Since my iTunes library has 1845 "items" and my iPod currently has 286 songs, random songs selected by the 'shuffle' option can bring up a wide variety of the familiar and unfamiliar. Here's a sampling for today.
from the iPod library:
"Colossus" by Grey Area
Grey Area put out two proper records on Victory a few years ago and at the time, they were way more melodic compared to most hardcore punk bands. Maybe that's because vocalist/guitarist Ernie Parada was in Black Train Jack. I dunno: I've never heard BTJ since their Roadrunner albums are out of print.
"Beautiful Day" by U2
A song of hope. The chorus (with the soaring backing vocals and the escalating guitar riff) is the pearl.
"To Be Young" by Ryan Adams
Despite all the influence-aping Adams does on Heartbreaker, there are plenty of great tracks on here. "To Be Young" is one of my favorites, along with "AMY" and "Come Pick Me Up." I'm still not sold on those that say Heartbreaker is his best album though.
"Race for the Prize (Remix)" by the Flaming Lips
With the opening drumbeat and the keyboard/string hook, I get a warm feeling in the back of my neck. Steven Drozd's drumming is so tasteful on this track because he lets the orchestration do all the work as adds a wide variety of fills here and there. Definitely one of my favorite Lips songs.
"The More You Ignore Me, The Closer I Get" by Morrissey
This was my introduction to Morrissey. I had never heard of the Smiths before, so I had no clue who he was. When Your Arsenal was released, MTV ran a story on Morrissey on the Week in Rock. After the segment, I was left wondering why so many people were obsessed about this guy. I'm still wondering that today. From time to time, I think about Bill Nye the Science Guy's take-off, "The Harder You Push Me, the Faster I Go."
"Ladyflash" by the Go! Team
My friend Mark sent this song out about a year ago to his mailing list. I don't know why I initially passed up listening to it right away, but I found it my MP3 folder a few months ago and gave it a listen. A lovely little song that I'm positive it samples Archie Bell and Drell's "Tighten Up" even though the liner notes say otherwise.
"There's a Star" by Ash
From the first note, I always think this song belongs in an old James Bond movie. The big orchestral swells back up this nugget from Ash's "comeback" album, Free All Angels. The video (about a trek to get a Flying V guitar to play the song's guitar solo, I think) is pretty cool too.
"Hold on Hope" by Guided By Voices
A song that seems to be optimistic and pessimistic at the same time because of this line: "Everybody's got a hold on hope/it's the last the thing that's holding me." I'm still not sure which it is, but it's a slow ballad complete with piano and strings and one of Do the Collapse's highlights.
from the iTunes library:
"Bloodied Up" by Alkaline Trio
One of my favorite Trio songs, pre-goofy Gothiness . I love the double-time outro because it's rather off-the-cuff for the Trio. Maybe I should thank Mike Felumlee's drumming on this one.
"Joe Rey" by Fountains of Wayne
A song I've always thought was a play on the "doe ray me" melody. I think I'm hearing a guitar line similar to the Pixies' "Caibou" in the middle eight section, but I'm not sure. The acoustic guitar part at the end is a nice touch.
"Past" by Bleed
Thanks to John from the SOMB for posting this obscure track on his Petty Poets box set. The intro sounds like Metallica's "Call of Ktulu" and the rest of song like early Zao than anything else.
"Uptown Again" by the Afghan Whigs
From the Whigs' final bow, 1965, I think this song is about being confused in a relationship. As I keep listening to more of the Whigs, I'm realizing that this a frequent topic in Greg Dulli's songs.
"With Or Without You" by U2
One of most memorable videos I saw in third grade. The video is still great, but as I've gotten older, I've realized what the song is about (or what I think the song is about). A nice rewording of being between a rock and a hard place, especially since I don't really understand that line. Sometimes I think about Jawbreaker's hilarious mix of this song, "Sunday Bloody Sunday," the Misfits' "Skulls" and the Vapors' "Turning Japanese" as "With Or Without U2."
"Kentucky Avenue" by Tom Waits
A devastingly beautiful ballad from Blue Valentine introduced to me via Jeff's blog. The "So let me tie you up with kite string" part gets me every time. Plus, the final "New Orleans in the fall" line brings up a lot of memories of my childhood in the town. Now, if Asylum and Island would remaster Waits' back catalog, you'll be talking to somebody who'll have more than Used Songs in his CD collection.
"No Matter What (live)" by Jellyfish
A song I downloaded this morning from Jeff. I'm still not fully sold on Jellyfish, so I'm trying to hear as much as I can from these guys. This Badfinger cover is pretty solid: it sounds more like Big Star though.