I plan to write a list once a week, similar in some ways to the great music lists by Sadi.
After this week this list will be getting even more diverse as, via Ruckus, I’m trying out some new bands. If you have a band you think I should check out, give me the name and I’ll give them a spin.
Keep in mind I pay more attention to the lyrics — especially if they are disturbing — than the music. That’s just the way I roll.
1 – “I Am the Greatest” by A House
This song has the best lyrics, full of cockiness and wit. This Irish band should have been so much bigger than it became. I’d take them over U2 any day.
The music business is incapable of bringing music
to the future, as it sits just waiting to pounce on any third rate trend,
milking it to death, once again putting money where the music is not. I only
wish I was born before all the great ideas were used. While I struggle to
working around this, the most annoying thing is watching other people succeed
through stealing them. I could have been a legend in my own time; I could
have sold a lot of records; I could have enjoyed it as well. I could have
been a lot of things. One thing that I know I am and will always be: I am the
Yes, much of it is like that, almost more talking than singing, but what he has to say is so fascinating that I love it.
2 – “Pride (In the Name of Love)” by U2.
I have issues with U2. I liked the band’s earlier albums when the songs were political and direct. War and The Unforgettable Fire were my two favorite albums. The Joshua Tree was excellent too but that’s when they started to transition into being more mainstream.
Then with Achtung Baby and Pop I just had to give up. Bono’s whole pose, with the sunglasses and mocking being a pop star while also being one, got old fast.
But I still love some U2 songs and one of those is this one. It helps that the song is about Martin Luther King, Jr., a hero of mine both for his beliefs and actions.
Early morning, April 4
A shot rings out in the Memphis sky
Free at last, they took your life
They could not take your pride
I remember singing that song to myself back in U.S. history class, back when I should have been paying more attention to the lectures. And now I’m going to be teaching social studies or history. Poetic justice?
3 – “Captain” by Kasey Chambers
I was thinking about my first exposure to this artist. It was at South by Southwest in Austin three years ago. That’s like the best music festival for seeing up and coming bands and artists. Chambers was an unknown and was playing in the backyard of a thrift store.
As she sang, people planted in the audience were handing out a free sampler of her CD. At first I thought someone was just sharing but I soon realized they were managing to get a CD in the hands of everyone there.
Chambers sings alt country with a twist since she is from Australia. She sang some great original tunes plus some excellent covers.
But her best song – and the one that made me an instant convert – was “Captain”
Well i don’t have as many friends because
I’m not as pretty as I was
I’ve kicked myself at times because I’ve lied
So I will have to learn to stand my ground
I’ll tell ’em i won’t be around
I’ll move on over to your town and hide
And you be the captain
And i’ll be no-one
And you can carry me away if you want to
4 – “Rocking In The Free World” by Neil Young
I have been hearing good local musicians do excellent covers of this song and each time I’m reminded of just how good – and damning – his lyrics are.
I see a woman in the night
With a baby in her hand
At an old street light
Near a garbage can
Now she put her kid away,
She’s gone to get a hit
She hates her life, and what she’s done with it
There’s one more kid that will never go to school
Never get to fall in love, never get to be cool.
Keep on rockin’ in the free world,
Keep on rockin’ in the free world
Keep on rockin’ in the free world,
Keep on rockin’ in the free world.
5 – “Brutal Equation” by Consolidated
I went through my punk stages and my techno stages, enjoying artists ranging from Bad Religion to Seven Seconds to Orbital and Chemical Brothers. One of my favorite finds along the way was Consolidated, a bay area band with political lyrics.
I still wear my Friendly Fascism concert shirt which always gets interesting reactions as people see a flag and peg me in one category and then see the words “friendly fascism” and have to think about what the heck that means.
If anything Consolidated is too political, giving more attention to lyrics than to music. But they also take questions after their show and let critics not only have their say but include those critics as samples on future albums.
Take this sample as an example:
Powered by Sidelines
People! This ain’t no job, it’s a mission.
And we don’t give a fuck about recognition.
They can’t censor us with their threats and psychological war of attrition.
Being a commodity is weak.
But it might be our last chance to speak.
Try to get a simple point across but too often the message is lost.
Meanwhile, the industry continues to grind out the cheese whiz.
If that ain’t censorship, I don’t know what is.