Thursday, May 24, 2007

An Earful of M & N's, and coupla O's

I hit this great alphabetical run of songs starting a ways into the M’s of my iTunes library:

Measuring Cups (Andrew Bird) My daughter turned me on to this guy. Sings, plays violin, guitar, and whistles as if his last name were literal. This tune doesn’t feature his whistling, alas, but if you go to his web site, there’s video. It’s a tweet. Plus, he’s a great lyricist.

Message In A Bottle (Police) What a great idea for a song. If you haven’t heard it in a while, the propulsive speed of it may surprise you. And if you’ve never seen Sting do it live, he usually does a slow, solo version, and the chorus turns the crowd into one gigantic choir.

Missed The Boat (Modest Mouse) One of the catchiest songs I've heard in years. You get the big chiming rhythm guitar and the wiggly, fluid lead, one of which is Johnny Marr, formerly of The Smiths—I had no idea he’d joined the band. I’ve always admired the songwriting, but not the singing, of Isaac Brock. He sounds pretty good on this. And the guy can write. A great anthem for corporate drones, or for a fecklessly failing government.

Mistaken For Strangers (The National) Do you know this band? The big sound and song structures remind me of Coldplay and, every once in awhile, Simple Minds. But the singer’s like the love child of Mark Knopfler and that guy from Crash Test Dummies. He’s a mumbler and doesn’t have much range, but the lyrics are full of odd details. This is from a CD called “Boxer.” The drummer is mighty.

Money (Pink Floyd) How did this song become a radio hit at six-and-a-half minutes and with a word that had to be bleeped? By kicking ass, that’s how.

Morning Glory (Chrissie Hynde, a cover of a Tim Buckley song) From the anthology “Bleecker Street: Greenwich Village In The ‘60s,” full of contemporary artists interpreting folkies of the era. This is a weird one. It seems allegorical, and the particulars of the story aren’t really clear, but the feeling comes through. What’s the feeling? I guess I’d call it loneliness.

Muskrat Love (America) Well, a glitch along the way. I listened to it anyway, and thought, I guess it’s whimsical, but what the hell? Acquired during a Sound Card project. And, just now, thrown in the trash.

Mustang Sally (Wilson Pickett) I should do a list of my favorite singers. I’m pretty sure Wilson Pickett would make the top ten.

My Back Pages (Marshall Crenshaw covering Bob Dylan) Not my fave Dylan song, but I love this arrangement of it. Jonah, at age four, asked me how somebody could be “so much older then” but be “younger than that now”? So I had to explain how the more you know, the less you know. My dad didn't have to explain that to me until I was 14. Kids these days.

My Favorite Mistake (Sheryl Crow) What a great piece of writing. “When you go, all I know is, it’s the perfect ending / To the bad day I was just beginning.” If art is clear thinking about mixed emotions, Sheryl is a bona fide artist. She may be too strident about toilet paper, but her songs are no shit.

My Sharona (The Knack) OK, I admit, I like it. It makes me think back to when Winona Ryder was sublime, dancing in a convenience store, a rare moment of exuberance in a movie that took its title literally and avoided reality for fear of its bite.

Myxomatosis - Judge, Jury, & Executioner (Radiohead) We conclude the M’s with this blast of polyrhythmic synthy-cism. I never know what Tom Yorke’s singing about, but I never doubt that he does.

Nettie Moore (Bob Dylan) This is probably my fave from “Modern Times.” It thumps right along, and Bob keeps going and going. Some of his phrasings are just superhuman.

No Count Blues (Sarah Vaughan) Sissy’s amazing scat vs. a muted trumpet. You can smell the cigarette smoke.

No Regrets (Tom Rush) One of the great, lesser-known singer-songwriters of the ‘60s and ‘70s, with one of the great, lesser-known, end-of-the-affair songs ever. I could have done without the big production, but the song can’t be denied.

Oh You (Greg Brown) “With your heart-shaped rocks and your rocky heart / With your worn-out shoes and your eagerness to start / With your mother’s burden and your father’s stare / With your pretty dresses and your ragged underwear / Oh you...” Nobody piles up lists in a song like Greg Brown. This is on “Milk of the Moon,” recent enough that he probably wrote it for Iris Dement.

Ol’ Man River (Screamin’ Jay Hawkins) Well, he was no Paul Robeson. If hearing sad songs comically trashed is your thing, this one’s for you. Screamin’ Jay autographed my draft card at the premiere of Jim Jarmusch’s “Mystery Train.” Then my wallet got stolen. Man, I coulda sold that draft card on eBay for at least a buck-fifty.

Old Man (Neil Young) An absolutely unique artist in American music, and quite a guy. Who else was laying a banjo into a pop song back in, what, 1972? Or for that matter, singing about an old man? I remember listening to the Harvest album over and over while making leather belts to sell at head shops. Then we'd switch to Harry Chapin or It's A Beautiful Day. Then we'd run out of pot.

Open (Bruce Cockburn) Speaking of Old Man, shortly after my 50th birthday, I saw Bruce Cockburn live in upstate New York, and he opened with this. Glorious.

Our House (Crosby, Stills & Nash) One of the great cohabitation songs, written by Graham Nash for Joni Mitchell, so they say. I love the internal rhymes and the la-la-la.

Our House (Madness) Less a song than a music video, but I’d forgotten how catchy it is. Jonah loves to riff on it in a British accent. "Owah House...in the middle of my tush, Owah House...with some flowahs on a bush, Owah House...with the cats in the yahd..." He gets the two songs confused. The kid has no sense of rock history.

Over The Rainbow (Judy Garland) End with a broken heart.

The floor is now open for great iTunes mix lists. Don’t cheat!

15 comments:

Dan B (no, not Bennett, think harder) said...

Speaking of Judy Garland, there is an an exciting new group on Yahoo called The Judy Garland Experience. The group features ever changing and always amazing audio files. Currently, along with some of Judy's 1950's radio work we are featuring full length concerts of her with the original Rat Pack, her 1967 free concert on the Boston Common, songs and interviews from her aborted role in Valley Of The Dolls, and much more. The group also features rare photo's, lively discussions, and the most eclectic and interesting gathering of Garland fans anywhere!
The group features fans of all levels, new and hardcore, Garland family members, other celebrities, people who knew Judy, author's historian's, film maker's, and more! The only thing missing is you! Please stop by our little Judyville and check it out, you may never want to leave!
http://movies.groups.yahoo.com/group/thejudygarlandexperience/

Stace said...

ooh fun! Here are what my M's look like...

Main Titles, Corpse Bride, Danny Elfman...OK, that's just there for Halloween.

Mannequin, Wire...ah, these guys were the best punk band of all time. but their best song is Three Girl Rhumba.

Mass Romantic, New Pornographers...one of the first N.P. songs I liked

Mayfair Song, Air...this is a new song for me, but I always like Air.

Meet Me By The Water, Rachel Yamagata...I'm surprised I have this, cause I don't even know who this lady is really, it's an OK love song.

Mellotron 1, Mellotron 2, Apples In Stereo...not really songs, just short interludes of them fucking around, sounds like ELO. May delete actually. I only have them cause I bought the whole record.

Mer du Japon, Air...see comments above.

Mermaids, James Newton Howard...more Halloween music. Hey, you never know when you need some good Halloween music. Well, actually, you totally do know.

Milkshake, Kelis...yeah!

More Than This, Roxy Music...oooooh, so beautiful, 80s love song.

More, More, More, Andrea True...awesome disco.

I'm going to stop now, not just because the next song is not that good (though it isn't), but also because I don't know if I remember my password to post all this anyway...

scotland said...

Man, you need to get out there and conquer the Brave New World, while you still can. My view is, if it's not interactive what's the big deal anyway, pictures on the wall. Seriously if I were tech-enabled I'd probably throw away more than I kept, what's the point If you don't get to listen to it.

Whatever happened to FM-cronisity. Surfing along the edge of a collectve wave from the perfect sonic engine and having a peak-experience in a spiritual format (Life)in an unpredictable fantastic way.

My Funny Valentine (Miles Davis) Night in Tunisia (Dizzy G.) Ornithology (Parker)
Out to Lunch (Dolphy)

Jas P. said...

Stacey's list reminds me how much more mainstream I am (although, hey--you gotta copy me on "Milkshake"...)

And Scott's non iTunes list reminds me of my five-year hiatus from pop music in the early '80s, when I listened to nothing but jazz. Here's Ornithology, right here and now:

Ba-doot-n-doot-n-dooo, boodly-ooh-dot!
Ba-doot-n-doot-n-doo-dot-doot, ba-doo-dooo,
ba-deet-n-deet-n-deedly-bop...

My lyrics are different than Ella's, but they work.

What up wit this Dan B? I wonder if he actually gets on Technorati or some other blog search engine and enters "Judy Garland," just to see what's being said about her? And I thought I knew how to waste time...

scotland said...

Ella Fitzgerald's scat singing on her take of "How High the Moon" does honor to the fact that this song served as the basis and home from which Charlie Parker's "Ornithology" took off from. She completely quotes Parker's alto sax lead lines on top of "H,H,t,Moon with out breaking stride. Your own scaat was good enough for me to hear the tune come thru, almost memorex quality. Finding music that inspires me to be musically active is the kind I love the most, there have been many in this catagory, my most memorible being Bach's Brandenburg Concertos. Gotta Go, have a fine holiday! SPH

Stace said...
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Stace said...
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Stace said...

I deleted 2 posts for boring reasons which will be known only to myself.

Anyway...you're craaazzzzy, your list isn't mainstream at all! I would send you "Milkshake" but when I send people songs they can't open them. Hmmph. I guess I will make you a mix CD.

Joybells said...

Brutha! My iPod needs some updating, since I just got a bunch of new music for my birthday, but here's some of what I have in my MNOs right now:

Me In Honey, R.E.M. - I love the what the chick from the B52s brings to this song. And the drums. And that looping guitar riff. And that shaker percussion thingy. The whole thing is a masterpiece for me.

Memphis in the Meantime, John Hiatt - "I'm talkin' 'bout Mem........phis, Ah Haw Haw"

Metal Firecracker, Lucinda Williams - I love this metaphor for a tour bus that spews out tourists. I've loved her stuff since you and I first heard "Passionate Kisses" in a record store somewhere in KC. That was approximately a zillion years ago.

Mirror in the Bathroom, The English Beat - As I recall from college days, trying to dance to this song just makes you look like you're having a seizure.

Missing You, Alison Krauss and John Waite - Alison Krauss has a miraculous voice for a chain smoker. A four-minute song about how much "I ain't missin' you." Yeah right.

Money Can't Buy It, Annie Lennox - The intro to this song is hypnotic. And then she slams you with a big axe. The rap is lame, but by that time, I don't even care.

My Baby Needs A Shepherd, Emmylou Harris - Emmylou is a goddess. She lets me call her by her first name, cuz we're like this [crosses first 2 fingers. Swoons.]

My Dear Someone, Gillian Welch - I used to sing this to Grace as a lullaby.

My Last Cigarette, k.d. lang - A great idea for a record. All the songs are about smoking ("sometimes your drug chooses you.") I was lucky enough to see her live several times in her wilder days. She burned the house down.

My Way (A Mi Manera), Robin Williams - From the soundtrack to Happy Feet. Grace and I always cackle to this one.

Mysterious Ways, U2 - Achtung Baby. Nuff said.

Naked Eye, Luscious Jackson - It feels all right indeed.

Natural Blues, Moby - I love this whole record.

New Slang, The Shins - The soundtrack for the movie "Garden State" is a classic.

Ngiculela, Stevie Wonder - I tell myself that I'm trilingual when I listen to this.

Nothing Like You, Shawn Colvin - Nothing like Shawn Colvin.

Now I Can't Find The Door, Sam Phillips - Well looky here. You CAN be creative AND Christian! Who knew?!

Once In A Lifetime, Talking Heads - One of my greatest regrets is not seeing these guys live.

Once Upon A Time There Was An Ocean, Paul Simon - This is one of my favorites from "Surprise." I love the conversation between the chicka-chicka guitar part and the more flowy, legato-ish guitar part. And the shimmery ending. "Nothing is different but everything's changed." Ain't it da troof.

One Step Up, Bruce Springsteen - "Givin' each other some hard lessons lately that we ain't learnin'..." Tunnel Of Love is an amazing document of hope and heartbreak.

What's wrong with me? I have nothing from Judy Garland here! Oh well. Too bad so sad, as we say in my house.

Tina said...

'Kay, I'll list the first 3 m's, 3 n's and 3 o's. No more, lest ye learn how much I worship at the temple of Casey Kasem and his countdown.

M'bifé, Amadou & Mariam...some very cool band whom I believe is African, and sings in French...this was given to me by my always-ahead-music-trends friend Kevin Ahern. Hypnotic, bouncy, rhythmic music to zone out to while working, cooking or just zoning out. I listened to it on the beach earlier this year and felt all exotic and stuff.

Magdalene, Lenny Kravitz...off "Circus," my least-favorite Lenny album. I went through a serious Lenny obsession about six years ago, where I spent all day long listening to 93.3 in hopes of being the right caller to win tickets to an intimate concert in NYC. Didn't win, and to this day, the first notes of his song "Again" (the song you had to listen for to call in) gives me some major anxiety. However, I've almost worn out my "Mama Said" CD of his. Beautiful. His music is, too.

Magic, Olivia Newton-John...from the "Xanadu" soundtrack, which has rocked ever since my sister and I veered from seeing "Return of the Jedi" at the last minute and chose instead this much more legendary film. You HAVE TO BELIEVE we are MAGIC...nothing can stand in our wayyyyy...true, folks. True.

Naked and Famous, The Presidents of the United States of America...these guys shoulda been bigger. They had that great mid-90s song "Lump" (and "Peaches") and all of these came from their fantastic self-titled album. Great chorus: "Everybody wants to be naked and famous! Everybody wants to be just like me: I'm naked! And...famous." Weird and wonderful.

Narrow, Ray Lamontagne...all I do is talk about this guy. I dig him, he's a newer version of Van Morrison, and his voice makes my stomach hurt. In a good way. I listen to him and feel so wistful, for what...I don't know.

Nature, the Samples...the anthem of my college days. Listened to this, tried the wacky tobacky, thought I was a hippie. Turns out, I'm not. But it was one fun, long game of pretend, alright.

O Death, Ralph Stanley...from "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" Gorgeous, and so spooky I imagine it would cause Death itself to retreat, should he (yeah, death's a he) hear it himself.

Objection (Tango), Shakira...not a huge Shakira fan, she always sounds like if she cleared her throat she'd have an entirely different and more realistic voice. Great song, though, and I have no idea what she's talking about. But she's like, 90 pounds and could kick Beyoncés booty-shaking any day of the week.

Octopus's Garden, The Beatles...it's the Beatles. Thank goodness I'm friends with Bill Gray, the giantest Beatles fan on Earth...who's been generous enough to let me borrow everything. I'm just luke-warm on this song, Beatle-wise. I actually skipped Ob-la-di because that's the one Beatles song I actually HATE. Strike me down. But in general, with each passing year, I love 'em even more.

Sorry for the long comment, I blame not knowing what to write on my own blog, but wanting to blather on SOMEwhere.

Jas P. said...

Bighead! Even though you cheated, it's such a greeat list... I keep forgetting to buy Ray Lamontagne--I love that album that starts with "Trouble."

Mein sis! Unbelievable! How can we not have any of the same MNO's, yet listen to so many of the same artists? It is weird.

I love this list, and your summations. I had no idea Alison Krauss was a chain-smoker. She should listen to Joni Mitchell's last album and decide whether or not she really wants to sound like that. It works for Joni, but hmmmm.....

Anyway, one song I don't know on your list is "My Dear Someone," but for now, you're it.

By the way, Pam sent me a request to be a Facebook friend. So now I am. But I thought she was in Israel, so I didn't expect to hear from her. Maybe I don't know what the hell is going on.

What the hell is going on?

Joybells said...

"My Dear Someone" is on the "Down From The Mountain" record, featuring live versions of the music from "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" plus additional tunes by the artists who sang on that soundtrack.

You're on facebook??? Dang, man. Wish I'd known earlier. I only have 1 friend and it's Sarah, and she only agreed to be my friend, I think, so I could see her photos from Africa. Pam never asked me to be her friend, but maybe since we're married, she doesn't feel the need to look at me on the computer. How do I find you so I can ask you to be my friend? I could double my number of friends if you'd help a sista out! Better yet, help YOUR sista out. Mwah.

Jas P. said...

I have no idea what to do with Facebook or My Space. Apparently I have pages set up, but I only got these pages because people asked me to be their friends. I have no idea how to find myself in either place.

It's the same way I got a blog: totally by accident.

coloredsock said...

okay so i know it's not legal, but can you sell (under the table) mixes from your blog posts??? i want them. always building the music library...

also a few random m's of the 194, uncommented on cause I've procrastinated long enough on your blog today...)

madame george - van morrison...mmmmm

Make me a pallet on your floor, gillian welch

Malted milk, robert johnson

Man of constant sorrow, garcia/grisman

Man in black, johnny cash

Marching up to zion, original five blind boys of alabama

mellow moods - bob marley, one of my fave songs to listen to at the end of a summer day while drinking a beer with my sweetie.

Me, Myself And I, billie holiday

Murder in the red barn, tom waits

My father's house (bruce remake), ben harper

Alicia A. said...

This is obviously an old post, but I just wanted to tell you that I have a not-so-secret Thing for Andrew Bird.

The geeky yet suave intellectual songwriter thing really does it for me.