Monday, September 03, 2007

Weekly iPod Shuffle: 9/2/07

1. "Possession," Sarah McLachlan
So here's an interesting story: McLachlan gets all these crazy letters from obsessed fans, right? She's creeped out. To cleanse her mind of the garbage, she writes a creepy pop song about the experience, called "Possession." It's written from a stalker's perspective, and features the type of whacked-out language you'd expect from such a person: "And I will be the one to hold you down/Kiss you so hard, I'll take your breath away/And after, I'd wipe away the tears/Just close your eyes, dear." So the song becomes a big hit, her first real success in America, and everyone's happy. Except one of her stalkers then sues her for royalties, claiming his letters were the basis for the song and she is using his intellectual property without permission. The Canadian legal system's head spontaneously combusts. Fortunately for them, the stalker committed suicide before the case could make it to a trial. (My rating: *****)

2. "Christmas at Ground Zero," "Weird Al" Yankovic
"Ground Zero" has a completely different definition in the American lexicon these days, but at the time Al recorded this song, it still referred to the site of a nuclear explosion. Surely, this is much funnier than the events of 9/11. (Actually, they seem to be, since this song is pretty funny.) (Rating: ****)

3. "Overkill," Colin Hay
As seen on Scrubs
. I actually prefer the original Men at Work version, but this one's great, too. (Rating: *****)

4. "Savoy Truffle," The Beatles
Man, the Beatles could turn anything into a pop masterpiece, couldn't they? George Harrison wrote this one about Eric Clapton's love of chocolate. This same album (the "white album") featured songs about pigs, children's playground equipment (that's what a "Helter Skelter" is, a slide), tiger hunters, and "Birthday," in which the title word is spoken roughly 258 times. (Rating: ****)

5. "Party Man," Peter Gabriel
An obscure rarity from Pete, co-written by Tori Amos. It was featured somewhat prominently in the movie Virtuosity, which featured Denzel Washington, Russell Crowe, Louise Fletcher, and Ken Shamrock. One of these is not like the others. (Of course, Shamrock only appears in one scene, in the background, out of focus, and has no dialogue. Which, I can tell you after years of watching him on WWF TV, is precisely his range as an actor.) (Rating: ****)

6. "No Rain," Blind Melon
You may remember this as being the video with the bee girl. This, unfortunately, is the sum total of Blind Melon's impact on the cultural consciousness, because frontman Shannon Hoon thereafter fell into the pit of drug addiction and stayed there until his overdose two years later. (Rating: *****)

7. "Voodoo Child (Slight Return)," Jimi Hendrix
How the hell has this not made it into a Guitar Hero game yet? I mean, they put friggin' "Spanish Castle Magic," of all songs, in the first game (without the vocals, for reasons known only to them). (Rating: *****)

8. "Emaline," Ben Folds Five
An anomaly -- this is the only Ben Folds Five song to feature a guitar. As such, it sounds very odd and out-of-place, even on their rarities collection, Naked Baby Photos. It works better live, when Ben plays it solo on piano. (Rating: ****)

9. "Suffering Face," Elvis Costello
A bonus track on the King of America re-release. It's a simple vocal-and-acoustic-guitar arrangement, but the lyrics -- "You came in gentle as a lamb/And turned into a terror/And you left your love and other threats/In the steam fading on my bathroom mirror" -- are vintage Costello. You wouldn't know it from reading the liner notes, though: he credited all the songwriting on that album to his real name, Declan Patrick Aloysius MacManus (he actually added Aloysius to his legal name), and all the guitar playing is credited to the "L.H.C." -- the Little Hands of Concrete. He was in an odd frame of mind. (Rating: *****)

10. "What Makes You Think You're the One," Fleetwood Mac
So Fleetwood Mac makes Rumours, which sells about eighty bazillion copies and makes them all rich. Apparently, this pissed them off, so they returned to the studio and recorded Tusk, a deliberately un-Rumours double album that became infamous as a self-indulgent mess; it's the stereotypical disasterous follow-up record. Of course, all this ignores that Tusk is really, really good. (Rating: ****)


  1. "As seen on Scrubs"? Or as heard on Scrubs?

    I failed at Grammar Nazi-ing today earlier, so my dickitude must make up for it now.

  2. Well, since he plays the song on the show, it could be either. But yours is probably closer to being right.