Friday Fives – musicology edition

What album do you enjoy every song on?

I wish I could tell you it was Blood on the Tracks, which I think is an absolute masterpiece.   BUT… there are some absolute dogs on there. I mean… Lilly and the Jack of Hearts? To call that filler would be hurtful to things that fill things. So, what albums do? I have to name a few, and they all came out very close together.

Pearl Jam – Ten

Smashing Pumpkins – Siamese Dream

Guns and Roses – Appetite for Destruction

What’s your favorite lyric of all time?

First, let me tell you the one I simultaneously love and hate with great passion on both sides… this line from the Rolling Stones –

“she blew my nose, and then she blew my mind!”

Is there better writing than that?  Yes, but just barely. Is there worse writing than that?  No sir.

To answer your question, though, I have to go to this line:

I was living in London with the girl from the song before

That is Paul Simon, from the ‘Late Great Johnny Ace’. It is remarkable not just for being one of the best songs ever written, it is remarkable that you have never heard it… nor heard of it. That lyric is so great it hurts my heart to think of writing that good. I mean… is there a song before? Was there a girl in the song? No, it’s nonsense.  It’s your imagination.  That is what makes it so great. It’s as if you two were in the middle of a great conversation, and he lets that drop. I guess if we have to give that girl a face and a name, it would be Carrie Fisher. That is Princess Leia to you, to whom Paul was married.  Yeah, not just great songwriter… dude is banging the Princess of the friggin’ Federation.  You better check yourself!

You date Taylor Swift for a Year before breaking up. What is the name of her next album?

“I never fully appreciated, or understood him”

OK, this is it. The executioners are taking aim.  What is the last song you want to hear?

Mayonaise from the Smashing Pumpkins. Studio version. I think this is my favorite song in the whole world. It also embodies the Smashing Pumpkins, and Billy C, so perfectly. Pretty, thoughtful, spacy, and balls out rock your skull off… all in the same piece. Here is a secondary live, acoustic, on the fly version. You may watch this only after you have heard the studio version about 30 times and cried to it.

It’s a quiet little genre and only you enjoy it – what is it?

Just about everything Astrud Gilberto ever did. You know her as the ‘girl from Ipanema’ lady. She is that, and so much more. Her and her hubby, along with a couple others (like Stan Getz and Antonio Carlos Jobin) basically invented Bossa Nova… AND got it to the states. Now that you know that, you will start to notice that a muzac version of Girl from Ipanema plays in they background in all elevator scenes. I know it is one of the most iconic songs ever recorded.  Think about this, is there a better known melody in all of music?  There are a precious few – ‘My Favorite Things’, Fur Elise’, ‘New York New York’, ‘Star Spangled Banner’… these are all melodies that you know whether you like it or not. Same with ‘Girl from Ipanema’.  Why then do I regard this as a ‘secret quiet little music genre’? Because – popular culture has only used that song as an ironic hipster statement.  That song is regarded as the most boring and sanitized song ever. It is used to define something lame. No sir, it was groundbreaking at the time – 1964.

when I say ‘groundbreaking’, that isn’t hyperbole.  When you hear ‘Purple Haze’, you don’t think anything about it.  When people heard that first, in 1967, their faces exploded.  No one had made noise like that, and certainly no one had seen a black kid playing rock.

There is a great story that may or may not be true about Miles Davis meeting the first lady (Nancy Reagan). Supposedly, she said to him “and what do you do that got you a seat at the President’s table?” having no idea who the super creepy, probably super high, and extra black man in front of her at dinner was. His response – straight-faced, Davis replied:

“Well, I’ve changed the course of music five or six times. What have you done except fuck the president?”

In that anecdote, was it necessary I pointed out how black he was?  Since we are talking about old rich white Republicans… yes it is.


Friday Fives – a very random mix

2. What one sentence would you say during a job interview to completely bomb it?*

Can I bring my friend in?  Someone asked me that once.  Oh, and another kid wore a baseball cap.  Oh… and what about me?  The question was about me.  Well, I interviewed for Avis… or some rental car company.  I don’t even remember who they were, just that they weren’t Hertz.  See, during the interview, I said ‘Hertz’ three different times.  Not comparing them to Hertz… but saying things like “Hertz is a great organization, and I would be a great addition to the team.  Hertz is where I belong.”  It went on like that for sometime.

What is kinda silly and sad is aside from that, I nailed the interview.  I was likable and engaging and charismatic and articulate.  I just kept referencing the wrong company.  That is some freudian shit, there, bubba.

3. When is the worst time to say/think “Eh, I’m sure it’ll be fine.”

low on gas driving through New Mexico.  We drive through New Mexico a LOT.  Our fam is in Az, so we have to get through New Mexico to get there.  There are stretches of high desert where there is no people or towns or gas stations for 3 hour stretches.  So, it feels desolate and just waiting for vultures.  On top of that, it is an incredibly poor state.  Just depressing and sad and hot and poor.  So, if we did break down, and there was a person nearby, I fear they would be there to rape and murder us.  Yes, that is my feelings on New Mexico.

On the up side, and to be nicer; if you are traveling at a high rate of speed in a very safe car, through New Mexico, it is a beautiful state.  The geography is just stunning, like everything in the South West.  Just don’t stop, or you will be eaten by a homeless hobo.  Now, is that to say everyone in New Mexico is homeless hobo?  Yeah.  Pretty much.

4. What’s the most useful thing you own that costs under $10?

knives.  I have tons of knives.  At all times, I usually have at least 2 knives on me (keychain and leatherman).  They are just incredibly useful.  Also, this thing.  I think it is for bread, or maybe pie crust… but I use this thing every night when I am cooking.  If you cook at all, do yourself a favor and get one of these things.  It took me a LONG time to google this.  scoopy thing?  bread dough cutter?

5. Who do you think is the best songwriter who’s currently alive?

Paul Simon.  I know this is cheating, I am referencing myself again.  I wrote this for Blogcritics back in 2007.  Now, this is tough because Paul McCartney is still alive.

1. Have you ever met a stranger, who you never saw again, that you still think about on occasion?

yes.  I was at a Grateful Dead show long long ago.  Probably 20 years ago.  I was in quite a state of euphoria, confusion, apprehension.  I was just a bundle of nerves, like most of the other people at the show, it being a Dead show.  Read between the lines here*, people.  Anyhow, I saw this guy about 20 feet away.  It was a big black guy with dreads.  He looked so peaceful and dialed in.  Whatever he took is most definitely not whatever I took.  he exuded peace and serenity.  I so badly wanted to connect with that guy.  Just to get in his head and be in the peaceful space he was in.  He saw this, and somehow picked up on this.  He smiled and walked over.  He put his hand on my shoulder, just in passing.  He seemed to gesture to me with that pat on the shoulder ‘it’s alright man.  don’t worry so much. everything will be fine.  Just breathe and relax, man.’  Anyhow, that was my take away, and it worked.  After that, I was all better.  It was likely all in my head.

Still though, that guy picked up on my need for a connection and granted it.  I am super appreciative of that nice stranger at the Dead show.  Probably wouldn’t be tough to track down.  Even though there were 60,000 people there (they only played football stadiums, and sold every one of them out), that guy was likely the only black guy for miles.