Monday, June 26, 2006

A man of great common sense and good taste

As George Bernard Shaw said.

Here for some reason is a mix CD I made several years ago. What I did was this: I borrowed a bunch of CDs from the library in order to try them out --- I didn't know whether I'd like them enough to buy them or what. Six of those CDs didn't strike me as good enough to buy, but had two or three standout tracks on them. So I made a mix of those tracks:

1. Tubthumbing
2. The Big Issue
3. One By One
by Chumbawumba, off Tubthumper

Yeah, I know, I know, Chumbawumba? Those deservedly one-hit-wonders? But I enjoy the first, utterly-ubiquitous-circa-1997 track for its drunken-singalong ethic, and the other two are pretty good trancey sortof message songs.

4. Daughter
5. Elderly Woman Behind the Counter In a Small Town
by Pearl Jam, off Vs.

I find Pearl Jam mostly boring, but "Daughter" has a passion to it that --- for all of Eddie Vedder's heartfelt emoting --- to me is lacking in most of their other songs. And the other song I included just so everyone on the mix would bring at least two songs to the project. I wouldn't want Pearl Jam to feel left out.

6. The Fire Inside
7. She Can't Do Anything Wrong
by Bob Seger, off The Fire Inside

I couldn't, and still can't, believe that a song as well-paced, literate and mature as "The Fire Inside" was written by the same guy who wrote all that other crap. "She Can't Do Anything Wrong" is a pretty good leering "sweet little sixteen" song cleverly wrapped around one line of social critique.

8. Bittersweet Symphony
9. The Drugs Don't Work
10. Lucky Man
by the Verve, off Urban Hymns

Some of my musical tastes have remained unchanged. I loved Bob Dylan as soon as I heard him at fifteen years old and love him just as much now twenty years later. But in other ways my tastes flow. I've grown bored with most "classic" arena rock and noodling rock like Pink Floyd, and have come to appreciate some music that requires a patient ear, such as Tom Waits and Warren Zevon. I'm pretty sure that if I were making this CD today I'd leave Urban Hymns off it on the grounds that it's not a bad album with three standout tracks, but rather a fairly solid album all around. In fact, I'd buy it today. On sale.

11. Hope
12. Daysleeper
by R.E.M., off Up

I usually hate it when people say that a certain artists "started sucking" or "got bad" at such-and-such a date or after a certain album, because it's pretty silly to create these artificial milestones. And anyway, artists evolve; it's usually the audience that can't handle changes in artistic direction, not the fault of the band for losing its vision. That said... After New Adventures In Hi-Fi, R.E.M. took a straight vertical dive down into the deepest suck pit in Sucksville. Up has perhaps two listenable songs, and Reveal... ouch. These guys really have spanned the gamut from sheer sparkling brilliance to utter turgid wallowing.

13. God Shuffled His Feet
14. In the Days Of the Caveman
15. When I Go Out With Artists
by Crash Test Dummies, off God Shuffled His Feet

"God Shuffled His Feet" intrigues and pleases me, because to me it aptly reflects the mystery of God as we can(not) know Him. Or do I just like the idea of an omnipotent being speaking in koans? Or are they parables or riddles? Actually, I enjoy their big hit "Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm" for much the same reasons. I like how the song shows, but doesn't comment upon, the fact that everyone's got their skeletons.

The other two tracks are okay, as long as you're not instantly turned off by Brad Roberts' irritatingly deep voice. Even so, the Crash Test Dummies are a dish best served in very small portions.

1 comment:

Andy Land said...

Chumbawumba may be a one hit wonder here in the States, but they've ben around for about 20 years and have done a lot of great tunes. Tubthumping was a most excellent CD all told. No worries. You're still cool to the masses.