Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Ipod shuffle experiment

Alright, with no other inspiration to guide me, I'm going to try a little something partly inspired by my friend Kate Laity.

I don't generally participate in Internet chain e-mails, surveys, or any of that crap that tells you if you don't re-send it to 15 of your friends all of your pets will die. There is one of this breed of Internet crap that I admit is pretty fun: the ipod shuffle questionnaires. It's usually a list of questions that you have to answer with the title of whatever random songs pop up on your ipod shuffle. I don't believe my music player is psychic, but there tends to be a lot of coincidental humor whenever I try these things. One of my favorites, for example, was when the question was "What kind of person are you?" The answer my ipod spit out was "American Idiot" by Green Day.

Okay maybe my ipod is psychic.

I'm not posting a questionnaire, but I'm going to use the shuffle for inspiration. I'm going to put my ipod on shuffle and listen to the first 10 songs. Then I'm going to write something either about each one, or inspired by each one.

I have one caveat. Usually, with the questionnaries the rule is you don't skip any songs. Whatever comes up is the answer and if you skip it, you're cheating. If the question is "How sexually experienced are you?" and the song that comes up is "Like A Virgin", tough shit, that's your answer. Because this isn't a questionnaire, I reserve the right to skip a song but only if the song is by an artist who is already on the list.

1. "In My Place" by Coldplay from A Rush of Blood to the Head

Not my favorite Coldplay song. I think it's only on my ipod because I just threw the entire album on there.

Hm. I don't really have anything else to say about it. It doesn't really make me think of anything except Kate Laity who hates Coldplay. Because she's racist.

2. "Sleep Now in the Fire" by Rage Against the Machine from The Battle of Los Angeles

This is a great song, but I usually skip it when it comes up on my shuffle. Rage Against the Machine, System of a Down, and any other artists selling a Fight The System image depress me. I'm jaded. My opinion on this extends well beyond music. If you're selling a message of rebellion, your message may be genuine, but first and foremost you're selling. That's not to say there's no real rebels, but you'll never hear of them and neither will I.

I don't think I do anything to make the world a better place. I think I should feel bad, but I don't. My life is not in balance and I'm not on the right path. Until I am, I don't know how I can help anyone else.

3. "That's What I Get" by Nine Inch Nails from Pretty Hate Machine

Man. I haven't managed to listen to a Pretty Hate Machine song from beginning to end since I put the songs on my ipod. I am so embarrassed by the thought of how deep and real I thought they were when I was a teenager or of all the horrible poetry they inspired.
"I told you I'd never say goodbye
I'm slipping on the tears you made me cry"

Christ, shoot me.

4. "Shimmy" by System of a Down from Toxicity

Listening to "Shimmy" reminded me of what I was thinking about last night as I listened to "Handlebars" by Flobots. Here's some "Shimmy" lyrics:
Education, fornication, in you are go
Education subjugation, now you're out go
Education fornication, in you are go

And then--
Indoctrination of a nation
Indoctrination of a nation
Subjugation of damnation
Subjugation of damnation

It never bothered me before when singers just strung together a bunch of words that end with "ation" but once I noticed it, I couldn't un-notice it.

And now neither can you.

5. "Mountain Song" by Jane's Addiction from Nothing's Shocking

My first concert was Jane's Addiction at the RPI Fieldhouse in Troy. I remember being surprised at the other people there. I thought I would be the most normal looking person there, that everyone else would have piercings all over the place and purple hair (like mine, at the time) and long black overcoats.

In fact, if I remember correctly, I looked less like a drunk frat guy than most of the people there. One drunk frat guy in particular stood behind me most of the concert yelling "COMIN' DOWN THE MOUNTAIN" during, and between, every song; before and after the band played "Mountain Song," the song from which the line comes from. Didn't matter. He didn't care. Just kept yelling "COMIN'! DOWN! THE MOUN-TEHHHHHN!"

The atmosphere of the concert made me giddy. It was dark and I couldn't get too hung up about things because everyone was packed in, sweaty and getting slammed into one another by the crowd. Weed was fucking everywhere. It would be a couple of years before I tried weed myself, so I wasn't purposely high, but the place was so thick with it I could have very well gotten a contact high. So the guy screaming the "Mountain Song" line didn't really bother me. Hell, at one point I reached up to help a crowd surfer back to the floor and got a boot right in my face for my troubles, and yet I laughed it off.

I don't think I thought of myself as a particularly compassionate person, but Teenage Mick certainly had Grown Up Mick beaten in the compassion department. These days, I would have very much wanted to say something mean to the "Comin' Down the Mountain" guy, I wouldn't have, but on the way home I would have considered many loud and witty things I could have said to him. Believe you me.

6. "Turned Out" by Helmet from Meantime

It's interesting how associations work. In "Turned Out", the frontman yells "Downtown Julie Brown" in the chorus for some reason I've never cared enough to learn.

That made me think of MTV, and how I stopped watching it when one of the VJs ("VJ" sounds strangely sexual) said something that pissed me off. It was after a video from one of the Seattle bands, and the VJ (it was a guy, I don't remember who) said something along the lines of "If you're interested in the Seattle, you should check out Nirvana's new album In Utero. They have a song all about the Seattle music scene called 'Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge on Seattle'." Of course, "Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge on Seattle" has absolutely NOTHING to do with the Seattle music scene and at the time, owning a brain that stored more miscellany about Nirvana than most Nirvana websites, I decided that the VJ in question should've been castrated with the jagged edge of a broken coffee mug.

7. "Psychobilly Freakout" By Reverend Horton Heat from Smoke 'Em If You Got 'Em

I used to be much more interested in keeping up with music. I used to pick up every issue of Rolling Stone and Spin. Even if I hadn't heard a particular artist's work, I usually had some idea of what they were about. Somewhere along the line I tuned out.

Actually, I just remembered that a few weeks ago I did the best I probably ever will to pinpoint exactly when I tuned out. A couple of co-workers were discussing the Tupac/Biggie thing and the bi-coastal professional-wrestling-esque "feud" that surrounded it. That, I think, was what finally made me get stingy about the shits I was giving to music.

Reverend Horton Heat is one of the artists I wish I'd kept up with. I don't know if he's still making albums or touring, but I hear the name every now and then. The last Reverend Horton Heat album I bought was Liquor In The Front, which was odd to listen to. If I remember correctly, Al Jourgensen produced that album and the drums in particular sounded similar to the drums on Ministry albums. The Reverend sounded much more speed metal than he used to.

8. "Wake Me Up When September Ends" by Green Day from American Idiot

This makes me think of one thing, and I've written all I intend to write about it for now.

9. "Push It" by Garbage from Version 2.0

This is the song I want to be playing in the background whenever I have super-powered kung fu fights.

10. "Attitude" by The Misfits from Static Age

Am I pathetically PC because listening to this song bothers me?

I love the Misfits. I love their simple, short songs. I love how many of their songs are about ridiculous monsters and alien invaders. I just don't want to listen to a song about a dude threatening to beat up his girlfriend.

Overall, I think when The Misfits' songs are about anything other than aliens, zombies, goddesses, etc., I'm not interested.

You know, I have a lot of songs on my ipod I don't want to listen to. Maybe I've worked in public radio long enough that as long as there isn't a fiddle or a banjo, it's immediately refreshing even if I don't like it.

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