Sunday, June 10, 2007

Weekly iPod Shuffle: 6/10/07

1. "Shoe Box," Barenaked Ladies
This song, from their third studio album, was saddled with one of the worst music videos I've ever seen. On the commentary for the video on the Barelaked Nadies DVD, the band agrees me, citing special guest actors who didn't make it and a failed concept that never worked out at all. Ed says, "This video is what they call in France a fiasco!" Steve says, "They also call it un piece de merde." The song is great, though, and features one of my favorite BNL lyrics: You're just so 1990/And it's 1994.

2. "Total Eclipse of the Heart," Bonnie Tyler
I'm a sucker for Jim Steinman songs, what can I say? And you can't tell me you aren't moved by the emotion Bonnie puts into the final chorus. Well, I suppose you can. But you have to at least agree with me on how awful this album cover is:Right?

3. "Under the Influence," Eminem
This is from Em's triumphant masterwork, The Marshall Mathers LP, released back in 2000. You know, when he was shocking, entertaining, funny, original, versatile, and didn't rely on fart sounds to anchor his hit singles. Man, those were the days. This song, incidentally, has the distinction of falling on the track listing between "Kim," the explosively controversial song which depicts Eminem murdering his wife, and "Criminal," the explosively homophobic song that would have been more controversial had it not been for "Kim." ("Criminal," by the way, also depicts a murder, though not one that raised any eyebrows.)

4. "Tomorrow's Dream," Black Sabbath
On one of the Henry Rollins albums I have, he ponders on El Nino, which at the time was wrecking the ecology of most the world. He muses on the translation of "El Nino" -- "the little boy" -- and thinks that it should have a more destructive name. His first idea is "The Motherfucker." "If you're thinking of going swimming today, think again: the Motherfucker is expected to send thunderstorms..." His second idea, though, is a little funnier, at least to me: "Let's call it 'the First Four Black Sabbath Albums.' Today, the city of Los Angeles was leveled by the First Four Black Sabbath Albums.'" This song is on the fourth of those albums, but it's not as heavy as one would think. Good song, though.

5. "Narcolepsy," Ben Folds Five
I have an uncle who's narcoleptic. And it's nothing like it's displayed in movies or television, at least not with him. No sudden passing out into his soup, no collapsing whilst in mid-bowling ball throw. He can't drink any caffeine at all, though -- when he came down here to visit about a year and a half ago, we went to a few different restaurants, and he asked at each if he could get Caffeine-Free Dr Pepper. Each said no, and he ordered Sprite instead. His face was sad when he did it. This was a man who clearly never wanted to drink Sprite again. And yet, he soldiered on, lemon-lime beverage and all.

6. "Cassandra Gemini (Part 4)," The Mars Volta
I've spoken of the Mars Volta before, so you know the drill -- they're fucking crazy. And yet, despite the insanity of lyrics like There was a frail syrup dripping off his lap-danced lapel/Punctuated by her decrepit prowl, she washed down the hatching gizzard, I still find their (meandering, self-indulgent, masturbatory) music compelling. Particularly the "Cassandra Gemini" suite from Frances the Mute: it's eight parts and thirty minutes long, and worth every bit of time it takes to listen to. So give them a shot if you'd like, but remember what I said about the lyrics. Though you've got to admire a group of guys who can conceive of, write, practice, record, and release a lyric like She was a mink handjob in sarcophagus heels without anyone stopping them.

7. "My World," Metallica
St. Anger is a strange, strange beast four years removed from its release. Some songs have stayed just as good as time's gone on -- the title track, "Some Kind of Monster," "Dirty Window," and a few others. But some of the songs haven't fared that well, and sound somewhat juvenile and embarrassing in hindsight. Fortunately, this isn't one of them, though it's hardly a lyrical triumph. In fact, clean up Lars's panging snare drum, and you'd have a great song on your hands.

8. "Idioteque," Radiohead
Definitely coming to a Hunter game sometime soon -- Ice age coming, ice age coming/Throw it on the fire, throw it on the fire/We're not scaremongering/This is really happening. Apocalyptic techno-pop from the best band in the world.

9. "Money (That's What I Want)," The Beatles
The Beatles recorded a whole lotta covers in their early days. Unfortunately, most of them aren't very good. This one, though, is an exception. It's a little silly, of course, but a lot of their earlier recordings are. (As opposed to later, more serious undertakings, like "Piggies" and "Maxwell's Silver Hammer.")

10. "La La," The Verve Pipe
The Verve Pipe, you remember, had that smash hit song, "The Freshmen," and then promptly vanished once it became clear they weren't interested in repeating "The Freshmen" as formula. This is from their follow-up self-titled record, on which it's clear they knew their time was running out. Despite that, they manage to assemble one of my favorite albums, one that regrettably never found an audience. If you can find this one, give it a listen -- it's the one with the dissected frog on the cover.


  1. Anonymous9:00 AM

    Greatest album cover ever...who the hell is bonnie tyler

  2. That would be the woman who sang the song I was talking about.