Songs of the Year—1997

Go ahead you can laugh all you want
I got my philosophy
Keeps my feet on the ground
And I trust it like the ground
That’s why my philosophy
Keeps me walking when I’m falling down
–Ben Folds Five

Songs of the Year: “Super Bon Bon,” Soul Coughing; “Bury Me,” Guster

Runners-up: “Philosophy”, Ben Folds Five; “Stickshifts and Safetybelts,” Cake

Honorable Mentions: “Firestarter,” The Prodigy; “Tubthumper”, Chumbawumba; “Hypnotize,” Notorious B. I. G.

In 1997, I went to college. I had the grandest of opportunities to re-invent myself. In life, rare are the occasions when you can literally trade in your old mask for a new one. So, I changed my clothes (a little); I broke up with a girl over Limp Bizkit and I went off to conquer the world.

Or something like that.

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Running Songs

Another week, another re-post. I am putting this up today because @jake_turbo and I are running a half-marathon together. Here are all the songs we won’t be listening to. But don’t worry about us, there will be beer at the end.

 

A while back twitter directed me to an article claiming that Death Cab for Cutie’s Ben Gibbard was lying about his song list for running. Because I am a narcissist, this made me immediately thing about my running list—it is several hundred songs long and not all of them are actually that good to run to.

I run a bit—I don’t call myself a runner because I have never run ‘officially’ or in any public capacity, but I do run enough to know the names of different shoes, the arguments for and against going barefoot, the ideal amount of hydration before, during and after runs, etc .etc. I do it because I enjoy it, because you can’t play basketball for three hours a day when you’re a real adult, and because my grandfather and father died young.

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Just Lions – Paper Cage EP

Some new music for a crisp Autumn day. This EP posted by the Backseat Mafia features a nice alt-throwback instrumentation–the guitars are muscular as BM describes them, but the understated vocals, keys, background mixed-gendered harmonies and the tight song structure makes me think of some alt-radio hits c. 1992-1996 (somewhere drawn between The Rentals and Cake with a production value closer to Spoon.

I have to give another thanks to the Backseat Mafia for bringing another rising band to my attention. Their future album will be on my to-listen list.

(I also like the ambiguity of the band name are they “Just [only]” or “Just [righteous]” Lions, or both?)

Another sort of birthday list

My earlier take on birthday songs was a bit morose. Here’s a different one.

Recently my wife and I decided that we weren’t playing enough music for our children—we’re worried about both the frequency and the variety of the music they hear. So, in addition to our frequent radio games in the car, we’ve added sessions with the pre-fab music channels on TV, alternating channels and genres by day.

I also got some new speakers for my computer or iPod—when the wife isn’t around and I am in control, I try out new albums or old ones on the kids (much to what I can imagine will be my brother’s horror I think they really enjoyed Mumford and Sons and thus allowed me to think about the band in a different way—a subject for a future post).

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Running Songs

A while back twitter directed me to an article claiming that Death Cab for Cutie’s Ben Gibbard was lying about his song list for running. Because I am a narcissist, this made me immediately thing about my running list—it is several hundred songs long and not all of them are actually that good to run to.

I run a bit—I don’t call myself a runner because I have never run ‘officially’ or in any public capacity, but I do run enough to know the names of different shoes, the arguments for and against going barefoot, the ideal amount of hydration before, during and after runs, etc .etc. I do it because I enjoy it, because you can’t play basketball for three hours a day when you’re a real adult, and because my grandfather and father died young.

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New Album Review: The Sound of the Life of the Mind

In 1999, I was living in graduate student housing with my roommate who was also the guitarist in my band (and one of my best friends).  We were not, however, graduate students. We had been forcefully directed to live in the remote housing because of our behavior during our freshman year.

We weren’t exactly the best neighbors during our first year of college. We once duct-taped someone to a chair in the common room because he was talking too loud in the hallway. Our RA was eventually re-assigned and our shenanigans were no small part. The parties were one thing. But the Quad director had a special meeting with us for the noise: We had full band rehearsal in a second floor dorm room; we played songs together all hours of the day.

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On the Radio: MMMMM, Cake

While driving in my car as usual, with the two little ones making their own private cacophony in the back seat, the wife and I turned on the radio and turned it up. For parents, desperate times are always calling for desperate measures. This moment required the local hip-hop station.

What we got was the recent Rihanna single “Birthday Cake”. I feel almost guilty that, when we write so little about hip-hop and rap, I have to pick on this song, but…this may be one of the worst songs of the year.

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