Bowling With No Panties

Everybody's a critic. I am actually right.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

If I Were A Celebrity, This Would Be My Playlist

I'm something of a Luddite, I suppose. I blame my mother because she was frugal so we never bought the newest, latest thing because -- wisely -- she knew it would come down in price. This is why we were the last people I knew personally who owned a microwave or VCR.

I fully appreciate the handiness and portability of an i-pod. But I don't want one.

Without getting on a soapbox about the moral vs. philosophical ramifications of illegally downloading shared music, I will say that after a few lame attempts at the free downloading sites -- which would send a tsunami of spyware, spam, pop-ups, and other nasty cyber-toadies throughout my home computer, I decided to bite the bait and sign up the MTV version of i-Tunes, Of course, I did this without reading the fine print, so I missed the part about the songs being encrypted so I won't be able to BURN THEM ONTO CD which is the WHOLE POINT since I do not and will not own an mp3 player of any kind.

After I quicky got myself out of that jam (after spending about $10 on songs I will only be able to listen to on my PC, grrrr!) I sucked it up and just joined i-Tunes, years after everybody else has.

Boy, is it fun! I'm having a blast looking up old favorite songs and then deciding whether I want to spend $0.99 on them or not.

I have fun reading the playlists from Celebrities, too -- mostly because I think you can tell a lot about somebody by the music they listen to. Some of them made me roll my eyes, but a few stood out -- like that actor Josh Lucas -- he picked this great song by the Bogmen -- the Bogmen were one of those tragic bands that got signed right before the industry self-destructed and merged to death and they got lost in the shuffle with no budget for promotion. With the proper A&R, they WOULD have been huge, I know it. They were smart, funny, and brilliant musicians. So now I think I could have sex with Josh Lucas.

So, here's the first CD I burned from iTunes, my "playlist" as it were:

1. Tyrone -- Erykah Badu -- I always loved this song, great dumpage: "You better call Tyrone...hold up - but you can't use my phone." -- classic.

2. Love Hangover -- Diana Ross -- what's not to love? Killer bassline

3. Get Me -- Dinosaur Jr. - "Where You Been?" was one of those albums that I played relentlessly when I bought it and hence it reminds me forever of the summer of 1993, my first summer in New York City. J Mascis is a brilliant guitar player and I love his odd creaky voice.

4. Don't Let Go (Love) - En Vogue -- What happened to En Vogue? They were pop but could actually SING. Since much of my romantic life has ben fraught with uncertainty, pain, or general weirdness, this song appealed to me from the moment I heard it...and of course, Mekhi Phifer as the eye candy in this video didn't hurt either. He is hot.

5. White Lines -- Grandmaster Flash --this song reminds me of high school dances and my friend Troy M. I know this whole song by heart. "Twice as sweet as sugar, twice as bitter as salt, and if you get hooked, baby, it ain't nobody else's fault, SO DON'T DO IT!" If only I heeded your words, Grandmaster Flash...oh, the things I could have done differently.

6. Center Stage -- Indigo Girls -- This song is off their eponymous first major label release, and it's one of my favorites...the vocals are phenomenal.
They're just so damn good.

7. I Wanna Take You Higher -- Sly and the Family Stone -- this song just rocks.

8. Possum Kingdom -- The Toadies -- Is this song so sexy because it's creepy or am I creepy for thinking this song is so goddamned sexy?? It was one of those late 90's high rotation alternative rock hits and I love this guys' voice and when he gets to that part, "Do you wanna die?" I almost want to yell YES!!! YES!!!

9. Heart Shaped Box -- Evanescence -- I dig cool covers, they do a great job on this one, it's acoustic.

10. Groove Is In The Heart - Dee-Lite -- A song I will never get sick of.

11. Pressure Drop -- Toots and the Maytals --The Specials and the Clash covered this song, but my favorite cover was by these three dudes, two of them, Chris Campion and Mike Tate used to play every Monday night at the Red Lion on Bleecker Street -- mostly covers, a few originals, both were in different bands. Every now and then Chris' brother Billy would blow in and jump on stage and the three of them would do this song. They rocked. This song reminds me of that era in my life when I knew what I was going to be doing every single Monday night.

12. Heaven On Their Minds -- Tenacious D -- What's better than my favorite musical sung by one of my favorite all time acoustic duos?? IF THEY DID THE WHOLE SHOW.

13. Three Strange Days -- School of Fish -- Another early 90's song I will never be sick of...even though I don't know any other songs this band has ever done.

14. Killing In The Name Of - Rage Against The Machine -- I will love this song when I am in the old folks' home and I will crank it and sing along at the top of my crochety lungs..."FUCK YOU I WON'T DO WHAT YOU TELL ME!!MOTHERFUCKER!" This song is fun to play at my desk at work. Quietly.

15. Blue Monday -- New Order -- Classic

16. Sunny Afternoon -- the Kinks -- One of my favorite Kinks songs from a huge pool of great, great song, I selected a live version from a concert tour in England 2002. Ray Davies' voice sounds exactly the same as it did when he was younger.

17. Golddigger -- Kanye West/Jamie Foxx -- "You see him on the TV, Any given Sunday, Win the Superbowl but drives off in Hyundai"...BRILLIANT lyrics and great delivery.

18. Ruby, Don't Take Your Love to Town -- Kenny Rogers -- A nod to my mom, but also a good song -- very dark in a way. Poor Kenny -- he's a paralyzed Vietnam Vet whose wife goes out to find what he can't do for her, even though he needs some company....he knows what she's getting all painted up for..."And if could move I'd get my gun and put her in the ground...Ruby, for God's sake turn around."

19. Feel Good, Inc -- Gorillaz -- one of the more recent songs that I really like...mostly for that "Windmill, windmill" part. I love Damon's voice.

20. Sadness -- Enigma -- This is why i-Tunes is so great. I always liked this song but I wouldn't want a whole album of it.

That's also why i-Tunes is dangerous. The music industry has to evolve or it will die an ignoble death. Things changed the second all the independent distributors went bust in the mid-90's. Then three majors merged. Everyone chased the big sellers and "Artist Development" became a thing of the past. Once upon a time, the first album wasn't expected to go Platinum. It was there to get the band/singer's feet wet, to introduce them. They weren't expected to get BIG until the second or third album, the goal was to establish longevity. That isn't what seems to matter now.

So while I am having a good time at the ol' i-Tunes store, I am also supporting the artists I care about by physically purchasing a CD. Tegan & Sara, for example. So Jealous is a BRILLIANT album. BUY IT.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

If You Love Something, Let It Go...I'm Letting Go of YOU Vintage Bruce Springsteen

When I was 12 years old I had the world's biggest pubesecent crush on Matt Dillon. I switched allegiance from Shaun Cassidy to Matt after seeing "My Bodyguard" where Matt was the nasty bully. He was so hot, though, and BAD. He might have been my first "bad boy" crush -- compared to Shaun Cassidy, who made me fall in love with him while staring moodily into the ocean after his character's girlfriend died on the Hardy Boys while his version of "If" was playing, one lone tear slowly coursing down his chiseled and clean shaven face.

Like most good "tween" girls of the 70's I was a big fan of TIGER BEAT magazine, and I would beg my mother for every issue that had Matt Dillon in it. One such issue actually had an interview, and Matt was posed the question, "What song would be your wedding song?" and he answered "Born To Run" by Bruce Springsteen.

I had never heard of Bruce Springsteen as I hadn't really found FM radio yet. I was raised in a strict Lutheran home by two serious Squares. My parents were in college in the 60's, but a religious one, and there was no anti-war protesting from them, nor pot smoking, tuning in or turning on. My parents record collection was full of Broadway cast recordings, Kenny Rogers, Simon & Garfunkel, Perry Como, Neil Diamond, Linda Ronstadt after she stopped rockin', classical music, and some Doo-Wop. That and AM radio was what I was pretty much exposed to...Billy Joel, Captain & Tenille -- the Donny & Marie Show. That's how I didn't know who Bruce Springsteen was in the year of our Lord 1980.

I took my babysitting money and went down to Record Broker, the local record store and went looking for the song that would be played at my wedding to Matt Dillon. I brought the album home and played it on my record player -- I didn't have a stereo!

My mind was officially blown. There was a quality in Bruce Springsteen's voice that spoke to me deep inside. There was a part of me that was always yearning for something that I couldn't name. Bruce's words washed over me and fired my imagination. I wasn't a beauty, but eh, I was all right -- there was hope for me that someone would come get me out of my small town and pull me out of there to win. I could see the Rat's dreams gun him down. I understood why Bruce hated Terry and the guy who took her away. I wanted to be the subject of "She's The One". I wanted to let Bruce in to be my friend, so he could guard my dreams and visions.

I played "Born To Run" ad nauseum. I then went out and purchased "Greetings From Asbury Park" and "Darkness On The Edge of Town." "Prove It All Night" is still one of my favorite songs of all time, as is "Spirits In The Night" and "Hard To Be A Saint In The City". Bruce was more than a rock star, he was a poet with a yearning soul and a keen observant eye, seeing deep into the world around him. He was kind of on the edges, he wasn't Mr. Slick. He was skinny with a chicken chest and a scraggly beard and messy hair. Bruce really knew about unrequited love. Bruce knew about feeling held back by a humble birth and had the soul of a rebel. When they said sit down, he threw up.

I loved him more than I ever loved Shaun Cassidy, Donny Osmond OR Matt Dillon COMBINED. Bruce Springsteen is the only "celebrity" I had ever written a "fan" letter to. I never mailed it because I was sure he would think I was a huge dork. I wanted him to know how much he meant to me. I wanted to be him, but a girl. I wanted to run away with him and strap my legs 'cross his engines.

In a larger way, Bruce Springsteen was my "gateway drug" to rock and roll from the musical wasteland of easy listening and show tunes I was raised in. Bruce made me listen to lyrics and divide songs into two categories..."fun" (like The Safety Dance)and REAL (like Into The Mystic by Van Morrison). Bruce's lyrics - plainspoken but also powerful -- inspired me to try to write my feelings and observations down, too. I don't want to say he's the SOLE reason I became a poet, but he's one of my bigger influences. My poetry is pretty straightforward, too.

That Bruce Springsteen has been gone a long time.

I don't want to get into politics because I am a freak of nature. I am a gay-friendly pro-choice Republican. Rush Limbaugh calls people like me "Gutless Wonders", lacking conviction to committ to one party or the other, but that isn't right for me. I dislike extremities. The world is a gray area and there's absolutely nothing wrong with me not wanting to buy the entire belief system of either party. The Democrats do not speak for me. I am neither someone so poor I need government assistance or so rich that I can feel magnaminous by granting my pity and money to those beneath me.

Bruce has gone back and dug up the working class pro-Union protest songs of Woody Guthrie-influenced Pete Seeger. However, Bruce has been a multi-millionaire for 30 years. I believe he means what he says, though. I don't think Bruce would ever fake his feelings in order to write a hit record. I loved "The Rising", the song he released after 9/11, I still can't listen to it without getting a little choked up.

But personally, I sort of stopped loving Bruce in high school. Yes, I had that insanely huge live album set, but by then Bruce had gotten all buffed out and wore tight jeans and shaved and married a model. "Born In The USA" left me cold. It's a brilliant song about a veteran and my high school class voted it "Class Song" without ever really listening to it. Because it is FUCKING DEPRESSING. "Woo hoo, we're like, born in the USA too!" I hated most of my high school classmates.

I also hated this "new" Bruce. The Bruce that danced with Courteney Cox was a dick. That Bruce was a frat boy, but smarter. That Bruce wasn't the Bruce that I fell in love with.

I have still carried my passionate love for young Bruce Springsteen quietly inside me all this time. I thought he really GOT women - "She could laugh and cry in a single sound."

Bruce Au Courant is disenchanted with our government and vociferously supported John Kerry but pretty much would have backed anyone who ran against the current administration -- which is FINE, he is entitled to his opinions and beliefs.

I just miss the Bruce that wanted to go on up to Greasy Lake and make love with Crazy Janey in the dirt. I miss the Bruce that knew that Rosalita's Daddy didn't like him but it didn't keep him away. I miss the Bruce that went down to the River and pulled his Mary close just to feel each breath she'd take.

He's gone. He's angry and political and wants to make a big change in the world. He doesn't have time to meet me in the fields behind the Dynamo.

BACKSTREETS by Bruce Springsteen

One soft infested summer
Me and Terry became friends
Trying in vain to breathe
The fire we born in
Catching rides to the outskirts
Tying faith between our teeth
Sleeping in that old abandoned beach house
Getting wasted in the heat
And hiding on the backstreets
Hiding on the backstreets
With a love so hard and filled with defeat
Running for our lives at night on them backstreets

Slow dancing in the dark
On the beach at Stockton’s Wing
Where desperate lovers park
We sat with the last of the Duke Street Kings
Huddled in our cars
Waiting for the bells that ring
In the deep heart of the night
We let lose of everything
To go running on the backstreets
Running on the backstreets
Terry you swore we’d live forever
Taking it on them backstreets together

Endless juke joints and Valentino drag
Where famous dancers scraped the tears
Up off the street dressed down in rags
Running into the darkness
Some hurt bad some really dying
At night sometimes it seemed
You could hear the whole damn city crying
Blame it on the lies that killed us
Blame it on the truth that ran us down
You can blame it all on me Terry
It don’t matter to me now
When the breakdown hit at midnight
There was nothing left to say
But I hated him
And I hated you when you went away

Laying here in the dark
You’re like an angel on my chest
Just another tramp of hearts
Crying tears of faithlessness
Remember all the movies, Terry
We’d go see
Trying to learn to walk like the heroes
We thought we had to be
Well after all this time
To find we’re just like all the rest
Stranded in the park
And forced to confess
To hiding on the backstreets
Hiding on the backstreets
Where we swore forever friends
On the backstreets until the end
Hiding on the backstreets
Hiding on the backstreets...