Tuesday, January 02, 2007

"when I got the music, I got a place to go"

Oy. Just getting over one hell of a sickness that knocked me on my fanny for almost a week. I started this post last Tuesday (I got the Ominous Itch In The Throat that night) and just revisited it tonight.

...forgive the weirdness and out of time-ness of it...

This morning was one of the most difficult times getting myself motivated to get up and go to work in recent memory. Obviously due to the reality-hangover of the post New Year's Eve three-day-weekend, but also due to the freezing cold winter we actually have to face now and the fact that I knew I could be late to work today (no one else would be here, I predicted. I was right, hence me writing at this hour.)

(it was 9 am, then)

what saved me... iPod on shuffle:

"Boys of Summer"- Don Henley. I fucking loved this song when I was wee. And I mean wee--I was four (damn) when that black and white video hit my eyes... before I knew I didn't like the Eagles. Before I knew what a prick Don Henley was, before I even knew what the hell a "Deadhead sticker" was even doing on a Cadillac.

"My Flash On You" - Love. I (again) marveled at how raw and garage they sounded for naming themselves Love and coming from the Bay Area. When Jeremy first tried to turn me on to them, I blurted out: it sounds like a Broadway musical! Poor Jeremy had to endure mocking from Ronan cuz of me, I was just told. Apparently every time Jeremy played or talked about Love, Ronan would belt out, "Guys and Dolls! We're just a buncha crazy Guys and Dolls!" Sorry bout that, J Dog. Now, I really don't think that holds...but sometimes Mr Lee goes for the melodrama...

Speaking of the muthafuckin', blessed, mythical Bay Area (my fam is from there and I have always idealized the hell out of it) the next song that officially changed my mood was "Radio," by Rancid. I got chills and a silly grin on my face and felt all fuzzy and nostalgic. I realized that I when I first got into Rancid, I was 14 years old and didn't even know what Clash song "Magnificent Seven" was, let alone get the reference that Tim Armstrong (Clash fan #1) made in the song. The song is one of many about being a Berkeley street kid, living at the Salvation Army and having music as a savior: "when I got the music/ I got a place to go," he slurs and he means it. Rancid meant the world to me when I was 14. My intro to punk, my release, my connection to something raw and simple and youthful. (it wasn't Bruce Springsteen; my dad didn't really dig it--although he took me to see 'em at First Ave, cuz no one I knew would go with me... and he really enjoyed himself!)

Next, came Dylan's story of the "Hurricane." My first thought was: I can never get enough of this song. Ever. I love it. My second thought was: I hope I get to work by the time this song ends, because if I don't, I will be really fucking late. It's a long one.

Then, a super-summer song to counter today's chill: "Girl" off Guero, by Beck. All about a serial killer (summer fun!) it's eerie in a crazy catchy surf, 60s slick pop way. Y'know, like *only* Beck can get away with.

A new one (for me) Lily Allen, "Alfie," talkin' bout how her bro won't get laid cuz he's holed up in his room, smokin' weed and playing computer games. OK, why didn't anyone tell me that she was the solo, female version of the Arctic Monkeys?? That said, their music has nothing in common (except bits and hints of reggae and dance hall)...but it's her delivery (the female Alex Turner) with a white-Brit hip hop flow and narrative, novel lyrics about being 19 or 21 years old.

I first read about her in the NME, but finally heard her on the Current and that disarming, brilliant chorus of the break-up song, "Smile," ("At first, when I see you cry, it makes me smile/At worst, I feel bad for a while/but then I just smile") It was both "Knock 'Em Out," and "Not Big" that sealed the deal about the Arctic connection. The songs are about young-adult-disillusionment..about how she never came with an ex who was "rubbish in bed"...about the "pimp and his crack whore" that punctuate her tour by bike throughout the underbelly of her city. "Friday Night" exposes the angst and bitchiness of women to women at the club: "Look me up and down, I don't make a sound/ There's a lesson to be learned, if you're gonna play with fire, you're gonna get burned." You get the idea. Good for the kids. And the 25-year-old chick that laps it up in Minneapolis...

Her voice has a sweetness (at times sounding like Nina from the Cardigans) that slaps you with swears and cynical thoughts about her neurosis--actually perfectly common feelings of frustration and anger that us young ladies experience all the time... I'm into her.

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