I've been over at Splotchy's place recently, playing a fun new game he invented. He graciously invited some of us other kids in the neighbourhood to join in, and since he brought his own ball and everything, and since he was looking at me with those big puppy dog eyes, how could I say no? Obviously no was not in the equation.
So I joined up with those cool kids, Beth, Dr Monkey von Monkerstein and the aforementioned Splotchy, and we hid out behind the equipment shed and surreptitiously played the Total Absorption Mix game.
This was based upon a series of games that Splotchy has been playing with work colleagues and in our version, we each listed 10 or so songs that we absolutely must listen to from beginning to end once they start playing. These are the type of songs that we would rather gouge our eyes out with a spoon than abort listening through to completion.
Please head over to Splotchy's for the entire list plus all the mp3s, so that you can judge for yourselves why this rock n roll music makes the kids so whacko, and head over to Splotchy's , Beth's, and Dr Monkerstein's place for a recap on what those songs mean to them.
Here are my offerings to the list:
James - Ring the Bells
I just need to hear the first note of this song and I get a big shit-eating grin on my face. And it lasts right through till the final note dies out. This song is so empowering and speaks so much about kicking out against the system and against the bullshit of organized religion, and all in such a damned catchy way. And that is all without seeing Tim Booth do his whirling dervish dance.
Neutral Milk Hotel - King of Carrot Flowers
When I feel the need to throw my head back and howl along with a song, I often choose a Neutral Milk Hotel song. Nobody howls like Jeff Mangum. And how can you resist singing along to lyrics like "and your mom would stick a fork right into daddy's shoulder and your dad would throw the garbage all across the floor, as we would lay and learn what each other's bodies were for"?
Joy Division - Transmission
To this day, nobody has come close to matching the sparse and powerfully hypnotic drum of Joy Division. And it's eerie to look with hindsight upon the lyrics and realize what a tortured soul Ian Curtis actually was. "Dance dance dance dance dance to the radio" may have become an anthem of sorts, but it was also a eulogy.
Chad VanGaalen - Blood Machine
I cannot say enough about Calgary's own Chad VanGaalen. He is a renaissance man of modern music, building his own instruments, drawing his own artwork and videos, and all the while teaching art to kids and building his own half pipe in his backyard. And then there is that haunting voice. This is an eerie yet stunningly beautiful song that mesmerizes me regardless of how many thousands of times I have heard it.
Pixies - Holiday Song
Words fail me on this one. That howl (which, try as I might, I can never emulate), those subversive lyrics, and above all that beat that makes me want to bang my head forever.
the Constantines - Young Lions
This is the first Constantines song that I fell head over heels in love with. Bry Webb's voice is a powerful weapon of mass destruction and that incessant beat will never let you out of its hypnotic grip. Nobody rocks harder than the Cons.
Ballboy - Avant Garde Music
Anyone who knows me knows that I have a thing for a Scottish accent. It's no small wonder, then, that there are three Scottish bands on this list. But Gordon McIntyre sings with as thick a brogue as he talks. And the stories he tells, my fuck they are amazing! You really have to love how he dissed music snobs on this song.
Belle and Sebastian - the Boy with the Arab Strap
In true twee style, Belle and Sebastian take the most perverse lyrics and disguise them behind the most angelic music you'll ever hear this side of heaven. If Stuart Murdoch's voice doesn't break your heart, then you haven't got one. This song also has handclaps that last throughout the entire 5 minutes, and that my friends is cause for celebration all on its own.
Radiohead - Let Down
I think Thom Yorke has one of the most evocative and emotional voices in music today. In Let Down, his voice soars to amazing heights and lifts your spirit, whilst all the while singing about your spirit being repeatedly crushed (like a bug in the ground) despite your efforts to escape the brutalisms of society. This song simultaneously makes my heart ache and my spirit soar.
the Jesus and Mary Chain - Happy When it Rains
Pretty much any JAMC song would fit this category, but this one is a infectious blend of shoe-gazer inspired noise and perfect pop music. You could absolutely forgive them for the drug-addled 10 minute concerts that ended in riots if only they would play this song first, cause they tried so hard and they looked seewww guuud...
And that, my friends, is my excuse for why I simply cannot answer the phone if one of the above songs is playing. Now if you will excuse me, I have a few dozen other songs to listen to which have been holding some friends of mine hostage.