Time for the List of the Moment.
As you know by now, the lists are highly changeable, extremely diverse and hopefully, turn you onto new things as well as revive the memory of old. This week’s list is particularly eclectic with many diverse bands that range from ambient to folk to hardcore and just plain weird. No more introduction is needed. By now you know that the Music of the Moment is the music that I’m listening to in any given week and is a mutable, changeable list that is highly subjective and intended to be so. These are not reviews, but opinions, though some might call them reviews – its’ up to you. In either case, they are certainly endorsements of each song, as the only songs that make the cut are the ones that I love in the moment. So, no more conversation, let’s get to it. This week’s List of the Moment:
Fluffy Little Clouds by The Orb (VW Beatle Commercial song) – Just so bizarre, with the woman speaking at the beginning (who sounds like she’s high or on Xanax), but it has a nice mellow feeling to it. Worth listening to at least once or more. It reminds me in some ways of a really really really mellow Propellerheads, with a lot of soothing sedative running through their veins. Even the girl speaking here sounds trippy and high, like she is just making her way back from Woodstock and was stopped for an interview. In these ways, the song is very visual – one can make inferences based on the sound and the language, however brief, that is used.
Pillow by Tom Verlaine – Possibly one of the saddest songs ever written, in my view, but then, to be fair this could be associative since I associate it with a big and awful heart-wrenching break-up. That said, the lyrics support my theory. This is the end of love, to me. Two people trying to reconcile, fighting, loving, all the great human emotions played out here and all observed by the dove outside the window. And if you don’t know Tom Verlaine, get thee to a record store plus vite! Another song I’d recommend by him is 4.a.m. which is cheeky and rather unbeatable. There are many Verlaine albums, and although he did not name this one, The Miller’s Tale provides a good mix of what Verlaine is about and provides a good history. Try to find A Postcard form Waterloo as well.
Hazey Jane by Nick Drake – Others have associated me with this song and even I can see why. Hazey Jane is a big lost, perhaps, but not completely. This and Cello song by Drake are the perfect accompaniment. Below, some lyrics from Hazey Jane:
Do you curse where you come from,
Do you swear in the night
Will it mean much to you
If I treat you right.
Do you like what you're doing,
Would you do it some more
Or will you stop once and wonder
What you're doing it for.
Hey slow Jane, make sense
Slow, slow, Jane, cross the fence.
Do you feel like a remnant
Of something that's past
Do you find things are moving
Just a little too fast.
Do you hope to find new ways
Of quenching your thirst,
Do you hope to find new ways
Of doing better than your worst.
Hey slow Jane, let me prove
Slow, slow Jane, we're on the move.
Do it for you,
Sure that you would do the same for me one day.
So try to be true,
Even if it's only in your hazey way.
Note: Hazy is spelled “hazey” in this context, so this is not a typo.
To Be Young by Ryan Adams – I like happy songs. I like songs that make me want to drive fast and just sing along and more, that are true. Great lyrics, catchy song. On Heartbreaker, which is, I think, a great freakin’ album. Perhaps more folk than before, but I like the direction Adams headed here and I cannot think of a single song on the album that I truly do not like. The whole album (Heartbreaker) is excellent.
Memory Bliss by Enigma and PM Dawn – that should be the right band name, though since I downloaded this I can’t be positive. It sounds right. The song begins with some sort of Gregorian chant, and then slips into a French conversation and then straight into Memory Bliss, which is better than the original version of that song. I actually love this one, an amalgam of so many totally different schools of music from classical to ambient to a sort of soft rap. The Gregorian chant commingled with the couple speaking French back and forth, questioning each other, works incredibly (and surprisingly) well.
Town Called Malice by The Jam – Pretty much anything by The Jam or Paul Weller (alone) is going to be amazing. I happen to love the rougher sound of the early Jam, though I’ve been to see Weller many times as well (even during the Style Council phase). Town Called Malice is a song that Weller often closes with and that always makes the crowd go completely banana flowers and jump up out of their seats. It just has that quality to it and vitality. I had to choose between this and “That’s Entertainment” but since he usually does both during a show, I didn’t’ feel I had to. If he can’t choose which is best, then why should I? They’re both great songs, though I did choose a Town Called Malice because personally, it’s a fave of the moment.
Been Caught Stealin’ by Jane’s Addiction – Yes, yes, it’s an older song I know, but that doesn’t mean that it’s still not great. I recently rediscovered it and realized how much I like the brat-factor here. It’s cheeky, naughty, bratty, and like a petulant, unapologetic child and as one who used to occasionally steal packs of bubble gum and the like (lock me up quick! I was about nine), I can totally relate. I won’t get into the things my brother and I used to steal – not all anyway – suffice to say that one time we stole a motorboat and began cruising around until a nice man on a yacht began waving to us. We waved back ad headed in his direction until we heard the words “That’s my boat!!” at which point, we turned around and cruised back to shore, ditched the boat, and scrambled up a shore of poison ivy. Serves us right. Oh, I know you’re judging, but this what we did to “play” and if you lived our life, you’d find something to let it all out too. Perhaps Been Caught Stealin’ is a nostalgia song for me, oddly. I think of my brother Richard and I whenever I hear it, and since he’s dead, those memories are strong and good for me.
The Doot Doot Song by Freur – Used in the final scene of Vanilla Sky in which he is riding up in the lift to the roof. No words, except “and then we go doot, doot doot…” Hard to find this song, but you CAN find it available as a download. Maybe you cold find it on a record, though I think it’s an import. Very catchy and liked by everyone I know. I found it through SafeShare, an excellent downloading device for which you pay a nominal fee to download as much as you want (and legally), though I’m certain other venues have it. Rare song, but great song. Only a matter of time before some clever ad executive uses it in an advertisement. I know I would.
History Lesson Part 2 by The Minutemen – What is there to say? The best line, “This is Bob Dylan to me….” For anyone who remembers the origins of the real hardcore stuff, this song is well-worth it and though this isn’t hardcore, it tells a great and true story. If you haven’t heard this, then you really owe it to yourself to try it out, especially if you want the real origins of a movement.
Bad Old Man by Baby Bird – Baby Bird has come a long way since “Fuck You Father Christmas.” Maybe now he has an actual studio to record in and that makes all the difference. Whatever the case, the sound quality is much better here, but the subject matter remains just as disturbing as ever, which seems to be his specialty, but hey, he does it well. The lyrics tell a lot:
He had a bad old man who beat him
Took a hammer to his knees just to please him
Now he's thirty-five and half-alive
He's an open mouth in a beehive
He's gonna smile and be happy
Make everyone know that he's happy
Put his smiling face on a billboard
Kiss him from your car, he's happy
He's not happy
Hungry for You (J’aurais Toujours Faim de Toi) by the Police – A lesser known song by the Police, but one worth knowing. Yes, most of it is in French, but the title, J’aurais toujours faim de toi, is there – I’m so hungry for you – from that much, you can infer the rest of the song and where it goes. If do you speak French, tant mieux!
Dear God by XTC – Okay, so this song isn’t for everyone, but it does make you question a lot of things, like the eternal and unanswerable question, If there is a God, how can he allow such awful things to happen, and then the predictable answer “Because God doesn’t micromanage and it’s people…” etc etc. I have no desire to get into a political debate. I simply think this is a great great song and that it’s worth hearing. Again, easier to find as a download; I can’t recall which album it’s on right now, but it’s findable. It seems to me particularly fitting in this day and age, but again, that’s my own opinion.
Oblivious by Aztec Camera – most of you are probably too young to remember Aztec Camera, but don’t let that stand in your way of discovering a sweet and happy and catchy tune that will stay with you for years. I heard this ages ago (no, I won’t say how long and date myself, forget it). I even remember the video of the guy sitting in the tree with his guitar, singing to this totally oblivious girl who knew not of his deep love. It’s sort of funny but lovely in a dopey kind of way.
Neutral Milk Hotel – anything by this group is bound to please. Check out their stuff or listen on Amazon or elsewhere to get a taste. They’re “the latest and the greatest of them all”, as John Lennon would say.
Talkin' World War III Blues by Bob Dylan - "I'll let you be in my dreams if I can be in yours." I can't think of a better line for this moment right now and Dylan's talkin' blues have long been a favorite of mine.
I said that. Cocky and confident and absolutely appealing, classic Bob.
Needless to say, I could go on forever, but this is my list for the moment. I hope you find some work here that you know and others that you don’t know. One note, if you haven’t heard Neutral Milk Hotel, check theme out as well. I could only find them as downloads and they reminded me of a cross between The Violent Femmes and The Velvet Underground – weird. They don’t have spit and polish yet, but are promising and a little self-conscious. It will be interesting to see if they grow and do well. In any event, I do hope you’ll check out some of the songs on The List of the Moment
Til next week’s installment – this was going to be monthly but I find I’m too mercurial and mutable for this to be the case. The list remains, as ever, songs that strike me or that I listen to in any given week and in no particular order. I hope you find here things that you do not yet know and rediscover music that you do know. Til next time, "I'll let you be in my dreams, if I can be in yours...."
Thanks, as ever, for reading,