Friday, January 30, 2009

Friday Random Ten

Fire up iPod, hit 'shuffle', watch what comes up:

  1. Death Cab For Cutie, Crooked Teeth
  2. Portishead, Nylon Smile
  3. Steve Earle, The Galway Girl
  4. Pink Floyd, Nobody Home
  5. Bob Dylan, Like A Rolling Stone
  6. Johnny Cash, Help Me
  7. Bruce Springsteen, Stolen Car
  8. Cat Power, Speak For Me
  9. Dar Williams, Bought and Sold
  10. Phil Ochs, I'm Tired
Only embarrassing one in there is the Death Cab for Cutie. Okay, so it's sugary pop. Even a penguin likes a sugary pop from time to time :-).

-- Badtux the Music Penguin

Oh yeah, random bonus spin:

Everclear, Amphetamine


  1. i love "the galway girl!"

    steve earle is a great guy, and a superb writer.

  2. Steve is the only songwriter I've ever encountered whose best, most innovative work came after age 40. Usually, you get people like Paul Simon and Bob Dylan and Suzanne Vega and even Townes Van Zandt, they hit age 40 and that's pretty much it. Their best, their most innovative work was when they were young and dumb and didn't know any better, and now they know too much and approach their work too mechanically, too much shackled by what they did in the past and by what they think a "good" song must sound like and either presenting re-workings of the same themes they've already done to death or going off and doing things they just aren't good at in an attempt to flee from what they did in the past. But Steve... my god, listen to Taneytown off of El Corazon. Or Amerika v. 6.0 off of Jerusalem. Or "Goodbye" off of Train a Comin'. Brilliant, brilliant work, done when he was well into his 40's. It's as if his stint in Purgatory burned the past away from him leaving nothing to hold him back.

    Meanwhile, Bob Dylan just kinda slurs along, doing good work from time to time but never the brilliant things he did when he was a young twenty-something writing the songs on Highway 61 Revisited. Paul Simon does good work from time to time too, but nothing to match the brilliance of his early Simon & Garfunkle work. Suzanne Vega's last brilliant album was 99.9 in 1992, when she was 33 years old, everything since then has been technically good but the past has her stuck like a fly in a spiderweb, buzzing, buzzing, buzzing, but getting nowhere fast (not that having four brilliant albums is a bad thing -- most songwriters don't have even one -- but that was all she had in her, apparently). Townes wrote his greatest and best songs, the ones he sang the most and that were covered by others, by the the time he was 30 years old. Laura Nyro was a freakin' *HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT* when she wrote her best stuff and was done by the time she was 24. I literally cannot come up with any other example of a singer-songwriter who did his or her best work in his 40's, though perhaps you can do so. But it'll take work, I bet!

    - Badtux the Music Penguin

  3. Um, my kid is embarrassed to admit that they are catchy.

    Fuggit, sometimes they are cute.


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