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Monday, May 30, 2005
Mixed Bag Review-a-palooza
Since I'm rapidly running out of time and wanted to get these out of the way before I mailed off the second batch of discs, and since I'm halfway through burning them, I'm only going to hit the highlights of the discs this time around.
"The Captain" by Kasey Chambers has a nice, melancholy tone to it I enjoy. "Anastasia Says" by Darling Violetta has a similar sense of melancholy to it, but I don't like it as much. Cracker tends to be very hit-or-miss with me, but "Eurotrash Girl" is a fun tune. And Warren Zevon's "Roland The Headless Thompson Gunner" is darkly funny, but then, what do you really expect from Zevon? Montgomery Gentry's "Speed" comes dangerously close to living up to all the stereotypes of country music, from the subject matter to the music to the method of singing, but I like it anyway. It's the sort of thing my Dad would probably really like as well. Carbon Leaf's "The Boxer" has a really nice sound to it as well. It's a very jumbled up sound, a sort of mix and country and Celtic, and I think I might want to check out some more of their stuff. Heather Nova's "Virus of the Mind" is fairly catchy as well, though if it's typical of the rest of her work I'm probably okay with just having the one song from her. I'm so hot-and-cold on the girl with a guitar style of music that a little bit of it goes a long way. And while I generally like David Bowie, and "Lady Stardust" is a good song, this particular version doesn't quite gell for me. It's been awhile since I heard "Past the Mission" by Tori Amos, but it's very hard to do wrong with Tori (well, except for the "Boys for Pele" album. I never could get into that one).
I can't really take "stalker" songs seriously. Sometimes they're amusing, but ultimately I tend to find them a bit silly. "Is She Really Going Out With Him?" by Joe Jackson is one of my two favorites of the genre, probably because it doesn't take itself seriously, and only skirts the edges of the "obsessed with the ex-girlfriend" subject matter. Toots & The Maytals' "Pressure Drop" is just a out-and-out good reggae song, and it's hard to find fault with it. And I'm eventually going to have to go back-track and pick up the more recent Green Day releases that I've skipped, aren't I? Because if "Letterbomb" is typical of their recent output, than they've recovered from that brief slump when I lost track of them. Tift Merritt's "Stray Paper" is one of those rare songs that makes me reconsider my usual indifference to the "girl with a guitar" genre. It's really good. I'm almost tired of "Dancing Queen." I think I've got close to a dozen different covers of that ABBA tune alone. But, I can't dislike ABBA. In contrast, while I'm not generally a Bruce Springsteen fan, "Jesus Was An Only Son" has a very nice sound to it, and it's a far cry from the "Born in the USA" sound that made me a non-fan in the first place.
"Ghost Riders in the Sky" by Johnny Cash has always been one of my favorite songs, ever since I first heard it as a little kid. I must have worn out my dad's 8-track of this, making him play it over and over again in his little VW Bug, back when we lived in Colorado and I was obsessed with growing up to be a cowboy. And while I generally don't much care for the Beatles anymore, "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" is one of the very few songs of theirs I can still happily listen to at anytime. In my defense, there wasn't really anything on this disc that I dis-liked. It was mostly a case of most of the music simply not being to my taste. I believe this was Pete's favorite of all the mix-discs I played for him, though.
I haven't had too many opportunities to listen to Frank Zappa's work, but I've liked most of what I've heard so far. "Orange County Lumber Truck" isn't quite my usual thing, but it has a certain appeal. Trip Shakespeare's "Down My Block" has a very nice sound, I'm sorely tempted to describe it as vaguely nostalgic, but I'm not sure of the actual age of the song. I've been a Robyn Hitchcock fan for some time, but "I Saw Nick Drake" was a new one on me. It's not on any of my Hitchcock albums. It's got a nice blend of languid style and surreality that I like about his work. I quite like The Waterboys' "Glastonbury Song." It's another one of those songs that, in normal circumstances might not quite be my thing, but it's about Glastonbury, a region I have an interest in, so that pushes it over the edge for me. I can generally be relied upon to like most Nilsson songs. "Subterranean Homesick Blues" may be a tad over-exposed at this point (I seem to remember hearing it all the time not too long ago, not to mention covers), but it's still good. And lastly, Yoko Ono's "I Have A Woman Inside Me" is a really surprisingly good song. It probably won't do much to stop people from making her the butt of their easy jokes, but it does show her to be more than the one-dimensional caricature of the popular imagination.