listening, and this song isn't just them at their finest, but an entire genre at its finest. Hyperbole? Perhaps. But it's a pretty kick-ass song.

Drive Like Jehu "New Math" -- God, I remember when "Yank Crime" came out, and I spent a summer listening to nothing else, playing it as loud as possible as I careened around the highways of Boulder County. Remarkably, more than a decade later it still has the same effect on me. I'm playing "New Math" right now (that's right -- first-hand research) and it's got me ready to go run around and crash into walls and dumpsters. The high-water mark for a pretty productive partnership.

Pixies "Head On" -- a tough final choice, beating out sentiment (Minor Threat's "Salad Days") and art (Velvet Underground's "Sister Ray"). Captures better than anything I can imagine the half-crazed yearning of love. Why does this beat the hell out of the original (by Jesus and Mary Chain), which isn't that much different? Maybe because Frank Black sounds crazy while J&MC guy just sounds bored, maybe it's a bit more urgent. I dunno.

Man, that was tough. And so many good things left off. I'll spread the pain now -- I dunno who's been tagged, but if they haven't got it yet, I'll do Alanah, Tapeleg, and Nanuk. Oh, and Vaic Fan, if only to get him posting again.


Brushback said...

I really wanna see what Vaic Fan says.

Vaic Fan said...

FU#K! Let me think.

gsdgsd13 said...

Vaic Fan emerges from months of silence, and the first thing he says is an obscenity? For shame, VF. For shame.

Tapeleg said...

I am dreading answering this challenge.

Anonymous said...

Hey, just read your post (I was trying to search web on interpretations of meaning of "passenger side" by Wilco), and noticed you said you liked Barstool blues and thought you might also like the song "here comes a regular" by the Replacements...kind of similar, if you never heard of it. Anyway, have a great day,