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.


Pearl Jam – Ten plus







Hey all, I rarely write about music in this space.  Lucky you, I am granting myself an exemption.  Normally, I publish my music stuff here.


So, the new release of Pearl Jam’s classic ‘Ten’ came out this week.  It is the 20 year anniversary of the breakthrough masterpiece.  So, the band celebrated by releasing a box set sort of thing.  You can get 2 cds, and a DVD of the aired but never released ‘Unplugged’ set which is just phenomenal.  Take a peak at some of the bootlegged footage here.


I mean, it’s really really good. It showcases not just how good the music is, but how capable the band members are.  All acoustics, one take, no overdubs, and the music is as solid as the studio release… and even more passionate.   Way more passionate.


That isn’t what I am here to talk about, though.  As mentioned above, the set comes with 2 cds.  Specfically, it is two versions of the exact same album.  The first is the original, mixed by Rick Parashar.  The second is a newly remastered and remixed version by long time PJ friend Brendan O’Brien.  O’Brien just fucking rules.  He has made so much great music it makes me puke.  Not just his work with PJ, either.  He made Springsteen’s ‘the Rising’.  He made Stone Temple Pilots ‘Purple’ and ‘Tiny Music’ too.  He has lots, but those really deserved to be mentioned.  So, I am most definitely in the pro-O’Brien camp.


Still, though, that isn’t why I am writing.  I am writing on behalf of Rick Parashar.  I don’t know who he is, or if he is even alive.  Probably is, and he is probably more than a little ‘butt-hurt’.  Is this not a slap in the face of Parashar?  Did you know that ‘Ten’ outsold Nirvana’s ‘Nevermind’?  It truly is a masterpiece, every rock fan will tell you.  So, why redo it?


I mean, remember when they remixed ‘Born to Run’ or ‘Siamese Dream’?  Did you get that remix of Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Rumors’?  No, because no one would dare touch those.  I have heard the re-mix, and I do think it is better.  Still, though, it is a pretty serious slap in the face to Parashar for making one of the top five albums in the history of rock and then having the band outsource you as thanks.


I guess my next question is, after this hoopla ends… Ten will go on to exist.  So, if you walk into your local mega merchant and pick up a fresh CD of ‘Ten’… which version will you get?  The color of the CDs is a little different, but the rest is the same.




* update



I did some googling on Parashar.  I owe him that at least.   Turns out the name is most associated with is Nickelback.   Ew.  I now understand why that nearly renders ‘Ten’ as historically moot.  It’s like when we found out that Hitler’s favorite painter was Kincaid… or that Hitler’s favorite actor is David Caruso.  Kind of taints the whole experience.