Doooooood. Where has this year gone? I’m mean, seriously. I feel like yesterday was April, and then I tripped over some life happenings, and suddenly it’s July. And I’m not sure if this is something to celebrate or deride. Perhaps when I wake up in another two months after falling into a heat-related coma (holy hell, the summer temps already), I’ll decide then. For now, happy 4th o’ July? (Yeah, I know, it’s practically over at this point, unless you happen to be my neighbor who’s still shooting off fireworks.) And because it’s that most patriotic of holidays, I get to take a vacation in my mind and offer up another go-round of the “Fifteen Songs” thing that I’ve been doing for a few years now. And since my iPod is in dispose thanks to my “Five on Shuffle” nonsense (Actually, it’s been quite eye-opening — I have a lot of shit on the ol’ iPod, and some of the songs are just that…shit.), I’m pulling another fifteen songs out of the general queue. As usual, you’ll get the first five songs with my award-winning® commentary (LOL) and then links out to YouTube for the remaining ten.
Before moving onto the music, I feel like I should offer a quicky update, since it does like I’ve teetered off the face of the blogosphere of late. Believe me, it’s not you, it’s me. IRL, my general schedule has just been bonkers since April. Family obligations have been up, work has been monumentally hectic, and I changed over from a train commute to a bus commute, which threw a right monkey wrench into my schedule. Not that the bus commute is bad, but it’s longer, involves a lot more walking (which is good), and it’s…smellier? (At 7:00 in the morning, I honestly don’t know if I’m smelling Purell or vodka.) As for gaming, it’s been both steady and unsteady. For most of the past couple months, I’ve devoted my free time to working on Ori and the Blind Forest. The lengthy bus rides have been great for catching up on Persona 3 Portable. And I’ve been slooooowly having fun in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. I spent time flitting around with other console games, and just recently, I finally settled on Uncharted – playing the first and fourth games for the first time and replaying the second and third. I had forgotten how much I enjoyed spending time with Nathan Drake. He’s generic, yeah, but he makes me laugh. I’ve also been dipping my toes in the irradiated waters of Fallout 3, and I plan to play the game fully in a few months.
Alright, is that enough? In short, I’m doing my best to stay current here, but life is life. So let’s just listen to some music.
1. Fuckin’ With My Head (Mountain Dew Rock) – Beck
I like Beck just fine, but his album Mellow Gold is sooo fuckin’ weird! I’m almost embarrassed to say that the older I get, the more distance there is between it and me. I enjoy this album’s odd, tonal musicality, of which “Fuckin’ with My Head” is a great example, but it’s on the verge of too unorganized, too slipshod, especially with regard to the vocals. Beyond my own biases, this song has a wonderful rhythm and memorable guitar line, hallmarks of “mainstream” Beck.
2. Analyze – Mass Influence (from Spin Psycle by Mixmaster Mike)
Taking the place of my once-long foray into the alternative morass is a love of turntabalism and chill. I won’t continue to spout epithets about how much I love downtempo beats these days, so…damn if Spin Psycle isn’t just such a fine mix album. Mixmaster Mike (of the Beastie Boys) is good at his craft, and it shows. I’m afraid that I don’t know much about Mass Influence – the original artist of this particular song…based on its Bandcamp page, I should probably fix that.
3. Perfect People – Pennywise
The first time I ever heard of this band called Pennywise, it was upon hearing “Perfect People” on one of the old Punk-O-Rama albums (the second one, maybe?). The song’s take on individuality vs. mass appeal, the haves vs. the have-nots, hooked me immediately, and I was the business of Pennywise for good. Of course I had to pick up the original album that contained “Perfect People,” and I was not disappointed. Nope, not one bit.
4. Good Shit – Cornershop
I’m gonna guess that if the name Cornershop rings a bell, it’s thanks to “Brimful of Asha.” In 1998, that was my good shit, and it sure suckered me into buying this UK bands’ hit album When I Was Born for the 7th Time. Alright, so I’m being facetious. No suckering was needed, because this album contains some excellent music. It’s songs, like “Good Shit” are totally catchy, but not in an infectionsly poppy way. Its beats are more subtle, its message is more subdued. It’s an all-around thumbs-up experience.
5. Two Outta Three Ain’t Bad – Meatloaf
Oh, Meatloaf. I’m pretty sure that nobody’s more surprised than Meatloaf about the success of Meatloaf. But, what the hell, y’know? The fact remains that as far as storytelling, near-operatic albums go, Bat Out of Hell, can hold its own. “Two Outta Three Ain’t Bad” fits perfectly within the Bat Out of Hell story of kids in love, in loss, and in paradise. Okay, so it’s not Shakespeare, but the feelings remain about the same. Certainly in this song there’s sense of “eh, you’re pretty awesome, but…,” a theme that seems to prevail in Meatloaf’s music, but it’s richly eloquent and effusive, much like a young teenager in l-o-v-e. It’s also pretty singable, if one was so inclined to rock out.
And the remaining ten songs are…
6. Over the Confluence of Giants – DJ Earworm
7. Get This – Groove Nation (from Mushroom Jazz)
8. Session – The Offspring
9. Work Baby Work – Royal Crown Revue
10. Shake Your Lovemaker – Cherry Poppin’ Daddies
11. What’s Going On – Marvin Gaye
12. Away in a Manger – Dee Dee Bridgewater
13. Big Boss Lee – Royal Crown Revue
14. Where is the Love? – Black Eyed Peas
15. Me Myself and I – De La Soul
Hm, I think I’m going to have “Me Myself and I” in my head for awhile. Gotdang catchy-ass song. (It’s just me, myself, and I, whoa whoa whoa wha wha-ooooo...) Maybe that’ll help me get through the rest of this holiday. Whatever got you through it, hopefully it was a good ride.