23 June 2007

5 Songs

Just saw something similar on Grant Miller Media. It's been a long time since I've done 5 Songs, and I've been posting too much depressing political news lately, so how about something fun?

Here's the deal. A la Random Rules, I push 'Shuffle Songs,' on my iPod and see what comes up. No cheating.

A caveat this time: Since I've switched to a new computer, my iPod settings have changed, and it is filled with random songs. Since I never throw a song away, anything could come up, like the Broadway cast singing 'Wicked,' or Shakira or something.

Here goes.

1. Josh Joplin, "Phil Ochs," Useful Music, 2000

I bet if you listened to this song, you'd swear up and down that it was R.E.M, or at least Michael Stipe singing. I got this album from an ex-girlfriend...it's not that it's bad (it's not), and it's not that this guy's voice sounds EXACTLY like Stipe's, but it's that he chose to sing songs in the manner of R.E.M. Kind of like my problem with Madeline Peyroux. She has a great voice...too bad it's Billie Holliday's. If you've got a voice that sounds just like someone more famous than you, sing in another genre. You don't get to mine the same territory. Anyway, this song, like the rest of Joplin's, isn't bad. It's about Phil Ochs, the protest singer, and has the great line, "50 fans can't be wrong."

2. Uncle Tupelo, "We've Been Had (Live)", 89/93: An Anthology

Remember the days back when Jeff Tweedy was little more country than rock n' roll? I remember back when Uncle Tupelo split, and everyone thought that Son Volt would be the one to make it big. Seems like we all got that a little backwards. Son Volt seemed to continue along the path that UT was treading, while Wilco started from the same place, moved into poppier territory, and then off into the wilds of self-indulgence. We'll always have Uncle Tupelo, though.

3. The Cure, "Numb," Wild Mood Swings, 1996

I was never really a big cure fan. I've sort of grown to appreciate some of their music, but I think it's just their fans that turn me off. That, or the fact that every friend I've got seemed to listen to them when they got depressed in high school. Wild Mood Swings was supposed to be their comeback album in the mid nineties, and generated one minor hit, but had none of the staying power of their 80's releases. This was also the time of Fat Bob, as everyone was calling frontman Robert Smith. Supposedly his record company wouldn't let them tour until he lost weight. Friends of mine saw him on the tour, and were upset he wasn't dressed like a goth anymore (he was wearing a baseball or hockey jersey, if memory serves). I say, give the guy a break. Do you still dress like you did when you were a teenager? As far as this song goes, I don't think I've ever listened to it before. It's okay, tho.

4. Morphine, "You Look Like Rain," Good, 1993

Could there be a better band to listen to for a fourteen year old that's just read On the Road? Morphine was fronted by Mark Sandman, who OD'd on heroin (not morphine, but it's an opiate, at least). They produced a few albums of darkly sexual jazz infused...I was going to call it rock, but I don't think there's a word for what Morphine did. Sandman had one of the great voices of the 90's, and it was really sad when he collapsed onstage in Rome. Morphine was also what was on the car stereo during high school with the girl that was the great love of my life at the time (and who always will be), and so I'll forever think of them in that regard.

5. In The Nursery, "The Hidden Fortress," An Ambush of Ghosts, 1993

All of these songs that have come up seem to have been acquired when I was in high school. This is a group that could best be described as martial orchestral. Twin brothers from England, Clive and Nigel Humberstone, made what sounded like soundtracks for imaginary movies, grand, wistful, melancholy music, fueled by synthesizers and snare drums. Not as Tangerine Dream as you might think. I was really into them in high school and college, but haven't heard them much since. Maybe I need to dig all of these up. This song came from an actual soundtrack they did for some indie movie with Anne Heche and Stephen Dorff that never saw the light of day. I just remembered, too...I posted a note on their web page back in...maybe 1996, and they mailed me a signed postcard from England thanking me. I always thought that was nice.

I've posted links to all songs. Remember, kids, it's just for listening purposes. Don't steal music.

Will that suffice, RIAA?


Grant Miller said...

Mt wife was a goth long ago and loved the Cure. I made fun of her for this. But now I kind of appreciate The Cure.

Grant Miller said...

Additionally, I will be linking here in the next day or two. I'm a lazy linker sometimes, but I like your stuff. Plus, you are local.

red said...

I was never a Cure fan, although I thought their pop hits were okay. I'm not the least bit gothic, and I'm maybe a little more country than rock'n'roll. Then I discovered _Disintegration_ whilst dating a Cure fan (it didn't work out in large part because he's depressed) and now have to put it on my list of top maybe 25 albums ever. In addition to having several amazing cuts, it's a nicely cohesive piece of work. Totally worth picking up.