Sunday, January 28, 2007

Five Songs, Chapter Eighteen

"Escape from New York" by Chris Mills

I very randomly selected these five songs (the equivalent of dragging your finger down a page in the phone book and then suddenly stopping), because trying to come up with some more conscious method seemed too taxing. But it's telling that this was the first one I landed on. "So say goodbye to all that you love best and hope we find it all again somewhere out west" or "If we had a car, I think I could still drive / From here to the Berlin Wall, at the bottom of the ocean" or "And it's late, but it's not too late / We can still make our escape / And though it's sad, it's not that sad / 'Cause soon the memories of the hard times that we've had will be like city lights all fading." Hmm. Somehow I don't think it's that easy, but it's a damn nice sentiment.

"The Falls" by Hudson Bell

OK, forget the random choices. I think I've picked up on a theme. Speaking of driving, though not at the bottom of the ocean (that's just not safe), this song starts noodly and builds to a moment where the guitars grow louder and tighten up while Bell sings "You're driving through the mountains, listening to a song." At this moment, not driving through the mountains becomes quite a painful experience. Put another way, I'm convinced "The Falls" is not ideally heard in a studio apartment in Brooklyn. But alas, there aren't any mountains very close to here and I really like the song.

"Warmest Part of the Winter" by Voxtrot

I've been listening to this a lot the past few days, including on a bus trip today from the Philly area back to New York. In addition to its other fine qualities, I'm here to report that it makes for a damn fine soundtrack for looking out the window of a Greyhound on the Jersey Turnpike. I don't know if it's going to be on the full-length they're releasing this year or not, but right now it's available on some compilation that iTunes has. My favorite song of theirs, I think (Voxtrot, not iTunes), and at 99 cents for more than six minutes of goodness, it's well worth it.

"Underground" by Ben Folds Five

Being the type of young man I was, ha ha, I would often spend my long drives in Texas listening to pretty maudlin stuff. But one time, driving back to Dallas from Austin after covering some sporting event or other down there (I think it was a high school baseball game; it was a glamorous life), I realized how this band's giddy debut was a much more spirit-lifting choice at 75 miles per hour. Also, I think that was the drive during which I first noticed this priceless lyric in this song: "And we'll be decked in all black, slamming the pit fantastic / Officer Friendly's little boy has got a mohawk and he knows just where we're coming from."

"Car" by Built to Spill

Because it's one of my favorite songs of theirs, and because the title, at least, reflects the theme.



Blogger Fox said...

The lyrics from “Escape From New York” that you quoted are catchy, I’ll admit. But (and this is going to date me) I have never heard a better line that the one from “Glow Worm”, sung most famously by the Mills Brothers, to whit and with a swing beat; “Thou aeronautical Boll-weevil/ illuminate yond woods primeval.” Very hard to beat.

1:07 AM  

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