Sunday, January 13, 2008

Weekly iPod Shuffle: 1/13/08

1. "Lionized," The Tragically Hip
Gordie's lyrics are occasionally a little more offbeat than usual. Take this song's opening line: "Cold wind blowing over your private parts." I have no clue what this song is about. It's a good one, though. (Rating: ****)

2. "The Ascent of Stan," Ben Folds
Remember that Vampire game I ran for about three years? I named a whole host of NPCs after people in Ben Folds songs, including a guy named Stan. He was the guitar-playing husband of Benjamin's oldest granddaughter, Catherine (who I named after "Carrying Cathy," another Folds song from the same album). Initially, this was done without conscious effort -- it just happened coincidentally. By the time I got to Stan, it was deliberate. And of course, the only player left in the game, FRINAN, had no idea who Ben Folds was, so he didn't pick up on any of it. But I found it amusing. Inside jokes are fun! (Rating: ****)

3. "Look After You," The Fray
Good lord, the Fray have been overplayed to death. Maybe it's not as obvious to you, but at Job Number Two, the awful satellite radio stations we listen to are often packed with Fray singles (that is, when it isn't locked onto the '80s station). I still like this song, but I really don't ever want to hear it again. (Rating: ****)

4. "Counting Out Time," Genesis
So apparently, The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway has a story. But I'll be damned if I can figure out what this song has to do with it, which describes Rael (the protagonist) buying a book that teaches him how to sexually please a woman, and then failing miserably. Peter Gabriel was fucking crazy back in the day. For real. (Rating: ****)

5. "Through the Wire," Kanye West
It's one thing to live through a devastating car crash while you're recording your long-awaited debut album. It's quite another thing to write a song about the triumph of your survival, and then record the vocal for said song while your jaw is still wired shut. Have I mentioned recently how much I like Kanye West? And a million bonus points for dropping a clever reference to Unbreakable. (Rating: *****)

6. "Lounge Act," Nirvana
You know those songs that resonate with you so much it feels like you wrote them yourself? Yeah, "Lounge Act" is like that. "Don't tell me what I want to hear/Afraid of never knowing fear/...I'll keep fighting jealousy until it's fucking gone/And I got this friend, you see, who makes me feel/And I wanted more than I could steal/I'll arrest myself and wear a shield/I'll go out of my way to prove I still smell her on you." That was me, last few years of high school. Maybe you had to be there. (Rating: *****)

7. "Maybe You're Right," Barenaked Ladies
The Ladies' last few studio albums haven't quite lived up to their earlier standards, but this is one of the gems. The final moments, with the out-of-nowhere horn section, are quite cool. (Rating: *****)

8. "Hunting Bears," Radiohead
This is a two-minute instrumental from Amnesiac. It sounds like nothing more than a guitar warmup, really, with Johnny playing a simple pattern along with a bass hum. And yet it's still cooler than what 95% of all the other bands out there can produce. That's Radiohead for you. (Rating: *****)

9. "Welcome to the Working Week," Elvis Costello
Here's a question: this song's opening line -- "Now that your picture's in the paper, being rhythmically admired" -- is Elvis talking about what I think he's talking about? (Rating: *****)

10. "When the Weight Comes Down," The Tragically Hip
See previous note regarding Gordie's lyrics. "In my dreams, a candy-coated train comes to my door/With a little girl I can't have anymore/You know a letter washes up to the shore/That I cannot read and I probably should ignore." (Rating: *****)

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