Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Thirty Days of Blogging: Day 25

More lists.

Because you horrid people only reply to lists.

Here's the deal.  Think of a band.  Now consider two songs.
1) their most REPRESENTATIVE song.
2) their BEST song.

That's it.

Representative = if you had only one song to introduce an alien to this band, what would you play them?

BEST = if you had one song to represent the essence of their greatness...for any band..what would you choose?

Here are some examples.


Most REPRESENTATIVE SONG: Stairway to Heaven.

Helped by being long.  Encompasses the acoustic and heavy sides of the band.  Has the hippie-dippie stoned lyrics, and the rock n roll bad ass lyrics.  It's the band in one song.

BEST SONG: Going to California.  


Most Representative Song: (Don't go back to) Rockville

Best Song: Orange Crush


Most Rep Song: Where The Streets Have No Name
Best Song: One

Bruce Springsteen

Most Rep Song: Thunder Road (or some other 70s anthem)
Best Song: (Streets of) Philadelphia

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Thirty Days of Blogging Day 23: On Daily Routines

My wife says the posts of mine that she likes the most are the ones about our daily routine.  My mother says the same thing.  So, here's a post about daily routine.

The routine we have for waking and sleeping is that the wife goes to bed first, around 10:30, and I stay up for another few hours, reading and working.  When I stay up, I'm in the den.  (Which has a terrible reading lamp, for which reason I end up reading less than I want to in there.  But never mind that).

Before the wife goes to bed we move the Bink into the kitchen.  He has a dog bed that he sleeps in.  During the day, the bed is in the front room, the one with the window that looks out onto the street.  From there he can survey the neighborhood and alert us -- via loud and prolonged yowling, and the grabbing of his bed by the mouth, and subsequent angry shaking of said bed -- of the approach of anyone suspicious (chiefly: the mailman, neighbors, and alien cats).  Then, at night, when we watch TV with dinner, we move the Bink's bed into the TV/den room so that he's not alone in the dark of the front room.  We do this b/c we've learned that if he lies in the dark during the early evening, he's less likely to sleep through the night when he's actually put in bed.  So, really, we keep him in the den with us during TV/dinner so that he's around lights and noises, and can't fully sleep.

Anyway, around 10 the wife starts getting ready for bed.  Bink follows her and keeps watch as she brushes her teeth and lays out her clothes and drinks her twelve shots of vodka and eats her herring.  Then, when she closes the sliding door that separates the bedroom area of our house from the living room area, Bink knows it's time for him to go to bed.  He ambles into the kitchen, gets in his bed, and sleeps.  But during the time he's in the kitchen, in bed, I'm still in the den working, writing, reading, and eating the rest of the wife's picked-over bits of herring and vodka.

Then, when I finally go to bed, around 12:30, I silently creep to the kitchen and latch closed the baby gate that separates kitchen from dining room.  In doing so, I lock Bink in the kitchen.  We've tried letting him roam around the entire living quarters area at night, but inevitably, at 4 AM, he sees a cat through the back window and starts yowling and going crazy.  And that's no good.  (Whereas, in the kitchen, there are no windows set low enough to allow him access onto cats).

So, that's the routine.  Most of the time it works fine.  Though once in a while Bink, when enclosed in the kitchen by me as I creep silently toward bed, rebels.  And by rebel I mean "barks loudly throughout the night, tears all the towels down from their racks and, if he's feeling jaunty, poops on the floor."

For some odd reason, he almost never rebels if I'm the one who stays up in the den.  But once a week, I abstain for a day from caffeine and go to bed early.  On those nights, the wife stays up later in the den.  Whenever that happens--whenever she's the one who has to latch the baby gate closed on the kitchen before bed--Bink ALWAYS rebels.

The loud yowling that goes through the night can be countered, however, by means of 1) closing our bedroom door and 2) turning on my fan to high, which fan then makes a noise that sounds roughly like a Sopwith Camel lifting off for battle, and which obscures the anguished howling of the small Maltese in the kitchen.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Thirty Days of Blogging Day 22: Musical Lists II

Ha!  As I'd hoped, the musical lists posts has (finally) provoked some responses.  Give the people what they want, that's what I say.

A few replies to your replies....

The reason I didn't bother talking about The Stones, e.g, (as well as a lot of other bands), was because the point of the list is to treat with bands one more or less universally admires.  I think it's interesting to talk about the outliers, the duds, the one or two songs by your favorite bands that you can't stand.  It's even more interesting, to me, if those are songs that many other fans seem to admire.  I mean, it's not so hard to find some late-career B-side that doesn't do much for you; more difficult, I think, is to find a hit from the heart of their catalog that's never, ever, seemed to you worthwhile.

So, the Stones.  I'm sort of generally indifferent to them, is the thing.  Sure, I have songs of theirs I like--maybe a few I love (maybe?)--but in general they don't do much for me.  To me the Beetles/Stones debate is not even a contest--I think the Stones may go down in history as the most overrated band in rock music.  Similarly, Elton John.  I like a few of his songs, but generally I find his work saccharine and inane.  (His lyrics, especially, gall me).  So there's no point in me listing songs of his I don't like, because he's not an artist of whom I consider myself "a fan."  That's the key issue here--being a fan.  Which label, is, I know, nebulous to the point of nonsense.  But, I use it nonetheless.

Though I could, if pushed, come up with criteria for fandom, as I define it.  You own all of their albums, you've seen them live in concert, you can recite most or all of their lyrics by heart, you have detailed and complex opinions about their catalog, you will always follow a link on the internet if it has to do with this band, etc.

There are other bands that I really admire that, when I thought about it, I couldn't identify songs of theirs that I considered were duds.  Like, U2.  There's no song of theirs I can think of that really offends me--and that's always offended me, from the get-go.  (Again: 'grown sick of' doesn't count.  Because there are TON of U2 songs I'm sick of.  All of Joshua Tree, to start. But did I love--or at least like--them once?  I did.)

So that's the thing.

JWM--what's the REM song you don't like?  Are there any? (Again: has to be a hit.  Not track 9 from Up).

Dez, I don't know Springsteen well enough to know if the song of his you listed was really a hit/big deal.  Presumably it was?  I realize, of course, that with non-top 40 artists 'hit' is a vague term.  But, you know.  We do our best.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Thirty Days of Blogging: Day 21: Musical Lists

So I was thinking last week that if I had to name my least-favorite Bowie song, what would it be?  But then, that seems too easy: you could pick one of the tracks from the second half of Tonight, say ("Borneo" jumps to mind) and you'd easily find some pretty substandard songs.

So, a more interesting question is: what's my least favorite popular Bowie song?  "Popular" means, in this case, a song that's frequently on the radio, which any halfway educated musical fan would know, and which is generally liked and admired by the public at large.  Basically: a song by an artist you like that a lot of other people like, but you don't.  And--that you've never liked.  I.e.: it's not a song you've gotten burned out on, or outgrew (e.g."Stairway to Heaven").  It's song you've always disliked--from the first time you heard it.  It's the worst good song the artist has ever done.

And then I started thinking this idea of 'worst good' could extend to other bands.  I mean, for any band we like, there's probably one or two or their hits, songs that many people other like, that I have never ever cared for.  Right?  So then I started assembling a list.  And here it is: my 'worst good' songs by some of my favorite artists.

Oh--also: the songs have to be artists you generally otherwise admire.  You can't pick a band whose work you generally dislike or don't really get into.  (So, I'm not listing songs by The Rolling Stones or REM, e.g.)

David Bowie: "Fashion."  Probably the only Bowie song where, if I hear it on the radio, I'm switching stations.  Unless it's near the bridge ('listen to me/don't listen to me...").  I dig the bridge.

Led Zeppelin: "Kashmir."  There's some interview where Robert Plant talks about this song represents, for him, the essence of Led Zeppelin.  Bleh.  For me it represents the essence of badness.

The Beetles: "Hey Jude."  Not only do I like the song, I don't like the story of how the song was written.  Maybe if it didn't have that endless outro (Na na na na na......) I'd like it more.  But probably not.

The Police: "Can't Stand Losing You."

Neil Young: "A Man Needs a Maid."  Maybe this isn't a big enough hit to count?

Bob Dylan: "Idiot Wind."  Dylan's tricky because he doesn't really have a lot of hits, but this is a well-known song from a well known album.  So.  I'm counting it.