Song 123, Saturday, 10/26/2013 -- Something the Boy Said by Sting, who also wrote the song. You can find a YouTube video of the song here. Getting back to my iPod '90s Favorites playlist, this is my favorite anti-war song, and it may be the best anti-war song ever written. Sting paints a nightmarish dreamscape of the truly dark side of war and the inevitable feast of the crows that always follows the fight, no matter how noble the cause of the fight is supposed to have been, according to the ones who gave the orders.
Song 122, Friday, 10/25/2013 -- Break the Same Heart Twice by Terry Kitchen, who also wrote the song. You can find a YouTube video of the song here. Friday being Friend's Day, today's song is by my friend Terry Kitchen, who's one of those Boston-area singer/songwriter types. Back in March of '93 I had a show to play in Cambridge and Terry gave me shelter from the storm at his nearby apartment. The forecast that weekend called for a major blizzard to hit early on Saturday morning. Playing a show at a coffeehouse on Martha's Vineyard Friday night, I made sure to get off the island early Saturday morning, but the flakes began to fall at I got on the road towards Boston. A drive that should have taken 45 minutes actually took close to 3 hours, with huge piles of white making it difficult to get around when I arrived at Terry's place, which he had dubbed Ice Station Zebra for my visit. Despite the blizzard and the troubles it caused, such as difficulties in freeing my van from the packed ice the following day, we had a fun weekend that involved playing a lot of music. About this TK song, from his 2009 Summer to Snowflakes CD, it covers some of the same territory as yesterday's song, although from a bit of a different angle. Imagine the person picking up after the storm and the experience of Loving a Hurricane then turning around and knowingly deciding to go through it again -- you might think it wouldn't happen, but I've seen it often enough, and obviously so has Terry, since he wrote a really good song about it.
Song 121, Thursday, 10/24/2013 -- Loving a Hurricane by John Hiatt, who also wrote the song. You can find a YouTube video of the song here. The YT video visual is just a bunch of stills of John, but the song moves pretty well even though the visual part doesn't. This song tells a very common story which most of us have seen from a distance at least once in life -- you see a couple getting together, and from your point of view you can see that one of the two, most often the guy, is a hurricane, and the other, most often the woman, is about to be on the receiving end of a very strong wind storm. Experience will usually teach you that it does no good to try to warn the person who has fallen in love with the hurricane about the mess that the oncoming storm will soon cause, and all you can really do is say, as JH does in this song, that's what she gets for loving a hurricane.
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.
Song 110, Sunday, 10/13/2013 -- Texture by Catherine Wheel, written by the four band members. You can find a YouTube video of the song here. The YT video visual is just a still of the Ferment cover, but the song is a genuinely moving experience, even if the visual isn't. Hanging out with a friend some time in '93 or so, I noticed that I liked the music he had on his player, so I asked and he told me it was a new CD called Ferment by an English band called Catherine Wheel. I liked it enough to go get the CD soon after I heard my friend playing it, and I felt pretty good about this particular music purchase well before I'd heard the whole record. On this song I really like the opening guitar riff, which might sound a bit familiar to some, because the notes come straight out of the opening of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony. I always enjoy hearing rock musicians pull riffs from classical music and reset them in a rock frame.