"Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please." (Mark Twain)

Friday, October 14, 2005

Pour Down Like Random 

This week's Random Ten - and bonus coolness self-audit, brutally honest as always - is drawn exclusively from those files in my library that have been played three or fewer times (there are about 830 such songs). The results are ... mixed.
1. "Long Distance Runaround" (Red House Painters): God, this is annoying on so many levels! First of all - and this applies to the Red House Painters and any number of other bands I can think of - there is only room for one Sebadoh in the world, so please, just stop it. That said, the first two and a half minutes of this Yes cover are actually pretty good, and demonstrate that there was a moderately interesting blues tune lurking at the heart of the original. And so that's the second annoying thing - it makes me think something nice about Yes, and I hate that. And then there's the third thing that annoys me, which is the entire final two minutes, which consist of a thudding, not-very-compelling riff repeated over and over and over again. Until it just stops. That is so annoying. 3/10

2. "Alice's Restaurant (The Masacree Revisited)" (Arlo Guthrie): I don't know how cool this song is any more, but it certainly seems relevant. Anyway, I used to know all 18 or so minutes of this recording, and on two occasions I performed it at high school bible study camps (don't ask). That is so uncool, so hopelessly geeky, that I feel morally obligated to rate this 0/10.

3. "We're Not Gonna Take It" (Twisted Sister): Why oh why couldn't it at least have been Joan Jett's version? 2/10.

4. "New Zandu" (Los Lobos): I got nothing clever to say - these guys are just amazingly cool. 8/10.

5. "Walk Away" (James Gang): The live version. No one ever seems to remember Joe Walsh when they name the great 70's arena rock guitar gods, and I don't know why. This shreds. 7/10.

6. "Money For Nothing" (Dire Straits): I like it - it is, in fact, the last song I liked from what was once a favorite band - but it ain't cool. 3/10.

7. "Clash City Rockers" (Clash): I saw someone diss Joe Strummer on her blog a while back, and it really pissed me off. 8/10

8. "Give Me Back My Man" (B-52's): From the underrated second album. C'mon, was there ever a better lyric written than "I'll give you fish; I'll give you candy"? That's what I thought. 9/10.

9. "Talk About the Passion" (R.E.M.): Just about contemporary with the B-52's selection which precedes it, this comes from the first full R.E.M. album, (Murmur). Lots of people seemed to think that this was one of the highlights of the record, but I actually liked it less than most of the rest of the album. 6/10.

10. "Bikini Girls With Machine Guns" (Cramps): I'm just crackers about the Cramps. 9/10.

A barely passing 5.5/10. Maybe there's a reason these songs have been played three or fewer times.




When talking about "Murmur" (THE most appropriate album title by REM - "The only band that mutters...LOL), it is really hard to ignore the one-two punch of "Radio Free Europe" and "Pilgrimage" which start off side One. Just two knockout tracks among their very best. "Boxcars" and "Gardening at Night" rank among my faves from "Carnival of Sorts" and these two tracks are close to those for me
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