Monday, November 24, 2008

fall off the table, get swept under

Is there anything more sublime than a perfect auditory moment? Those moments in a piece of music that, through a combination of harmonies or a voice filled with passion or a drum beat that gives you the huckabucks or whatever pushes your bliss button, sends you over the edge of reason and turns you into a sweaty and exhausted, but peaceful, animal? You know what I mean.

At Splotchy's invitation to cohost a Green Monkey Music Project, I threw out the challenge, an adventurous and slightly kinky group of music lovers took up the gauntlet, and the clever and capable Splotchy did all the work. He's now got everybody's files available over at I, Splotchy, and all the participants will be discussing their choices and the corresponding
moments of ecstasy on their own blogs.

In the meanwhile, here's why I chose the songs I did.

It all started with Radiohead.

"Of course", I hear you mutter, as you roll your eyes and nudge each other knowingly. But l did not include on my list the Radiohead song that kick-started the whole concept of the eargasm song for me - Let Down. And that's because I already used this song in Splotchy's very first Green Monkey Music Project, as an example of a total absorption song - the type of song where under no circumstances do you allow anyone to interrupt your listening

But in case, for some inconceivable reason, you are not intimately familiar with every nuance of Let Down, allow me to offer it up for your listening pleasure. And I'll tell you why it's so magnificent. The moment of glory comes in at 4:18, where Thom is singing harmony against himself. Kid A is singing "you know where you ARE",while Kid B sings "hysterical and LET
DOWN", and the two vocal loops meet in such a sublime and painfully perfect moment, that I definitely need a cigarette and a nap when the song ends shortly after that. If you know what I'm saying.

But if Let Down was the song that got me all hot and bothered with that
deliciously torturous jolt of bliss, it wasn't difficult to find other songs that also had those perfect little aaaaaaahhhh moments:

Exit Music for a Film - Radiohead (moment of glory = 3:24)
Such a seemingly simple song, starting with Thom's voice up close against a strumming guitar, quiet and restrained, waking Juliet up for the escape. But then the band takes a determined step forward and Thom's singing becomes more desperate, leading up to the ultimate moment, "now we are one in ever-lasting peace ..." What a way to die.

O Mio Babbino Caro - Puccini (moment of glory = 0:21, 0:54, 1:00, 1:18, 1:54, etc etc)
There's something about those high Cs. Actually I have no idea if they are Cs, but they sure are high and they are glorious. There are so many glorious soprano moments in this operatic
aria, and you know that operas are sexy.

Old Bloody Orange
- Hawskley Workman
(moment of glory = 3:24)
I get caught up in the heated religious fervour of this song. It's not actually a religious song, and it's about sex, but you have to admit that there appears to be a fine line between religious ecstasy and that other kind of ecstasy. At least I figure there must be a connection otherwise why would people bother going to church? Anyway, when the choir joins Hawksley on "held down from the heavens by the virtues of their bodies", I want to stand up in the aisles and sway, with my eyes closed and my arms above my head.

Bones - Radiohead (moment of glory = 0:57)
A break in the voice always gets to me, not the painful squeaking and cracking that plagues
the adolescent boy, but the temporary loss of composure that indicates desperation (and I like to think, passion). Right near the beginning of Bones, Thom's voice breaks as he pleads "crawling on all FOURS". And of course I then picture Thom crawling on all fours, and pleading, and whew, I have to sit down for a while.

Bleeding Heart Show - the New Pornographers (moment of glory = 2:40)

Not all moments of pleasure are about sex, you know. Sometimes the pure joy of joining in with a campfire singalong give you such a squiggy feeling of wellbeing that all you need is your friends, a bonfire and a bag of marshmallows. When all the Pornos kick in with the "hey la" chorus, I just have to sing lustfully along.

Buona Sera - Louis Prima (moment of glory = 0:58)
I love the little moment of surprise in this old classic. Louis Prima's smooth Italian love song shifts from an evening stroll through the streets of Naples to a rollicking, finger-snapping jazz number, when he launches into a glorious little scat riff. It makes me smile, big time.

I'm exhausted now.

I'm going to roll over and have a little nap, so I would suggest that you head over to Splotchy's to check out all the other downloads plus the links to the other participants discussing their personal eargasm moments. Cause that Splotchy, he's da man.


Splotchy said...

Wonderful selections and descriptions, and a wonderful idea for a mix!

Nicely done.

BeckEye said...


Oh, that is a great moment. Even the strongest person couldn't resist singing along with that. Actually, my favorite parts of that song are the "oooh oooh oooohs" right before the hey la's and Neko's "We have arrived too late to play the bleeding heart shoooooooow..." Just a good song all around.

"Bones" is a great song and I won't even mention my misheard lyric again. I've never heard "Let Down." I must rectify this.

Sean Wraight said...

I love the variety of your choices Barbara. Well done! Plus we would be seriously disappointed if you didn't include Radiohead in the mix. It just makes sense.

Thank you again for inviting me to be a part of this one. It's been a fun exercise.


justacoolcat said...

Great picks. Personally, I think KidA is one of the most underrated Radiohead albums.

Allison said...

Excellent choices! I especially love how you pinpointed the exact moment in each song, when I get home I shall have to give them a listen. :)

This was fun, I'm glad I got to partake!

Now onto the year end list. Huzzah!

Barbara Bruederlin said...

It was great fun playing with you, Splotchy. Thanks for inviting me.

I feel much better about myself, knowing that even the strongest person can't resist that song, Beckeye! It's not my fault that I am weak!
They should throw that whole lot of Pornos in jail for playing criminally catchy songs.
Your "alien bones" version of the song is very valid - totally fitting. But you really must do yourself a favour and swoon over Let Down.

I thought I was exercising great restraint by only including two Radiohead songs (plus one intro). It took some doing to hold myself back like that.
So glad you joined in. Wouldn't have been the same without you.

Kid A is incredible, JustA, but I never met a Radiohead album I didn't like.

Oh yes, the year-end lists! I have not yet begun to consider them, Al. I'll have to call in sick to devote some time to that. Oh wait ... no job. Well I have no excuse then!
Glad that you liked my choices, I loved yours as well, and am really happy you joined in.

Gifted Typist said...

Great list
great descriptions

I didn't have have time this time to trawl through and document my eargasms but:
Tschaikovky's first piano concerto and his Serenade for Strings does it for me.
Ditto Autumn in New York by Billie Holliday,
Allman Bros Stormy Monday,
Bowie's Heroes. Springsteen's Thunder Road.
I hear lots of eargasm-inducing indie stuff on the local campus radio station but never keep track of who they are.
Does that count? Prolly not

Barbara Bruederlin said...

It ALL counts, Gifted. But doesn't it drive you crazy to hear a really great song and not find out who it was? Mind you, I generally forget within half an hour, so your way is probably easier.

Remi said...

I'm seriously tempted to go see Hawksley play at Massey Hall on Friday. I just need to find a way to get out of work.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

I'm sure you can come up with something believable, Remi. Hawksley is well worthy skipping work for.

Gifted Typist said...

It used to drive me crazy and then I decided that I didn't have to file, archive and "pwn" it anymore. There was too much else I had to keep track of in my brain.
So now I just listen and enjoy, but I find it hard to obsess cuz I just don't know my Workmans from my Wainwrights.
But I love getting CDs from Western bloggers who are kind enough to write the names on the cd case!

BTW, I do know Wilco and am off to see them on Sat night. They are opening for Neil Young. Ever heard of him?

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Wilco and Neil Young on the same bill? That is going to be an incredible show, Gifted! Jealous I am! I want to hear all about it please!
I admire your ability to let go of the need to know everything!

Dale said...

Great mixing and waxing Barbara! I just listened to your eargasms and had a few of my own. I love the New Pornographers song and listen to it fairly often. Loved the Hawksley which I hadn't heard before and thanks for reminding me how great a song Bones is! And yes, opera is so sexy!!

bloody awful poetry said...

This has been fun hasn't it? Thanks so much for letting us all play! I haven't done mine and I'm probably too late, but oh well. I'm doing it anyway.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

I'm so pleased I could bring you to joy, Dale, or at least let talented people do so. Opera really does rock! Okay, maybe rock is the wrong word, but you know what I mean.

It's never too late, BAP. I can;t wait to read your explanations.