Continuing a good thing (or at least, a moderately enjoyable thing) from last year, this is my monthly series called “Five on Shuffle” where I attempt to reconnect with my iPod by using it regularly throughout the year and using it only and continuously on “shuffle.” Once a month I’m going to stop at a completely random interval, snap photos of five songs in a row, and then post and write about them here. The writing may be heavy or light, depending on whether or not I’ve anything remotely clever to say about any given song in the moment.
1. Last Resort – Papa Roach
/facepalm/ I’m really not sure where to even begin.
First, I gotta point out that the only reason I have this song is thanks to the Ready to Rumble soundtrack. Remember that movie? That Y2K David Arquette wrestling vehicle? Yeah, me neither. But its soundtrack is fun.
If “Last Resort” has any prize-winning distinction in my life, it’s that it helped turn me off to both rock radio and MTV in a very serious way. Seriously. For the latter bit of 2000, well into 2001, this song was quite literally inescapable. The local rock radio station played it soooooooo frequently, I couldn’t take it. And the thing was (and still is) that I don’t hate the song. It’s fine, whatever. But that initial over-saturation removed any chance of me wanting to explore Papa Roach’s offerings. I’m sure they’re a very nice bunch. I’ll squirm through “Last Resort” whenever it circles round, but that’s about all I’ll ever do.
2. O Come All Ye Faithful – Deanna Durbin
Well, it certainly feels like Christmas-y weather round these parts, so sure. More Christmas music. I don’t know much about Durbin herself, only the “Trivial Pursuit” tidbit that she auditioned to be Snow White’s singing voice for Walt Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarves (1937), but she didn’t get the role. She was also a popular singer and actor during the 1930s and 1940s. I like her rendition of “O Come All Ye Faithful” – one of my all-time favorite Christmas hymns — even if it borders on “too operatic.”
3. Misery and Famine – Bad Religion
As with many Bad Religion songs, the truth behind the lyrics is different for each listening. “Misery and Famine” could be taken at face value as a song about, well…misery and famine. As our world’s state of being. As our general mindset. As the way things are and “oh well, I can’t do anything about it so why change?” But are misery and famine inevitable forces that we can’t affect and therefore must deal with? Are they inevitable in our own lives, no matter wealth, social status, or ability? If we’re all just hurtling towards death anyway, what’s a little misery and famine on the way?
Ah, dealing with the mysteries of life…through the lens of punk rock.
4. Springfield v. Zeppelin “It’s Time We Ramble On” – Lenlow
Despite iTunes lack of knowledge of all things cool, the artist here is, in fact, Lenlow. (And of course there’s no album – it’s all illegal, dummy!) When I first got into mashups, he was one of my inroads to the genre. Solid musicality all around, especially as demonstrated here. Because I know when I hear, in particular, Buffalo Springfield’s “For What It’s Worth,” I don’t immediately think of how anyone could combine it with anything, even something else from the era. (It’s just so perfect on its own, y’know? Then again, so is “Ramble On,” so…) But somehow, he made it work.
5. Fortunate Son – Creedence Clearwater Revival
I’m pretty sure that I’ve probably mentioned here that late in high school, I fell really hard for 60s rock, and especially anything that had to do with protest. (This was around the time of Desert Storm.) In that music I found kindred spirits that inspired me to become something bigger than just myself. So many of the beliefs that I developed during that time continue to shape who I am today. And that’s why CCR’s “Fortunate Son” will always hold a special place in my music collection. It’s a classic in so many ways, from its opening guitar riffs to the questions it asks. (Thankfully fewer and less philosophical questions than Bad Religion, haha.)