1. “Stay” – Oingo Boingo [off of Dead Man’s Party – 1985]
Once upon a time called 1989, my English teacher took 12-year-old me to one of Boingo’s famous Halloween gigs. (No Doubt opened.) It was my first concert sans parents and, due to Ms. English Teacher having known the band, I had my arms signed in permanent marker. I didn’t wash them for a week. I was in heaven; I was in love. This was a turning point. My love for literature expanded because of Ms. English Teacher & music was presented in a less glamorous—yet still alluring—light. I recently re-discovered this song after looking up the lyrics for one of their other hits, “Weird Science.” Unlike other Boingo songs, it is more pop than quirk and absolutely romantic, in the way that it is performed rather than its lyrical content. How did my memory possibly lose this song, even for a moment?
2. “16 Military Wives” – The Decemberists [off of Picaresque – 2005]
I just got this album, and this was the track that reached out and hooked me. (Read: I can’t stop hitting repeat!) It’s gotta be the “la de da de da” at the end of the chorus. The song’s use of numbers is fun to sing along to in that “bottles of beer on the wall” or “golden rings + maids a-milking + partridges in pear trees” kind-of-way. It’s the feel good hit of this spring.
3. “Parenthetically” – Gastr Del Sol [off of Crookt, Crackt, Or Fly – 1994]
For a 52 second song, it’s great. A la the Peanuts gang theme, it’s a playful little ditty: minimal tinkling of the piano mingles with half-sung/half-spoken lyrics recorded with a microphone that allows for white noise. It’s very much like a beat-generation poem. A simple track, but whole enough to make me hit repeat repeatedly. Though this band has pounds of great hits (I really should connect with one of their intricately layered guitar songs), this one is tops in my book.
4. “Tras” – Battles [off of Tras EP – 2004]
They have alternate versions of the song, Tras 2 & Tras 3… all of which I love (and love to listen to back to back) but this is the cut. Battles is so clever and progressive, musically fashionable, and deliciously inventive. Remember the movie Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure? Their band, Wyld Stalyns? The motioning air guitar instead of a thumbs-up or a hang loose? Well, Battles makes me feel like doing so. (The band has grimaced when I told them of this comparison.) However uncool the movie—with the whole premise being that their music will save the world & bring peace someday, so they had to go pass their history exam, etc? Well, this band makes me feel like they can save the world.
5. “Think About You” – Guns ‘N Roses [off of Appetite For Destruction – 1987]
Most people think that “Sweet Child of Mine” is the most romantic G’NR song. I beg to differ: While that song talks about his woman affectionately, “Think About You” features Axl directly speaking to the object of his affection. Instead of a ballad, this song is a celebratory, balls-out rock n’ f’n rollin’ confession, revealing (admitting?) that these are memories he won’t soon forget, that she revived his almost-empty heart, and that he feels this ‘is lovin’ that’ll last forever.’ Brilliant! And that, my friends, is going to be my wedding song.
6. “I Can’t Wait” - Nu Shooz [off of Poolside – 1986]
This song has programmed voice bits played on a synthesizer, a slightly catchy bass-line, simple-and-steady electronic beats, and atop it all is a coy candy-sweet not good/not bad female voice. Every single element about this song, when taken apart, is mediocre. However, when mixed together it’s a 3 minute and 43 second slice of genius. A number 2 Billboard hit from the 80s, this song is like a perfectly baked chocolate chip cookie: taken apart, it’s just a bowl of ingredients; all together, it’s a recipe for addiction. You can’t just eat the sugar, flour, and butter autonomously – that would be sickening!
7. “Stay With Me” – The Faces [off of A Nod is as Good as a Wink... to a Blind Horse – 1971]
The Faces had a reputation of being wild, reckless and nonchalant party boys. This, their only real hit, displays just that. Musically, they were all over the map: consistent only in their inconsistency; a rock & roll train about to crash at any second. You don’t know whether to reach your arms out to catch + save or to run for your life! (Indeed influencing hundreds of musicians to this day, both musically and not.)This song also marks where I begin, and end, my love affair with Rod Stewart. It’s an up-front and open statement saying, ‘Babe I’ll be into you tonight, but in the morning you’re getting the boot.’ You gotta love the honesty.
8. “Ty Versus Detchibe” – Prefuse 73 [off of Surrounded By Silence – 2005]
Ever been to a new city where every single corner is foreign and you have that I’m-in-a-new-city high? This song is like that. There’s so much to experience that you’re in a blissful state, with glazed over eyes and a shit-eating grin, experiencing sensory overload. You have no idea what direction you want to go in first or second, fifth or third. There’s a beat to your surroundings, and you’re swaying… it’s your very own iPod commercial with a better soundtrack. You are lost in the music. You have no idea where you came from anymore, and you don’t care. You may never come home again.
9. “I Wonder If I Take You Home” – Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam [off of With Full Force – 1985]
I had a cousin that I looked up to when I was in 2nd grade. She was a DJ at her college radio station. (It was the 80s but she was more influenced by Prince’s fashion than Madonna’s.) This was one of the first songs I really connected with, due to her. I not only learned how to correctly dance to this song, but it taught me a moral lesson about relationships. (I was 8 years old, so I saved that lesson in my pocket for a few more years.) This song had everything: Great beats, an interlude where two characters talk to each other and build the story (before Janet told anyone she was Ms. Jackson, if you’re nasty), that classic 80s Minnie Mouse voice (later perfected by Paula Abdul), a great melody around a catchy chorus, and feminine strength (this was years before Salt ‘N Pepa’s “Let’s Talk About Sex”). I haven’t gotten sick of it yet, and it came out 20 years ago…
10. “Oh What A World” – Rufus Wainwright [off of Want One – 2003]
My mother always played music around the house. She had good taste & was a good influence about that. Though, as I became older, our musical tastes grew in waves. Those places where we could meet in the middle about a song will forever be dear to my heart. The X-mas after this record came out I brought it home for the holidays. My mother, who could play any song on a piano (by ear) after hearing it just once, started to play & sing this song. Soon she and I were interchanging verses, hums and harmonies, and making up our own lyrics. Rufus performing a song that is very reminiscent of Ravel's "Bolero" is the perfect mix of past and present; mother and daughter.
martes, marzo 1
1. “Stay” – Oingo Boingo [off of Dead Man’s Party – 1985]
Posted by Celesté @ 12:23:00 a. m.