The Music Of Chance

If you know me at all, you know that I love the satirical fake newspaper, The Onion, like a baby loves, uh baby food? Anyway, I love it. But Did You Know? that The Onion has a "legitimate" pop culture wing called The A.V. Club? Well, they do. So now you know.

One of my favorite segments over at The A.V. Club is a feature they call Random Rules where they take a celebrity like, say, Patton Oswalt (or just some random hipster like Randall Poster, the guy who put together, among others, the killer Rushmore soundtrack) and have them shuffle through their iDevices and talk about what comes up. No skipping allowed.

Now, I'm no celebrity. But then again, neither are half the people that they refer to as "celebrities" on those dancing/circus/quiz/competitive BB-stacking shows that are all the rage with the kids these days. So today, I'm gonna play a celebrity and we're gonna do a Random Rules session. Except I skipped a couple doo-wop tracks and removed a Stephen Stills track to make room for something cooler. Because I must look super-cool at all times. Otherwise, I'm just some tall, handsome, pasty white guy in his 30's who just wants to talk about how cool his taste in music is in order to not feel like he's totally losing whatever amount of hipness he once had. And who wants to read that?

Nobody, that's who.

Morphine - "Kerouac"
Morphine makes music for some postmodern noir movie that has yet to be made. Like the sequel to Zero Effect (Speaking of which, have you seen that movie? Because it's really good.) or something. Something sort of seamy, smoldering, morally labyrinthine. Morphine makes that kind of music.

The Kinks - "I’ve Been Driving on Bald Mountain"
Not the best Kinks song or the best Kinks album (off of their self-titled debut), but it is good, classic rock & roll.

Tom Waits - "Army Ants"
I really love this album (Orphans). I'm guessing that this is off of the "Bastards" disc, as it sounds like he's reading from some sort of science textbook over a weird jazz scale. Tom Waits is on my "Must See Before He/I Die" list for sure.

Oranger - "Just a Little Dumb"
These guys are really good. Totally adept at crafting solid fractured (or is that a contradiction?) pop music. I read a review of their Doorway To Norway album a while back and when I saw they had a song titled "Mike Love, Not War" I immediately set about tracking down their work. It was not easy, but like the motivational poster says, it was worth it. This is off their Shutdown the Sun album, which is pretty excellent.

Marvin Gaye - "Baby Don't You Do It"
For a long time I'd only heard the Band version of this. Marvin's version is just as good. And that's saying something because I think that the Band version is aces.

The Creation - "Cool Jerk"
The Creation were a bunch of producers who decided they'd put out some Who-esque (and later Dylan-esque) rock and roll records. Their "Making Time" is on the indispensable soundtrack to Wes Anderson's Rushmore. This is a cover of The Capitols' song that you've probably heard on oldies radio like a million times. Not their best track, but still passable for sure.

Frank Zappa & The Mothers Of Invention - "Who Are The Brain Police?"
I really never thought I'd ever be the type of music snob who was "into Zappa." But here we are. And while I'm not all gaga over him (I only have his first few albums with the Mothers. I don't think I'm adventurous enough to delve into the skronky, jazzy stuff of his later career. But who knows, right?), I must say, he makes some very interesting music. As in "This song makes me question my mental health, like, seriously"-type of "interesting." Still it's not as disconcerting as the music made my Zappa's former roommate, Don Van Vliet, aka Captain Beefheart. Seriously, Trout Mask Replica is possibly the most disturbing music I have ever heard. Ever. And I'm not convinced that that's a bad thing either, if that makes sense.

The Who - "Sally Simpson"
I love the Who. Honest I do. But I hate Tommy. I think the songs sort of suck and the story is lame. Sorry. But I do. So yeah, this song, not may fave.

The Clash - "Washington Bullets"
Ah, the Clash. Who else could write a nice little punk tune about US foreign policy and make it sound this good? From their triple-album ¡Sandanista!

Old 97's - "Barrier Reef"
These guys are just plain great and this is one of their better songs. Clever without being too clever, the title refers to the narrator's drunken philosophizing as he chats up a girl at a bar. "What's so 'Great' about the Barrier Reef? What's so 'fine' about art? And what's so 'good' about a Good Times van?" These are the questions we need to address, people.

Anyway, so there it is, my installment of Random Rules. Here's your challenge: post the next 10 songs that come up on "Shuffle" in the comments section. I will send a prize to someone who does so. Because I am nice like that.


chrishaley said...

1. Joan Jett & The Blackhearts - Cherry Bomb
2. The Rentals - Keep Sleeping
3. Sloan - Autobiography/Can't Face Up (Live)
4. Tiger Rag - Ten Times Squared
5. Electric Six - Synthesizer
6. Albert Hammond Jr. - Victory at Monterey
7. Percy Sledge - At the Dark End of the Street
8. The Hives - Abra Cadaver
9. Okkervil River - For Real
10. KISS - I Want You

You said just post the songs, right.. not our thoughts on them.. right?

Dylan said...

Just the songs is great. I figured most people wouldn't want to give a full-blown recap of it. If you want to turn this into a full-blown meme and pull together a similar post on yr blog, feel free.

huston/lilia said...

1. Star Man - Mates of State
2. Child is the Father of Man - The Beach Boys
3. The Bandit Queen - The Decemberists
4. Piggies - The Beatles
5. This Heart's On Fire - Wolf Parade
6. Big Brown Eyes (Wreck Your Life version) - Old 97's
7. Life On Mars - David Bowie
8. Losing My Religion - R.E.M.
9. Jacksonville Skyline - Whiskeytown
10. White Mystery - Minus The Bear

rose said...

alright, i finally did this and i'm posting it on my blog here soon.