Part III

Sorrow Pt. III

Funeral

What a Friend We Have in Jesus- Dirty Dozen Brass Band

Many Rivers to Cross- Jimmy Cliff

These Days-Nico

Requiem- M.Ward

So Many Roads- The Grateful Dead

Hummingbird– Wilco

Tables And Chairs- Andrew Bird

Remember The Mountain Bed- Billy Bragg and Wilco

Ocean Breathes Salty- Sun Kil Moon

Ghost- Neutral Milk Hotel

Come On Up To The House- Tom Waits

Madame George– Van Morrison

 

This list was actually harder to assemble. Some of these songs I’d like to be played at my own funeral (BTW, I want a Jazz Funeral, if I do enough in life to warrant one!) I tried to find sad songs that remembered someone or just felt like death (not really the eerie death either it seems), but Tables and Chairs is the lone exception. I feel like Andrew Bird is describing heaven on earth, but it sounds almost as good as real heaven. I hope that for those living amidst chaos and destruction that there is a respite akin to the way I feel when I listen to that song, at least for a few moments.

Any additions?

And if anyone knows a way I could actually embed these audio tracks easily, that would be swell.

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The Nadir

Sorrow Pt. II

Loneliness

Not Dark Yet- Bob Dylan

Dear Chicago- Ryan Adams

Bad Girl- Devendra Banhart

Empty Hearts- Josh Ritter

Wish You Were Here- Pink Floyd

One Man Guy- Rufus Wainwright

Long Nights- Eddie Vedder

The Only Living Boy in New York- Simon and Garfunkel

Lonely Lonely- Feist

Baby Blue Sedan- Modest Mouse

House Where Nobody Lives- Tom Waits

Just dark and eerie and sad. There are times for solitude, but a life of isolation is not one  I would choose. These songs make me feel sad and cold. Like I’m about to die of exposure. Don’t worry though, Only one more sad playlist, for now.

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Bad Things Come in Threes

A playlist in three parts

Sorrow Pt. I

The Breakup

Daughters of the Soho Riots- The National

Ooh La La- The Faces

Simple Twist of Fate- Jeff Tweedy (from the I’m Not There soundtrack)

Which Will- Nick Drake

Back to Black- Amy Winehouse

I Only Wear Blue- Dr. Dog

Via Chicago- Wilco

Sylvia Plath- Ryan Adams

Please Do Not Let Me Go- Ryan Adams

La Cienega Just Smiled- Ryan Adams

Meadowlake Street- Ryan Adams & The Cardinals

Call Me On Your Way Back Home- Ryan Adams

Who Are You- Tom Waits

I Think Ur A Contra- Vampire Weekend

At The Hop- Devendra Banhart

Sentimental X’s- Broken Social Scene

Anthems For A Seventeen-Year-Old Girl- Broken Social Scene

 

These songs kill me. I love the way Scott McMicken’s voice falters in I Only Wear Blue, and Jeff Tweedy’s for that matter. I’m torn as to whose version of Simple Twist of Fate is more sad, his or Dylan’s. Most every song by The National kills me, but Daughters of the Soho Riots is definitely the saddest, but I’m not completely sure as to why. I Think Ur a Contra is the second saddest song Vampire Weekend has done, the first being their cover of Springsteen’s I’m Going Down. This song though is more them, and more of a breakup song. And pretty much all of Ryan Adams’ Oeuvre kills me. I don’t even know where to start with him.

 

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We Only Said Goodbye With Words

I heard the news today oh, boy.

Amy Winehouse died today.

Being 26 years old, this is the closest in age I have been to an important and famous singer’s untimely death, as she was the golden age of Rock and Roll, 27. At the time of writing, I do not know why, but as many have conjectured so far, it is likely drug related.

I don’t really know how to process this- It’s not like I knew her or anything, and she hasn’t made very many media appearances since 2008 or so, I was hoping she would recover. It hurts, and it’s weird. I’m not sure how I’m supposed to react to celebrity deaths in my own age group. She was the first female singer that I really got into, and opened the door to a lot of other female singers that I was unaware of. Her voice and persona were untouched by any other woman I’ve heard. She embodied sorrow. Everything about her was sad. She was a living blues song. Not since the 60’s has a woman’s voice captivated the world like hers.

My thoughts and prayers are with her and her family, and her Blake Incarcerated. I’m not going to weigh in on anything else about her; I believe there will be enough of that in the coming hours and days. She had a lot of weight to carry on those shoulders, and I can understand how she wouldn’t be able to handle it all. It’s also disgusting all the celebrity gossip pages covering this. I don’t understand how you can do that; being that judgmental and invasive throughout someone’s life, and also covering news about their death. It has to be awkward, and require many suspensions of one’s convictions. It’s sickening.

Regardless, she was a talented and tragic artist, and it is just unfortunate. Her version of Valerie blew me away, as well as Back to Black on the whole. I believe she occupied my iTunes top 25 for a long time when that album was new. Hopefully she’s in a better place.

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Beast Skills

I am obsessed with this site, Beast Skills. Jim Bathurst, a Strength and Conditioning Specialist and former gymnast has great tutorials for progressing into many gymnastic skills. This may sound a little silly, but these are great workouts, and I believe that it is just as important to have skills that you use your strength for as it is to look and feel good. Even if your only skills are silly party tricks.

See! Party Trick!

Anyways, He has several skill sets, each of which build off another, for the most part. I can do a few so far, but it’s so cool to see what I could do. That is one of the problems, actually. I want to learn how to do everything! What’s also cool is that these are great strength exercises, as well as being good for muscle memory. If you’re lacking weights or looking to add some functionality to your routine, check Beast Skills out! I guarantee you will be humbled. Now if I could just nail some handstand pushups, I’d be doing ok.

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A Not-Stupid Playlist (For A Change!)

NIHILISM

“…There is an idea of Patrick Bateman, some kind of abstraction, but there is no real me, only an entity, something illusory, and though I can hide my cold gaze and you can shake my hand and feel my flesh gripping yours and maybe you can even sense our lifestyles are probably comparable: I simply am not there. It is hard for me to make sense on any given level. Myself is fabricated, an aberration. I am a noncontingent human being. My personality is sketchy and unformed, my heartlessness goes deep and is persistent. My conscience, my pity, my hopes disappeared a long time ago (probably at Harvard) if they ever did exist. There are no more barriers to cross. All I have in common with the uncontrollable and the insane, the vicious and the evil, all the mayhem I have caused and my utter indifference toward it, I have now surpassed. I still, though, hold on to one bleak truth: no one is safe, nothing is redeemed. Yet I am blameless. Each model of human behavior must be assumed to have some validity. Is evil something you are? Or is it something you do? My pain is constant and sharp and I do not hope for a better world for anyone. In fact I want my pain to be inflicted on others. I want no one to escape. But even after admitting this-and I have, countless times, in just about every act I’ve committed-and coming face-to-face with these truths, there is no catharsis. I gain no deeper knowledge about myself, no new understanding can be extracted from my telling. There has been no reason for me to tell you any of this. This confession has meant nothing…”  -Bret Easton Ellis, American Psycho

Heroin- The Velvet Underground

Sunken Treasure- Wilco

The Shadowlands- Ryan Adams

Lost Cause- Beck

Bodies- Smashing Pumpkins

1969- The Stooges

How to Disappear Completely- Radiohead

Black Mirror- Arcade Fire

Black Angel’s Death Song- The Velvet Underground

The End- The Doors

Dark, I know. Sorry if this made you cry.

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Some Notes on Arcade Fire

So I’ve been listening to them a good bit this past week, and have therefore thought about them.

First, some friends and I were discussing their best album. I think most can agree that it is not The Suburbs, but more on that album later. Initially, I claimed that Funeral was the best, but I think I may have to rescind, and go with Neon Bible.

I bought Neon Bible sometime in 2007, knowing it was supposed to be good. I listened to it for a week or so, but just didn’t get it. I think it must have been sometime in 2009 or so that it finally hit me. I eventually bought Funeral, I think several months before The Suburbs came out. I feel like the first two albums were my favorite Arcade Fire albums, as they were purchased. I noted the greatness of The Suburbs, but it has not been at the top of the list ever.

Neon Bible I think is my favorite now. It is so dark and eerie. For a while it was just Keep the Car Running, No Cars Go, and  (Antichrist Television Blues), but then I really discovered Ocean of Noise and Windowsill. Those lines, “A house on fire, a rising sea,” creep me out big time. Funeral has its merits for sure, I mean Haiti is my top-played song in iTunes at the time of writing. Funeral makes me feel adult; like living and struggling in the city; a portrait of the life of a (non-annoying) hipster. It is a very urban album. I feel like I understand Funeral in my gut, in ways my mind cannot process and my tongue cannot pronounce.

But I love how dark Neon Bible is. The novel, by John Kennedy Toole, is a dark one as well. It’s been forever since I’ve read it, but it is diametrically opposed to A Confederacy of Dunces (which is my favorite book of all time I think). Anyways, the album creeps me out. Funeral is desperate, but hopeful. Neon Bible is just so black, so final, so… serious. Keep the Car Running I’d say is the best song on the album. It’s like the beginning of a dark and serious journey- perhaps like Sam and Frodo’s ascent of Mount Doom in The Fellowship of the Ring- a Hades-esque area; “the same place animals go when they die.”

I also love running while listening to Keep the Car Running. Especially at night. Especially the “Oh’s” at 1:45.

Assignment:

Go running in the dark on an empty road listening to these Arcade Fire Songs, in any order:

  • Neighborhood #2 (Laika)
  • Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)
  • Wake Up (When you get tired or want to quit)
  • Haiti followed by
  • Rebellion (Lies) (you have to dance like Régine while listening to Haiti though)
  • Black Mirror
  • Keep the Car Running (duh)
  • The Well and the Lighthouse
  • (Antichrist Television Blues)
  • No Cars Go
  • Ready to Start
  • City with no Children
  • Half Light II (No Celebration) (those drums? Man, what a great song!)
  • Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains) (This is why you run. You do not live to just punch the clock.)

*I assume no responsibility if you go running at night with headphones on!

Lastly, and this is kind of a corollary to my earlier post about “The Supreme Being of Pop” (thanks again, Rachael Maddux) seeking to destroy Indie. This is going to sound a little crazy, but let’s assume that The Supreme Being of Pop exists; could the Album of the Year Grammy have been awarded to Arcade Fire as an attempt to buy them out? Like sycophancy. “Whoever flatters a neighbor is spreading a net for the neighbor’s feet,” says Proverbs 29:5. Arcade Fire’s nomination for The Suburbs seemed token. We know that it was not their pinnacle work. They lost both times previously to the media friendly White Stripes. Could some force be trying to buy Arcade Fire’s heart?

I don’t really believe the above paragraph, but it’s interesting to think about. I think Arcade Fire has their heads and wits about them enough though to weather this new pseudo-popularity. And I am glad they won, they deserve it. Plus, it was fun to watch musical know-nothings squirm (see this).

Anyways, that’s all for this one.  What is your favorite Arcade Fire song/album?

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Subway ≥ McDonald’s?

Apparently Subway has surpassed McDonald’s as the world’s largest restaurant chain, I read as I enjoyed one of many “cheat” meals of this previous week. Luckily, this was at Subway and not McDonald’s. Of fast food lunch and dinner diners, 15 per cent of them order certain menu items for health reasons; more than 3/4 of these people chose Subway (over McDonald’s, Wendy’s, & Burger King).

I’m not so sure what I think of this. I guess it’s good that people are trying to eat “healthy,” but I find the true “healthiness” of Subway suspect. I’ll give it to them- Subway has done a great job of marketing healthiness- I know I’ve eaten there many times in the past under the guise of making a healthy choice (I did try to get a substantial amount of vegetables on my sandwiches). But I don’t think that American consumers are well informed of what they are actually eating. Actually, I know they aren’t. This isn’t news either. I guess Subway’s food is a step closer to true, real food than McDonald’s. But I also imagine that some people still go and get meatball subs (me) instead of deli sandwiches, but think that they are eating healthy, because there is whole grains and tomatoes (not me!).

I guess it’s an attentional bias or something, but I am feeling more optimistic about public health in relation to obesity issues. Since I’ve been paying attention to health related news and subject material, it seems like I’ve also noticed a lot of positive changes in health policies or companies’ efforts to make healthier food. I hope that I’m wrong and things really are starting to get better. Maybe I should just go watch Food, Inc. again and get sad. Whole Foods or somebody needs to start a psuedo-fast food chain. I guess that’s kind of contradictory, but it would draw new lines in the food and health wars, if it actually worked.

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Itunes Top 25

So here’s my current iTunes top 25 plays. I’m mainly logging this as a reference to look back on. I wish I’d had thought of this years ago!

  1. Haiti, Arcade Fire 179
  2. The Rabbit, The Bat, & The Reindeer, Dr. Dog 173
  3. The Old Days, Dr. Dog 170
  4. Rebellion (Lies), Arcade Fire 134
  5. California Stars, Billy Bragg & Wilco 133
  6. Keep The Car Running, Arcade Fire 130
  7. 7/4 (Shoreline), Broken Social Scene 130
  8. Neighborhood #2 (Laika), Arcade Fire 128
  9. Wake Up, Arcade Fire 128
  10. The Breeze, Dr. Dog 124
  11. From, Dr. Dog 123
  12. War On War, Wilco 123
  13. Ooh La La, The Faces 120
  14. Hang On, Dr. Dog 115
  15. My Friend, Dr. Dog 114
  16. Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels), Arcade Fire 107
  17. Pacific Theme, Broken Social Scene 107
  18. (Antichrist Television Blues), Arcade Fire 104
  19. Highway Slipper Jam, Broken Social Scene 102
  20. What Goes On, The Velvet Underground 102
  21. The Suburbs, Arcade Fire 101
  22. Rock And Roll, The Velvet Underground 100
  23. Jackie Wants A Black Eye, Dr. Dog 99
  24. Uncovering The Old, Dr. Dog 96
  25. My Old Ways, Dr. Dog 96

I need to diversify, obviously. I will say that when I first bought Fate, by Dr. Dog, I listened to it on repeat for about 7 to 8 hours while I stripped the paint off of a chest-of-drawers.

Anyways, It’ll be cool to check this in a few months.

What are your most played songs?

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Dave Matthews Bland

So I have another conundrum.

What is the deal with Dave Matthews Band?

So there are several facets to this. They are all technically skilled musicians, they write good lyrics, they perform well together, and none of them are downright unlikeable (as in terrible, unethical people) and their sound isn’t bad, but I just don’t like them! I have several of their CDs, but I was really only into them for a few months, and I feel like it was kind of at a fairly superficial level then. There is something that just annoys me about them. Dave Matthews himself I find a little difficult. I sense something phony about him, but can’t put my finger on it. I definitely think that their songs are overproduced, maybe that’s the issue.

But I do know that one thing that really bothers me is their die-hard fans. It’s like people who want to be indie or something, but are just too boring. I don’t know. I mean, I guess they (the band) are a good band, but they just bore me and are uninteresting. I think it’s unfortunate. I want to believe in Dave Matthews Band, but I just don’t. Even if I did, I still couldn’t be a superfan.

Just a thought. Any insights? Someone out there has to be able to articulate why DMB is so untouchably annoying/boring. Could it really be just their hardcore fans? Am I alone in feeling like this?

P.S. I’d also like to see a general profile of the average Alanis Morrisette fan too. I had the ever-irksome Head Over Feet stuck in my head for a few hours today. She also destroyed my ability to define the word Ironic. I don’t think anyone who grew up with that song will ever be able to discern irony. (Is that Ironic? [see what I mean!])

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