Thursday, December 8, 2005

MUSIC: The Perfect Songs, Part II

More songs that make the world a finer place! Here was part one, and now for part two. Disclaimer: Perfection is subjective; your ears are different than mine, et cetera. Here's three of my Perfect Songs, in no particular order --

Image hosted by Photobucket.com4. "You Ain't Going Nowhere" by Bob Dylan. Totally mixed up in my head with real life. Back in the mid 1990s there was a great little vegetarian type restaurant in Oxford, Miss., where I went to college called the Harvest Cafe that all my friends and I often ate at. They closed in 1996, and had a big ol' throwdown blast to bid farewell. A bunch of local musician friends and guests all had an impromptu jam session at the end of the evening, and the final song of the night was this Dylan gem, which I don't think I'd ever even heard before. About saying goodbye to things familiar, the company of friends on a fine evening, music on the front porch and sweet Southern summer nights. Every time I hear this song I'm back in that restaurant, and everyone is young forevermore. "Whoo-ee! Ride me high / Tomorrow's the day / My bride's gonna come."

Image hosted by Photobucket.com5. "Station to Station," by David Bowie. At ten minutes long, it's the longest track Bowie's ever recorded, from the 1976 album of the same name. Written in the depths of his cocaine addiction, it's a frenzied, soaring epic of a song, one that takes you from crisis to apocalypse to redemption again. It's the sound of a man finding his way out. It starts slow and chugging, with the noise of a train, a rhythmic bounce. There's not even a vocal until three minutes in, as Bowie's Thin White Duke croons, whispers and shouts his way along the path of discovery. For anyone who's been down and out and trying to escape the cycle, here's the soundtrack. From an artist who frankly could take up half the songs of my personal Perfect Songs roster, this might be Bowie's crowning statement, dancing in the ashes. "The return of the thin white duke, throwing darts in lovers’ eyes."

Image hosted by Photobucket.com6. "Positive Bleeding," by Urge Overkill. One-hit wonder time! This mid-1990s power-pop stylish band never really amounted to much -- their biggest hit was a Neil Diamond cover turned ironic in "Pulp Fiction," "Girl, You'll Be A Woman Soon." They had a couple gems on their 1994 mild hit "Saturation," none better than this gloriously upbeat, bouncy anthem to getting over it. "It" being of course, whatever knocked you down this time. Anchored by a gritty power chord guitar hook, a chorus full of "woo hoo hoo's" and "yeah yeahs" (no song ever went wrong with the woo hoo and yeah yeahs), and singer Nash Kato Elvis-meets-KISS voice, it's silly yet oddly invigorating, and a song that never fails to cheer me up a bit in its optimistic nihilism. You hurt? Everyody does, get up and move on. "Cause I can bleed when I want to bleed."

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