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May 19, 2007


Like, totally awesome explication of the faint traces of the past. But, you know, you are like so missing the non-linear signification of ringtones. Byeeeeeeeeeeeeee!


Never again, please, use a reference to anything having to do with Kelly Clarkson in order to point out the "historical significance" of something.

I don't have any problem with Avril, or Kelly, but there is absolutely nothing, to date, "historically significant" about either one of them.

As far as the article you cite, good lyrics have never been necessary for a good pop song.

I give you:

"There she was just-a walkin' down the street/ Signin' doo-wah-diddy-diddy-dum-diddy-doo"

Or perhaps:

"You're going to lose that girl,/You're going to lose that girl./If you don't take her out tonight,/She's going to change her mind,/And I will take her out tonight,/And I will treat her kind."

{You could actually make a pretty good contest out of this - most asinine lyrics in an at least halfway decent song.}

I don't think I know the song he (that's gotta be a guy complaining like that, right? - maybe that's just me projecting) is complaining about, but in general, there are much more insidious and vapid and empty cases out there to rail against than Avril.

>"There she was just-a walkin' down the street/ Signin' >doo-wah-diddy-diddy-dum-diddy-doo"

So would that be in American Sign Language or English?


I can assure you that publius was being facetious when he mentioned the historical significance of the stylistic convergence.

I also get the sense that "I want to be your girlfriend" - which is an awesome song - is tongue in cheek. Perhaps this is more evident if you've seen the video, which makes that attribute more obvious.

And if you ever say anything bad about Kelly again, I don't know what I'll do. How much more cred can the girl get than having Ted Leo cover the song. As Jim Rome would say, "Ted Freakin' Leo."


"My List (Rock)," From a few years ago:

Alice in Chains: Dirt
Beastie Boys: Paul's Boutique; License to Ill; Ill Communication
Big Star: Radio City
Built to Spill: There's Nothing Wrong With Love
Cheap Trick: Live at Budokan
David Bowie: Ziggy Stardust
Elvis Costello: Trust; This Year's Model; My Aim is True; King of America
Guns 'n Roses: Appetite for Destruction
Jefferson Airplane: Surrealistic Pillow
Jimi Hendrix: Band of Gypsies; Experience
John Lennon: Double Fantasy; Plastic Ono Band
Joy Division: Substance
Lou Reed: Transformer
MC5 and the Stooges: Kick Out the Jams and Raw Power
Michael Jackson: Thriller
Neutral Milk Hotel: In the Aeroplane Over the Sea
Nick Drake: Pink Moon
Nirvana: Nevermind; Unplugged
Oasis: Definitely Maybe
Pavement: Slanted and Enchanted; Brighten the Corners
Pixies: Doolittle
PJ Harvey: Rid of Me
Pretenders: Pretenders
Public Enemy: Fear of a Black Planet
Pulp: This is Hardcore; A Different Class
R.E.M.: Murmur
Radiohead: The Bends; OK Computer
Roxy Music: Siren
Smashing Pumpkins: Gish
Sonic Youth: Dirty; Daydream Nation; Sister
Stevie Wonder: Inner Visions
Talking Heads: '77; Remain in Light
Television: Marquee Moon
The Beach Boys: Pet Sounds
The Beatles: Revolver; The White Album; Abbey Road; Let it Be
The Clash: Combat Rock; London Calling
The Flaming Lips: The Soft Bulletin; Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots
The Jesus and Mary Chain: Psychocandy
The Kinks: Face to Face; Muswell Hillbillies
The Replacements: Let It Be; Tim
The Rolling Stones: Let It Bleed; Exile on Main Street
The Smiths: Meat is Murder; The Smiths
The Velvet Underground: White Light/White Heat; Velvet Underground; Loaded
Tribe Called Quest: The Low End Theory; Midnight Marauders
Tricky: Maxinequaye
U2: The Joshua Tree; War; Boy
Van Morrison: Astral Weeks; Moondance

REAL DESESRT ISLAND DISCS (The Ones Actually in Heavy Rotation):
Alice in Chains: Unplugged
Beastie Boys: Check Your Head; Hello Nasty
Big Star: Third/Sister Lovers
Billy Bragg: Talking With the Taxman About Poetry
Bob Dylan: Blood on the Tracks; Highway 61 Revisited; Blonde on Blonde
Buddy Holly: Greatest Hits
Built to Spill: Perfect From Now On; Keep it Like a Secret
Cypress Hill: Cypress Hill
David Bowie: Hunky Dory; The Man Who Sold the World; Aladdin Sane
Digable Planets: Reachin'; Blowout Comb
Digital Underground: Sons of the P; Sex Packets
Dinosaur Jr.: You're Living All Over Me
Echo and the Bunnymen: Songs to Learn and Sing
Elvis Costello: Get Happy!; Armed Forces
Fela Kuti: The Best of Fela Kuti Vol's I and II
Frank Black: Teenager of the Year
Galaxie 500: On Fire
Grateful Dead: American Beauty
Guided By Voices: Bee Thousand; Isolation Drills
Hefner: The Fidelity Wars
Ice Cube: Death Certificate
Interpol: Turn on the Bright Lights
Jeff Buckley: Grace
Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers: The Beserkly Years
Leonard Cohen: Songs of Leonard Cohen
Live: Mental Jewelry
Lou Reed: New York
Love: Forever Changes
Magnetic Fields: 69 Love Songs Volume 1
Marvin Gaye: What's Going On
Metallica: Ride the Lightning; Master of Puppets
Michael Jackson: Bad
Modest Mouse: The Lonesome Crowded West; Good News for People Who Love Bad News
My Bloody Valentine: Loveless [#1 Album overall]
Neil Young: After the Gold Rush
Nick Drake: Bryter Layter
Nick Lowe: Basher
Pavement: Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain
PJ Harvey: Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea
Placebo: I'm Nothing Without You
Psychedelic Furs: Psychedelic Furs; Talk Talk Talk
R.E.M: Document
Radiohead: Kid A; Hail to the Thief
Ride: Nowhere
Roxy Music: Avalon
Ryan Adams: Heartbreaker
Slowdive: Souvlaki; Just For a Day
Smashing Pumpkins: Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness
Suede: Suede
Swervedriver: Mezcal Head
Talking Heads: The Name of This Band is Talking Heads
Television: The Blow Up Discs I and II
The Auteurs: Now I'm a Cowboy
The Beatles: Rubber Soul; Help!; Sgt. Peppers
The Clash: From Here to Eternity
The Flaming Lips: Transmissions from the Satellite Heart; Clouds Taste
Metallic; Hit to Death in the Future Head
The Jesus and Mary Chain: Stoned and Dethroned; Honey's Dead
The Kinks: Arthur or the Decline of the British Empire; The Kinks are
the Village Green Preservation Society
The New Pornographers: Mass Romantic
The Smiths: Louder than Bombs; The Queen is Dead
The Stone Roses: The Stone Roses
The Velvet Underground: The Velvet Underground and NICO; Live at Max's
Tom Waits: Swordfishtrombones; Rain Dogs
U2: Pop; Achtung Baby
Van Morrison: His Band and the Street Choir
Warren Zevon: Excitable Boy
Weezer: Pinkerton
Wilco: Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
Yo La Tengo: Fakebook; I Can Feel the Heart Beating As One

System of a Down: Toxicity

"Visions of Johanna," Bob Dylan

TIED FOR SECOND (in no particular order and if you don't own these
songs you should):
"Life on Mars," David Bowie
"Heroin," The Velvet Underground
"Hey Ya!," Outkast
"Castles Made of Sand," Jimi Hendrix
"Hallelujah," Jeff Buckley
"Common People," Pulp

"Letter from an Occupant," The New Pornographers
"Glory Days," Pulp
"Born to Run," Bruce Springsteen
"Black Steel," Tricky
"So What'cha Want," The Beastie Boys
"Sabatoge," The Beastie Boys
"Ghetto Superstar," Pras
"Don't Look Back in Anger," Oasis
"Judy is a Punk," The Ramones
"Mr. Pitiful," Otis Redding
"Feed the Tree," Belly
"Deep Cover," Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg
"Creep," Radiohead
"Idioteque," Radiohead
"Karma Police," Radiohead
"The Bends," Radiohead
"Johnny Strikes Up the Band," Warren Zevon
"Raging Eyes," Nick Lowe
"Marie Provost," Nick Lowe
"Here Come the Martian Martians," Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers
"Straight Outta Compton," NWA
"It Takes Two," Rob Bass and DJ Easy Rock
"Dropout," Urge Overkill
"Tomorrow Never Knows," The Beatles
"Nowhere Man," The Beatles
"Polythene Pam," The Beatles
"Helter Skelter," The Beatles
"Sleep the Clock Around," Belle and Sebastian
"This Charming Man," The Smiths
"In the Meantime," Helmet
"Son of a Preacher Man," Dusty Springfield
"Marquee Moon," Television
"Beast of Burden," The Rolling Stones
"Wild Horses," The Rolling Stones
"The Beautiful People," Marilyn Manson
"Mageetah," My Morning Jacket
"More than This," Roxy Music
"White Rabbit," Jefferson Airplane
"Man Out of Time," Elvis Costello
"Black and White World," Elvis Costello
"Oliver's Army," Elvis Costello
"(What's so Funny 'Bout) Peace Love and Understanding," Elvis Costello
"Miss America," David Byrne
"Psycho Killer," Talking Heads
"Lily, Rosemary, and the Jack of Hearts," Bob Dylan
"Desolation Row," Bob Dylan
"Rich Man's Toy," The Auteurs
"Search and Destroy," The Stooges
"Bizarre Love Triangle," New Order
"Hang on to Your Ego," The Beach Boys/Frank Black
"White Noise Maker," Frank Black
"Head On," Frank Black/Jesus and Mary Chain
"Tumbledown," The Jesus and Mary Chain
"Just Like Honey," Jesus and Mary Chain
"Song For Bob Dylan," David Bowie
"The Man Who Sold the World," David Bowie
"Sound and Vision," David Bowie
"Forever Young," Alphaville
"Vapour Trail," Ride
"Man's Best Friend," Ice Cube
"Float On," Modest Mouse
"Bankrupt on Selling," Modest Mouse
"The Scientist," Coldplay
"Satellite of Love," Lou Reed
"Dirty Boulevard," Lou Reed
"Venus in Furs," The Velvet Underground
"Pale Blue Eyes," The Velvet Underground
"All Along the Watchtower," Jimi Hendrix
"To Here Knows When," My Bloody Valentine
"99 Problems," DJ Danger Mouse
"Scenario," Tribe Called Quest featuring Busta Rhymes
"Rebirth of Slick," Digable Planets
"Oh, L'Amour," Eurasure
"Smells Like Teen Spirit," Nirvana
"Debaser," The Pixies
"Digging For Fire," The Pixies
"Atmosphere," Joy Division
"King of Carrot Flowers, Vol's I and II," Neutral Milk Hotel
"Holland, 1945," Neutral Milk Hotel
"Complete Control," The Clash
"Bigmouth Strikes Again," The Smiths/Placebo
"Schitzophrenia," Sonic Youth
"Mr. Brownstone," Guns 'n Roses
"Neighborhood #3," Arcade Fire
"Big Exit," PJ Harvey
"Turn it On," The Flaming Lips
"A Spoonful Weighs a Ton," The Flaming Lips
"Talkin' Bout the Smiling Deathporn Immortality Blues (Everyone
Wants)," The Flaming Lips
"Mother," John Lennon
"Smooth Criminal," Michael Jackson
"The Middle," Jimmy Eat World
"Surrender," Cheap Trick
"Untrustable, Pt. II," Built to Spill
"Distopian Dream Girl," Built to Spill
"Else," Built to Spill
"Velvet Waltz," Built to Spill
"Shangri-La," The Kinks
"Last Goodbye," Jeff Buckley
"Pretty In Pink," Psychedelic Furs
"California Stars," Wilco (Mermaid Ave.)
"Summer Babe," Pavement
"For Whom the Bell Tolls," Metallica
"No Nose Job," Digital Underground
"Not Fade Away," Buddy Holly
"Stella Was a Diver and She's Always Down," Interpol
"Alison," Slowdive
"So Long, Marienne," Leonard Cohen
"Wagon," Dinosaur Jr.
"After the Gold Rush," Neil Young
"Speeding Motorcycle," Yo La Tengo
"Greetings to the New Brunette," Billy Bragg
"Come Pick Me Up," Ryan Adams
"I Am a Scientist," Guided by Voices
"Luckiest Guy on the Lower East Side," Magnetic Fields
"I Wanna Be Adored," The Stone Roses
"Duel," Swervedriver
"The Good Life," Weezer
"Iris," Live
"Bring the Noise," Public Enemy and Anthrax
"Transcendental Blues," Steve Earle
"Only Living Boy in New York," Simon and Garfunkel
"Maryanne With the Shaky Hand," The Who
"Bawitdaba," Kid Rock
"Piss Up a Rope," Ween

"Most of the Time," Bob Dylan

FAVORITE BOX SETS: I don't own a box set

Europe: The Final Countdown
Beastie Boys: Ill Communication
Bruce Springsteen: Born in the U.S.A.

Billy Joel, The Storm Front

Marilyn Manson (at Hammerstein, with Weiser, home from work for 2 days
afterwards with whiplash)
My Morning Jacket
Elvis Costello
The Roots

Early Metallica (e.g. Kill 'em All)
Jesus and Mary Chain

FAVORITE MUSIC MOVIES (very loosely defined and in order):
Gimme Shelter
Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Sid and Nancy
High Fidelity
24 Hour Party People
School of Rock
Stop Making Sense
[very deliberately excluded: The Doors, Don't Look Back]
******I had a very difficult time with this category because it is
difficult to determine what qualifies as a music movie. For instance,
does it have to contain actual musical performances? Does it have to
at least be in part a biographical account of a musician? Could the
threshold be that it just be about music generally? I took a little
bit of all of the above, and I can't explain the criteria for
eligibility beyond giving an example - Almost famous is eligible;
anything by Wes Anderson, despite superb musical selection, is not.

Any show on HBO that explores the personal lives of those hard at work
in extreme professions. (Sopranos and Six Feet Under, I guess -
although I imagine the selection in the Wire is every bit as good)

Nick Hornby: High Fidelity
Romeo and Juliet: Act IV, Scene 5

Elvis Costello
Paul McCartney
Frank Black
Kevin Shields
David Bowie


Sonic Youth: Goo
Red Hot Chili Peppers: Blood Sugar Sex Magik
Live: Throwing Copper
Tom Waits: Rain Dogs
Sunny Day Real Estate: Diary
Pulp: This is Hardcore
The Beastie Boys: Hello Nasty
Beatles: Abbey Road
The Smiths: The Smiths
David Bowie: Diamond Dogs
The Who: The Who Sell Out
The Damned: Damned Damned Damned
Neutral Milk Hotel: In the Aeroplane Over the Sea

John Lennon and Yoko Ono: Two Virgins (ick.)
Fleetwood Mac: Rumours

See Favorite Music Moviess, since they're all on DVD now. Or you can
look below, at best soundtracks.

Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Velvet Goldmine
Royal Tenenbaums
A Hard Day's Night
The Graduate
Purple Rain
Do the Right Thing
Pulp Fiction
Clockwork Orange
Menace to Society

(*) "These Days," Nico (The Royal Tenenbaums): Gwenyth Paltrow Getting
off the Green Line Bus; the sailors walking behind Luke Wilson
(*) "Perfect Day," Lou Reed (Trainspotting): Renton OD'ing on Mother Superior
(*) "We'll Meet Again," Vera Lynn (Dr. Strangelove): the mushroom cloud
(*) "A Quick One, While He's Away," The Who (Rushmore): that classic
fucking scene when Max puts bees in Blume's hotel room, puts that gum
on the wall while getting out of the elevator, gets his bike run over,
goes mechanic
(*) "Layla," Eric Clapton (Goodfellas): All those people show up dead,
including that dude in deep freeze
(*) "Son of a Preacher Man," Dusty Springfield (Pulp Fiction): needs
not be explained
(*) "Canon in D Minor," Pachelbel (Ordinary People): depressing,
alienating, rudderless suburban family tragedy defined
(*) "Just Like Honey," The Jesus and Mary Chain (Lost in Translation):
Bill Murray walking away from Scarlett Johansson on that busy street
in Tokyo
(*) "Dry the Rain," The Beta Band (High Fidelity): in the middle of the store
(*) 9th Symphony, Beethoven (A Clockwork Orange): pavlovian ultra-violence

"Scarborough Fair," Simon and Garfunkel (The Graduate): Nails on the
Chalkboard of my Soul

David Bowie
Kevin Shields
Frank Black
Nick Lowe

Guided by Voices
Nick Drake
Jonathan Richman



Nick Drake
Belle and Sebastian
Tim Buckley

Smashing Pumpkins: Gish
The Smiths: Louder than Bombs (so what if it's not really an LP)
Hefner: The Fidelity Wars
Lyle Lovett: I Love Everybody
Eleventh Dream Day: Lived to Tell

Digital Underground: Future Rhythm
Many Frank Zappa Albums

Michael Stipe
Ringo Starr
That Fucker from Blur
Jimmy Buffet

Grace Slick
Jeff Buckley
Billy Bragg
Tina Turner
Otis Redding
Neko Case
Van Morrison

Manic Street Preachers

"High and Dry," Radiohead

James Dean
Kid Rock

Brian Wilson
Guns 'n Roses

Lynard Skynard

At the Drive In
Guided by Voices
The Replacements
The Attractions (With Elvis C.)

Kid Rock
Air Supply


don't ever do that again.


make the list or post it or both? my girlfriend at the time really enjoyed the assortment of multi-colored post it notes that went into that list.

"You're Going to Lose That Girl" is one of the great pop songs of all time. Wonderful chord progression with a crazy D thrown in to get into the middle eight and an F to get back to the verse.

The melody is gorgeous, especially if you slow it down a little against those chords.

Also, in "Help", there is a great backlit scene of John, Paul, and George at the mics singing it.

Yeah, O.K., the lyrics aren't Robert Frost, but those vapid teen angst feelings when she changes her mind leave a little dead spot in the heart.

Besides, every girl I've seen walking down the street from when I was 12 until approximately last Thursday is singing "do-wah-diddy-diddy-dum-diddy-do".

Then they catch me listening and change their minds and begin quoting Kierkagaard.

You want annoying? Of course you do. Last time I was in Taiwan I had to hear this song incessantly.

Nobody tops the Taiwanese when it comes to annoying music.

On a more serious note, I think it is true that you'll be a very unsatisfied music listener - miss kernels of musical genius even - if you spend your time worrying about what lyrics mean. Nobody, has ever written internal rhyme like Eminem, but you'll completely miss that if you focus on his asshat lyrics.

I really, really struggle to think of musicians that are accomplished lyrically and compositionally. Later Beatles do it sometimes. Elvis Costello does it sometimes. Sonic Youth does it a lot. Wilco too. Public Enemy could do it sometimes, but Flavor Flav was such an idiot he often torpedoed Chuck D's better efforts. The band that strikes me as the best combination is peak-era Smiths.

You who had the honor of her evening
And by that honor had your own restored
Say goodby to Alexandra leaving
Alexandra leaving with her Lord.

Find a more beautiful song than "Alexandra Leaving" by Leonard Cohen.
Go ahead. I dare ya.

OK, I have now translated this idiotic song that I linked to above, with the help of Pristine Lexicon which I find to be very good for unusual idioms Note: the Lonely Planet guide to Taiwan had a comic about an expat who became obsessed with an "Imposing Bear is the Best Friend" T-shirt, which is presumable related to one of the lines here (I guess I could check this Chinese-only dictionary, but haven't the energy.

Don't look at me that way.
My face will be a red apple.
Don't impose yourself on me like a koala bear
I still don't want to make friends with you
Don't study Robert DeNiro
Acting cool, standing at the intersection of the alley to wait for me
Don't write strange poems for me
Because we haven't come together ["duckweed water bump into each other" - "(saying) strangers coming together by chance"]
I'm a girl, a pretty girl
I'm a girl, a girl who loves to cry
I'm a girl, a strange girl
I'm a gril, you don't understand girls

But, again, the point is, Taiwanese pop is more annoying than you can imagine if you've managed to avoid it.

Sorry, "My face will be like a red apple


Sorry, "My face will be like a red apple"


"I don't have any problem with Avril, or Kelly, but there is absolutely nothing, to date, 'historically significant' about either one of them."

There are few things I either know less about, or care less about, than Top 40 radio, and I have no familiarity at all with publius and publius' style before publius started posting here, but I do know how to read English, and I do know obvious sarcasm when I read it.

"As far as the article you cite, good lyrics have never been necessary for a good pop song."

Well, yeah, the idea of criticizing pop songs for being vapid or making no sense makes no sense.

Is there some reason someone dumped in a long long long list of songs? Or is it a sign this thread should be ignored?

Is there some reason someone dumped in a long long long list of songs?

I think the point was to redeem the average musical quality of this thread by overwhelming Avril and Kelly with sheer quality.

Actually I think you can learn a lot about a society through its pop culture, though. IIRC Avril claimed not to have heard of the Clash in Rolling Stone a few years back. That she said this at the same time that she was making $$$$ off her rebellious skater-punk persona is a great example of how the punk style's permeation of pop culture has totally left out the substance. As I recall from perusing the sociological literature (though I'm not formally an academic) that dynamic of subcultural influence on pop culture which waters down the subculture has been pretty well-recognized since no later than the 50s.

sheer quality.

Err, quantity.

s/l/nt/ for my geeks in the house.

Good lyrics?

Lou Reed, of course. "Life's Good":

Life's like a mayonnaise soda
And life's like space without room
And life's like bacon and ice cream
That's what life's like without you

Life's like forever becoming
But life's forever dealing in hurt
Now life's like death without living
That's what life's like without you

Life's like Sanskrit read to a pony
I see you in my mind's eye strangling on your tongue
What good is knowing such devotion
I've been around - I know what makes things run

(Who knew that John Thullen moonlights as Lou Reed, or vice versa?)

Thoroughly obscure Christian band Daniel Amos: It's the Eighties, So Where's Our Rocket Packs?"

(It's the eighties so where's our rocket packs?)
I thought by now we'd live in space
And eat a pill instead of dinner
And wear a gas mask on our face, a President of female gender
Though progress marches on, (new day)
Our troubles will grow strong
And my expectancies become my fantasies
You turn my blood to sand, the earth stands still again

And, of course, They Might Be Giants: "Mammal"

One of us might lose his hair
But you're reminded that it once was there
From the embryonic whale to the monkey with no tail
So the warm blood flows
with the red blood cells lacking nuclei
Through the large four-chambered heart
Maintaining the very high metabolism rate they have

I really, really struggle to think of musicians that are accomplished lyrically and compositionally.

Television. Robyn Hitchcock. Alex Chilton. Nick Cave.

(Hope the preceding examples help with your inner struggle ;))

Find a more beautiful song than "Alexandra Leaving" by Leonard Cohen.
Go ahead. I dare ya.

Easy. "Stardust."

I really, really struggle to think of musicians that are accomplished lyrically and compositionally.

Dave Matthews.

While some of his lyrics are simplistic and pot-addled, some are truly brilliant and evocative. And musically, he may well be one of the most talented musicians and songwriters of the last 15 years.

Dylan: "Dogs run free, why not we .... across the swamp of time?"

Aimee Mann: "You look like a perfect fit
for a girl in need of a tourniquet."

the brother-in-law discovered Avril and brought her to L.A. Reid at Arista. His reward? They fired him just days before signing her.

Also, in "Help", there is a great backlit scene of John, Paul, and George at the mics singing ["You're Going To Lose That Girl"].

Heh. "Boys, are you buzzing?"

Lyrically and compositionally sophisticated, in addition to the aforementioned: Elvis Costello. Ted Leo. Joe Jackson.

Nobody tops the Taiwanese when it comes to annoying music.

I don't know. Once upon a time I stumbled across http://www.allmusicvideocodes.com/s/Shonen-Knife/5259-Daydream-Believer/index.html>this: a Japanese girl band doing a Monkees pop tune phonetically with the tempo cranked up by 20%. It's... words fail me.

"I really, really struggle to think of musicians that are accomplished lyrically and compositionally."

Richard Thompson. mp3 here.

Second RT, hil.
Man, what fingerpicking!

I dumped the long list of music, just because I can. Because I need something else to blog about sometimes other than the consensus of senior leadership at the department.


thanks for the richard thompson rec. i listened to the mp3, and i dug it. although to be fair i put him (based on my sample of 1 song) closer to the townes van zandt/leonard cohen/bob dylan category of great lyrics and catchy melody than i do to the frank zappa-esque brilliant composer camp.

he also seems like quite the picking virtuoso, but i get the sense that he's got a narrower sonic palette than some of the others.

all of that being said, i really really like him.

The thing about RT is that he has an extraordinary number of styles. This, for instance, is completely different. Do not stop listening before the solos.


great track. great wall of sound production, too. what album should i start with?

hil... any idea who RT's drummer was in the song linked in in your 5:07 post? whoever it is, he's a monster.

I'm not a big fan of Cohen, but I heard "Dance Me To The End Of Love" sung by Thalia Zedek, the other day and then took a listen to Cohen doing it live and that's got to be on my list of beautiful songs.

In the midst of his "20 years of boredom" (from "First We Take Manhattan" - 1988), Leonard lit an enormous signal fire from the wilderness with his release of Various Positions. It's been burning brightly ever since. For the beauty-conscious among you, check out "Take This Waltz" from his 1988 release I'm Your Man. It's a loose translation of Federico Garcia-Lorca's "Little Viennese Waltz" set to classic 1-2-3, 1-2-3, tempo. It's really breathtakingly gorgeous. Lyrics here . "I'm Your Man" has spawned a movie (of the same name), numerous hit songs and film tracks, an exquisite catalogue of music and a generation of new fans, Leonard devotees and immitators. A tribute album called "I'm Your Fan" was released in 1991. Check out Nick Cave on that one!

As if on cue, my 4 year old son just came in singing "Hallelujah, Hallelujah..." from the song of the same name off Various Positions. It starts:

"I heard there was a secret chord
That David played and it pleased the Lord
But you don't really care for music, do ya?
It goes like this the fourth, the fifth
The minor fall, the major lift,
The baffled king composing Hallelujah!"

Leonard Cohen absolutely, positively slays me.


That was me slapping myself for missing the sarcasm first time through.

I think my response to Ezra's piece is still valid, though.

I'll just go sulk away and hide now.

i love leonard cohen, but his version of hallelujah cannot hold a candle to jeff buckley's.

yeah, kovarsky, buckley's good... but you should hear my 4 year old! ;-)

xanax: I dunno. Probably his normal band drummer, since I think that's a live performance.

kovarsky: I just discovered that my favorite, a live album called 'Two Letter Words', seems to have disappeared. Darn. Buy it if you ever see it. 'Hard on me' is from 'Mock Tudor', which is quite good. 'Shoot out the Lights', with his then-wife Linda, is classic. 'Watching the Dark' is good, if you happen to be into three disc sets. (In general, I prefer his live albums, which that one is.) He now has a 5 disc box set that I haven't heard yet, but plan to buy. 'You? Me? Us?' is very good. And old Fairport Convention, when he was a teenager, is great. (Meet On The Ledge has a good selection. Folk rock before it got twee.)

While I was off doing other stuff, it occurred to me that there was no need to accept the artificial constraints of stuff that's available online, so I threw some mp3s up here. 'Calvary Cross' has imho one of the best guitar solos ever. I would never have expected to hear an electric guitar solo based on overlapping sets of bells ringing changes, nor would it have been obvious to me that it would work, but it does. 'Now Be Thankful' is just a song I love. 'No's Not A Word...' is delightfully twisted. I had always thought there was something creepy about phrases like 'No's not a word we use around here', but couldn't put my finger on what it was until I heard this song. 'Walking on a wire' is just a great song.

Well, less-oteric, turns out "Hallelujah" (Rufus Wainright's version) was among the theme songs from Shrek, which my kids have been watching today in anticipation of my promise to take them to the new "Shrek the Third" this evening. Which explains why the little one was singing the LC song earlier.

OK, OK ... but for a moment it was pure magic.

"I suppose that he froze when the wind tore off your clothes
And I guess he just never got warm
But you stand there so nice in your blizzard of ice
Oh please let me come into the storm..."

You know, Anarch, you start innocently enough searching out the gems in LC's lyrics and when you come up for air you find you haven't eaten or bathed in weeks, your friends are all worried about you, work seems oddly irrelevant and the world suddenly has a never-before-seen golden umbra...

Was it Yeats said "all is changed, changed utterly" ?

Like that.

Richard Thompson: of the the albums I've heard, my favorite is Rumour and Sigh. I think that "1952 Vincent Black Lightning" from that album is a lot of people's favorite Thompson.

You also have to check out "Liege and Leaf" b Faircourt Convention, although Thompson just played with them.

>"There she was just-a walkin' down the street/ Signin' >doo-wah-diddy-diddy-dum-diddy-doo"

So would that be in American Sign Language or English?


In Borders tonight, I saw the half-naked Ms. Lavigne on a mag cover & remarked to my wife that she seemed to be trying a little too hard.

Now I see why.

"Visions of Johanna," Bob Dylan

Y'know, I am wont to put Blonde on Blonde in & hit "Repeat 1" on "Johanna." It's mystical, somehow.

Kovarsky, do you like the '66 Live version? It was touted to me as much better than the studio cut, but I greatly prefer the latter.

Anderson: In the '66 live version of V of J there is something almost numinous in Dylan's inflections. Particularly: "In the room the heat pipes just cough"... The various ways he sings "Louise" and especially "Jeeze, I can't find my knees".

And while we're on the subject, am I the only one who thinks Brownsville Girl ranks among Dylan's major masterworks?

I really, really struggle to think of musicians that are accomplished lyrically and compositionally.

Jimi Hendrix.
Van Morrison.
Thom Yorke.

Michael Cain:

I remember Shonen Knife. They were way trendy among the punk rock kids when I was one of them in the 80s. Couldn't get that video to play.

Michael Cain:

I remember Shonen Knife. They were way trendy among the punk rock kids when I was one of them in the 80s. Couldn't get that video to play, though.

"I really, really struggle to think of musicians that are accomplished lyrically and compositionally."

I know this will risk getting me labeled 'fanboy', since SOME of her songs have a jumpy and enigmatic dreamlike quality in their lyrics, but Tori Amos. But for songs which combine excellent muscial power with good lyric content sample:

Silent all These Years
China (perhaps the perfect description of a relationship drifting away for no apparent reason)
Northern Lad

And sometimes I wonder if complaints about 'bad' lyrics are just a misunderstanding of how emotion is expressed in songs/poems. For example "Tear in Your Hand" is a jumble, but it really reflects the craziness of someone breaking up with you. "i don't believe you're leaving cause
me and charles manson like the same ice cream i think it's that girl". Saying that I don't believe you're leaving but I think its that girl doesn't make sense, but that is why it is perfect for the situation. I think many complaints about lyrics can fall into problems with symbolism, but also with failing to realize that accurately describing emotion can be problematic when subjected to mere analysis. In the accurately and vividly describing emotions concept, Tori Amos does very well with her lyrics.

Another group with good lyrics and musical power is the Indigo Girls.

Language Or the Kiss
"Power of Two" and "Mystery": these two songs have a wonderful simplicity and they both describe the kind of love that I certainly hope to find someday.

And "Fare thee well" has an interesting take on a famous quote "and now i think of having loved and having lost/ you never know what it's like to never love/ who can say what's better and my heart's become the cost"

Seeing that there are other folks who like their rock and such with sophistication, I shall share a few faves. Jeff Johnson is a Pacific Northwest fellow who tends to get airplay, when he does, for his Celtic-flavored collaborations with Brian Dunning. But he has a body of his work that's a big influence on me. These are AACs for your listening pleasure.

Soliloquy: One of the most perfect sad songs I know. There are others as good (some of Joy Division's work, Bruce Springsteen's "Empty Sky", Alan Parsons' "Oh Life"), but none that I regard as better. I listened to this a lot in the months around Dad's death, beause it helped me bring grief into manageable expression.

I Move in This Flow: Johnson also does ecstasy in the all-encompassing sense as well as anyone I know of. For sheer joy in life...hmm. Jon Anderson sometimes, perhaps. But Johnson's take is unique, including one of my favorite metaphors, "I am what I know, a glacier made from layers of history's flow.

And in between those, The Tyger: The William Blake poem, richly wrapped in ambient layers. Johnson's long-time percussionist Sandy Simpson is in particularly good form here.

Sebastian, if I were to call you fanboy for that, it would only be to say "Hey, over here! There's plenty of room in the fanboy section tonight!"

i don't know the '66 live version. you always have to feel awkward making a best of list, because you have to confess to not knowing some quite seminal works from various artists.

that being said, from dylan i find it hard to believe i'd get anything out of an additional performance that i did not hear, because there's nothing about those performances that you'd expect to exceed whatever it is that you've already identified as dylan's defining attribute. unless he made the lyrics of V of J somehow better (which, given my rankings, i obviously think a feat of the highest order), i'd be hard pressed to elevate it it in my esteeem.

I've already identified it as the single best song ever, although I have to admit that it achieves that status on the basis of lyrical accomplishment. That being said, I'd love to hear my favorite song performed in some previously unconsumed form.

"Hallelujah" (Rufus Wainright's version) was among the theme songs from Shrek

I think it's Wainwright on the soundtrack recording, but John Cale in the movie. Personally, Cale's is my favorite of the many covers of this tune.

Cohen's a favorite. The thing he seldom gets credit for is his sense of humor. He's wickedly funny.

Thanks -

I think this post says more about the state of top 40 radio then anything.

Yes, it`s almost always terrible pop songs. But the stations don`t even come close to playing the top 40. It may as well be the top 20 over and over again.

If they actually played all of the songs over the couse of the day and had to get through each and every one before repeating... It wouldn`t be thumbscrews bad, just 30 seconds of waterboarding bad.

A discussion of songwriters who are accomplished both musically and lyrically, and no mention of either Paul Simon or Joni Mitchell?

She said:
Why don't we drive through the night
We'll wake up down in Mexico
Oh I
I don't know nothin' about nothin' about
No Mexico
And tell me why
Why won't you love me
For who I am
Where I am
He said:
'Cause that's not the way the world is baby
This is how I love you, baby
This is how I love you, baby
-Paul Simon, "Hearts and Bones"

Listen as the wind blows
From across the Great Divide
Voices trapped in yearning
Memories trapped in time
The night is my companion
Solitude my guide
Would I spend forever here
And not be satisfied
And I would be the one
To hold you down
kiss you so hard
I'd take your breath away
And after, I'd wipe away the tears
Just close your eyes dear.
-Sarah McLachlan

Fun Fact: The Sarah McLachlan lyrics that nick quotes, from her song "Possession," were largely adapted from some very upsetting letters she received from a crazy stalker. Falls into the category, along with "Every Breath You Take" and "The One I Love," of "Songs People Think Are Love Songs and Therefore Play at Weddings, but Really, Just Read the Lyrics."

People play "Possession" at weddings?!?

Though I did hear "American Woman" by Lenny Kravitz used as a dedication on the radio. The DJ was a bit confused too. He asked: "Do you love her?" The guy said "Yeah, very much!". Ummmm, OK.

Warren Zevon, "My Ride is Here". Very evocative but I'm not sure of what. My take is it's about the acceptnce of death.

I love the line about the heat pipes that cough, too.

Tom Waits.

Every now and then I'll hear an astonishing song, something so emotionally evocative that I hang on every word and note and it will turn out to be a cover of a Tom Waits song.

Wonkie: you and i seem to have similar taste. Warren Zevon at his most blistering (from the album Life'll Kill Ya) is probably the song "My Shit's Fucked Up:" (please forgive the posting rules violation... just this once):

Well, I went to the doctor
I said, "I'm feeling kind of rough"
He said, "I'll break it to you, son [Warren sings, "Let me break it to you, son"]
Your shit's fucked up."
I said, "my shit's fucked up?"
Well, I don't see how-"
He said, "The shit that used to work-
It won't work now."

And Tom Waits? Well, poetic song lyrics may get as good as in his song "Time," but they don't get much (if any) better.


Well the smart moneys on harlow and the moon is in the street
And the shadow boys are breaking all the laws
And youre east of east saint louis and the wind is making speeches
And the rain sounds like a round of applause
And napoleon is weeping in a carnival saloon
His invisible fiancee's in the mirror
And the band is going home, its raining hammers, its raining nails
And its true theres nothing left for him down here

And its time time time, and its time time time
And its time time time that you love
And its time time time

And they all pretend theyre orphans and their memorys like a train
You can see it getting smaller as it pulls away
And the things you cant remember tell the things you cant forget
That history puts a saint in every dream

Well she said she'd stick around until the bandages came off
But these mamas boys just dont know when to quit
And mathilda asks the sailors are those dreams or are those prayers?
So close your eyes, son, and this wont hurt a bit

Oh its time time time, and its time time time
And its time time time that you love
And its time time time

Well things are pretty lousy for a calendar girl
The boys just dive right off the cars and splash into the street
And when they're on a roll she pulls a razor from her boot
And a thousand pigeons fall around her feet
So put a candle in the window and a kiss upon his lips
As the dish outside the window fills with rain
Just like a stranger with the weeds in your heart
And pay the fiddler off til I come back again

Oh its time time time, and its time time time
And its time time time that you love
And its time time time
And its time time time, and its time time time
And its time time time that you love
And its time time time

Then of course from his "Come On Up To The House"

All your cryin' won't do no good
Come on up to the house
Come down from the cross we can use the wood
Come on up to the house...!

There are so many more... Blind Love, Hold On, etc., etc.

It's amazing how many of my very favorite songs have been mentioned on this thread--Take This Waltz, hallelujah, Visions of Johannna. If we ever all went on a road trip together we would have no arguments about the soundtrack.

An ObWi road trip! What a splendid notion! We could make it a whistle-stop tour culminating in the nomination of hilzoy for president...

what say you, comrade hilzoy??

Wonkie, did you ever hear Holly Cole's album Temptation? She covers Waits in torch song style. It's amazing (and excellent).

The '66 live version of Fourth Time Around is so much better (more haunting, emotional, etc.) that it is a qualitatively different song than the one on Blonde on Blonde. All in all, '66 live album (the acoustic one) is must listening

don't ever do that again.

Cheap Trick: Live at Budokan
OK, guilty pleasure.

Monkees pop tune
I hate to admit to this…

We could make it a whistle-stop tour culminating in the nomination of hilzoy for president...
She has my vote.

I'm not commenting, really. Just wanted to pass this along, via Ace.

Sir Paul McCartney yesterday likened his prolonged and bitter divorce from Heather Mills to a journey through a tunnel towards the light. Describing how he has been helped by the support of his family and the public, he said: "There is a tunnel and there is a light and I will get there, and meantime I really enjoy my work and my family.

"I see people worse off than me, so I can put it into perspective. There's a thing we always used to quote in the Sixties when things were rough, 'I walked down a street and I cried because I had no shoes, then I saw a man with no feet'. It was an Indian parable, and that is one of the lines I live by."

Thought that might make you smile.

FUN Fact out of place dedication:

Listening to WPYX in Albany NY one time a few years ago: a gentleman called in on his twentieth wedding anniversary and wanted to dedicate a song to his wife, and how much the time he had spent with her meant to him, and how he was looking forward to the rest of their lives together. Their first date had been to go to a concert, so he wanted to dedicate a song from that show to her, with all his heart.

The song?

"Stranglehold," by Ted Nugent.

One of the funniest things I have ever heard on the radio.

For those who would prefer not to listen to Ted, the romantic masterpiece includes the truly poetic:
"Road I cruise is a bitch now baby
But no, you can't turn me round
And if a house gets in my way, baby
Ya know I'm tearing it down
You ran the night that you left me
You put me in my place
I got you in a stranglehold, baby
Then I crushed your face."

If that doesn't say "love," ...

We no longer have any emails displayed with comments, so apologies for asking, but is profbacon someone who may have just finished a stint in Houston from may 11 to 13? If so, please drop a comment at TiO

xanax: yes to road trip, Sherman's response to the rest. (Just think what the oppo researchers would make of my time in Tucson. The mind boggles. And then there's the rest of my life.)

I also love the Monkees, which is embarrassing.

I still think the idea of a blogger version of the Rock Bottom Replacements has possibilities, in which case we will definitely need roadies.

hil: other than the .. what did your sister call it... a pajama party? your time in Tucson was exemplary. Frankly, and dead seriously, all kidding aside, this country would be luckier perhaps than it even deserves to have one such as you in the high(est) levels of politics. Absolutely. Categorically. No sh-t.

And politics aside, a few thousand miles in an old pickup with you and the above CD catalogue would be, at bare minimum, a major hoot.

All others welcome!

true fact--monkees was the first album I ever bought, ages ago.

true fact--monkees was the first album I ever bought, ages ago.

Hey man, I feel your pain. "The Monkees", "More of the Monkees", then "Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn, and Jones". For my ninth birthday I really, really, really wanted a watch cap like Mike Nesmith wore.

Then my family moved and the guys in my new neighborhood hipped me to Cream and Blue Cheer.

The awful truth of the matter is that the Monkees' records were amazingly good pop music.

Highly recommended: Cassandra Wilson's cover of "Last Train to Clarksville".

Other favorite performances from the pop music world:

B-52's "Give Me Back My Man".

I'll give you fish
I'll give you candy
I'll give you everything I have in my hand

Goofy and heart-wrenching all at once.

Human Sexual Response "Land Of The Glass Pinecones". If Pee Wee Herman had an ecstatic religious experience, this would be the sound track.

Mission of Burma "Einstein's Day". Other than possibly being notes from someone's acid trip, I have no idea what this song is about, but I love it.

PJ Harvey "Victory". PJ, who probably weighs in at 95 pounds dripping wet, somehow finds a way to make unholy terror sexy as hell.


the monkees rock -- i watched that show on nick at nite many many moons ago and never looked back

If we ever do the ObWi band, I do a decent 'I'm a Believer'. Also, 'These Boots Are Made For Walking'. (Lots of fun thwocking out the bass line with my thumb.)

Heh heh.

i'm not your stepping stone is clearly the best monkees song (that's actually an objectively proven, non-subjective fact)

Nah. Last Train To Clarksville.

you're entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts

hilzoy: Sherman's response to the rest.

I assume the reference is to his quip - one of the best in political history - "If nominated, I will not run; if elected, I will not serve."

But you might also have cited Abraham Lincoln's tale of a scalliwag caught in some small town who was in the process of being tarred, feathered, and ridden out of town on a rail. Asked if he had any final words, he supposedly said: "If it wasn't for the honor, I'd just as soon walk."

My wife is a Monkees superfan, having traveled many hundreds of miles to see their reunion shows over the years, so I think I speak with some authority when I say that their best song is unequivocally tied between "She" and Mike Nesmith's superlative "Papa Gene's Blues," publius's and hilzoy's heresies notwith.

For songs that shouldn't be played at Weddings - Melissa Etheridge's "You can Sleep while I drive..." which is a touching road trip song till you get to the end -

"If you wont take me with you
I'll go before night is through
And baby you can sleep while I drive"

I looked at my friend (who's wedding it was) and said, "So if she's not with you to the end you are going to ditch her?"

The look on his face is priceless.

For my road trip I've discovered I've become a fan of Trance or Electronica. It lets my mind just sort of float.

more monkees fans, huh?

okay, hil, i'm a believer, too, and I can whack a tambourine with at least as much skill as davey jones, so put me in for backing vocals.

(sorry: I mean I can whack a tambourine as skillfully as Davey Jones whacked the tambourine, not that I can whack a tambourine or whack Davey Jones with equal skill. I'm not sure I can reach that low).

since i find myself among the like-minded (or more precisely, the similarly mindless):

to the category of "pure pop, no apologies", I'd like to add:

Spiral Starecase, "I love you more today than yesterday".

Fifth Dimension's cover of Laura Nyro's "Wedding Bell Blues".

fabulous songs. the youtube videos of original (lip-synched) performances make me young once more. -ish.

In a slightly different vein of great pop, most of Marshall Crenshaw's debut album.

Reflecting on the strange fact that many less-deserving people became far more famous than Crenshaw, I'd like to introduce the category of:

"Local Boy so good, why he never make good?"

and propose the admission of:

Nils Lofgren.

Yeah, you never heard of him. which just goes to show.

I really, really struggle to think of musicians that are accomplished lyrically and compositionally.

Fiona Apple, Elliott Smith, etc

"Songs People Think Are Love Songs and Therefore Play at Weddings, but Really, Just Read the Lyrics."

Add to that, Extreme's "More Than Words":

Saying I love you
Is not the words I want to hear from you
It's not that I want you
Not to say, but if you only knew
How easy it would be to show me how you feel
More than words is all you have to do to make it real
Then you wouldn't have to say that you love me
Cos I'd already know
What would you do if my heart was torn in two
More than words to show you feel
That your love for me is real
What would you say if I took those words away
Then you couldn't make things new
Just by saying I love you
More than words
Now I've tried to talk to you and make you understand
All you have to do is close your eyes
And just reach out your hands and touch me
Hold me close don't ever let me go
More than words is all I ever needed you to show
Then you wouldn't have to say that you love me
Cos I'd already know
What would you do if my heart was torn in two
More than words to show you feel
That your love for me is real
What would you say if I took those words away
Then you couldn't make things new
Just by saying I love you
More than words

Which I read as "Okay, you say you love me, why don't you show it once in a while?"

Yeah, I always thought it was weird that Extreme's "More Than Words" was treated as a love song. It is very much a "can I cheese a high school girl enough to get her in my pants" song.

I was going to de-lurk to ensure Richard Thompson was added to the discussion - why am I not surprised that several of you had that covered!

xanax: The drummer is probably Michael Jerome. MJ was the tour drummer starting with Mock Tudor and Hard on Me is from that CD. Also, the thundering bass you're hearing is coming from a miked upright acoustic bass.

hilzoy: You're right - Two-Letter Words, Celtschmertz, and Live at Crawley all seem to have been discontinued. That's very unfortunate.

Did you know about the upcoming release of a 1975 Richard & Linda live CD?

publius: "...historically significant convergance of musical influences"

LMAO! Best snark I've seen all month.

Clapton is a false idol. RT is god. :^)

OkieByAccident -- no. Wow.

How's the boxed set, if you have it?


It's quite good, naturally! I'm not sure it's essential unless you are a die-hard completist. Though you seem to have a wide collection already (e.g., Watching the Dark, Two-Letter Words), and you may fall into that category...

It was my first chance to finally hear the infamous "Dragging the River". Lots of rarities.

Don't want to clog up the comment thread, but email me if you'd like to expand the dialog... :^)

(In case you've never seen the track listing)

"Local Boy so good, why he never make good?"

i nominate The Colorblind James Experience

Bruce Baugh--No, I didn't know about Holly Cole and her covers of TWaits songs. Thanks for the heads up! I'm going to fly over to Amazon dot com in just a sec.

Nils Lofgren

Neil Young, then Crazy Horse, then Grin, then solo, then E Street Band, now solo again.

Lofgren's got 20+ albums out under his own name, most of them are still in print. The guy's halfway through his 50's and he's made a living playing music in the big leagues since he was teenager.

He may not be a household name, but I'd say he's done pretty well.

If you're looking for one of the all time sweetest straight up rock love ballads, check out "Shot At You" from Nils "Crooked Line".

Not since Delta Blues farmers mixed with European big bands at the mouth of the Mississippi River at the turn of last century have we seen such a historically significant convergance of musical influences.

Under that heading, I nominate Dread Zeppelin. Rastafarian heavy metal, fronted by the ghost of the King himself.

Thanks -

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