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andee's world: August 2006

andee's world

Hello and welcome to my blog. This space will be devoted to opinions, observations, lists, articles and whatever else I feel like posting. Subjects will include music, human nature, politics, life in NYC, etc. If I paste someone else's writing up here, it is because the author said something way better than I ever could. By the way, I don't claim to be a particularly smart guy; I'm just a musician with some opinions. If you disagree with me, that's cool -- but then, you're probably wrong.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

L Train to Berlin

Hallo hallo! Just back from my Madonna adventure in Berlin with my new friend Julie. Had a great time -- lots of lagers, laughs and a much-needed change of scenery. I'll get to the highlights in a minute, but first, I must begin with -- surprise! -- a public transportation complaint.

Ok, so my flight left from Newark Liberty International last Sunday. The airport's official website assured me that I could grab a shuttle bus to the airport from Penn Station, Grand Central or Port Authority. So I planned to get on the bus at Penn and bought a ticket online.

I get out of the A train at 34th street and ask a bus driver where to catch the shuttle. He directs me to the front of the New Yorker hotel. So I go there and wait. And wait. And wait. And start to get nervous when I see no busses.

I ask around a bit. Cops, MTA officials, anyone in a uniform of any kind. Nobody knows anything about this bus. The clock is ticking. Finally some random guy informs me that the shuttle no longer stops at Penn Station and that I've gotta get up to Port Authority to catch it. Good to fucking know.

Now, why couldn't the Newark Airport folks amend their website to reflect this change in plans? I mean, this is not a trivial point -- I could have missed my f-ing plane! Ugh. Anyway, I sprinted up to 42nd street at top speed and finally found the damn shuttle. Assholes.

Getting through check in and security at the airport was surprisingly painless, what with all this recent hysterical hand-wringing over liquids and gels. The whole thing strikes me as a bit ridiculous; now, while everyone has all their attention focused on toothpaste, mousse and hairspray, doesn't it stand to reason that the next would-be terrorist is going to try something else? Anyway...I had pretty much only packed clothes so I was able to breeze on board with no hassle. And in the plane's restroom, "Borderline" was playing. A very good omen!

My plane landed in Berlin a bit ahead of schedule and I got to Julie's lovely flat in Prenzlauberg around 9 a.m. Julie was glowing with good health, thanks to her new obsession, hula-hooping! We drank some coffee and went out for a wander.

Berlin was much more pleasant on this visit than on my last one-- cool and comfortable, like fall. Passing rainstorms freshened things periodically. Lots of people outdoors in beer gardens and cafes. The city was on its best behavior.

I was determined to find some new shoes and had this idea that I would dispose of my old Doc Martens in some kind of symbolic retirement ceremony somewhere in Berlin. Maybe sink them in the bottom of a lake or something. Leave a piece of myself there.

Anyway, at the end of a long hoof, we found a really cool pair of black Vans with skulls on the sides for 50 euros. Cute! Anything with skulls wins me over pretty easily. I bought 'em. Gotta say, it's a little odd wearing sneakers at this point -- I've been stomping around in combat boots for more than a decade, so wearing the Vans makes me feel almost weightless.

Monday night was meant to be relatively chill, since our pilgrimage to Hannover for the Madonna show was the next day. But alas, our good intentions were abandoned a few cocktails into the night at her apartment. We took some beers for the road and headed out to a local goth party at Dunker.

By the way, I love how consistent and reliable the goth scene is -- pretty much anywhere you go, you can find a clan of black-clad, Bauhaus-worshippers congregating somewhere. God bless them all. Julie's promoter friend let us in for free and gave us some free drinks (which we may or may not have needed). Good, good, smoky goth fun.

On Tuesday we were utterly wiped out but made it to our train to Hangover, I mean, Hannover, on schedule. We ate breakfast on the train. The Germans sure are a mighty carnivorous lot; order anything that includes meat and you'll likely get enough to last you for a week. But we needed sturdy food to prepare ourselves for the day ahead.

As we got closer to Hannover, the weather grew more and more ominous. Angry storm clouds gathered as we crossed the countryside and rain showers pelted the windows. We started getting nervous; the Madonna show was in an open-air arena. We braced ourselves for a soggy concert experience. Being as tired and hungover as we were, the prospect was a bit daunting.

But things got much better. We disembarked in Hannover and the train let out into a sort of shopping mall inside the station. We wandered through. Then we encountered a delightful sight: a clothing store called, simply, Madonna. Hah! Another great omen. We stopped to take a photo of the place, then peered inside out of curiosity. Their stuff was so cute! So we went in and I ended up dropping 50-some euros on some quite fabulous new gear, all emblazoned with the Madonna logo. I got an adorable, fur-lined hoodie that says "Madonna, Since 1988; Princeton Ivy League" on the front. It makes absolutely no sense and it's fabulous and it's my new favorite thing in the world.

From there we walked to our hotel to catch some downtime before the show, which included, importantly, a short nap. By 7pm the rain was pouring steadily and things were looking a bit dire, but we were excited anyway. Madonna! She was here in Hannover, among us. And we would be rocking out with her in just a couple of hours. We made some stiff cocktails and got ready to go. We listened to Confessions on a Dancefloor (what else?).

And in the end, the gods were with us. The very minute -- no, the very second -- we exited the hotel, the rain stopped and the sky cleared. The sun shone down benevolently as we skipped to the train station. Hooray! It was like a scene from a movie (a corny movie, perhaps). All Madonna tickets, by the way, were honored as valid train tickets to and from AWD Arena. How cool is that? We sipped our cocktails-for-the-road on the train.

Opening DJ Paul Oakenfold had just wrapped up his set when we got to the venue. We would have liked to check him out but it was just too important to rest instead, given the shape we were in. It was a wise move. We bought beers and hustled down to the floor of the giant arena. Eighty thousand Germans in there. People were doing the wave and the vibe seemed pretty good.

As politely as possible, we wormed our way up toward the stage as far as we could, and got a little way past the soundboard. A really good spot. Then it seemed that, once we had found our place, the lights went down and the show started. Our timing was perfect!! -- and we were buzzing nicely. Weeeee!

Wow. The concert was unbelievable, not that anything less was expected. As always, Madonna's show was a total sensory overload of phenomenal visuals, costumes and choreography. Absolutely top-notch everything. She sang great. It is criminal how good she looks. Girls half her age would kill for that ass. They performed almost the whole of Confessions, plus goodies like "Into the Groove," "Erotica," "Ray of Light" and...ah, heck, why don't I just print the set list? It went a little something like this:

Future Lovers / I Feel Love (Medley)
Get Together
Like A Virgin
Live To Tell
Forbidden Love
Like It Or Not
Sorry Remix (Video Interlude)
I Love New York
Let It Will Be
Ray Of Light
Drowned World/Substitute For Love
Paradise (Not For Me)
Music / Disco Inferno (Medley)
La Isla Bonita
Erotica/You Thrill Me
Lucky Star
Hung Up

I love that Madonna can encore with one of her new songs and absolutely no one is disappointed, because it's as strong as anything else in her repertoire. It was a really inspired set; everything was irresistibly dance-y. Julie and I bounced around and sang and had the best time. But it must be said, our neighbors were a total DRAG. We were virtually surrounded by grumpy, frumpy trolls who positively resented our levity.

I need to ask, why do these people spend good money to go to concerts, only to stand there, stock still, and not even applaud at the end of the songs?! These killjoys acted like we were watching a debate, rather than having a once-in-a-lifetime concert experience. Julie said it's typical of German audiences; they're not exactly the loosest bunch in the world. Anyway, cranky Teutons aside, we had a completely BRILLIANT night, a positively GOOOOR-geous time, and were worn out from top to bottom by the time we filed out of the place. AND, the rain had held off for the entire show. God really does love Madonna.

We trained back to Berlin the next afternoon after having a giant, carnivorous breakfast in Hannover (a dozen sausage links, anyone? how about some bacon to go with that?). The rest of the week included but was not limited to loads of shopping, drinking and episodes of Little Britain. There was a nasty thunderstorm and we told ghost stories (what else?). We built a fort! I taught her "Man on the Moon" on guitar. Tons of walking and my stiff new kicks gave my feet some righteous blisters. I bought more stuff: four books (Paul Auster's New York Trilogy and Moon Palace, Yann Martel's Life of Pi and Patrick Suskind's Perfume, all at Julie's recommendation) and a vinyl copy of Nina Hagen's first album (all German lyrics).

Berlin is a really handsome place these days. Apparently its clean, pasteled appearance bears only a passing resemblance to the monochromatic, edgy, derelict pile it was six years ago from England. Lately it's gotten so overwhelmed with Americans, it's like East, East Williamsburg -- being so cheap, it's become a magnet for unambitious hipster/artist types who've realized you only have to work three days a week there to get the utilities paid and still have plenty of money leftover for pot. God bless.

The engineering and aesthetics are amazing, though. Things are well-made there. The apartments are big and beautiful and dirt cheap. The trains are embarrassingly efficient. The beer is strong and so is the coffee.

Julie's planning a move to New York. After six years, she's seen all there is to see in Berlin. It's got a relatively low ceiling. By her accounts, the scene is pretty small, a bit cliquey and incestuous and two days behind London and New York, in terms of fashion and music. She calls it a "city of slackers." The low rents are great on the pocket book but maybe not enough incentive to justify spending a lifetime there spinning the wheels.

It is a cool city, though. There's a hearty, smoky vibe there and plenty of drinking on the streets. I like that. It's dark and austere, vibrating with lots of intense history.

On my last night in Berlin, we hung out at Julie's best mate Alex's GOOOR-geous flat, listening to records and drinking beer, then dinner at White Trash Fast Food. I had to be at Tegel airport viciously early the next morning, so we skipped the clubbing, even though it was a Saturday. But there was one thing I still had to do...

After we got back to her flat at midnight, Julie and I took my old Doc Martens out to the street, tied them together and hauled them up over a signpost on Shoenhausser Allee, New York style. It should have been a somber moment but instead it was hilarious. This photo was taken the next morning, en route to the airport.

The German airport security confiscated my deodorant (why didn't the Americans have any problems with that?) but otherwise I was allowed on board the plane with little hassle on Sunday morning. When I got back into the city, I was immediately brought back down to earth with the reality of New York's public transit inadequacies: the L train was down, OF COURSE.

I started this post with a transit authority gripe and I'll end with one. Ok, so it's bad enough that they shut down the L train ALL FUCKING WEEKEND and almost every night of the week, right? Now, why can't the train conductors ANNOUNCE THE SERVICE DISRUPTION on trains that connect to the L at 14th street (like the A,C,E,F,1,2,4,5,6, etc)?!

Here I am on the A train, whipped, jet-lagged and lugging a giant overnight bag, planning to transfer from the A to the L train at 14th Street. Upon stopping at 14th street, would it be so damn difficult for the conductor to announce something like this:



Is this too much to ask?

What happens instead is, I get out at 14th street, walk up the stairs and all the way across the station, hauling my luggage, only to find that goddamn red tape the MTA love so much, stretched across the L train entrance like a giant middle finger pointed at my face. Grrrrrrrrr. NOW I have to turn around, walk all the way back to the A platform and wait for the next downtown train so I can make my way toward the JMZ.

If the conductor would just say something about the L being out of service, I could just stay on the damned downtown A train and skip all the unnecessary schlepping and angst. But nooooooo! That just wouldn't be the MTA way. Assholes.

Ok, enough of my vitriol. Let's end this on a high note, shall we? I had a fantastic week. But what did I learn?

1. We should all feel much safer now that travelers are crossing international borders with no Aqua Net or Colgate in their bags.

2. There is a clothing line called Madonna, and their stuff is adorable. Check it out here.

3. Julie makes strong coffee. And she can hula-hoop in both directions!

4. Beer o'clock comes early in Berlin. And ends late.

5. German audiences are stodgy and joyless. Maybe they should eat less meat...

6. Little Britain is still the funniest show ever. If you haven't seen it yet, check it out here.

7. Unlike many Germans, dolphins are very friendly indeed.

8. German trains are the best anywhere. Ditto for their toilets.

9. God loves Madonna, even if the pope does not.

10. Julie is THE TOPS!

Soundtrack to Berlin/Madonna Adventure 2006:

Madonna Confessions On a Dancefloor, various compilations
Prodigy Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned
IAMX various
The Mission various
Cocteau Twins Lost 4AD Recordings
Andee's mix tapes
Jesus and Mary Chain Automatic
R.E.M. Automatic for the People
Siouxsie and the Banshees various B-sides
the horrible "glam" dj at King Kong Club
Blur Parklife
Faith No More Album of the Year
King's X Ogre Tones
The Ruts Something That I Said
The Cure Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me and Disintegration
Nellie McKay Get Away From Me
Massive Attack Mezzanine
and, of course,

Friday, August 18, 2006

"That's How I Roll" (Sayings That Need To Be Destroyed, Pt 5)

This may be the most heinous expression to worm its way into the pop culture vernacular in the last decade. It makes my skin crawl.

If you hear someone uttering this contemptible piece of verbiage (or any of its variants, i.e. "that's not how I roll," or "I'd roll that way"), do me a favor and please "roll" them in front of a bus!

And thank you in advance for using your own words, having your own personality and resisting the temptation to parrot awful expressions like this one. Your efforts are appreciated!

Click here for more helpful info.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

The Triumph of Unrealism -- by George Will

Here's an interesting piece by a conservative who's not afraid to call things like he sees them, rather than reiterating a tired string of Republican talking points.

I don't understand how so many right-wingers continue to tenaciously defend and apologize for the Bush administration at this late date, like a dog who won't give up its chew toy. At this point you've gotta be either kidding yourself or on the White House payroll. Click on the headline to read the article.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Punk Mythology

Q: Are there any aspects of punk which you find over-mythologised?

A: I think the only thing that needs reiterating is that by grouping everyone under the label “punk” implies that there was some kind of solidarity. Nothing could be further from the truth. It was every man & woman for themselves.

(from a recent interview with Siouxsie and the Banshees bassist Steve the headline for the full piece)

A Late-Summer Dispatch

Saw Kiki & Herb's opening night on Broadway last night at the Helen Hayes Theater (thank you Jared!!!). It was probably my favorite K&H performance to date. Apparently the New York Times
thought so, too. I'm so glad there are performers like this out running loose in the world. Remember, "allow yourself to suck and watch the magic happen..."

I drank a bunch of free Stoli at the afterparty and am perhaps partially to blame for getting Alessandro wasted (I really shouldn't overestimate the alcohol tolerance of others!).

Also must thank Claudia for getting me into the Gary Numan show last week. The show itself was ok -- I really like Gary's old stuff but he seems to be on some kind of NIN kick these days and it doesn't really suit him, if you ask me. But he seems like a genuinely lovely guy and it was great to hang out with his band and his wonderfully mental wife Jemma all night after the show. All really top notch people. And nobody's more "five star" than Claudia.

Been rehearsing with my Motorhead tribute band these last few weeks; we are playing Amelia's birthday party tonight and have cooked up some pretty ridiculous surprises. Big thanks to Mike D. (our surrogate Lemmy) for providing Manhattan Specials at all the practice sessions. The rehearsal space is unbelievably hot, but the free-flowing Specials kept the tempos up to speed...

Bully played their first show with new guitarist B-Stone (aka Brad), formerly of Joker Five Speed, a week or so ago. I always had a great time filling in on guitar with Bully but it was even more fun to be back in the audience. Such a great band. Brad did the right thing by staying out of the way of the tunes and stepping forward to do his thing only when it was appropriate. He seems like a solid player and guy.

Been a slow summer, work wise. I had to turn down an "acting" gig in some new Queen Latifah movie (I would have played a studio engineer) a couple of weeks ago because, given the choice between doing that gig (and having to wait a month for the check to arrive) and teaching a day's worth of guitar lessons (and getting paid with no delay), I had to go with the latter (you should see the holes in my shoes!). Oh well, things will pick up in September as they always do.

Speaking of which, I finally got my own publishing company established with SESAC (Andee's Vault Music), and not a moment too soon; one of my songs is being used in a TV show this week. While the production company is paying me a very sweet fee for the song, additional checks that come in from publishing royalties will not be frowned at.

Which leads me to a brief rant. A few months ago I was at a party talking to some dudes from another local band and I mentioned that P*S*K were shooting a tv show for ESPN and doing the theme music for said show, etc. One of the guys said, half-kiddingly, "congratulations, you're a corporate sellout!"

Now, I know he mainly meant it as a joke, but it was certainly a barbed one, as well. It made me think about how easy it is to have sky-high ideals about your artistic cred when you've got a dayjob and don't have to worry about how your electric bill is going to get paid. I'm a full time musician. There isn't a shred of security in it and sometimes I've got to get creative about finding money.

And if ESPN or ABC wants to toss me and/or my band good money for some honest work, then as long as I/we have no moral or creative objections to the programming or the people who are paying us or the way our music is being used, then you better believe we're gonna do it. We've got bills to pay. This isn't a hobby. Did I mention the holes in my shoes? Or the unpaid laboratory bill from when I had strep last spring? Survival comes first. Being finnicky about which corporate entities I will or won't do business with comes second. Thank you very much, and good night.

Off to Germany this Sunday to spend a week in Berlin with Julie and catch a Madonna show in Hanover. Yaaaay! I am sooo looking forward to this trip even though I've got just a handful of spending money. I'm not worried about it -- I couldn't be in better hands with Julie, who's as resourceful as I am when it comes to having "stacks of fun" with almost no cash. And Madonna? Well suffice it to say that I haven't seen her current tour yet and I'm positively itching to get in the same room with the Material Girl (or "Her Madgesty," as the press like to call her) again. In Hanover, Germany, no less. We've got ground-level, general admission tickets at Niedersachsen. I will have seen Maddy in three countries.

By the time I return, toothpaste-and-hair-gel-less, to NYC, the summer of 2K6 will be all but kaput. It's been a hellish season for people in other areas of the world. But for me it's been pretty damn good.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Comments and Links

Sorry to all of you who have left comments on this blog in the past six months or so. I had no idea they were there!

Some time ago I had changed the comments settings on my blog in an effort to weed out spammers. I was under the false impression that, whenever a comment was left, an email would be sent to me; little did I know that I had to go find and review them on my own!

Anyway, I stumbled upon a ton of them rather by accident today, and published most of them. So, if you want to go back through the last zillion or so posts and read comments, enjoy!

Also, I have finally installed a Links section on this blog. Depending on the day, they may appear at the top of this page (in the right-hand margin) or all the way down at the bottom. I have no idea why they move around like that. If you're interested, do check them out.

Love andeeee*

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

What Happened to Dennis Miller?

I just read that Dennis Miller has been hired by Fox News to join the Hannity and Colmes show this fall. He will also apparently contribute editorial content to the Fox News website.

What has come over this guy in recent years? Remember when Dennis Miller was a refreshingly non-partisan (or Libertarian, if anything) voice of reason who blasted both sides of the American political cockfight with equal vigor? Lately he's become an obtuse, boorish, right wing blowhard, and the biggest cheerleader for the Bush administration since Bill O'Reilly. Is he on the White House payroll now?

What a disappointment. At one time, Dennis Miller could be counted on for lucid, hilarious, no-bullshit observations on current events and American politics that resounded with insightfulness and good sense. But now he's just another pundit with a Republican agenda.

Miller's also started to take on that obnoxious, self-satisfied, impenetrable air of a guy who only listens to one person anymore -- himself. I call that Ted Nugent Syndrome.

I miss the old Dennis Miller.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Songs I Wish I'd Written, Pt 1

Prince "Take Me With U"
My favorite songs are like little snow globe villages. That's what this song is to me -- a unique, self-contained universe you can hold in your hand. The lydian string melodies in the verse are unbelievable. The little chiming sound in the outro is pure magic. As the song says, "sheer perfection."

("Thank you!")

Wish I'd written it.

Lipps Inc "Funkytown"
Every square inch of this song is catchy. The bassline, the little keyboard melody, the sax breaks. There are so many vocal hooks in this thing, any one of them would be good enough to carry a whole song on its own. Ridiculous. Wish I'd written it.

Hot Hot Heat "No Not Now"
I love songs that hit the ground running. This one wastes no time getting you right into the first verse - no preamble necessary. The chorus is one of the greatest choruses I've ever heard and I've tried to re-write it several times. No luck yet.

Madonna "Holiday"
The spirit of this song is undeniable. Timeless and universal. The recording is flawless. This one will be around for a long, long time. Wish I'd written it.

Motorhead "Overkill"
"The only way to feel the noise is when it's good and loud." What a way to kick off a song. This one kills me every time. The feeling that comes off of it is pungent. It's a humid song. It is dirty and sweaty. The whole track is pinned in the red, pushed to the very saturation point. The guitars are gorgeous. I'll stop here.

Tom Tom Club "Genius of Love"
Wish I'd written this. I heard this song for the first time well over a decade after it was made and even then it sounded more than fresh; it sounded futuristic. "Genius of Love" sounds like a strange transmission from another world. What's genius about it is the way it sounds, the way it's delivered. This song wouldn't work if you stripped it down to just an acoustic guitar and vocal; the production is everything.

By the way, I absolutely hate it when music snob types say that any song worth its salt should be able to stand up when performed just with an acoustic guitar and vocal. That's just nonsense. Would Led Zeppelin's "Kashmir" hold up in that format? What about Fatboy Slim's "Rockafeller Skank"? Hendrix's "Star Spangled Banner"? In rock music, sound is as important as song; sometimes more important.

Daft Punk "Around the World"
This is perfect. A crystal-clear beat, a killer bassline, and a single vocoder-generated lyric: "around the world, around the world. around the world, around the world." That's the song. That's total f-ing genius. I wish I'd written it.

Queen "Another One Bites the Dust"
Queen invoke Chic and nearly beat them at their own game. I just love how, whenever Queen decided to attempt a style of music, they not only succeeded, but they OWNED it. This song's got an unforgettable bassline and a hair-raising vocal. Freddie always outdid himself in the studio. As usual, everyone in the band plays exactly what's right for the song and not a note more than what's necessary. This song changed my life. I wish I'd written it. Then I would have changed my own life.

Jellyfish "Joining a Fan Club"
This song is so rich, so decadent, I almost feel like I'm going to pass out when it's over. I need a cigarette. Outrageous. What's terrifying is that Jellyfish could pull this off live. I wish I'd written "Joining a Fan Club" and I wish I could play it live, too.

Massive Attack "Unfinished Sympathy"
Here's another song that's a triumph of sound and production. Yes, the lead vocal is spine-tingling. But all the other touches are what bring it all home -- the string orchestrations, those little bell sounds, those mysterious samples. This is one of those songs that gives me chills as soon as I hear the intro. I wish I could claim to have recorded something so arresting.

White Zombie "Thunderkiss 65"
It's the most booty-shaking metal song ever. What a great track. Wish I'd written it.

The Cure "Fascination Street"
"Fascination Street" possesses not only one of the greatest basslines in the history of rock, but also a seemingly endless supply of killer riffs, woven together in a dense patchwork of swirling guitars and keyboards. There are enough cool parts in "Fascination Street" for ten songs. But the bassline stays the same throughout, drilling the same six notes over and over, on one string, hypnotizing you, pulling you under. One of many, many Cure songs I wish I'd written.

Smitty's "Crank Up the Radio"
The first time I saw Smitty's they opened with this fist-in-the-air rock anthem and by the second verse I was up in the front row, rocking out, 100% won over. Such a killer energy. Wish I'd written it.

Big Audio Dynamite "Medicine Show"
In the Clash we only got to see a fraction of Mick Jones's talents. "Medicine Show" was the official debut of Mick's unfiltered musical personality, and it shines brightly as such. Such a buoyant track, packed with memorable and colorful lyrics, too.

Fleetwood Mac "Dreams"
Sublime. Stevie's vocal performance is so haunting and fragile. Lindsey's ambient guitar atmospherics are chilling. The recording is immaculate. I wish I'd written and recorded "Dreams."

Chaka Khan "I'm Every Woman"
This song absolutely SLAYS!! Chaka absolutely WAILS! And it just keeps amping up higher and higher in the outro. I wish I'd written this but I'd sound pretty silly singing those words...

Nina Hagen "New York New York"
This is a great song but of course it's Nina's singing that sells it. This is hysterical, ridiculous, genius.

The Cure "Shake Dog Shake"
I've tried to re-write this many times. No luck yet.

King's X "Black Flag"
Such a cool chorus and gorgeous harmonies all over the place. The Beatles/Sabbath fusion is in full effect here. The lyrical imagery is really effective. One of dozens of incredible songs by this band. This is one I wish I'd written.

The Jesus and Mary Chain "Here Comes Alice"
Three chords and vibe for days. The last lines of this song are: "don't let your life be the butt of a joke / get your lips 'round a cool black Pepsi Coke." What are they ON about? What are they ON?! I love this song! I wish I'd written it!

Primal Scream "Swastika Eyes"
The power of "Swastika Eyes" emanates from its lyrics and its sound/production. It's a perfect marriage of those ingredients. This track positively seethes.

Blondie "Heart of Glass"
This was Blondie's finest moment and a world-class pop song. I wish I'd written it.

Nellie McKay "Waitor"
Stunning. I love all the songs on Nellie's debut album, but this one really hits me where I live. It's hard to describe how it makes me feel -- let's just say it makes me FEEL. Alot. I would be thrilled to have written something that did that to people.

Jane Child "Don't Want to Fall In Love"
This is textbook one hit wonder stuff right here. Which is a shame, because Jane Child is a BAD ASS. Phenomenal songwriter, singer, keyboardist, producer. Stuff this sophisticated usually isn't this damn catchy. So clever -- I wish I'd written it.

Terence Trent D'Arby "Wishing Well"
The groove is irresistible. Insidiously catchy and wicked singing. I could see myself writing something like this, but of course I could never deliver it like TTD. Wish I could sing like that.

Doobie Brothers "What a Fool Believes"
This deliriously bouncy and masterfully written tune keeps taking you higher and higher well after the point where you thought you'd reached the peak. I don't own the original version of this but I do have cover versions by Self and Aretha Franklin. Amazingly, Kenny Loggins wrote this!! I wish I'D written it!

Parliament "Flashlight"
Play this at a party and watch the room transform. Undeniable. So simple, there's almost nothing to it. Wish I'd written it.

The Muffs "Sad Tomorrow"
Here's a very very underrated songwriter, Kim Shattuck. Imagine a female Billy Joe Armstrong and you'll be in the ballpark. I happen to think she's better, though. Kim channels alot of classic girl group pop in her tunes, it seems to me. This is a song that makes you want to hit rewind/play a few times before you've had enough.

B-52's "Song For a Future Generation"
Such a clever little ditty. If it doesn't make you smile, then listen to it again. The lyrics are adorable. There's something pure and innocent about the B-52's that you don't see very often in rock.

Big Country "Big Country"
I love the anthemic guitar melodies in this. A euphoric, breath-taking song. I can't say that I know any of this band's other songs, but this one's definitely a winner. I would be happy to have written it.

Marshall Crenshaw "Favorite Waste of Time"
There are only two parts to this song, a verse and a chorus, and that's plenty. The fact that Marshall's label was up for releasing this rough home demo as a B-side on one of his singles is kind of amazing to me. And very cool. It's hard to pick just one Marshall song but this one is right up my alley. Wish I'd written it.

ABBA "Dancing Queen"
Now here's a song that holds up just fine on an acoustic guitar. "Dancing Queen" is a juicy slice of inhumanly virtuosic pop. And it somehow comes off sounding stately...I wish I'd written this song.

Frida "I Know There's Something Going On"
Speaking of ABBA -- this overlooked gem from Frida (one of ABBA's vocalists) has a fantastic drum part courtesy of producer Phil Collins and a chorus to die for. A chorus I wish I'd written.

Jason Falkner "Follow Me"
Jason is nothing less than a master songwriter. I love the serpentine chord changes in the chorus. I wish I'd written many of his songs.

KMFDM "Power"
Listening to this is like mainlining adrenaline. The guitar riff is outrageously cool, the groove is massive. I used to play this often in my dj sets at Galapagos. Julian, the sound engineer would always go completely bonkers. How can you not?

Faith No More "We Care Alot"
One of the great sarcastic anthems of all time. A stroke of sheer brilliance. Wish I'd written it.

Motorhead "Rock and Roll"
Only Lemmy could write a song called "Rock and Roll" and have it epitomize the subject in as pure a fashion as is possible. "I got rock and roll / it satisfies my soul / and if that's all there is / that ain't so bad / rock and roll!" I wish I'd written this but then I could never give it the delivery it deserves. Great one, Lem.

Chainsaw Kittens "Sore on the Floor"
It's ferocious, loud and catchy as hell. It positively leaps out of the speakers at you and grabs you by the throat. Most people don't know this song but I wish I'd written it anyway.

Queen "Killer Queen"
I've never heard so many chord changes packed into two minutes, yet this is the breeziest thing to listen to. Freddy Mercury was a genius and he wasn't the only genius in Queen. The amount of combined talent in that band was staggering. "Killer Queen" is not just a great song but a wonderful recording, filled with clever parts and ear candy galore. The guitar solo alone is a study in orchestration. Wish I'd written that.

Fishbone "When Problems Arise"
I just heard this song for the first time three years ago and became obsessed with it. The word "infectious" doesn't do it justice. I wish I'd written it.

The Smiths "The Boy With the Thorn In His Side"
"The boy with the thorn in his side / behind the hatred there lies a murderous desire for love..." The main instrumental theme is as beautiful as can be. I wish I'd written this song but then that wouldn't be right -- only Morrissey can sing this. Wish I was Morrissey.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Congratulations Nickelback

Although these two Nickelback songs were birthed a couple of years apart from eachother, it appears they are identical twins! Click the headline...