music politics

“Bleeding badly from a face-lift” would make a good first line of a country song, so here goes

Bleeding badly from a face-lift
And sitting drunk behind the wheel
I light another cig-a-rette
And imagine how you’d feel

If I had left you broke and lonely
And desperately wanting me
Never knowing where I went to
And always feeling lost at sea

Bleeding badly from a face-lift
I think back now on all the years
That we spent to-ge-ther
While I wince away the tears

art music

Song of the Day: “Heavy Metal Drummer” by Wilco

Something playful is going on here.

On the surface, it’s a song about someone feeling nostalgia for a time in his youth:

I sincerely miss
Those heavy metal bands
We used to go see
On the landing in the summer
She fell in love with the drummer
She fell in love with another…
She fell in love…
I miss the innocence I’ve known,
Playing Kiss covers, beautiful and stoned.

If those are the facts of the song, why is the melody filled with light-hearted pop, drum-machine fills and synthesizer riffs more suitable for the Disney Main Street Electric Parade? Could anything be less heavy metal or Kiss-like?

There are three characters in the song: the narrator, “she” and the drummer(s). The song focuses briefly, repeatedly on ‘she,’ but is mostly in in the first-person singular. The narrator is also in a band and is never able to win her heart. Is that what moves him away from the heavy metal form?

Maybe it’s this: memory is unreliable. What’s dangerous now becomes cute in 30 years.

art death music TV

Zombie Show!

My wife and I love “The Walking Dead,” but it’s an intense show. So intense that we often have to watch something else before going to bed so that it doesn’t influence our dreams.

We’ve even given the show a nickname, because “The Walking Dead” only underlines these characters’ grim fates. We call it “The Zombie Show.”

And given that the existing theme song is one of the creepiest things about this show, I’ve even started imagining a zippy, 1950s-style TV theme song for it:

Zombie Show!
It’s the Zombie Show!
I’d love to stay
But I’ve got to go
‘Cause the Zombie Show is on!

I’m gonna watch some walkers
Try to eat some shooters

The Zombie Show is on!

memory music

Took Her Radio and Hocked it, Radio and Hocked it

Hey, Eddie, can you lend me a few bucks?

My new hobby is my iPod. I really am converted to their cult. It’s so mind-bogglingly fun to carry all of my music around with me wherever I go.

I’m using it as a way to reconnect to old albums I long ago discarded. I moved a lot in my college years and I jettisoned vinyl albums because they were all used and scratched anyway and I got tired of lugging them around. Besides, you could always find a used record store to buy back the albums for pennies on the dollar. CDs sounded better to me, anyway. Vinyl seemed then–and still now–inferior and obsolete.

One of the albums I’ve recently reunited with is Bruce Springsteen’s Born to Run. I’ve got it on shuffle, which mixes its songs with the songs of just about every other album I own. I just heard my favorite song off the album, “Meeting Across the River.”

It’s one of those time-machine songs that transports me to my high school years even though the album was, at that point, more than 10 years old. I had consciously forgotten the song. The title didn’t jump out at me in the track listing the way “Thunder Road” had. Subconsciously, though, I know every word. On hearing it, each line of lyrics popped back into my head just before Bruce delivered it. It’s a weird karaoke feeling.

I came to this part of the song:

Well Cherry says she’s gonna walk
‘Cause she found out I took her radio and hocked it

In my mind, though, the line skips because that’s what it did every time I played that record. I hated that about vinyl. I used to imagine what the line was supposed to sound like, sometimes trying to fix it by singing it out. Now, though, I’m doing the opposite, playing it over and over again, and trying to insert that little vocal hiccup.

My slight disappointment in the song’s digital perfection is temporary. I’ll put the song in “heavy rotation” (now that I’ve found it again) and hearing the correct version will, over time, buff out the uniquely incorrect version inside my head. I’m okay with that.