Song 120, Wednesday, 10/23/2013 -- I Want to Touch You by Catherine Wheel, written by the band. You can find a YouTube video of the song here. Like yesterday's tune, today's song is also about a complex emotion, though a much different one -- forbidden desire. The singer doesn't tell us why the object of his desire is out of reach but he makes it clear that the person he's singing about is often close enough at hand for him to touch, though he knows very well that he shouldn't. The band sets up a musical framework that perfectly matches the tension of the lyric, as the singer struggles to keep control over a desire that he fears may make him do something he knows he had better not do, but that he truly wishes he could.
Song 119, Tuesday, 10/22/2013 -- Down in a Hole by Alice in Chains, written by Jerry Cantrell. You can find a YouTube video of the song here. Sometimes the first time you hear a song, you get this sudden revelation - Wow, I can't believe no one else, including me, thought of the idea for this song before. I got that feeling the first time I heard this record -- as many times as I've felt like I was Down in a Hole, and as many times as other songwriters have felt the same way, still, none of us thought to put it into a song before Jerry Cantrell finally did. If you've been there, too, then you'll probably recognize how well this song nails down that feeling, if you don't already know.
Song 118, Monday, 10/21/2013 -- I Will Not Take These Things For Granted by Toad the Wet Sprocket, written by the band. You can find a YouTube video of the song here. The YT video visual is just a still of the Fear cover, but the song moves the video along pretty well in spite of a visual that doesn't move. Most songwriters understand, at least on some level, the power of music to convey emotions, and many songs have a very simple and powerful emotional message, often around anger or sadness. To me, this song comes across just as strongly, but in a more subtle way, as it expresses layers of emotion all tied to a core of gratitude and thankfulness, which is a more complex emotion. I doubt that I could name a song that expresses those kinds of feelings better than this one does.
Song 116, Saturday, 10/19/2013 -- Nothing to Say by Soundgarden, written by Kim Thayil. You can find a YouTube video of the song here. This song spends almost 4 minutes talking about having nothing to say, but in the emotional undercurrent conveyed by the music, and in the circles that the singer takes the lyrics around, you can feel that the singer has a lot to say, and he is actually saying it, but not putting it into words. Between the lines, though, the singer has plenty to say, and I recommend listening to hear what he has to say.
Song 115, Friday, 10/18/2013 -- Fireproof by Joe Giacoio, who also wrote the song. You can find a YouTube video of the song here. Joe and I have a history that includes me taking his picture and doing some design for his first CD, called Superman's Midlife Crisis, which contains the studio version of this song. You can hear and see some of Joe's truly impressive guitar work in the YT video, but because the video is live you might not get some of the lyrics to this song. I can tell you the lines tell a really funny story, in a way that Joe has turned into a true art form, and my favorite line is I lead a happy life, I know I'm fireproof. Perhaps the person in this song actually has some connection with the one from yesterday's song.
Song 114, Thursday, 10/17/2013 -- Prosthetic Head by Green Day, with words by Billie Joe Armstrong and music by Green Day. You can find a YouTube video of the song here. The YT video visual is just a still of the Nimrod cover, but the song really rocks out even if there's not much to look at while it does. I don't ordinarily like putting people down for being stupid and clueless, but in recent years a lot of them seem to want to parade before the rest of us, wearing that stupidity on their sleeves as if it were something to be proud of. In this song, Billie Joe neatly sums up the basic story of the simple-minded in a few short verses, in a song that seems very well suited for the present day.
Song 113, Wednesday, 10/16/2013 -- Machine Head by Bush, written by Gavin Rossdale. You can find a YouTube video of the song here. I really enjoy the Sixteen Stone album, although I don't claim to know the lyrics of the songs. When I hear this song, I don't know exactly what the singer is saying, but I connect it to one of my favorite machines, which is the one with four wheels. This song just happens to sound really good when you're riding in one of those four-wheeled machines.
Song 112, Tuesday, 10/15/2013 -- Fields of Gold by Sting, who also wrote the song. You can find a YouTube video of the song here. I've heard, and really enjoyed, thousands of love songs over the years, but if I had to pick the best and most romantic of all of them, I would probably pick this one. He did a lot of fine work with The Police, but I felt Sting reached his peak with Ten Summoner's Tales, which has become one of my favorite '90s albums.
Song 111, Monday, 10/14/2013 -- Get a Leg Up by John Mellencamp, who also wrote the song. You can find a YouTube video of the song here. I knew and liked John Mellencamp's music before Whenever We Wanted came out, but I remember quite clearly when that album appeared, with ads spashed all over buses and buildings in Manhattan. I liked the look of the package a lot, and everything I heard from the record sounded like Mellencamp had just taken his music up to another level. This song gives voice to an idea that is an entertaining fantasy for a lot of guys in their late teens and early twenties but rarely if ever a reality, as the songwriter here claims to have experienced. He may or may not have actually lived that night that went on and on, but I applaud him either way for a song that sounds this good.