We’re dancing for the restless and the brokenhearted

25 07 2017

I’ve got such a weakness for the pop anthem.

And not just, y’know, the regular U-RAH-RAH anthem—not We Will Rock You—but the slow build/propulsive/rip-your-heart-out-only-the-music-can-save-us anthem.

U2 seems the obvious go-to band for this, and it’s true, those boys could be mighty anthemic, but they were always too eager, never desperate enough. And while David Gray can do both the build and the desperation, he tends to crash through too soon, breaking the wave rather than letting it break over him.

No, for the properly-calibrated desperation, you gotta go to the women.

Stevie Nicks knew how to do the propulsive/rip-your-heart out bit:

As did Heart:

Pat Benatar bridged both Heart and Nicks:

A little older, a little softer, but still that call:

Sinead switches it up: she starts at a pretty high level, then just levels this shit:

Here, she levels everything s l o o o w w w l l l y:

Okay, I will give this one to the boys:

This is our last dance, indeed.

Kate Bush is a force unto herself, and if you can’t find your way to liking even one of her songs, I don’t want to know you.

This one is pretty hard to ignore:

This one works, too:

The pièce de résistance, however, has got to be from the lovably dopey Streets of Fire, with Diane Lane lip-synching the combined voices of Laurie Sargent and Holly Sherwood. Big booms, big downs, big ups, big hair, and everything is demolished by the end:

God, I’ll stop and listen to that song every damned time.

Hell, I listened to them all: somewhere inside this middle-aged broad is that break-away-everything-and-nothing-matters girl, still.

All these years later, something more than a memory remains of her, still.

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I just died in your arms tonight

11 01 2014

What song do you most want—or not want—to hear as you shuffle off to Buffalo?

Megan Seling, formerly of the Slog, wrote in to her old paper to note her horror at almost meeting her maker to the sounds of Coldplay.

Coldplay! Yeesh.

(Okay, yes, I have that one Coldplay cd, A rush of blood to the head, or whatever, and I even listen to it sometimes. But it’s pretty fucking insipid music and I’d be pissed too if that were the last thing I ever heard.)

Commenters noted their feared last notes, with the Eagles’s “Hotel California” getting a couple of votes, as did Toto generally. Oh, and DOUG linked to a great Ellen Forney comic on the horror of going down to bad tunes.

I don’t know that there’s any song that I would absolutely hate hate hate to have playing when I die—I mean, there are so many crappy songs out there it would be tough to choose—and, frankly, it would it makes own absurdist non-sense if I died to something ridiculous.

I have thought about what I’d want played at my funeral. Poi Dog Pondering’s Bury Me Deep gets a nod, and at one point I considered (for reasons which aren’t really clear to me, except for the Emmylou part) Emmylou Harris’s cover of Ballad of a Runaway Horse, but I’ve since dropped that. Prayer in Open D is also nice, albeit much more spiritual than I am.

There’s also Talking Heads’s Heaven, which is a bit of a downer, actually (and I want people to have fun at my final going-away party!); Eurythmics’s Heaven, if only because it has that nice Eighties beat; but I’d prefer Heaven or Las Vegas by the Cocteau Twins, because, really, that’s the kind of choice every corpse should get to make.

Then there’s Happy Trails, but since the Van Halen version was my high school graduating class’s unofficial song (the school wouldn’t let us play it at graduation), I don’t know that I’d want to double-dip.

I might go with something grand and sentimental—the Waterboys’s This is the Sea is a song that demands teary drunken tributes—but maybe I’d like a bit of a twist in that Irish whiskey.

So Kate Bush’s Jig of Life it is. Big drums and compellingly obscure lyrics and oh, a jig to send me on:

“We are of the going water and the gone.
We are of water in the holy land of water
And all that’s to come runs in
With the thrust on the strand.”

Just so.





Listen to the music: What would we do without you?

29 01 2013

Kate Bush is still putting out records, right?

I mean, I know she was never one to crank out the albums, but every coupla’ years she would drop a tankful of tunes and Kate being Kate, that was usually enough to get me through.

Then again, I didn’t really start listening to Kate Bush until, mm, The Whole Story/The Sensual World, so it was pretty easy for me to say, No hay problema with the lente of the songs: I could simply dig through the back catalog and satisfy myself with those.

And Kate Bush is satisfying, because her songs were always kitted out with weirdness (the aro0-roo-roo in “Hounds of Love”) or literary allusions (“Cloudbusting” and Wilhelm Reich) or literary weirdness (Heathcliffe! It’s me, Cathy! I’ve come home/It’s so cold, let me in-a-your window-oh-oh).

And why the Pause for the jet? Why not?

She’s heartbreaking too, but often with an undertone of menace: in “Hello Earth” she warns the sailors and life-savers and cruisers and fishermen out of the sea and “Mother Stands for Comfort” of the worst kind. Oh, and the threat of “Experiment IV”:

Music made for pleasure,
Music made to thrill.
It was music we were making here until

They told us
All they wanted
Was a sound that could kill someone
From a distance.

Of course these lyrics would be surrounded by the most gorgeous sounds.

I thought I had all of her cds prior to Hounds of Love, but I don’t see any on my “stolen/not replaced” list. Hm. I wonder if I had them on vinyl. . . .

Anyway, while I thought I had the cd (The Red Shoes) after The Sensual World, apparently not. The gods of Wikipedia tell me there were three cds released in the 2000s, but I don’t know any of them. If I ever get around to buying music again, I should probably consider those.

My favorite Kate Bush tune? I dig most of them, but the one that stoppers out the rest of the world? Jig of Life. The fiddle, the drums, the, um, obscure lyrics, the DRUMS, the incantation at the end—c’mon, is it really such a surprise?

The only thing missing is a jet.

~~~~

54. Bjork, Homogenic
55. Rory Block, Gone Woman Blues
56. Blondie, The Best of Blondie
57. Bjork, Vespertine
58. BoDeans, Love & Home & Sex & Dreams
59. Boukman Eksperyans, Yodou Adjae
60. BoDeans, Go Slow Down
61. Boukman Eksperyans, Libete (Pran Pou Pran’l!)
62. David Bowie, The Singles 1969-1993
63. Billy Bragg, Talking With The Taxman About Poetry
64. Billy Bragg, Worker’s Playtime
65. Billy Bragg, Don’t Try This At Home
66. Brazilian Girls (eponymous)
67. Breeders, Pod
68. Billy Bragg, Going to a Party Way Down South
69. Breeders, Last Splash
70. Broken Social Scene, You Forgot It In People
71. Brother Sun Sister Moon, The Great Game
72. Broken Social Scene, We Hate Your Hate
73. Carla Bruni, Quelqu’un m’a dit
74. Jeff Buckley, Grace
75. Kate Bush, Hounds of Love
76. Butthole Surfers, Electrilarryland

Putting these in the order in which I listen to them as opposed to a straight-alpha is a pain in the ass. The point is to listen to these in a manner in which I otherwise wouldn’t—hence the A-Z ordering—but having already stated my minor listening deviations (breaking up bunches of the same artist), I think I can go back to just listing what I’ve listened to and be done with it.

I mean, I want to be meticulous but not, y’know, uptight. . . .

I’ve also decided to start mixing in some jazz. My jazz cds are currently separated from my pop cds, but as I listen to them, I’ll integrate them into the whole.

And while I may end up inserting some classical into the listening mix, the cds will remain in their orchestra seats.

1. Geri Allen, The Gathering
2. Geri Allen Trio, Twenty One
3. Anderson, Crispell, Drake, Destiny





There is thunder in our hearts

7 06 2012

Saw that printed on a tote bag the other day: there is thunder in our hearts.

My first thought: Cool, in sturm-und-drag kinda way. (And yeah, okay, cool and sturm-und-drag don’t really go together, but you get what I mean, right?)

Second thought: I know that line, I’ve heard it somewhere.

Poem? Speech? Hmm. No. Song lyric.

Thunder. Thunder thunder thunder. Springsteen coulda written this, but no, that ain’t Springsteen.

I kept repeating the lyric, trying to call up the sound. No dice.

Then, this morning, the sound came. There is THUNder in our haahrts.

I know that, I thought, I know I know it. But from where?

Why not just run on a search on the lyric—easy-peezy, you’ll get the answer.

I did not want to run the search. I wanted to remember.

I then thought of asking a co-worker if she could remember, which seems like cheating but it’s not: I wanted SOMEone to remember, someone to have this info in her noggin and be able to pull it out.

But then I didn’t ask, because I wanted to be the someone who remembered.

And then I went back to work and the melody went underground and then, and then, it bubbled up.

Kate Bush! Yes!

Running up that hill! Yes!

There is thunder in our haah-ahrts/. . . /You and meeEEEEeee/ . . . / I’d make a deal with God/And get him to swap our places.

I was going to write a whole bit about how I want to be able to recall things that can be looked up, that maybe exercising this recall is like exercising one’s body (e.g., even if pushing around weights isn’t useful in and of itself, that I push around weights equips me to do other, useful, things); alternatively, that while there may be a good to being able to free one’s mind of trivialities in order to create room for more important matters, the process of amassing and sorting and remembering those trivialities may be—quite unlike pushing around weights—pleasurable in and of themselves; and, finally, that it used to be really super important for me to memorize song lyrics and be able to recite them on command and that while I no longer go out of my way to do so I still sometimes wish I went out of my way to do so and thus when I can remember a song lyric I’m raptured up shoeless to a place when a song could fill my whole heart. With thunder.

But then I decided not to write about all of that, and instead note that I was oddly giddy for having remembered, a giddiness which may have been due to having Kate Bush in my head for the day.

She can be trouble, but she’s my kind of trouble.