FMD: Pepper’s readings

Pepper emailed me this quote from Eula Biss's book Notes from No Man's Land:

Each of us has certain clichés, I suspect, to which we are particularly vulnerable, certain songs we are compelled to play over and over again, certain words that undo us with their simple syllables. For years now I have been unable to think clearly if the lyrics of “Sweet Home Alabama” are within my hearing, or “Take Me Home, Country Roads”, or even “Long Walk Home”.

My only other though was asking for more WGOM canon nominations, but I like Pepper's idea better, even if I don't exactly get what kind of power these songs have over Bliss. Does she like them? Hate them? Are they super-earworms?

If you can figure it out, share your own. Or just any random ten. Whatevs.

70 thoughts on “FMD: Pepper’s readings”

    1. I think the Fleetwood Mac one works the best.
      They left a lion on the Marley cover they should have replaced with a kitten.
      Missed opportunity: Andrew W.K. I Get Wet

  1. 01. “Beachy Head” – Throbbing Gristle20 Jazz Funk Greats
    02. “Crimson & Clover” – PrinceLotus Flow3r
    03. “Closer” – LowThings We Lost In The Fire
    04. “The Dead Flag Blues” – Godspeed You! Black Emperor F# A# ∞
    05. “Ebony Eyes” – Stevie Wonder Songs In The Key Of Life
    06. “To Call My Own” – Golden SmogWeird Tales
    07. “Childhood” – Beach HouseBeach House
    08. “New Mama” – Neil YoungTonight’s The Night
    09. “Purple Toupee” – They Might Be GiantsLincoln
    10. “I Will Return” – Warm Ghost Narrows
    B. “No Shade In The Shadow Of The Cross” – Sufjan StevensCarrie & Lowell

    1. 1. I've never seen Throbbing Gristle here from anyone other than myself.
      And all I've ever had was their last (as in, final) album.
      What do you think of this?

      2. Is this a Tommy James cover?

      Very interesting list.

      1. 1. Leaves something to be desired as a Jazz Funk album. It's... I'm not sure. I've got through it a few times, and have yet to fully form an opinion.
        2. Yes.

        1. 1. Heh. You may also notice that the album only has ten tracks. Looking at their albums before this, there's no First Annual Report and Third (and Final) Annual Report was not final.
          2. Well then I had to listen to it. Finding Prince music online requires following hits to internet backwaters. "Wear protection and bug spray. Have your epi-pen ready." Work's wall didn't block it, so that's good.
          Anyways, I'm a bit unimpressed with the song. Not Princey enough, going to the affected vox straight out the gate.

    2. I'm almost a little disappointed that Sufjan seems to be going back to light folk. I like Illinoise better than Age of Adz, but I feel like if he had continued down the road of Adz, the album he might have produced had the potential to be more interesting.

        1. Illinoise and Age of Adz are kind of separate animals for me, and I enjoy them both on their own merits (I just got into AoA a few months ago, and I've been listening to it obsessively ever since). When I heard a new album was coming out, I, too, was hoping the crescendo would continue and was a little disappointed to hear he was cutting back down. However, after listening to the song he released*, I've decided I'm still looking forward to it. I enjoyed Seven Swans a whole bunch, and if the whole album has the same texture and poignance as that bonus song, I can live with it.

          I saw someone speculating that this could basically be the Oregon album, as there are many lyrics and references to places in the area, and like Michigan and Illinois, it's a state were SS has personal history.

          *In regards to today's topic. there are plenty of songs, albums, etc. that take me back to certain places and times. Too many, actually, which is why I find difficulty listening to anything that's been in my library more than about 6 months (I believe I've discussed this). More to the point of the quote though, there are lines/phrases/passages in songs that, when combined with the tone of the song and the inflection of the artist, can just absolutely slay me. For example, in "No Shade in the Shadow of the Cross", the line "There's blood on that blade/Fuck me, I'm falling apart" is just... gah, it cuts deep.

  2. This is an excellent topic AMR and Pepper. I could write a 500 word treatise on this topic and Guided By Voices. (note to self, write a 500 word treatise on my love of GBV).

    Anyway I'll pick one. Game of Pricks. It's definitely in the high canon of GBV songs and I have 4 different versions of the song. According to the Itunes play count among the four versions I have listened to that song over 150 times. It's basically about a guy apologizing for being a prick, probably cheated on the whomever he's singing to. But the chorus is the kicker:

    And I never asked for the truth
    But you owe that to me

    1. Yeah, there's a thousand examples out there that I can't pick one of right now.

      I have been unable to think clearly if the lyrics of “Sweet Home Alabama” are within my hearing, or “Take Me Home, Country Roads”

      Funny, I never thought of either of these as being particularly deep songs.

      1. I think the chords and sounds strike something deeper than that. Just the personal meaning and memory of the song?

        1. My sense is that it's about songs that are the emotional equivalent of a punch in the gut for her--evoking homesickness, nostalgia, etc. It can't be coincidence that all three she cites have "home" in the title. She's a writer and not a musician (as far as I'm aware), so it's probably for that reason that she talks in terms of the lyrics rather than chords, melody, etc.

          I think Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" might be one of those songs for me. If it happens to play on the radio or in the background of a movie/tv show, despite my best efforts not to be moved, I'll almost inevitably end up in tears.

          1. For me, there's no particular theme or turn of phrase that triggers the type of feeling that she's talking about. For me, it's the specific nostalgic feeling that certain awful mid-90s CCM music gives me. It's nearly overwhelming at times.

            Listening to old Steven Curtis Chapman, for example, takes me directly back to drawing these grasshopper books I used make when I was 11. Scott Krippayne takes me back to trespassing in the woods behind my parents' land, walking around with my walking stick and my Walkman*. The music itself is mostly indefensible, but it's entwined so tightly with such great childhood memories that it'll be a part of me forever. I kind of like that.

            * I found that old Walkman a couple of years ago. It still works like a charm. Listening to some of the horrible old cassettes I dubbed off the radio pretty much engages this feeling like nothing else.

            1. I wonder what I would feel if I listened to my old radio-dubbed tapes. I could probably remember when the DJ would cut in and what the cuts sound like.
              The American Top 40 show (Casem or Shadow) played a lot of music that the local station wouldn't (or didn't yet). I often had my tape deck ready and recorded songs the first time I heard them.

              The only dubbed songs I really remember listening to a lot were R.E.M. "Drive" and Faith No More "A Small Victory". They were played in order, not on the top 40, but on a new music Thursday (?) segment on KDOG, right before I left for Deer Hunting that year.

          2. OK, because there's a song by Paul McCartney about a good holiday season that gives me the willies.

          3. I think "Nightswimming" by R.E.M. is also one of those songs for me. At least, it used to be. I haven't heard it in so long that I'm not sure whether it still has that effect.

          4. Maybe Roy Orbison's "Blue Angel" and Gene Pitney's "(The Man Who Shot) Liberty Valence".
            I've got clear images of THR (Dad) singing along to these records and he never sings. Not at church, not other places.
            It was an exciting time when we got the Aerostar back in 1986 (it was an '86 model: barely used!), and it had a tape deck and every few weeks THR would go over to his parents' house (RHR & GRR) and dub his LPs to tape one or two at a time. (Our stereo at home didn't work well for that.) Roy, Gene, Moody Blues, Simon & Garfunkel, Jimi, Herman's Hermits, Stones, Animals, Eric Burton...
            Roy & Gene were in the first batch. And Dad sang along.

    2. I've been thinking about this one all weekend. I love the reasons songs stick out, and the way it can come out of unexpected places sometimes.

      For me, Laundry Room by the Avett Brothers is the biggest one. It just always hits me, and I stop, and just... be with the song. Save It For A Rainy Day is another one that sticks out, but it doesn't hit quite the same depth that the other one does. Three Wooden Crosses always makes me tear up, but that's a song designed to do that.

      The other thought I had about this came from something that happened this weekend. I was on the road, listening to the radio, and Lonestar's Amazed came on. Normally I'd flip the channel because far too many wedding dances... ugh. But this happened to be the last song my brother-in-law played for my sister. It was late at night the day before she passed, I was in the room, and... I was immediately transported back there when the song started. I couldn't keep listening. Knocked me flat, out of nowhere. Someday I'll probably hear it again, but... wow. There are a few church songs that were played at her funeral, and when those have come up I'll find myself crying during Mass, but this was different. It was so out of the blue.

      1. I don't mean to trivialize, but I'm curious if it was the country version or the pop version? For me, the country version can still hit me sometimes, even though it has no symbolic importance for anything. But the pop version leaves me cold.

        1. I believe it was the pop version both times, but I don't quite recall for sure the one played in the hospital, and the one on the radio I switched before thinking much about it.

  3. New Graphic!
    1. Eric B. & Rakim “I Ain't No Joke” Paid in Full*
        a. Magnolia & Mourning Warblers “Songs” (Who Cooks for Poor Sam Peabody?)
        b. Common Pauraque “Song” (Stokes Western)
        c. Eastern Wood-Pewee “Song” (Cornell Essential Set)
    2. New Kingdom “Half Asleep” Paradise Don't Come Cheap
    3. I'm from Barcelona “Treehouse” Let Me Introduce My Friends
        d. Gray Catbird “Calls” (Cornell Essential Set)
        e. Brown Creeper & White-winged Crossbill “Songs” (Who Cooks for Poor Sam Peabody?)
    4. Current 93 “Why Did the Fox Bark?”* I Am the Last of All the Field That Fell
    5. Robert Randolph & The Family Band “Back to the Wall” We Walk the Road

    6. Natalie Prass “Never Over You” Natalie Prass
    7. Andy Stott “Passed Me By” Passed Me By
        f. Red-breasted Nuthatch “Vibratory Calls” (Cornell Master Set)
        g. Townsend's Solitaire “Flight Song” (Cornell Master Set)
    8. Trentemøller* “Always Something Better (Trentemøller Remix)” The Singles*
    9. Nine Inch Nails “A Violet Fluid” March of the Pigs
    T. Photek “Mistral” KU:PALM

    1. If you've never listened to this album, do it at least once just to recognize where so many samples you know came from.
    4. Intro poem "Truth Is One II" read by Norbert Kox. Which identifies my rip as from the European-UK CD version. (David Tibet enables collectors by releasing so many editions that vary slightly.)
    8. Vocals by Richard Davis. The Singles was a bonus Disc to The Last Resort. I didn't buy my copy fast enough, so I had to download the bonus disc illicitly.

  4. 01. In Flames - "Arttifacts of the Black Rain", The Jester Race
    02. Arch Enemy - "War Eternal", War Eternal
    03. Kalmah - "Using the Word", Swamplord
    04. Windir - "Saknet", Valfar, Ein Windir
    05. The Haunted - "Cutting Teeth", Exit Wounds
    06. Vader - "Revelation of Black Moses", Revelations
    07. Opeth - "April Ethereal", My Arms, Your Hearse
    08. Finntroll - "Segersang", Midnattens Widunder
    09. Moonsorrow - "Jumalten Kapunki/Tuhatvotinen Perinto", Kivenkantaja
    10. Kalmah - "Heroes to Us", Swampsong

    Holy crap, this might the most Scandinavian list I've ever generated.

  5. I saw this on facebook and figured I should save for a FMD. Upon further research, they're probably not a very good band (Finnish folk, covering a lot of songs that don't suit their style well), but the banjo-ing alone in this one merited a couple views.


    1. I thought it would be something like this...
      (Unfortunately, the Humppa version of Thunderstruck was taken down, preventing a direct comparison)

  6. 1. Miner’s Prayer – Dwight Yoakam
    2. Learning To Fly – Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
    3. Help You – Trampled By Turtles
    4. Monkey Bars – Jurassic 5
    5. Every Moment – Rogue Wave

    6. Shut Up – The Bloodhound Gang
    7. Manifest Destiny – Jamiroquai
    8. Pulse – Tim Reynolds
    9. Lil’ Ghetto Boy – Dr. Dre
    10. Blue World – The Moody Blues

    B. The Dance – Garth Brooks

    Kinda like hj & free, there are quite a few for me. First one that came to mind - for as long as I can remember, I've connected with The Temptation's version of "My Girl." I distinctly recall requesting that song at my cousin's wedding in maybe 1988 and I still go out of my way to listen to it whenever it comes on (or the mood strikes me).

    [edit] just thought of another one, "Rock With You" by Michael Jackson...

  7. My refurbished Zune bit the dust after 4 years of abuse. It was okay, but there were a lot of things I didn't like about it. Scrolling was done only on a very sensitive (even on the tightest setting) pad. and I'd often fly right past what I wanted. Alphabetical order included "The" and "A" which annoyed me. It crashed a lot. I also wasn't a huge fan of the software that came with it for organizing files on the desktop.

    What does the community recommend?

    1. I bought a Sansa Clip when I was looking for something to do just music. It doesn't have a lot of bells and whistles, but it has drag & drop music capability and you can expand it with a MicroSD card. And they're around $40. I've been happy with mine.

    2. I like my 160GB iPod Classic. Also, just about any smartphone can be a nice portable music player, assuming you have a nice big microSD and the right app.

          1. I am so very sorry.

            You could upload all of your music to Google Play, since there is an iPhone app. Course, I would only recommend that if you have an unlimited data plan.

      1. Love my 160 GB Classic. I've beat the ever-loving crap out of this thing over the past 8 years, and it still works and holds my entire music collection plus all the podcasts I'm going to listen to someday.

    1. "Pedestrian At Best" is a pretty kickass song. I haven't listened to "Depreston" yet, but I'm tentatively excited for her album.

      "Avant Gardener" was a pretty great song from her earlier stuff, so I think she could definitely make an album that I'd listen to again and again.

      1. I really liked "Depreston," but "Pedestrian at Best" is... er... the best.

        The interview/preview was great and reminded me to go preorder the album.

      2. "Pedestrian at Best" is really cool, but I don't know how much I could take of an album like that.
        Zack was sharing "the Wimps" with me last night, and I thought the same thing.

      1. Hey DG, I heard this song the other day, I think it was called "Pedestrian at Best" by Courtney Barnett. Just wanted to tell you, I think that song is great.

  8. Occasionally I have a song which I can rarely just listen to once. "Best Imitation of Myself" by Ben Folds is one where I'll usually repeat it after I hear it. I can't explain why. But I'm willing to bet that after a while I'll be sick of it and move on to another one.

  9. It's hard for me to identify really specific things that will trigger these types of feelings in me, but it's almost always stuff that relates to depression and the weird feelings I have about being an adult. A good example is from another song on the new (awesome) Colleen Green album:


    Cause there's an energy inside my brain
    Set to self depreciate
    Some impulse inside my mind
    Maybe I've got too much time
    Feel the urge inside of me
    Maybe compulsivity
    This curbed up anxiety
    Makes me do things
    I know are bad for me

    I've been really, really hung up on this song for the last week because I relate a ton to that little excerpt.

    1. I'm replying to this month old LTE to inform you that I listened to the Coleen Green album and liked it.

      "Deeper Than Love" is another good song from that album.


  10. * Late in the Day - Supergrass - In It For the Money**
    * Another Rousing Chorus You Idiots! - The Drones - Wait Long By the River and the Bodies of Your Enemies Will Float By**
    * Self Esteem - The Offspring - Smash
    * King of Comedy - REM - Monster
    * Tarantism - The Mars Volta - Frances the Mute
    * Koyaanisqatsi - Philip Glass - Koyaanisqatsi
    * Glass Boxes - DJ Mabel - The Ballad of Droney Curtis**
    * Stars - Angel Olsen - Burn Your Fire For No Witnesses
    * Many Shades of Black - The Raconteurs - Consolers of the Lonely
    * Here Comes a Regular - The Replacements - Tim**

    ** Discovered under Bootsy's influence

  11. Better late than never..
    1. AFI - "I Hope You Suffer" - Burials
    2. The Bottle Rockets - "Smokin' 100's Alone" - 24 Hours A Day
    3. The Kinks - "Revenge" - Kinks
    4. Belle & Sebastian - "She's Losing It" - Tigermilk
    5. Regina Spektor - "Ballad of a Politician" - What We Saw From The Cheap Seats

    6. Hank Williams Jr. - "Family Tradition" - Greatest Hits
    7. Plain White T's - "Meet Me In California" - Big Bad World
    8. Nirvana - "Very Ape" - In Utero
    9. Ingrid Michaelson - "So Long" - Everybody
    10. Tame Impala - "Be Above It" - Lonerism

    B. Mike Cooley - "Guitar Man Upstairs" - The Fool On Every Corner

    I think I have mentioned this before but I was in a living situation a few years ago that was awful, and one of my few escapes was using my ear buds in an attempt to drown out the outside. There are a number of songs that I listened to regularly around that time that still have that "punch me in the gut" effect of remembering, but there are also a few that helped me maintain a sense of hope as I navigated that time. I had a playlist that was saved on an old phone that does not physically exist anymore. I listened to it nightly for several months. I probably couldn't list the songs in order off the top of my head, but anytime I hear one of the songs from that list I invariably hear the intro to the next track in my head.

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