Regardless of whose fault it may be... a meme! And, more importantly, a way to kill a few hours while TheWife shops with TheMotherInLaw and the kids sacrifice yet another feckless cat at the altar of the purple God...
What song do you hear that takes you back to high school?
The first one that leaps to mind is Love & Rockets' So Alive. I vividly remember listening to the radio waaaay back in the day, hearing the DJ say, "This is the song that will bring sex back to radio," and then hearing this song for the first time. He wasn't wrong, and I... uh...
Well. Anyhow. Yes. Mmm. High school memories, indeed.
What song do you hear that really fills you full of regret?
Well, fuck, that pretty well describes about half the music I own. Regret, as they say, is a many-splendored thing... and I've got the CD collection to match. Where to begin? Let's go alphabetically, by artist:
A) American Music Club gives you so many wonderful ways to feel regret. For the sake of being able to move on to the rest of the alphabet, let's go with... Ex-Girlfriend.
B) David Baerwald's China Lake is ostensibly about poet Richard Brautigan - which, for those of you who know Richard Brautigan, should be explanation enough - but utlimately, that's kind of ancillary to your ability to appreciate the song. "The pain... and the shame... of surrender." Good times.There's a personal reason this song calls out to me (with regret, among other things) but we won't get into that right now.
C) Catherine Wheel -- Salt is one of my favorite songs, but every time I hear it I flash back to a time when - for about 2 months - I listened to virtually nothing but this song, over and over and over again. Not to get into details (because, primarily, it's not my story to tell), but someone I know died, and the way I dealt with it was to get lost in the great soaring waves of yearning and pain and anger and regret that, to my ears at least, weave their way throughout the fabric of this song.
D) Died Pretty's Towers of Strength shoots me back to the time when I first bought the tape (ah, the glories days of buying used cassettes): the summer I spent living in a welfare motel on Cape Cod as I tried to pull my life back together following a brutal, crushing breakup. I remember driving down Route 6 at night, not really going anywhere, the windows open and this on my tapedeck, feeling the humid air rushing over me, trying to make sense of things that, in retrospect, weren't really meant to make sense...
E) Elbow's Newborn is a 7+ minute epic about, among other things, the inevitable death of innocence. And who doesn't love that?
F) Filter's Captain Bligh, for reasons obliquely explained here.
G) Peter Gabriel's In Your Eyes, if only because I know that my window to become Lloyd Dobler - no matter how null and void I may feel - has closed forever.
H) Neilson Hubbard's Speedin' offers one of many examples of why Hubbard is one of the best artists you've never heard of. This song aches.
I) Idaho, like AMC, offers so many lovely ways to feel regret. Have you made Idaho a part of your life yet? If not... start with the title track from 2001's lovely and haunted Levitate.
J) Joy Division's Love Will Tear Us Apart may be an obvious choice - and one that will piss some people off - but if this song doesn't fill you with some kind of regret, there's something broken about you.
K) Kenna's Hell Bent is a nice enough song, but pair it up with a brilliant video originally created for New Order (at least, that's what I've read), and you end up with something honestly transcendent.
L) Lyle Lovett's She's Already Made Up Her Mind is about as heartbroken and regretful a song as you'll ever hear.
M) Bill Morrissey's Birches - from his brilliant Night Train CD - creates, with a Carver-esque eye for detail, an indelible picture of a marriage grown old and more than a little stale, where the accompanying undercurrent of regret is balanced by the memories of the passion that once was.
N) Not Drowning, Waving was a great, atmospheric Australian band that nobody I know has ever heard of. Albert Namitjira, off their terrific 1993 album Circus, is about the aboriginal artist of the same name and, in a larger sense, the way that the Aborigines basically got fucked over by Australia for several hundred years. (Despite the fact that this description sounds about as interesting as watching paint dry... this is a huge, dramatic, dynamic song. Seriously. Go spend the $0.01 and pick it up used through Amazon. You won't regret it. Probably.)
0) Oasis' big hit album What's the Story, Morning Glory and all the songs contained therein fill me full of regret (btw: I have serious issues with the phrasing of that question...) primarily because I regret the horrific number of times TheWife made me listen to it when it first came out.
P) Pink Floyd's The Final Cut - both the song and the album - pretty much exemplify the great, awful, painful manner in which regret can overwhelm and destroy your world. Tremendous album (except for Not Now, John, which makes my ears bleed whenever I mistakenly forget to skip over it).
Q) Queensryche's Silent Lucidity, which is a perfectly fine rip-off of "Comfortably Numb," but which fills me with regret primarily because my friend Swoosh plays it at least 6 times a day on his iTunes at work. Which I regret profoundly, and which he may as well if he doesn't fucking cut it out soon.
R) Red House Painters - aka the AMC or Idaho of the "R" section of the alphabet - offers the Baskin-Robbins of regret. Where to begin? Start with the Rollercoaster album, and build from there. The definition of sadcore.
S) Suicidal Tendencies Institutionalized, if only because I know that my window to become Otto - no matter how much I may feel like getting sushi and not paying - has closed forever.
T) Richard Thompson's The End of the Rainbow is the darkest lullaby of all time - "There's nothing at the end of the rainbow... there's nothing to grow up for anymore..." - and that's exactly why I love the man. When, you know, I'm not left incredibly depressed by his music.
U) Ultra Vivid Scene's The Whore of God is a dark and cynical take on theology from Kurt Ralske, who Spin magazine (back in the days when it mattered, as opposed to the craptastic "bible for hip 16-year olds" it is today) once referred to as a "one-man manic-depressive band." Which was, uh... pretty accurate.
V) The Verlaines' Take Good Care of It. Or, really, anything from their incredible (and I don't use that term hyperbolically) album Bird Dog. Sample lyric: "And I dream of being like I was before." If that doesn't equate to regret, I don't know what does.
W) Wheat's Slow Fade (from their first album... you know, the one that doesn't suck), which fills me with regret primarily because at 1:39 in, just as it's about to hit another gear and become the greatest song you've ever heard... it ends.
X) X' 4th of July because... well, because it's one of the best songs ever written. This is not open to debate.
Y) Dwight Yoakam's A Thousand Miles from Nowhere is somewhat out of character for me, as I'm not a country music kind of guy, but this isn't reallly country music (at least not in the classic sense) -- just a great, great song about a guy choosing to not deal with his problems (or regrets) by running away from them.
Z) Zebra, completing the alphabet of regret, with Who's Behind The Door -- which causes me regret through the realization that, at one point during my early formative years, I honestly believed this was the second coming of Led Zeppelin. Had I seen this video at the time, however, I think (or hope, at the very least) that I might have been dissuaded from that impression by the awe-inspiring cheese factor herein.
What song restores your faith in humanity?
Not a single song, but rather an entire album: The Brother Kite's Waiting For The Time To Be Right has shown me a capacity for hope and joy I didn't know I possessed.
What song truly makes you smile?
Tie: Rollins' Liar and Red House Painters' Lord, Kill The Pain. Very, very funny songs from artists not generally associated with a sense of humor.
What song can’t you wait to play for your kid?
Not really a future tense kind of question for me. I play 'em all kinds of stuff right now, and they generally seem indifferent except when I am moved to dance... at which point they either start laughing or screaming.
What song didn’t used to mean anything to you… and now it really does make an impact?
The Beatles' Eleanor Rigby... which I heard a million times growing up, and sounded like one of a million Beatles songs I heard a million times growing up and never really thought about... until it was recreated by an 8-foot tall bald guy in a leather bodysuit. And then, suddenly... I got it.
What song takes you back to college?
Hmmm. The Cure's Closedown takes me back to freshman year, when some upperclassman across the hall with very large, powerful speakers used to blast it - over and over again - almost every day. Sophomore year would be Peter Gabriel's entire Passion soundtrack -- which provided a very moody and evocative soundtrack to a very strange and dark year. Junior year... well, we're back to Rollins. Tearing will do the honors -- angry music + discovering beer = new me. And then, finally, senior year, when the Blue Nile's Saturday Night gave us the happy ending: "An ordinary girl... will make the world alright." Words to live by.
What song would be the first song on your iPod if you were stranded on a desert island?
Turn it on, push shuffle, and we've got.... Nine Inch Nails' Eraser. Terrific. A great way to begin my inevitable psychotic breakdown. I'm starting to have flashbacks to Survivor Type already.
What band influenced you the most?
Tough call, but I've gotta go with American Music Club. A popular choice, I know. What can I say... I'm nothing if not a mainstream kinda guy.
Well, that was thrilling. You? If you read it... consider yrself tagged.