Thursday, June 16, 2005

Six Favorite Songs, Six Friends Meme

Allright, I got hit by a chain letter. But several factors confluenced to make it inevitable that I'd respond... *sigh*

My sister included me on a LiveJournal "meme", which is a newfancy way of saying "chain letter". If you need to pass it along to more than one person, it's a chain letter. If there's money involved, it's a pyramid scheme.

First of all, it's from my sister, and I've got some weird guilt going on there, since for most of her life she's been living in a different town from me, and the few years we did live in the same town I was being a "need to get my own life going" asshole, and so was a terrible older brother. Not to mention some serious jealousy about my mom's new and happy family which caused me to want to basically stay away...

But, it was a question about music, and this has been one of the few ways by which we've connected even a little bit...

But, seriously, I have no idea what my favorite songs are!

I quipped in her journal that, "I always draw a blank when asked to name my list of favorite whatever. Were I to give astrology any creedence I'd say it simply screams 'libra', but I don't, so let's just say that I operate on a relational rather than a heirarchical paradigm. I usually quip that I couldn't choose between apples and oranges if you held a gun to my head..."

I really don't think this way!

I seriously do not think in terms of better / worse. Except in terms of specific features.

I hate this, but I'm a total and complete Libra about such things. And I don't give any bloody creedence to astrology, dammit! I'm an astronomer and I'd get kicked out of my guild for such crap! But it's entirely accurate.

New contest: provide two things which I cannot find more than three ways in which one is "better" than the other. One or two ways are too easy for me.

To start off, it would be relatively easy to create a little script which would play songs at me from my collection and would have me rank songs as better or not than the previous song played, but this would probably lead into a tangle.

Opinions are weird. It's enirely possible for completely rational people to have circular opinions about things.

Given three songs, normal people frequently do such things as like A better than B, B better than C, and C better than A.

Not kidding, I've seen studies about very serious topics like voting strategies which show this!

And then tonight we re-watched High Fidelity partly becuase Nick Hornby was on Fresh Aire and party because he's obsessive about musical lists and I wanted help!

No help.

The movie just served to remind me that there are just so damn many good songs out there...

Here's a weird list, but the best I can do.

List of significant songs:

CCR, Down on the Corner

My dad created a cool little world in our basement when I was a little kid. I had no idea at the time that it was because he and my mom weren't getting along at all. They were both pretty cool about keeping such conflicts away from me. I would go down there and be with him doing stuff, and he noted that I really liked the CCR song Down on the Corner. So much so that he made a little star on the reel-to-reel tape box. I always looked for that star on the box when I was down there, even when I stopped wanting to hear that song all the time. This was the first song I remember being fond of, because my dad noticed it and made a little note in something which I noticed years later and remembered.

My first mix tape... I only remember the first two songs:

Abba, SOS
Alicia Bridges, I Love the Nightlife

Damn, I wish I could recall the rest! I remember putting so much effort into it, like I seem to have done for every mix ever afterwards!

First music bought:

Goofy Greats (still own it!)

There was also a 50s collection which featured two songs each by the big artists of the day. And a Little Richard collection.

I could go on, but my point is that there is a very powerful emotional resonance whenever I hear these songs.

And later in life, I developed equally powerful emotional resonances with songs.

Sometimes this resonance lines up with songs which I think are good, and sometimes way not.

I could go on in a very trite and pathetic way to relate why Christopher Cross's Never Be the Same just still tears me up... but that's 8th grade and we'd all like to forget such things.

And it's hard for me to not put myself into my self as me of a certain age. Me at 12 had a favorites list, as did me at 17, 21, 26, etc...

My favorites ever? Does 23 trump 15?

Enough waffling! Commit, damn you!

Alright, here's a list, without any qualifications whatsoever...

I'll not waffle like my sister did and list several things under a specific band as one choice. I'm fully aware that I love bands more than songs, and that great songs can be one hit wonders or the like. This has nothing to do with my appreciation of the artists, just the song.

So, just songs only, and songs which I seem to return to time and again, or seem to include in mixes:

(in no particular order)

Talking Heads - Once in a Lifetime
Michelle Shocked - Come a Long Way
Rush - Red Barchetta
Allman Brothers - Blue Sky

and my favorite:

John Mellencamp and Meshell N'Degeocello - Wild Night

Yes, it's a cover, but it seems to be a song my brain likes to listen to, as I seem to hear it often. I also respect it on many levels, as it's incredible because it's a collaberation between two fantastic artists, of a cover of another magnificent artist, attacks stereotypes of race, gender, age, style, instrument, raspy voices, and sexual stereotype. Love his guitar and love her bass. Love their voices together. Wish they'd done more toghether. Love that race was irrelevant to the project. Would love to hear more like this.

Anthrax with Public Enemy did Bring the Noise, which I loved but not in my top favorites, but this seemed to squash respect for both bands. Oddly enough.

Okay, the Talking Heads was a total copout! There are Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, and Neil Diamond Songs which I totally enjoy more as songs! Aaaaugh!

And A Taste Of Honey's Boogie Oogie Oogie is now a great and wonderfully respected song now that I've seen them play it on a PBS special about disco. I had no idea that it was two women, and that they played guitar and bass while singing! And kicked ass playing it! I thought they were a band, not a duo.

Seriously, it's one of the best disco songs ever, and M----- found out that feminist tomes don't give them their props because they're black.

You explore acoustic blues and you have to get into Led Zeppelin, and you explore electric blues and you have to deal with Van Halen.

And there's a whole realm of songs which are metaphors for things.

Not sure what to think of my progressive rock infatuation. Rush, Yes, and King Crimson...