It's a new week and I think it's time for another iTunes shuffle.
"You've Got So Far to Go" by Alkaline Trio
One of my favorite songs from Maybe I'll Catch Fire. Bassist/vocalist Dan Andriano's lyrics about spending time with a special person, complete with filling an ashtray twice and emptying every bottle in the place, are a nice touch. I've always taken it to be a song about a conversation between two close friends in which one of them has a lot to learn about life. I've had a few of these kinds of conversations in the last few months.
"Christmas Time is Here" by Chomsky
This is one of my favorite Christmas songs successfully remade as a Chomsky tune. I especially love the sleighbells.
"Don't Give Up" by Petula Clark
Here's a song that I first heard on a station I used to read traffic for. Along with Gordon Lightfoot's "Beautiful," Don McLean's "Castles in the Air," KAAM introduced me to other wonderful tracks like "Don't Give Up." Like a number of Clark's songs, her lyrics come from the angle of a supporting friend (something I can relate too). Plus, I love this kind of mixing of adult contemporary pop with uptempo rock.
"I Don't Wanna Grow Up" by Tom Waits
I first heard this song on Beavis & Butthead. I wondered which planet this scraggly old man with a raspy voice came from. For years I preferred the Ramones' version of this song, but with my recent fixation with all things Tom Waits, I've grown to really love this version too.
"Helium" by Feeder
Feeder is a generic modern rock band that's also really good. Vocalist/guitarist Grant Nicholas has his way of making really memorable melodies out of a played-out genre. "Helium" is one of the heaviest tracks on Comfort in Sound, the first record they did following the suicide of drummer Jon Lee. This whole album is definitely mournful, but also honest and optimistic.
"Rise" by Public Image Ltd.
Another song I had first heard on Beavis & Butt-head. When John Lydon says, "I could be black/I could be white," Butt-head yelled, "You're white!" It wasn't until I saw The Rules of Attraction in Chicago that I realized how awesome this track is.
"I Want to Know What Love Is" by Foreigner
A song I heard so many times back in the '80s and continue to hear in dentist offices. Yes, it's a sappy ballad from a corporate rock band that felt it was a mistake, but this song is still really good.
"Only Lie Worth Telling" by Paul Westerberg
The jury's still out on how I feel about Westerberg's rough-and-tumble material on Vagrant Records, but this is one of favorites of his. It's a soft song with some really savage (but honest) lyrics.
"Song for the Dumped" by Ben Folds Five
A funny little song that softens the blow of rejection. What's even funnier is the alternate version with the lyrics in Japanese. Thankfully it was included on last year's reissue of Whatever and Ever Amen.
"To Be Young" by Ryan Adams
One of my favorite songs from Hearbreaker. Adams seems to ape his influences on this record. On this song, he's aping Rolling Thunder-era Dylan and he does it really well.
"O, I Need All the Love" by Josh Rouse
I song I downloaded from the one and only, Jeff. I have yet to check out the record this comes from because I have yet to fully devour Rouse's other material. He's definitely one of the better solo singer-songwriters out there.
"It's the End of the World as We Know it (and I Feel Fine)" by R.E.M.
A karaoke favorite of your's truly. Surprisingly, it doesn't take any alcohol for me to do this one; I sang it so many times on the back of the band bus that I know it by heart.
"Hungry Wolf" by X
A great example of the power of John Doe and Exene's harmonies. Separately, their voices are total opposites, but combined, they are really special. I get chills when the chorus kicks in.
"Plans" by Bloc Party
As of late, this is a song that I've been playing a lot of in the car. I love the wobbly guitar lines and the stomping drums.