Steinbeck on Random — 4.21.06

Let’s get right to it. Steinbeck, take it away.

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1. “Lucky” – Radiohead
OK Computer

Though it’s difficult to pick a favorite from OK Computer, I guess I’d consider this one as mine. I think it has a lot to do with knowing all of the words. All of them. And I understand them, which for this album is usually harder than it sounds.

This is the “plane crashing into the water, please save me Sarah” song, if that helps. I can never tell Radiohead songs from the title, unless it’s something obvious like “Paranoid Android” or “Fake Plastic Trees.” Or “Creep.”

2. “I’m Dancing in the Show Tonight” – Ween
The Mollusk

A throwaway track from Ween’s best album. It seemed to be more of a “look at all the effects we can pull off” – a preview of the album as a whole.

The album, however, is wonderful. Imagine hearing a CD from a band that you marginally cared for and having it completely rework all of your feelings. With The Mollusk, I discovered the brilliance of Ween – their ability to mimic nearly any style, their subtle humor. I was hooked. Doug then had to hold my hand as he guided me through the world of the Boognish.

3. “Hag Seed” – Thirty Ought Six
Hag Seed

I got a promo copy of Hag Seed for Christmas, from Eric. I got it because Jeremy Enigk, of Sunny Day Real Estate, was featured on one of the songs. I rarely listened to anything outside of the two good songs, and I’m really quite curious how this ended up on the iPod. A one hit emo wonder, like The Casket Lottery and Forstella Ford. Another “what is this song doing on here” pick is coming up in a few songs.

4. “Rhyme the Rhyme Well” – Beastie Boys
To The 5 Boroughs

Beastie Boys, retro style. It’s one of the few songs off of the new album that I’ve actually heard a lot – it keeps coming up on random. But I don’t know much about it, so that’s all I can say.

5. “Page” – Farside

I find it really surprising that I know any of Farside’s songs. They were the “most normal” of all the old Revelation Records bands – the one band that you wouldn’t be surprised to see opening for the Foo Fighters, but you wouldn’t blink an eye if they opened for Earth Crisis either. Not hardcore, not emo – just rock.

They were really good. And I can never remember a single one of their songs until I hear it. I saw this come up and said to myself “What the hell is this?” Then I listened to it, and I remembered that it was good.

Farside: underappreciated and unknown.

6. “Once In A Blue Moon” – Unwed Sailor

A band that had lots of potential. This may be the third time I’ve listened to this song: the first is when I downloaded it from Napster in college and the second was when I put it on the iPod. Why did I put it on?

I think my original idea in getting an iPod was to create a constant retrospective of every piece of music I’ve ever liked. So, naturally, I put a lot of the random emo stuff that I had picked up here and there (thank you, illicit college file sharing) and when it comes up I find myself confused, as if I never even knew it existed.

7. “Closer to Fine” – Indigo Girls
Indigo Girls

A classic Indigo Girls song. One of the few I recognize. Kerrie and I both have CDs that we push onto the other person – though we share everything, we each have specific tastes, obviously. I would never pull this CD out, just as Kerrie would never bother with The Arcade Fire.

So with that, I’ll admit: I’m not the biggest fan of the Indigo Girls. But some songs have been so imbedded into my mind that I can’t help but like them. This is one, “Galileo” is another. They are good songs. There’s a chance I’d put them on my iPod even if Kerrie wasn’t around.

8. “E. Texas Ave” – The Promise Ring
The Horse Latitudes

The best of all of the 7” singles Promise Ring put out, “E. Texas Ave,” is either #2 or #3 on my all time “Favorite Promise Ring Songs” list. Not to be confused with “Nothing Feels Good,” which starts out “I don’t know East Texas/From Louisiana…”

9. “Spinal Meningitis Got Me Down (live)” – Ween
Live in Chicago

Two Ween songs? Awesome.

Ween is at their best live. This DVD shows it. Even the lame songs sound great live. In fact, some of their earlier stuff is only listenable when it’s live. It’s true – go try to listen to the original version of “Bumblebee.”

Spinal Meningitis has the distinction of being both one of the most uncomfortable songs to listen to and one of the most fun songs to listen to. There’s a skill in developing a song that’s fun, but makes you feel creepy at the same time. This is it. If anyone could do it, it’s Ween.

10. “We Got Pop!” – Patient 957
Blue Letter Band

My friends make it onto the iPod. And they are the only bands that I refuse to skip, regardless of the mood.

I always think about how good Patient 957, or the Blue Letter Band, or whatever they called themselves at a specific point in time, would have been if they kept going – if they recorded something and released it on Dill Records or whatever.

They would have been great. I miss them, often.

And in case you’re curious, the name of the song is from the old TNN tagline – “We’ve Got Pop!” That was when TNN went from The Nashville Network to The National Network. And then to Spike. One of many Patient 957 professional wrestling references.

This was lovingly handwritten on April 23rd, 2006