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Tuesday , December 14, 2010
Heavy Rotation: Duran Duran, The Cure, Don McLean, The Modern Lovers, Brian Eno
Duran Duran, "Save A Prayer"
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Simon LeBon was one of my first big music crushes as a child of the 80s. Those eyes! Those lips! Those strangely arty lyrics! ("Cherry ice cream smile"!) "Save A Prayer" is a pretty underrated Duran Duran song, lacking the iconicity of "Rio" or "Hungry Like the Wolf." You can argue, though, that it's one of the few Duran songs with a fairly coherent lyric. At first you hear something about standing on a street and not wanting to be alone and you're like, "Rent boys! Duran Duran are hookers! That's why they don't wear shirts underneath their jackets!" But then a killer pair of lines nails it on the head: "Some people can call it a one night stand/But we can call it paradise." (Have you seen the video? I don't see much of a one-night stand in there, just lots of paradise. Confusion!) "Save A Prayer" is still moody and seductive, although I don't know how any Duran Duran song can top "Rio," which features one of the few palatable uses of saxophone in 80s pop music. (Kat)
The Cure, "Why Can't I Be You?"
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The Cure may been moody Goths whose Gothiness has been lionized in pop culture, all the way down to the the Mecha-Streisand ep of "South Park." But they still had a fine sense of humor, as proven by the buoyant ridiculousness of "Why Can't I Be You?" and its super-adorbs video, complete with animal costumes and choreography. Bands! Put more choreography in your videos!!!!! (Kat)
Don McLean, "Vincent"
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On Tuesday night I watched The Runaways for the second time and I've got many favorite parts but my third- or fourth-favorite is when the girls are all driving back from a gig and "Vincent" is playing on the radio on Dakota Fanning's staring sadly out the window and Lita Ford shuts the song off and Dakota Fanning turns it back on and Lita Ford's an irascible bitch. The Runaways is such an asshole about Lita Ford, which is sort of a shame, but anyway: this song's a zillion times better/sadder/sweeter if you think of some hellbound teenage bombshell crying in the back of car, and not about how Don McLean's really singing about goddamn Vincent van Gogh. Why would anyone ever write about Vincent van Gogh, when you could write about Dakota Fanning instead? I'm serious. (Liz)
The Modern Lovers, "I'm Straight"
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The other night my friend addressed me as "Hippie Johnnie," which is my favorite thing that's ever happened since Saturday night at midnight when Steven Tyler drove past me at a bus stop with a rose in his mouth. So please everyone call me "Hippie Johnnie" all the time from now on; I'm totally cool with being the "I'm Straight" villain. (Liz)
Brian Eno, "Dead Finks Don't Talk"
For about three days two weeks ago, I thought I hated the Beatles, and it was the bleakest shit in the world. As it turned out, I don't hate the Beatles. I do, however, hate a lot of things about the relationship with the Beatles I have crafted for myself over the years; in particular, the way I have taught myself to perceive "The Beatles" and "myself" as being just one thing, that my interest in this rock-and-roll band has become intrinsic to my self-identity, that I have encouraged others to see me this way. I do think that subconsciously I have done this to make myself seem bigger to myself, to feed off the Beatles' greatness, and I think that's juvie and self-loathing and I have renounced it. I am a self-contained human being and the Beatles mean nothing about me, although I certainly mean something about the Beatles: that the Beatles are good at art. The initial shock of seeing through most of what I once believed to be true, particularly the Godlike status I have attached to these men, or records, or songs, was understandably very intense for me, and I would like to take this moment to express my eternal gratitude to the last three songs on Here Come the Warm Jets by Brian Eno for holding my hand though my short-lived maybe-Beatles-hating hayride, and also for helping me debunk my own inclination toward emotional extremism, and for allowing me to see that music is music and the Beatles wrote some of the best of it, but also that I probably do love these three songs more even than "Rain," which is my favourite one the Beatles wrote. And I feel really okay about loving James Joyce more than Brian Eno or the Beatles or any music ever, because I'm a writer, and the most important lesson I have gleaned from all this is that, to me, the best music can ever sound is like words. (Laura Jane)
Brian Eno, "Back In Judy's Jungle"
Sometimes, in life, I have to wake up at five-o-clock in the morning to go dress baby mannequins, and it's weird. I mean, in the grandest scheme of the world, it's not that weird- baby mannequins exist, and they can't be naked. Somebody's gotta do it! And it's me now. It's just weird that 75% of my job is performed from within a state of delirious exhaustion, and it's weird how comfortable I've become with being deliriously exhausted, and it's weird, the thoughts you think while deliriously exhausted, or how terrible my feet hurt when I'm walking home, and I really can't blame people for thinking I'm addicted to heroin, if they do. Do they? Point being, the "This is the sound that they heard" part of this song makes me imagine myself dancing a dance sequence involving many knee-bends, often in pretend-rewind, and the best thing that has ever come out of being deliriously exhausted was when it made me imagine the baby mannequins dancing marchingly behind me like a comet's tail, in the air, and the whole spectacle would be very wonky-militia-inspired, and also like "Octopus' Garden," an undersea adventure co-starring soap bubbles. It's so exciting, guys! It's so exciting. I think this song picks up exactly where "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" left off; one of my favourite things about Brian Eno is that it sounds like he listened to everything that was good about the Beatles and thought, "How can I make this better, and weirder, and more sophisticated?" and then he did. But there's no Ringo in Brian Eno, which is why he never became as charming or famous as impressive as they did, and the other thing I wanted to say about Brian Eno is that his lyrics exist entirely as a function of the music, like they are just another instrument, and I believe that this is how it should be. You don't see writers trying to be all savvy at guitar behind their novels, now, do you? (Laura Jane)
Tags: baby mannequins, Brian Eno, dance sequences, delirium, Don McLean, Hippie Johnnie, James Joyce, Laura loves the Beatles, seeing through everything you believe to be true, Steven Tyler, The Modern Lovers, The Runaways, writing vs. music
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