Sep 10, 2007

Random Rules

Okay, time for some Audience Participation. I would humbly request that anyone who actually reads this AND has an iPod (which is probably most or all of you), partipate by adding your own entry in the comments.

The Onion AV Club has a segment they do called "Random Rules," in which a celebrity guest of the week hits "Shuffle Songs" on their iPod and then list the first 10 songs, whatever they happen to be, and gives a brief blurb on why that song is on their iPod.

For this particular activity, I'd like to do a similar thing, with the following ground rules:

  • You must use only "Shuffle Songs" -- i.e. no playlists.
  • You may exclude any purely-instrumental soundtrack tracks that come up, if you wish.
  • You may have ONE "mulligan," though I do not encourage it.
  • You should avoid the temptation to exclude embarassing songs -- they are almost invariably the most entertaining to read.
  • If the song itself isn't particularly interesting, talk about the album or the artist.
  • You can skip a second track by the same artist, if you want.
With that in mind, here goes...

1: Chains, by Project Pitchfork
From the album "Kaskade"
Project Pitchfork is one of those German industrial bands that would be a lot better if they would stick to singing in German. It's not that you can't understand the lyrics in English -- the accent isn't too bad at all. It's just that they, like most native speakers of German, don't really grasp English idiom very well, and end up with awkward translations like, "This thing isn't human, but it's made out of them," which, while amusing, kind of kills the otherwise ominous coolness of their music.

2: Dancing Barefoot, by MC 900 Foot Jesus
From the Album "Welcome to my Dream"
I'm very sad that MC 900 Foot Jesus kind of dropped off the radar in the mid-90's. He was a very talented guy who mixed a sort of jazz/industrial/hip-hop sound that made for some amazing listening. "Welcome to my Dream" was by far his best album, and featured the uber-cool songs "Killer Inside Me," "The City Sleeps," and "Adventures in Failure."

3: Mr. Brightside, by The Killers
From the Album "Hot Fuss"
I really don't have much to say about this song. It's pop, you've heard it, and it doesn't really mean that much to me. It is one of the better Killers songs I've heard, but I only have about 1 1/2 of their albums.

4: Horror Show, by The Birthday Massacre
From the Album "Violet"
As "interesting" as their name is, The Birthday Massacre is actually a fairly normal band, sounding a lot like a mix of Missing Persons and Garbage. Horror Show is one of the better tracks on the album.

5: Looking Down the Barrel of a Gun, by The Beastie Boys
From the Album "Paul's Boutique"
My favorite song from what is often described as the best Beastie Boys album. I would tend to agree with that description. I'm not a big rap fan, but the Beasties will always have a place in my heart.

6: That Calls for a Wilhelm Scream, by Possible Oscar
A Web Download
Two rap songs in a row. That's odd. Well, this one is pretty much a joke song, and is very, very funny at that. It's the accurate history of the famous "Wilhelm Scream" (you'd know it if you heard it) that gets featured in virtually every war, action, or sci-fi movie that gets made in Hollywood, offering advice on how to use it in your everyday life.

7: Kingdom Come, by Coldplay
From the Album "X&Y"
I saw Coldplay at Coachella in 2006 (I think), having previously heard very little of their music. Considering that, at the time, they were supposed to be one of the biggest bands on earth, that's pretty indicative of my separation from pop culture. At any rate, they were quite good in concert and this song, as fate would have it, is my absolute favorite. This is largely because Chris Martin mercifully refrains from going falsetto at any point in it. Those falsetto bits in other Coldplay songs are the main reason my interest in them waned pretty quickly after Coachella.

8: Animal, by Front242
From the Album 05:22:09:12 Off
Front242 is a Belgian industrial band who kind of peaked in the heyday of industrial music with the album 06:21:03:11 Up Evil (a pair of very stupid album names, to be sure). This album was the follow-up, released in the same year (1993), and was a general disappointment. It had decent beats, but only one interesting single (Happiness). Generally, the fact that the preceding album had kicked so much ass made this one's mediocrity particularly hard to take, especially if you were a diehard fan of the band, which I surely was.

9: mOBSCENE, by Marilyn Manson
From the Album "The Golden Age of Grotesque"
Yeah, well. It's Marilyn Manson. I don't think I'm going to change any minds about him in a paragraph. I will say that I own several Manson albums, and this one is by far the best. He's an entertaining rocker, there are good, hard-rock songs on this album, and I dig it.

10: Thunder Kiss '65, by White Zombie
From the Album "La Sexorcisto: Devil Music vol. 1"
The object of near constant ridicule by Beavis and Butthead, White Zombie was actually an awesome metal act. I think Rob Zombie has yet to do anything solo nearly as good as his days with White Zombie. Thunder Kiss '65 is a blisteringly cool song inspired by and interspersed with samples from Night of the Living Dead.

Okay, that's my 10. One mulligan ("Electric Gutiar" by Fluke, because I didn't really feel like talking about it) and two skipped score tracks (one from "Requiem for a Dream" and one from a video game.) Now it's your turn.


Denneye said...

Man this was much harder than I expected, I’m not feeling especially writerly and descriptive today.

My disclaimer everything in my iTunes library still fits on my iPod so it’s all there, including random stuff that people have given me and I never get around to delete, because well someone else might want it. I guess I’m an MP3 packrat, and it could bite me in the ass here…

1. The American Dreamer - Naked Trucker. I’m part of a cd club, so every month I receive a random mixed cd from one of the members. This song was from one of those mixes. It’s a funny song that’s about all. Country ditty, lot’s of funny word play about all sorts of odd and sordid goings on.

2. Stem / Long Stem - DJ Shadow - Technically an instrumental but I’ll keep it because it’s a bit outside my normal tastes. I’m not generally a fan of the DJ genre, but somewhere along the line, someone hooked me up with DJ Shadow, and I like. Probably because it’s not all upbeat and hyper, it quite often goes moody and atmospheric. This song falls somewhere in between, and is definitely good background music.

3. Honeymoon Blues - Robert Johnson - This should need no explanation, classic Blues. A large chunk of classic rock (esp. Zeppelin, Stones) probably wouldn’t exist without this man. If he did indeed sell his soul to play guitar, damn what a bargain.

4. It’s All Too Much - Clearlake - from the album Cedars - see disclaimer, someone gave me this, I think I listened a couple times but nothing stands out.

5. Seven Words - PIGFACE - from the album FOOK. PIGFACE was a 90’s industrial “super group”. They put out tons of stuff, some genius, some complete shite. This song is closer to the latter than the former, but the album as whole is pretty good. Though that could be my bias for most of the stuff with Ogre (Skinny Puppy). I think they are mostly known has a huge touring party. The first time I saw them definitely stands out as one of the more crazy shows of my life. I was going to say memorable, but I really don’t remember much of it.

6. Legs - PJ Harvey - from the album Rid of Me. Alt (I hate that term)/ Indy (I hate that term) Rock Goddess. PJ’s voice is just amazing pure, raw, straight from the gut. And that goes for just about the whole PJ sound. I love her guitar sounds, full, and gritty, with nice big slabs of warm fuzz. BTW new album in 2 (?) weeks, and touring in Oct, yeah I’m a tad excited.

7. Gimme Danger - Monster Magnet - from the album We Will Fall: The Iggy Pop Tribute album. See disclaimer, I really don’t remember ever listening to this song. It’s got a good beat, it’s easy to dance to… and I guess I could say something about Iggy, but I’m sure you already know. And honestly I somehow missed that boat when I was a young 'un, blasphemy I know…

8. Marian - Nouvelle Vague - album unknown - Kind of French loungy version of the Sisters of Mercy classic. Works pretty well actually. That’s the Nouvelle Vague shtick, mellow loungish versions of punk, post punk classics. I’m sure you’ve heard them in some commercials. They do a nice job, I really liked for a while, but after while it starts to get old.

9. The Sauce Maker - Drums and Tuba - from the album Vinyl Killer. Another instrumental, but I’m leaving it, because it’s a nice surprise. The band is well you guessed it Drums and Tuba, and there’s also lot’s of guitar. Let me tell you, you’ve never heard a Tuba rock like this. A bit hard to describe as they cover a lot of ground. Mostly a jazzish, rock vibe, with some spy, roadhouse beats, and Tuba laying down the fat bass grooves. Fun, fun stuff.

10. Happiness in Slavery - Nine Inch Nails - Broken - Do I really need to describe this. Any description would entail the use of large quantities of the word F&#% It’s actually been ages since I listened to this, Man, still so visceral, brutal, raw, Jesus F&#% it’s good.

My mulligan The Meadow - (hed) Planet Earth - Another one from a mixed CD, after the first listen to this one I’m sure I never listened to it again, because I really don’t like it

Whew, glad that's over

Morgue said...

I remember seeing Pigface in Isla Vista with my friend who was the college radio station program manager. After the show, we approached Ogre, who was friendly enough, though he was reeeallly looking for someone to sell him cocaine RIGHT THEN, so he had to go.

Genesis said...

Okay, here goes:

1. Gold Lion - Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Show Your Bones is a good album overall, lots of good songs.

2. We Don't Get Along - GoGo's - I have a lot of GoGo's on my iPod. This is a live version - I saw the GoGo's live last year when they were touring for the 25th anniversary of Beauty and the Beat, and that just makes me feel really old.

3. Rise up with Fists! - Jenny Lewis with the Watson Twins - Good song from a very good album from the lead singer of Rilo Kiley. She even made me like the Traveling Wilbury's song Handle With Care, which I used to hate.

4. I Don't Want to Set the World on Fire - Ink Spots - I can't explain the brilliance that is the Ink Spots - you just have to listen to understand.

5. Veronique - Pink Martini - this is appropriate since I am going to see Pink Martini this weekend with Morgan's wife. This small orchestra melds a variety of musical styles, and does it beautifully. Love them!

6. My Doorbell - White Stripes. Get Behind Me Satan is not high on my list of White Stripes albums, but for some reason it's the only one I have on my iPod.

7. Missing - Beck. Love this song, love this album (Guero). Of course, I also loved Sea Change...

8. DVB - Mary's Danish - There Goes the Wondertruck came out in 1989, the year I graduated from high school, and it's still one of my favorite nostalgia albums. And you just have to love a song that starts with "Hey you, Fathead!"

9. Under Pressure - David Bowie & Queen - from the Grosse Pointe Blank soundtrack. Probably the only good word I have to say about Vanilla Ice is that he picked a good song to rip off.

10. The Comet - Slender Means - my sister sent me this album (Neon & Ruin) and it quickly became one of my favorites. I listen to it and find myself singing the songs for a week afterwards. Love it.

True confessions: I skipped a couple of songs from albums that were already represented on my list. Random shuffle, my ass.

Ixtlilton said...

i'm running into a problem right off the bat with this thread- about half of my iPod is filled with audiobooks.

1. At Two in the Morning it Began to Rain- from the book Going Postal by Terry Pratchett, read by Steven Briggs. Going Postal is about a con man that is forced (by the government) to fix up the Postal service of Ankh-Morpork.

2. Ben Hur Picked Off in a Gazebo by Shadowy Men On a Shadowy Planet from the album Dim the Lights, Chill the Ham. I was introduced to Shadowy Men On a Shadowy Planet because they did the music for the TV show Kids in the Hall. This isn't the greatest track off of the album, but that's what you get from Shuffle.

3. Chapter 31g from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling. Harry is trying to get to the... no, I'm not going to get into spoiler country here.

4. When The Levee Breaks by Led Zeppelin off The Best of Led Zeppelin, Vol. 1. In junior high school I used to get high listening to Zep and Hendrix. Now I mostly treat it as background music.

5. Side 12 of Pyramids- an audiobook by Terry Pratchett. Pyramids is a book set mostly in an Egyptian themed land on the Discworld. It isn't his greatest work but there are some great ideas at work here. In this chapter we meet a "listener" - it makes sense if you understand what's happening in the book at the time.

6. Hells Bells - AC/DC from the album Back in Black. I really like Back in Black, there isn't a track that I skip while listening to the ablum. It makes great music to run to.

7. Tempus Fugit by Miles Davis. Miles should be considered a national treasure or something.

8. Track 20 from One for the Money, an audiobook by Janet Evanovich. The reader on this unabridged audiobook isn't one of my favorites. The book is cute, but not great literature.

9. Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah by the Pogues, here from collection "Essential Pogues". I feel that this is one of the least essential tracks on the album as far as I'm concerned. I used to sit with friends at a pub called Ireland's Own and listen to bands like the Pogues. Good times. The pub is gone now and I've moved to a different town. Listening to the Pogues now really reminds me of the folks I've lost contact with.

10. Never Gonna Come Back Down by BT from the album Movement in Still Life. Love the energy on this track. BT has always been favorite of mine over the years.

I'm publishing this without editing, so- sorry for any punctuation errors or spelling mistakes.

Ink Gorilla said...

1) 29 Ways
Willie Dixon
Chess Blues 1954 - 1960

This is from a 4 CD compilation of Chess Records' greatest hits. It's a perfect example of the other sound of the Blues -- rollickin' & riqsue. Willie's got "29 Ways" to make through his baby's door....

"One in the basement, two in the hall /
When the goin' git tough, I got a hole in the wall."


"I got a way through the closet behind her clothes
A way through the attic that no one knows /
A Master key to fit any lock/
a hidden door behind grandpa's clock"

... if you know what I mean....

2) The Heart of Saturday Night
Tom Waits
The Heart of Saturday Night

As far as I'm concerned, it's hard to beat early Tom Waits (though I like his weird, creepy later stuff, too). There's something spiritual, soulful, and even folksy about this album, especially the title track. It's an-almost Norman Rockwell ballad of a bygone age of carburetors & cruisin' in your Olds. (Of course, when he wrote this song, that era wasn't long gone...)

3) Roberta (pt 2)
Lead Belly
Lead Belly Absolutely the Best

Lead Belly ( aka Hudy William Ledbetter) was a classic bluesman, from the days of what my wife likes to call "dirt under the fingernail blues." If you like the single guitar rawness of early blues greats like Robert Johnson, then you'll like Lead Belly. "Roberta, Part 2", further laments the no-good ways of one wanderin' woman named Roberta. The guitar riff between verses is the sort of stuff that later inspired bands like Led Zeppelin.

4) Building a Mystery
Sarah McLachlan

Not my favorite track, nor my favorite McLachlan album, "Building a Mystery" is nonetheless a good example of McLachlan's soul-searching, haunting melodies. This one is just a bit more hopeful than most.

5) Daylight
A Rush of Blood to the Head

This is the only Coldplay album I have, and overall I like it.
"Daylight" is not my favorite track on this album though, the melody is a bit too repetitive for my tastes. Plus, its not exactly a song you can sing along to!

6) Parameters
Ani DiFranco
Knuckle Down

Knuckle Down is one of my favorite DiFranco albums. She still seems angry, moody, edgy, but maybe a little older and wiser than previous efforts. "Parameters" is a pretty creepy track, though not really a song in a traditional sense. More of a poem set to music. Like "Daylight", not something I'm inclined to sing along to- but I recommend the album as a whole.

7) Last Living Souls
Demon Days

Demon Days has become one of my favorite albums of late, for the funky manufactured beats and desolate, electronic sound. "Last Living Souls" is a particularly good example of the bleak but mellow vibe of this album.

8) Rosemary (Sing so Sweetly)
The Central Standards
Can't Remember the Last Time

The Central Standards are a local Memphis Band; just some guys out to have fun and rock a little on the weekend (the lead singer is a high school principal!) I know some of them, and am happy to say that they've got a nice little album here.

9) South of I-10
Sonny Landreth
Doctors, Professors, Queens and Kings

"South of I-10" is from a collection a friend of mine helped to put together. (Chuck Taggert, who hosts the show "Down Home" on KCSN Northridge.) Chuck's a New Orleans native, and this is a pretty mighty compilation of tunes ranging from dixieland jazz, blues, to zydeco. "South of I-10" is sort of a paean to all those things Sonny Landreth loves best about New Orleans, sort of like what Randy Newman did for Los Angeles in "I Love L.A."

With apologies to Sonny (and to Chuck) I think I would appreciate this song a lot more if I were from New Orleans. I would have picked "St James Infirmary" or "Salee Dames, Bon Jour" as better representatives of the New Orleans sound. (Damn iPod shuffle!)

10) Lazarus
Jack L
Live at the Olympic Theatre

Jack L(ukeman) is one of my all-time favorite artists. He's something like a mix between Tom Waits, Jacques Brel, and Frank Sinatra. And that only begins to describe him. My wife and I discovered him in a CD shop south of Galway -- we'd asked the clerk to recommend some Irish music that was not "just Chieftains and celtic stuff." Three studio albums later (and several live ones) we can't get enough of Jack. "Lazarus" is a track originally from his second album, Universe, but here it's live from a concert at Dublin's Olympic Theatre. Carol was lucky enough to be there, but I at least got the CD.

This isn't my favorite performance of "Lazarus", there are a lot of theatrics and playing up to the audience which are a lot more fun when you're there. But Jack comes highly recommended.

** None of these songs are in heavy rotation at the moment. You'll find a lot more of Evanesence, Led Zeppelin, Amy Winehouse, Regina Spektor, Muse, Johnny Cash, Pink Floyd, and podcasts about the History of the Byzantine Empire in my "Now Playing" lists these days. (Along with a bajillion movie scores, but that's a different blog...)

Ink Gorilla said...

Morgue asked me about Mulligans... I forgot about those.

Several songs from the same album came up (as did other songs from the Blues and New Orleans compilations...) so I skipped over those.

My only "true" mulligan then would be "Still the Same" by Bob Seger (from his "Greatest Hits" album). I don't really care for this song, and I'm not wild about Seger's music in general. Maybe it's from hearing it too many times in various commercials for beer and muscle trucks.

Though I have to admit, I have a soft spot for "Hollywood Nights."

(this is one of those CDs ripped to the iPod more for my wife's benefit. Not that I'm letting her take the bullet. No. I'd never do that....)

Anonymous said...

Uh, Mr. Gorilla (may I call you Magilla?). It's yer wife here. The Seger song ruined by the truck ads is "Like a Rock" not "Still the Same." Anyway, those songs evoke wistful but fuzzy memories of long-ago nights on country roads in my pre-Mrs. Gorilla days. In the meantime, I've got much better music (like a lot of what you've packed onto the ol' iPod) to enjoy with you. xo K8

Ted Helmers said...

Mexican Moon
Concrete Blonde
from the album Mexican Moon)

I think this is the last CD I bought of Concrete Blonde, who I discovered in High School. Grungy, hard, and dark, CB appeals to my moody moments.

Only Happy When It Rains

Another good angry, moody song, by one of my favorite bands from the past few years. This one is always in the rotation.

No Idea
I honestly have no idea why this is on my iPod, other than from a smart playlist that grabs songs I havent heard in a couple of months. I don't think I've ever played this track.

Tori Amos
Under the Pink

Kinda fairy tale angst, Amos reminds me of autumn, of fairy tales, magic, and fantasy.

This Christmas Day
Trans-Siberian Orchestra
Christmas Eve and Other Stories idea, because I'm in a fairly morose mood of late. I guess that same Havent Heard Playlist.

Blue Oyster Cult
Curse of the Hidden Mirror

My favorite sci-fi rock band...EVER. This is from their last CD, which came out a couple years ago. Not one of their best, but its fresh to me.

All is Forgiven
All is Forgiven

I got to visit the only "alternative" Rock stations I could pick up in Mississippi, and this little gem was given to me on LP from the DJ, once I talked my way onto the college campus (I was in HS), and then into the booth.

Clint Eastwood

Fun, funky, audio version of the Samurai Jack cartoon. This fictional animated band mixes a bit of everything. Like Sam Jack, you never know what its going to turn to next.

Bring Me To LIfe

Probably my favorite album of the past 3 years. Pretty vocals backed by loud guitars.

Eyes Like Yours
Laundry Service: Washed and Dried

One of the coolest songs I've ever heard, mixed latin rythms with a middle eastern flair, and wildy poetic dark lyrics.

Kris said...

Well, after being given a guilt trip in the bathroom this morning about how I didn't do the audience participation thing, I decided to check it out and I must say, I'm enjoying reading what other people wrote. I chose not to include any Harry Potter, which takes up a good chuck of my iPod. Here's my list:

1. I Don't Love You Anymore - Wolfsheim. This was put on my iPod by my sweet husband. What do you think he's trying to tell me?

2. Never Love Thee More - Bare Necessities. I was going to exclude this because it's instrumental, but I thought it was spooky that this title came up right after #1. Hmmm... perhaps this is a bad day for romance.

3. Come Away With Me - Norah Jones. Chick song.

4. Oliver Cromwell - Monty Python. A fabulous song sung to the tune of Frederic Chopin's "Polonaise in A-flat Major," which is nigh-unsingable.

5. Another Place to Fall - K.T. Tunstall. Another chick song, but catchy.

6. The Best Gift - Barbra Streisand. I was going to use this as my mulligan because it's so totally embarrassing, but I decided to throw back my head say with pride that, yes, I have a Barbra Streisand album on my iPod. It's her Christmas album from the 60s, and listening to it was a holiday tradition growing up in my house. So it's a nostalgia thing. Please don't mock me.

7. Hey - Wicked Tinkers. The Tinkers are a fantastic pipe and drum band. The sound of bagpipes makes my husband clench his teeth and wince, so it's a useful little sadistic tool.

8. March of the Witch Hunters - Wicked soundtrack. I'm not really sure why I have this album on here, as I was rather plus/minus about the show.

9. Know Your Onion! - The Shins. I like the title. The song is ok. I find the lead singer's voice to be a bit shrill.

10. La La La La Lemon - Barenaked Ladies. This is a funny song for children. I think they performed it on Sesame Street.

That's all she wrote, folks.

dick jensen said...

You think YOU feel old, Genisis--I am old.
Morgue's father-in-law here. At last count there are 3522 songs in my iTunes library and thus what comes up on my random shuffle is really random-makes for a lot of pleasant surprises on long plane rides tho.

1. He Stopped Loving Her Today-George Jones
One of the two great voices in country music (is that an oxymoron?) And if you only ever hear one country song, this is the essence.
2. Last Night-The Travelling Wilburys
The last great supergroup. Dylan, Petty, Orbison, Harrison,Lynne. I never could figure out what Jeff Lynne was doing in this, but---
3. Every Picture Tells A Story-Rod Stewart (Unplugged)
I lost him during disco days, but this unplugged album was a pretty good reintroduction.
4. Mohammed's Radio-Warren Zevon
I am a Warren Zevon fan. Anyone who can work the line "even the lhasa apso feels quite ashamed" into a song has to be good. This is from his only live album--one of the best live sessions ever.
5. Hickory Wind-Gram Parsons
Parsons invented country rock, discovered EmmyLou Harris, founded the Flying Burrito Brothers, was in the Byrds and died at Joshua Tree at age 26. Great song too.
6. Vultures-John Mayer
Not one of his more memorable songs, but I really like his guitar playing and this is on one of his cd's, and this is random after all.
7. Longview--Green Day
One of my old ex-rock star songwriter friends pointed me to Green Day. Good stuff.
8. Ain't Talkin'-Bob Dylan (Modern Times) Dylan's still got it.
9. Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto #3-Got some well deserved hearing when the Geoffrey Rush movie about David Helfcott came out. Do yourself a favor tho, if you want to hear the real thing, don't get the Helfcott version.
10. Time Off for Bad Behavior-David Palmer
This is a demo by one of those ex---guys. Great title, but I don't think it was ever commercially released.

This was fun. I tried a couple of lists, lots of other stuff, but this was the first.