bursting into tears in T-3, 2, 1.
jools was worried about me last week. a song came on in the car, and i just burst into tears. i assured him i was okay, nothing was the matter. it was just how a song made me feel. here’s a secret about me that everyone in my family knows all too well: i’m kind of a boohoo by nature. to be sure, i have not been a big girl’s blouse who would cry about getting beat up or something like that. i didn’t cry, for example, when a girl named lori started to kick and punch me at north dover school while we nine year olds were hanging out waiting for our brothers’ basketball practice to finish. no, i kicked and punched her back (until another girl, sari, ran and got our dads.) i also don’t cry when most people say rude things about me. generally, such things make me either ignore them or give them the finger and i go my merry way. in truth, the things that make me cry are usually and strangely not the things that make other people cry.
beauty makes me cry.
i have never been able to explain it, really; but some things in the world are simply so exquisite and rare that i can’t find the words to describe them. words fail. and my heart feels full, partially because i have all this emotion in me and i cannot express it. sometimes, there is special meaning to said song and it makes me feel engulfed by memory and feelings. so i do what i can do: i cry.
there are certain pieces of music which hit my soul in such a place that i can’t even sing them. i hear, for example, in my life (as i did in the car last week) and i am a blubbery mess. border song is another example.
and this, of course, brings us to today’s guilty pleasure. i think genesis keyboardist tony banks said that he wrote afterglow in about the same amount of time the song runs. if that’s the case, i count that among some of the universe’s wacky musical miracles, along with keith richards waking up one night, playing the satisfaction riff into his tape recorder, and then falling back to sleep. off of wind and wuthering, afterglow is often overshadowed by perennial 1970s prom favorite your own special way, an absolutely gorgeous song in it’s own right. in fact, i am hard-pressed to think of any obvious love songs by genesis prior to these two on this album. (feel free to correct me in the comments; i might be mistaken.) but where your own special way is this wistful celebration of love and the wonder of holding hands, afterglow is a song of yearning and loss. the singer has been somehow been banished — from home, from the heart of his love, from something central to his existence. he has lost everything. he has nothing.
but what sustains him is the singular hope that maybe, somehow, in some tiny little recess of her heart, his love will accept him again. maybe it’s a vain hope, but it is all he has. he would search everywhere just to hear (her) call:
And walk upon stranger roads than this one
In a world I used to know before.
For now I’ve lost everything,
I give to you my soul.
The meaning of all that I believed before
Escapes me in this world of none,
I miss you more.
he is consumed by love. he has lost love. he is pretty damned morose. but he hasn’t given up. if you have ever been in the most untenable situation of hoping against hope that love is not lost, this song conveys that and grips you in a way few others can. it’s like the grandma to another song that makes me weep, against all odds, though far more powerful, i think.
pardon me. i need to find my tissues. in the meantime, here’s where i first heard this wondrous song — as part of a medley genesis played in concert for years. probably the pinnacle of every genesis live show for me.
this song would get me off the dock of the bay. toute de suite.
happy monday! what? you’re not feeling the love this morning? here. i’ll give you some in the guise of the late, great otis redding. everyone and their dog is familiar with the classic (sitting on the) dock of the bay. and anyone who has ever sat through pretty in pink will never forget jon cryer’s amazing lip synch to otis’s try a little tenderness:
but not a lot of people know the happy song, and that’s a shame. it’s hard to stay grumpy with this one on. yeah, i know it’s titled like something out of romper room; but i promise. romper room would be so lucky to have such a soulful moment. (and while we’re talking romper room, i’m not still bitter that the teacher never saw me in her magic mirror. no, not much.)
then again, i don’t think she called otis’s name, either.
anyway, the happy song came off the immortal otis redding, an album recorded in a three-week span of time just before his untimely death in 1967. (nothing happy or immortal about that.) there’s such a wonderful quality to redding’s voice, especially in this song. it always feels like he is speaking directly to me (or you); it has craggy warmth and realness that so many these days lack. (and no auto-tune.) and backed by the best of the best — the stax crew, people like steve cropper and duck dunn and booker T and isaac hayes, for cryin’ out loud. that crew could have recorded the freaking phone book and it would have been the funkiest, coolest white pages experience ever.
in a world where music seems to have lost a certain level of authenticity, it is so wonderful to remember that there are people out there who have got the goods. they can sing, even without augmentation. they can play instruments with gentle power and great skill. they can create musical moments which easily translate and morph into your personal musical memories. and i’m sure there are people out there in the world, still, who can do all that. maybe they aren’t getting the industry attention or backing, but i know they are out there. i hear it in otis’s voice, and it brings me back to that wonderful realization. and hope.
and that makes me very, very happy.
yeah. i’m a little late to this game, already in progress for about 40 years.
okay. so how on earth did i miss the small faces? yeah, i always knew about itchycoo park. i had heard aplenty about steve marriott and ronnie lane, but i never really paid any attention to that crew. (i’m sad now, as i think i have fallen in serious like with steve marriott, only too bad for me: he has been dead for over 20 years now.) the only faces i ever listened to involved rod the mod stewart. one day last summer, i was stuck in a musical malaise. you know the sort: you’re sick of your music, but nothing new is making you jump up and down? so i was working from home, as i do, and i actually paid attention to one of those thingies that said if you like this band, you’ll like small faces. and in a leap of faith, i began my journey with ogdens nut gone flake.
what an amazing concept album. yeah, the storyline is a bit dodgy (it isn’t like tommy‘s story isn’t a little crazy) in that late 1960s sort of way. but i LOVED it. from the intro of the album, which sounds like a cross between the creation meets the who, and then all sorts of stuff ranging from the kinks to english music hall, i was just gobsmacked. i cannot help but smile when i hear lazy sunday afternoon. (kazoos, people. in a rock song.) anyway, i really love this album now, and i need to engage some further study in the history of rock opera and concept albums because of it.
after pulling myself away from ONGF, i branched out into the rest of their catalog, and wow, is tin soldier a stunner of a song. originally, steve marriott wrote it for singer p.p. arnold, but he took it back and kept it for himself, letting p.p. sing backing vocals on the track. (you have to have a lot of confidence if you walk through life with the nickname p.p., and her voice is like a steamroller.) i love the story of the song , which brings us back full circle to rod the mod. apparently, marriott wrote this song to impress a girl, jenny rylance, who had a rocky relationship with stewart. in the end, love won out — marriott and rylance were married. yeah, i know — the marriage ended eventually. but you gotta love someone who wins the heart of someone else through creative means.
i know i would.
not, not bob saget. bob seger.
yeah, a lot of people my age are pretty sick of bob seger. his music has ended up implanted in the national psyche, i don’t even think i can think of so many songs anymore without the relevant visual. (let’s see: like a rock makes me think of chevy vehicles. old time rock and roll: tom cruise in his skivvies. night moves: a young matt leblanc. and i can keep going.) his stuff is the dreams that lite rock radio is made of. and except for some of his really old stuff, like ramblin’ gamblin’ man (go ahead and click the link and listen to it; i’ll wait. it’s that good), when i see bob seger’s name pop up on my radio, i tend to turn the page, er, station. it’s not that his stuff is inherently bad: he has a way with serious hooks. but it mostly has been played. to. death.
so how delighted was i when this little forgotten gem came on my radio, straight from the crappy 1980 film urban cowboy, a tale of a young country boy trying to make his way in the big, bad world of houston. i suppose john travolta could be just as believable as a southern dude as he might be crossdressed up as edna turnblad, though i found his stint in the latter far more believable. (but i won’t go there.) don’t you love those amurican tales, where men are men and masseuses are scared? where your worth as a human can be proven by riding some mechanical bull the longest?
honestly, beyond the bull, i can’t really remember much about the film, but i do remember this song. and while it is much slicker than ramblin’, gamblin’ man;and while i will swear he ripped off the opening riff from hollywood nights, i do enjoy this little ditty. i think what i like best: it doesn’t really get a lot of airplay, so i haven’t had the chance to get sick of it.
and of course, not making me think of travolta in a ten-gallon doesn’t hurt, either.
yes, children. a cover that kicks the original’s ass.
i love the stones. i put my 7 year old in a mick’s lips t-shirt. and there is no question how i feel about keef.
that being said, how i love the soup dragons’ cover of the stones’ i’m free. they take it to new places — a rappy, reggae place, a universe where i picture everyone dancing, grooving and having an amazing time. there are rainbows and people with multicolored braids, dancing for days. (yeah, i also imagine that there are probably people on ecstasy in the corner of that universe, but as long as they stay the hell out of my way, i will ignore them.)
when the stones sang it, i imagine mick shaking his little tambourine — or would that have been brian jones? — and the surprisingly uninspiring guitar solo winding it’s way through the middle of the song. frankly, it was fairly forgettable to me — until this cover came about in 1990. sure, it didn’t do a whole lot in the US charts, though it had plenty of airplay on my late lamented radio station WHFS. but i lurved it.
and i always loved junior reid, the guy yelling: don’t be afraid to feel freedom!
a few years back, chase used the song to advertise their freedom credit card. yeah, it made me feel old — there’s nothing worse than being obviously targeted for your age. but i decided to free my mind of that image.
i’ll just close my eyes, chair dance, and wonder what happened to the soup dragons. (yeah, i know, i know. teenage fan club. but i’m not digressing again. at least, not today.)
oh my hell. the gift that keeps on giving.
so yeah, it isn’t monday, but i’m just rolling along with my two weeks of guilty pleasure mondays. (in other words, it’s like monday, only happier because it’s not monday.) (no, i’m not off any meds.) and i’m picking out some of my go-to songs that just make me grin and grin and shake my ass, even if my ass is currently sitting in the successor to the mommobile, which left us yea verily about a year ago. (BC still cries about it. she went away to girl scout camp one week and came back to a brand new car. and she was not amused. of course, she wasn’t going to be the grownup dealing with the potential vicissitudes of an old, old car on the side of some road, somewhere.)
what IS amusing, though, is back against the wall, a song that i think is one of the best songs of 2009 and maybe even the entire decade of the aughts. cage the elephant, a band out of kentucky, has not gotten the recognition i think they deserve. i think they’re recording an album at this point, which means they could be touring soon. i would like to see them, even if they are the support act. (at one point, i think they were supporting the foo fighters, and i think my secret boyfriend dave grohl stepped in to play drums with them when their drummer became ill. of course, that could also be me hallucinating or projecting something dreamy. sometimes, reality bites, but in this case, i think reality might have been awesome, except of course for their poor drummer, who i hope has fully recovered.)
but i digress. per usual.
this song rocks. this is an rump-shaking, come to JAYsus kind of rocker. this is the sort of song that if i had a band, i would TOTALLY cover it, only i am quite certain i could not add anything to it and would thus create something superfluous. so i won’t. i’ll just leave you to it and you can go ahead and tell me how right i am in the comments.
if you want to, i mean. i’m not putting you up to it or anything.
not like your back’s against the wall.
if you close your eyes, it’s like 1965. not that i would remember the year, of course.
you know, i have spent two whole weeks. TWO WHOLE WEEKS, writing about songs i loathe. i have subjected myself, and the hundreds three people out there who still dare to read my stuff, to pure, unadulterated crap. i just wanted to feel the love, people, so i am changing tracks. i think for the two weeks of awful, hateful songs (really? you really like my humps? you’re a sad case, you are. get thee to a nunnery), i need to do penance. so… you loved it for years. you laughed at me with me at my sometimes quirky taste in music. and so?
trust me: you’ll like it like mikey likes it.
anywho… from what i can glean, the young sinclairs have been around for over a decade, and where the HELL HAVE I BEEN? seriously, i am a serious sucker for jangly pop. i have a history of listening voraciously as the rickenbacker torch has passed from the byrds to tom petty to REM to the La’s to… well, there are loads in between who are fine, fine jangly pop people. these guys hail from downstate in Roanoke, a place i have never been. i hope they come up to play at Iota or the State (i’m sure the legwarmers can find another place to play to drunken 40-somethings trying to recapture their frat party memories from the ’80s some saturday night, amirite?) sometime, both fun venues. with my luck, i’ve probably missed them.
timing is everything.
anyway, my timing was lucky, as i heard this on little steven’s underground garage one day while chauffeuring the boy somewhere. (the kids grin and bear it when i refuse to listen to the top hits station on sirius/xm in the car; there’s only so much bruno mars i can stands and i can’t stands no mo’!) and yes; i was thrilled, yea verily… for i heard something garagey and fresh, all rolled into a lovely, poppy, jangly hot mess. and i became that mom, the one with the windows rolled down in the school kiss-and-ride line and the volume cranked to 11. i don’t often do that (usually, it happens when rocks off comes on, and not otherwise much), especially since the day i embarrassed BC amidst her middle school pals when i had the clash cranked. moooom, girlfriend moaned, you’re embarrassing me!
(oh honey. embarrassing would be if i had perry como at full throttle. not:
the maGNIFICENT… SEVEN!
in short: i rarely hear things that make me want to go out and buy the album (only too bad for me, the 1980s called and said we want our albums back, nobody makes albums anymore, old lady) or at least download this stuff.
the young sinclairs deserve a better write-up than what i can glean from internet searches. i would tell you more if i could. but in the meantime, take a tip from me. you can close your eyes and pretend you’re a groovy girl from the ’60s when you hear it. but you have to rejoin the 21st century (still in progress) to get there. so:
just. download. it.
those who know me can guess why.
i know that there is a whole world of people who cherish the old time music. you know what i mean by that music: that romanticized thought of young men, standing around street corners, harmonizing instead of swiping hubcaps? during the ’50s and early ’60s, white boys did it, black boys did it, heck, it seemed like everyone and his dog liked to do that (except for the rockers, who were tearing up music when they weren’t tearing up towns.) the success of the broadway show jersey boys cements that whole musical period into american fabled lore.
i loathe that music.
in fact, i would probably voluntarily sit in a modern country concert before i would subject myself to an evening of doo-wop classics. while modern country music in general (there are exceptions, and i do like alt-country) sounds to me more like rejects from lite 1970s soft rock, doo-wop artists make weird noises in a way that actually makes me physically want to get up and run away from the sound. and no other purveyor of this sort of music annoys me more than frankie valli and the four seasons. it was bad enough that they sang unadulterated crap; but the sound! oh! the sound! between the piercing soprano-like warbles exiting valli’s mouth to the WHINE. you know the whine i mean: as in, big girls…do-won’t CRY-YI-YI.
you actually need to keep me far from sharp objects when they come on. i may do myself harm, just to escape his voice.
and the ultimate worst for me? Sherry. when your name (or a name similar to it) gets used in a song, people make fun of you. ask anyone my age named michael whether people ran after them singing:my name is michael, i got a nickel, etc. unless your name is linda or yoko, you probably don’t enjoy songs with your name in them, either. and when your then-10-year-old brother runs after you, singing something insulting at the top of his lungs, you tend to hate it. a lot. especially when he alters the words to:
SHERRY…SHERRY’S A BABY. SHERRY. SHERRY’S A BABY.
so yeah. three strikes against the song. 1) i can’t stand frankie valli and the four seasons, 2) i don’t like being teased by my brother with song lyrics like this, and 3) there are only three people on this planet — two relatives and my friend sushma — who can call me sherry and live.
you are probably not one of them.
and now, here’s a song about an ass.
humps? is she a bird, a plane, or a camel? i have never heard a butt called a hump before. i’m guessing will.i.am or whoever is responsible for this POS song took the verb hump and decided that this was the body part he wanted to, er, hump. hmmm.
and the imagery? milk and cocoa puffs?
in short, this is a puerile and vile piece of work. maybe if you are a moron who spends all your time watching porn and listening to what passes for popular hip-hop or dance music, this song makes sense. but i marvel that there are any women — ANY women — who would voluntarily sing this song. i mean, why don’t they just cut this song to the chase. the lyrics should be more like:
my ass, my ass
come f*** me up the ass.
just give me lots of money; you can f*** me up the ass.
my ass, my ass
come f*** me up the ass.
just give me lots of money; you can f*** me up the ass.
they should just call this song spend all your money i’ll let you f*** me up the ass. they can subtitle the song: ode to a prostitute. (of course, that’s sort of an insult to prostitutes worldwide.) hell — can’t you see this as a commercial for prostitutes?
also: lady lumps? WTF are lady lumps? does she have tumors or something? if women have lady lumps, what exactly would be the male equivalent? manly peninsula? the big dipper? (or little, i suppose, in some cases.) damn. bring back the day of hoo-hoos and dingalings, please.
so let me round this up. she is a camel growing large with bulbous, cancerous growths. you want your big (to be charitable) dipper to make personal contact with her fecal material. you’ll even pay for it with jewelry and expensive gifts.
really? you want a piece of that?
if only he had been plugged in to his music on the subway. this all could have been avoided.
so one-hit-wonder james blunt saw a beautiful woman on the subway (who, the story goes, was his ex-girlfriend.) she was with another guy. he’ll never see her again. but they shared a moment (at least, he had a moment) which will last as long as lite-rock stations and on-hold music play you’re beautiful incessantly. depending on whether you hear the clean radio version or the CD version, you get a slightly different experience with this song.
clean version: She could see from my face that I was flying high.
not-so-clean version: She could see from my face that I was fucking high.
now, this totally changes the equation. see, most of us only know the clean version. we just think, oh, here’s this guy, having a slightly-stalkerish moment on the train with a woman he may or may not know. it’s a wonderful moment, and she can see he is doing well in life (flying high.) let’s all assume there is love all around; everyone ends up wistful but happy. so maybe you think that this is all a wonderful Hallmark sort of moment wrapped up in a song that is about as deep as any Hallmark product. and perhaps you’d be right.
but… in the not-so-clean version, he is having this slightly-stalkerish moment… and she can see he is wasted. have you ever been that person who is stared at by someone who is clearly messed up? i have had more than one experience in life where someone who was completely fucked up either frightened me or actually tried to harm me. i have spent time with people who are messed up. most are pretty peaceful. some? not so much. i won’t get into it, but suffice to say, little good can happen when the wrong person is FUBAR’d and glued to you. what’s so fucking romantic about having someone who is messed up staring at you on a train? i fail to find it a lovely, deep experience. for me, all i can think of is where’s my can of mace?
at best, this is the most irritating piece of elevator music material. at worst, it is creepy elevator music. if i am going to have creepy elevator music, i would prefer it to be something from a tim burton movie. at least that way, i can feel like i’m in the movie, too.
for instance: exhibit a:
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