Sunday, February 24, 2008

Weekly iPod Shuffle: 2/24/08

Good lord, I took a bath on my Oscar predictions. I got the Screenplay awards, Supporting Actor, Actor, Director and Picture. In other words, the easy ones. I took a bath on everything else. There Will Be Blood didn't win Picture or Director, of course, but yay for the Coens! Enjoy those Oscars you should've won for Fargo! (No Country for Old Men just wasn't the best movie of the year. It was the second-best, which is closer than the Academy usually gets. So good for them.)


1. "Your Woman," White Town
Wow, who even remembers this song? I've though of making a new list -- 15 Songs That Will Always Remind Me of High School -- and this quirky little track would certainly make the cut. It was originally released on an EP titled Abort, Retry, Fail?, 'cause I guess DOS references were hip among the French techno scene in 1996. (****)

2. "Scenes from an Italian Restaurant," Billy Joel
His best song, from his best album, The Stranger. My appreciation for Billy Joel is something else I get from my mom -- my eyes, my irritable nature, and Billy Joel. Two of these are good, at least. (*****)

3. "Mercy Street," Peter Gabriel
Oh, and Peter Gabriel -- I get that from her, too. This is an absolutely gorgeous song -- it's up there with "Warehouse" and "The Unforgiven" for me, and it's one I could listen to forever. The music is dark and hushed, Gabriel's intricate harmonies gliding over a pulsing bass line; the air of sorrow and dread is carried with little percussion, aside from a few bells and a bass drum. But after he sings of "mercy, in your daddy's arms again," there is a respite from the darkness: a whistle, haunting and beautiful, cuts through the gloom like a flashlight. He wrote the song in tribute to Anne Sexton, the late poet; oddly enough, Dave Matthews wrote one of his best songs, "Grey Street," about her, too. (*****)

4. "Fever Dog," Stillwater
If you've never seen Almost Famous, I really don't know what you've been doing with your life. "I am a golden god!" (*****)

5. "What'd I Say?" Ray Charles
You know what sucks? When I was growing up, the only thing Ray Charles was to me was the guy who sang in Diet Pepsi commercials: "You got the right one, baby -- uh huh!" This is why I cringe every time I hear the Who or Led Zeppelin or, Prophets save us, the Beatles in television commercials -- there are children who are going to grow up hearing "Rock and Roll" and think, "car commercial!" That is so very, very sad. (*****)

6. "Into the Mystic [live]," Van Morrison
Van the Man goes all kinds of crazy on the timing of the vocal here, as if he's trying to screw the song up. But you know what? Some songs are just too good to ruin. (Except, probably, by YouTube covers. I learned my lesson with "Across the Universe.") (****)

7. "She's Electric," Oasis
Sample lyric: "She's got a sister / And God only knows how I've missed her / And on the palm of her hand is a blister." If Noel Gallagher took longer than five minutes to write this song, he should be ashamed of himself. It's pretty catchy, though. (****)

8. "Good Time," Leroy
You may recall this from an early episode of Scrubs. I don't know who Leroy is, but his song isn't bad. (****)

9. "From a Buick 6," Bob Dylan
Not to be confused with From a Buick 8, the mediocre Stephen King novel. (****)

10. "Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters," Elton John
Also prominently featured in Almost Famous, which is one of the best movies ever made -- seriously, what are you doing, go watch it already. (*****)

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