Seven Songs

It’s Thursday, I’ve missed the last two weeks, I need to get something up here, and I saw some deranged old man doing this, so I figured it was as good an idea as any. Then I realized I’d misread it:

“List seven songs you are into right now. No matter what the genre, whether they have words, or even if they’re not any good, but they must be songs you’re really enjoying now, shaping your spring. Post these instructions in your blog along with your 7 songs. Then tag 7 other people to see what they’re listening to.”

I’m going to change it around a bit and just list seven “notable” songs I’ve been listening to recently. Not necessarily good or bad, but worth mentioning.

1) Magnetic Fields – Born on a Train

I’d never even heard of this this band, but I knew that a band with the name “Magnetic Fields” existed, so I only stumbled upon this song while looking for a musical accompaniment to this movie. It’s beautiful. So is With Whom To Dance, which reminded me instantly of…

2) Chumbawamba – Learning To Love
Probably because they lifted the tune wholesale, as good folk music so often does. Fitting, as both the songs’ lyrics deal with similar conundra, but Chumba go so far as to provide a solution in their case.

3) Apocalyptica – Fade To Black
Listened to this today because I had to explain to someone why this band is great in theory but lacking in execution. Even when they add a drummer, they still never seem to capture the heaviness of their source material. Cellos have an huge dynamic range, and skilled (and creative) cellists can squeeze more sounds out of a cello than Tom Morello can out of a guitar. This band, however, bores me to tears.

4) The Ex & Tom Cora – State of Shock
Speaking of skilled cellists… It was a dead heat between this and Hidegen Fújnak a Szelek (based on the Hungarian folk song, which Chumba also eventually borrowed). This won out because I could find the a link to the version with Tom. Sometimes I like to listen to music in odd orders—alphabetical by band or chronological—because I still get the coherence of listening to full albums, but the bands and styles of music come out in an almost pseudorandom series so I get to hear music I might not be looking for. Today, iTunes happened to be sorted by year, so this list contains a disproportionate number of songs from 1992. After finishing this album it moved on to…

5) Operation Ivy – Here We Go Again
I don’t think I’ve heard this song in 10 years, and it’s still so good. The lyrics are amazing, insightful, and always relevant:

Analyzed the world I was born into, but I could never understand
Knew I never wanted to grow up if that meant being a “man”
Dominating strict competition is the meaning of our lives
Stomping on the weak keeps us the winner of the battle in our minds

6) Beastie Boys – Professor Booty
Yet another ‘92 release. Again, this whole album was really inspiring to me growing up. Good beats, clever rhymes… this track wins for the line, “I been though many times in which I thought I might lose it. They only thing that saved me, has always been music.”

7) Russian Circles – Harper Lewis
I have to include at least one item in the list that I haven’t been able to stop listening to for weeks, and this is it. Again, this whole album is excellent. All the interweaving layers, shifting drums, build ups and light/heavy interplay that I love. For whatever reason the drums really stand out to me. They’re relatively simple, but I don’t think the drummer ever uses the same beat twice in the whole album. This particular track reminds me of one of my favorite things that I’ve been missing in the Bay Area. Like a thunderstorm, it starts out with rumbling toms and bass in the distance, then comes a light trickle of guitar, then the pressure builds and builds until… wait for it… wait for it… here it comes… CRACK!… BOOOM! DOWNPOUR! No link because you need to go get this yourself and listen to it on something with bass. Lots of bass. Headphones need not apply.

7.5) (’cause I can never stick to rules) Crass – The Immortal Death
This one’s been stuck in my head for a few days now, for a reason I can’t quite mention yet. Crass were masters of managing tension, building it up and up and up until it exploded and collapsed into chaos, combining harsh guitar tone, driving drums, and both vocals and lyrics pushing the uncomfortableness to eleven. This epic, written in response to the idiotic Falklands War, exposed the connection between war, gender, sexuality and death and is ever relevant today.

Alright, now I’m supposed to find seven people to pass this to? Let’s go with Anouk, since she just asked about it, Matt, Bob, and Joe, since I know they have taste and are in dire need of an update; and John, Jon, and Seppo, ’cause I know they have taste and will probably do it.

4 Responses to “Seven Songs”

  1. Quincy Hoist says:

    Bastard. Now I have to come out of the woodwork.

    I’ll post my 7 on Sunday; too much going on ’til then I think.

    My one caveat is that I am not sure that I will pass this meme along. I’ll participate with my picks, but my branch DIES WITH ME. Unless I change my mind.

  2. [...] an email from this guy inspired me to write the following, because I always like writing about music, although not [...]

  3. Wow, I love the magnetic fields movie!

  4. And yeah, I did my duty and posted my 7 songs too ;)