Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The Music Post

Ok, kids, I had to take a break from blogging. This shit can get exhausting. Plus, I've been addicted to watching MSNBC lately, with the Anna Nicole hearing. Wow. Its worse than a circus, but I guess we needed some new courtroom action to watch. This post, however, is not about Vickie Lynn or Britney or any other celebrity trash. I have been very reluctant to do this post, but I felt that if I started writing, I couldn't stop. But here goes anyway.

Today, on the Jackson Free Press' website, one of their columnists wrote an article about music and what she likes. I agree with her sentiments about not understanding new music too well, at least the poppy shit that permeates the airwaves, but she listed her top albums. Now, I can't do that because I would have to work out like a top 100 just to be fair, so I guess I'll post my top ten songs I'm listening to right now in my life. Anyone who knows me, knows that I have alot of hot air blowing when I talk about music and they also know its not a very good idea to get into a conversation about music with me because I just ramble and vent and talk about how I'm right. Maybe posting these songs on here will limit me, or maybe I'll still be typing by tomorrow morning. Who knows, but here goes:

10) "Volare" by Dean Martin.

When you think about great Mob movies, you have to think about Dean Martin and this song. His voice was like Anisette, and I can just picture myself sitting at a table in a New York lounge listening to this crooner sing thing song with a glass in his hand. I can't help myself for loving great Mob movies and singers like Martin. On top of everything, I'm a huge rat pack fan, so for my money, this song is the tops.

9) "New York State of Mind" by Billy Joel.

Once again, my visions of New York and great song about a great city. I've never been to the place myself, but if I ever go, I plan on listening to this one the whole way there. For me, this song embodies Joel's entire body of work of representing the soul of a place, much in the same way Bon Jovi and The Boss represent New Jersey to me, or John Lee Hooker represents The Delta or Dr. John represents New Orleans. I associate places and things with songs and Billy Joel is New York to me.

8) "Its Not Going to Stop" by Aimee Mann.

Aimee Mann has been bumming around forever, but where I picture her music the most is from the movie "Magnolia." Wes Anderson, the film maker who made "Magnolia" possible said in an interview that he scripted and organized the movie around Aimee Mann's music. In the movie, this song is featured prominently during a break in the action where all the actors sing along to the song, separated in different scenes. I feel like I do that in my life. Her voice is very soulful and meaningful.

7) "Grits Ain't Groceries" by Little Milton.

A different flavor of blues, more picked up and with a kind of Chicago feel. Little Milton's driving lyrics and colorful descriptions on add to this song. Chess records was a warehouse of great talent, but Little Milton is my quintessential juke joint saturday night guy. When I listen to this, I feel like I'm up at the 930 and the place is fucking jumpin'. Listen to this song once, and you won't be able to get it out of your head.

6) "Sounds of Silence" by Simon and Garfunkel.

Together or alone, both of these guys are incredible. This song is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to great writing and truly meaningful lyrics. "And the people bowed and prayed to the neon god they made." For the rest of time, that lyric will be meaningful. I really think most of my songs that I love come from the writing more than anything.

5) "Don't Let Me Down" by The Beatles.

There is so much to write about The Beatles, but this song just feels like the song that best personifies the band itself. All around, the album "Let it Be" is a beautiful creation, but this song, with its lack of polish and its almost sing-songy quality makes it seem more real. We all want to believe that our favorite band is true to the music and this song always restores my faith. Sure, lots of other Beatles songs are more experimental or truer to rock and roll standards, but this song, for me, is the best example of who The Beatles were.

4) "Ho Cakes" by MOFRO.

MOFRO is more like just one guy, but their root style rock has such a down home feel, it gives me faith in the future of music. As you can tell from my list, I'm not much on the newer stuff, but if you want good new music, that is affordable to see, go to Hal and Mals when MOFRO makes it back to Jacktown and get in the front row. Its bluesy, its country, its gospel and its rock and roll. Get on board this freedom train!

3) "Levon" by Elton John.

Now I know Elton John didn't write these lyrics and well, they are hard to understand or put in context, but for some reason, John makes it work. "He was born a pauper to a pawn on a Christmas day when the New York Times said God is dead and the war has begun." Its like poetry as opposed to telling a real story or a real situation. It just feels right and I guess thats what great music should be. More than anything it should just feel right.

2) "Sunday Kind of Love" by Etta James.

This is a great lady. Her range, her tones and just the way she makes you think of a lazy sunday with a beautiful woman. Jesus. When I want to feel good and relax, no one, and I mean no one, can touch Ms. James. I'm a huge Ella Fitzgerald fan and I'm a big Billie Holiday fan and I love Ms. Aretha Franklin, but gimme Etta when I need a pick me up. This song should come with a warning, though; you'll get drunk off this music.

1) "Colours" by Donovan.

Now, this is my number 1 right now, and that will probably change in a few months, but rest assuredly, this song will remain in my top 10 for a long time. I have made a life mission of rediscovering lost music and artists that maybe didn't get the praise they deserved in life. Donovan was one of those cats who hung around with everyone who was anyone in Britain during the 60s and 70s. He was friends with The Beatles, The Yardbirds and supposedly introduced Jimmy Page to John Paul Jones and kicked off Zeppelin. True or not, his music resonated through the rest of the British invasion the way Gram Parsons resonated through the West Coast rock scene in bands such as The Grateful Dead and The Rolling Stones. Donovan's songs are hippy, new age, old school and just light. I believe he will be hailed as one of the pillars of a great generation of music and just as influential as Bob Dylan. Plenty of people will say that is crap, but fuck 'em. This song is the kind of song you could sing to your child.

So there you go, dear reader. My top ten for the brief moment. I'll probably be singing the praises of another band or singer/songwriter tomorrow, but all 10 of these songs are winners and you can't go wrong with any of them.


Anonymous said...

Aimee Mann? Uh, is it that time of the month?

The Expatriate said...

Yes it is, yes it is.