Monday, July 30, 2007

Weekly iPod Shuffle: 7/29/07

1. "Sell Sell Sell," Barenaked Ladies
A theatrical song about a theatrical actor hitting the big time. It's also noteworthy for implying that a government would start a war in the Middle East to divert attention away from itself. This song being from 2000.

2. "Stand Up (For It)," Dave Matthews Band
In which the phrase "stand up!" is repeated about 384 times. It's a groovy enough song, don't misunderstand me, but jeez -- "Stand up! Stand up! Stand up! Stand up! Stand up!" Kill me.

3. "The Real Slim Shady," Eminem
On this single, Em gives a shout-out to his buddy Fred Durst. He would later devote almost an entire track, a B-side called "Girls," to eviscerating the guy. Even his friends hate him.

4. "The Lonely End of the Rink," The Tragically Hip
The Hip have more songs about hockey than I can count off the top of my head. This is one of the better ones. But then, they're all one of the better ones.

5. "You," Radiohead
The first track from Pablo Honey, their first album. This was back when they merely a post-grunge Britpop band, and not the Greatest Band in the World. Thankfully, that transformation would begin on their next album, because Pablo Honey isn't very good. This song isn't bad, though.

6. "Alice Childress," Ben Folds Five
The ghostly Alice Johnson (later Alice Wright), my favorite NPC ever, was named from this song. A stunning number of NPCs from that chronicle had their names taken from Ben Folds songs -- Zack, Sarah, Katherine, Stan, and a few others. You'd never believe me if I told this was a coincidence, would you? (And while "Alice's Restaurant" was the song used to introduce Alice, that didn't occur to me until after I'd named her.)

7. "Welcome to the Machine," Pink Floyd
One of the most menacing songs I've ever heard. The lyric "Where have you been?/It's all right, we know where you've been" used to creep me the fuck out when I was kid. Still does, actually.

8. "Get in the Ring," Guns N' Roses
Okay, lots of rock bands have mean things written about them in the press. Comes with the territory. And lots of songwriters take aim at the press, fighting back at them in song. Hey, gotta that aggression out somehow, right? Nothing wrong with firing back. Only Axl Rose, though, would write a song fighting back at the press and then call out those reporters by name. And then challenge them to a fight. "You wanna antagonize me? Antagonize me, motherfucker! Get in the ring, motherfucker! And I'll you bitchy little ass, punk!" Axl is possibly the whiniest shithead on Planet Earth. Oh, and that new GN'R album? The one we were absolutely promised in 2006? Still nothing. Thanks, Axl.

9. "The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonite," R.E.M.
During the writing for their masterwork, Automatic for the People, it occurred to the band that perhaps the album was a little too somber. As a remedy, they decided to write something deliberately upbeat -- the result was this song, in which they mixed "The Lion Sleeps Tonite," Dr. Seuss, Nescafe, "kiss my ass," and a pay phone into a stew so ludicrously pleasant that Michael Stipe can be heard giggling while singing one of the choruses. It's a wonderful song, even though the band later admitted on their greatest hits collection, "Maybe we went a little too upbeat."

10. "This Is the Thrilling Conversation You've Been Waiting For," Harvey Danger
You remember Harvey Danger, yeah? "Flagpole Sitta"? One-hit wonder back in 1997, thereabouts? Well, they kept releasing albums, and they're all phenomenal -- this song is from King James Version, which was almost a success back in 2000 when it was released, but fell victim to record label mergers and such. Too bad.

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