One (or Two) For the Road

Silver Fox has a post up about road songs:

So one day, I’m in the passenger seat of some other geo’s truck, being driven from place to place through thick trees and over rutted and roily dirt roads somewhere in central Idaho, in search of particularly fascinating outcrops — any outcrops would do, given the number of trees and lack of visibility — and JS, the geo-type whose projects I was visiting, pulled two of his newly made road tapes out of the glove box. The tapes, filled with road songs, were meant to be played while on the road, any road. Brainstorming while we listened, all the while watching for outcrops, we came up with a million more road songs, and a rather loose definition.

A road song must contain a word pertaining to roads — road, highway, freeway, byway, street, interstate — or it can instead contain words pertaining to cars, trucks, semis, and railroads or railway cars. Travel songs without mentioning the roads or railroads or the vehicles don’t count, and airplane or boat songs are generally out. Exceptions to these rules may exist, but I can’t think of any.

And it occurs to me, there’s a perfect road song she may never have heard:

See? It’s even got the word “interstate” right there in the title.

And there’s a second song that doesn’t quite qualify as a road song, but it’s about being a long way from home, and it’s wonderful, and so it shall be included here:

Silver, my dear, if you enjoyed those, and wish for just a little bit more, let me know, and a CD shall be on its way to you directly.  The Peacemakers have plenty more where that came from.

Lyrics below the fold.

Lyrics for “Interstate”:

Well, the fact of the matter
There ain’t no facts involved
Take it further
It doesn’t matter
Well out here on the border
Ants drag bones across the hot dry ground
and over there at the trailer park
They got a million souls at the lost and found

Well you should have known better
Dead thoughts and lost horizons
And to take it further
It don’t get any better
Well out here on the border
Ain’t nobody asking questions
No I don’t need a miracle
But I could use a push in the right direction

Handgun and a bottle of Boone’s
and a “69” Ford and a new pair of shoes
Left from Boise Idaho ’95
When they crossed the state line
They were just in time to fall
Asleep at the wheel

Last fact of the matter
Never was no facts involved
And to take it further
It never really matters
Well out here on the border
Ants drag bones across the hot dry ground
and over there at the trailer park
They got a million souls at the lost and found

Handgun and a bottle of Boone’s
And a “69” Ford and a new pair of shoes
Left from Boise Idaho ’95
So I was just in time to miss
the Five O’Clock news
The velvet black Interstate was something to feel
Spent $5.99 on a stone cold meal
Another bottle of wine
I was feelin’ just fine
And when i crossed the state line
I was just in time
To fall asleep at the wheel

Handgun and a bottle of Boone’s
And a “69” Ford and a new pair of shoes
Left from Boise Idaho ’95
So I was just in time to miss
the Five O’Clock news
The velvet black Interstate was something to feel
Spent $5.99 on a stone cold meal
Another bottle of wine
I was feelin’ just fine
And when i crossed the state line
I was just in time To fall–

Handgun and a bottle of Boone’s
And a “69” Ford and a new pair of shoes
Left from Boise Idaho ’95
So I was just in time to miss
the Five O’Clock news
The velvet black Interstate was something to feel
Spent $5.99 on a stone cold meal
Another bottle of wine
I was feelin’ just fine
And when i crossed the state line
I was just in time To fall
asleep at the wheeeel …

Lyrics for “Mekong“:

Barkeep
Another Mekong please
Yes of course,
you can keep the change

A new glass here
for this new friend of mine
Forgive me, I forgot your name
Flip a coin
What shall we talk about
Heads I tell the truth
and tails I lie

Well I came all the way
From Taipei today
Now Bangkok’s pouring rain
and I’m going blind again
And I haven’t seen my girl
for fifteen thousand miles

But is it true
It’s always happy hour here
and if it is I’d
like to stay a while
Well as cliche as it may sound
I’d like to raise another round
And if your bottle’s empty
Help yourself to mine
Thank you for your time
And here’s to life

Barkeep
We need to go around again
One for me and what’s his name
My new best friend
Deal me in and I’ll
pick my cards up off the floor
I’ll see a lucky coin
And raise a pack of lies

Smile to the girl at the door
Another 4 dollar whore
But don’t look her in the eyes
She’ll break your heart

We came all the way
From Taipei today
Still Bangkok’s pissin’ rain
and we’re going blind again
And I haven’t seen my girl
in fifteen thousand miles

Well is it true
It’s always happy hour here
And if it is I’d
like to stay a while
Well as cliche as it may sound
I’d like to raise another round
And if your bottle’s empty
Help yourself to mine
Thank you for your time
And here’s to life

Well is it true
It’s always happy hour here
And if it is I’d
like to stay a while
Well as cliche as it may sound
I’d like to raise another round
And if your bottle’s empty
Help yourself to mine
Thank you for your time

Well as cliche as it may sound
I’d like to raise another round
And if your bottle’s empty
Help yourself to mine
Thank you for your time

And here’s to life
Here’s to life
Here’s to life
Here’s to life
Again

Words and Music

When Simon & Garfunkel songs get lodged in my head, they’re usually songs like “The Sound of Silence” or “Bridge Over Troubled Waters,” possibly “Mrs. Robinson” or “The Boxer.” They’re one of the bands my dad and I used to listen to together. Stuff like this makes you realize the ol’ dad is kinda cool after all. And excellent musical taste, when you ignore the country music.

“Richard Cory” is one of his favorites. It was one of my first hints that he actually liked poetry. It doesn’t get lodged in my brain nearly often enough:

Inspired by NP.

Things That Piss Me Off: Shallow Culture Edition

Back when Tarja quit Nightwish, I remember reading the band’s criteria for a new lead singer. They nattered a bit about great voice, etc., but above all, they said, the singer must be physically beautiful. With extra emphasis on the beautiful. And you know what? They ended up with someone gorgeous – who’s not a fucking patch on Tarja. She doesn’t have the voice for symphonic metal. That’s why our relationship ended when Tarja went solo.

What brought this to mind? George at Decrepit Old Fool found a gem:


Wow.

I’ve heard that the music industry is driven by how photogenic performers are, as much as by how the music sounds. But see if this performance by unknown Susan Boyle on a British talent show, doesn’t make you want to stand up and cheer. And be amazed by the emotional impact of unexpected difference between expectations and reality.

Only for a dear friend like George will I subject myself to idiotic British spinoffs of American Idol. And I’m glad I did. Susan Boyle has a double chin, a pug nose, a body that figures in few teen male fantasies – and a voice that belongs on Broadway. Fuck her lack of fashion sense. To hell with cultural ideals of feminine beauty. It enrages me that a voice like hers got confined to her shower and a circle of friends just because she’s not a physical knockout. Besides, don’t these shallow little money-grubbing record execs realize that two hours with Stacy and Clinton would turn her into a supermodel? If physical appearance is that damned important, fucking hire somebody to solve the problem with some clever clothes and makeup tricks. Or maybe, y’know, stop being so fucking superficial.

Listen to this and tell me this woman doesn’t deserve a CD just because she’s not a pin-up:

Great music transcends physical appearance. You only need a great body if you have no fucking talent. And I think the response to this woman proves that in spades.

I’ll tell you what delighted me about this, aside from the fact that Susan Boyle is one of the only people who’s ever sung Fantine right and the fact no one expected her to because they were too busy laughing at her frumpy appearance: the expression on Simon Cowell’s face. Mind you, I’ve always liked Simon. I’ve a soft spot for absolute bastards with British accents. But usually the poor man looks tortured. He genuinely loves music, which probably goes a long way towards explaining why he’s always so acerbic. Wouldn’t you be were you in his shoes? And while the other two judges were reacting with shock, awe and tears, he just sat back with a blissful smile that said he’d been transported. This was what he’d been waiting for. Yes, I melted. I likes to see Simon happy.

Simply outstanding, all round.

Feasts for the eyes are nice, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that physical beauty doesn’t have its place in the list of Things That Make Life Worth Living. But it’s not so essential that it trumps all other glorious talents. Susan Boyle could’ve had running sores and an ear growing out of her nose. It would’ve ceased to matter the second she opened her mouth and sounded that first ethereal note. There’s beauty, and then there’s beauty, and I don’t want some jackass denying us such auditory euphoria simply because he thinks only sexy bodies sell.

There’s a fan club, by the way. C’mon over and join the rest of us who love a lovely voice.

Celebrate

I need a little beauty, and something to celebrate. So the words of this song may not on the surface offer much to celebrate, but letting the world begin again sounds like a damned fine idea to me, and besides, listen to Vibeke Stene’s voice.

If that isn’t something worth celebrating, nothing is.


Tristania – The Modern End – Tristania

Camera angles
decadence of a dying world

Matchsticks

Long dark corridors

They’ve got the urge to die young

Deepbluelettering

Carousels and fireworks

Ferris wheels
are spinning in the arc-lite city
Do they know
They have slept for so long

Do they know

The taste of their tongue

Do they know

They are trapped
Let’s celebrate the modern end
Let the world begin again

Celebrate the renaissance man

Ha! Proof!

I’ve always said that black metal was modern-day classical music. The complexity and richness of it matches the greatest works of Beethoven and Mozart. Once you’ve gotten over the shell-shock of the death-grunt vocals and the double-bass, the beauty and sophistication of it becomes gloriously clear.

And now I have proof that these genres go together like wine and chocolate:

Meet one of my new discoveries, a band named Haggard. Their total awesomeness can’t be comprehended unless, like me, you love Dimmu Borgir and Rachmaninoff equally. Most black/death/doom metal bands haul around synthesizers to get their classical elements going. Haggard wins my adoration for hauling around actual classical instruments.

They prove that classical melodies and death grunts go quite well together. Have a listen:

I’m loving them. Where have they been all my life?

As you lot are my witnesses, if Chaos Lee tells me he’s known about Haggard all along but never introduced me, I shall beat him soundly with a cello.

The Sound of Silence – As You’ve Never Heard It

I’m having one of my gallops through the playlists sites looking for new music with which to feed my Muse, and I have discovered one of the most awesome things evah. I never expected the monks who did Chant to start doing covers of popular rock songs, and when I found out they were I expected it to be teh suck.

But I clicked anyway. And, damn.


The Sound of Silence – Gregorian

Gorgeous, isn’t it? Fair left me gasping in awe, that did. But then, I’m a sucker for the big, rich sounds.

Of course, the original is still classic:


The Sound Of Silence – Simon & Garfunkel

Simon and Garfunkel – one of the greatest gifts my dad ever gave me. We used to sing The Boxer together. Well, we used to sing them all together – and until you’ve heard a bullfrog and a treefrog singing Bridge Over Troubled Waters, you’ll have no way to imagine what that was like.

One more for ye. Way back before the Intertoobz made it possible to look things up, I’d only heard a friend describe what it was like to hear Queensryche cover Scarborough Fair. “The original’s like a fall day,” he said, “a little bit melancholy, kind of nostalgic. Well, the Queensryche version’s like a winter-blasted hillside and it’s suicidally depressing.”

Well, with a description like that, I absolutely had to have it. I spent years trying to find the single it was the B side to. Now, with the magic of the interwebz, I can let you have a listen right this minute: