Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Archives Project: STL #26

Title: 50
Description: A few of my favorite songs (being a December tradition)
Publication Date: 22 December 2003

It's funny that when I was doing this I had many responsibilities to attend to, but the last several months I've had little to do yet can hardly seem to find the time to repost what I've already written. A couple of things to note: I'm currently in the middle of a listening project similar to the obsessive alphabetical working through I mention below. In this case I'm listening to a playlist of songs in my iTunes with a play count of zero. This actually comprises a lot of my old favorites that I would listen to a lot on CD, yet for one reason or another hadn't listened to via iTunes or the iPod, or in many cases hadn't even uploaded. This project might help me make a top 50 again this winter, which I don't think I've done since the following.

Just before sitting down to post this abbreviated entry, I put on Tom Ze's Hips of Tradition. Listening to this CD represents the completion of a year-and-a-half listening project.* That's right, it took me 18 months to listen to all my CDs, played in alphabetical order. That long span tells me one of two things: either I have too much music, or too little time. There are mitigating factors to consider; new CDs which I'd listen to several times, or CDs that I played in order but wanted to hear again. But either way, this vantage point provides a good excuse to resort to one of my favorite and most useless pastimes: list-making.

It's been a tradition of mine (well, this makes the third year) to compile a list of my favorite songs. The first year it was a top 50, the next year it expanded into a top 100, but this year it's back to 50, with a couple of arbitrary rules in place: first, that no 'artist' be allowed more than one entry. My other rule is that "songs" by defined as music with words, so no "Ruby My Dear." My informal guideline is to avoid snobbery-- to include songs that I like, and not ones I think I should like. Sometime in the future, I'll provide commentary on the various selections, but I've still got to pack for my trip home. In the nearer future, like next week, look for a year's best sort of list. This will be a list of those CDs that interrupted my mechanical progress by demanding to be played, and now. But now, my top 50 songs, countdown style:

50. Patches, Clarence Carter (1973) (up from #96 last year)
49. Good lovin gone bad, Bad Company (#67)
48. Strychnine, The Sonics (new!)
47. Living for the City, Stevie Wonder (new!)
46. Loretta, Townes Van Zandt (new!)

45. Far Away, Sleater-Kinney (new!)
44. Pissed off 2 a.m., Alejandro Escovedo (#91)
43. Sugar Baby, Dock Boggs (#69)
42. Kool thing, Sonic Youth (#56)
41. Flyby, Ice T (1991) (#57)
40. CCKMP, Steve Earle (1988) (--, #42 in 2001)

39. Gin & Juice, The Gourds (1998) (down from #23)
38. Losing Your Affection, FBH (#88)
37. Blue, Jayhawks (--, #39 in 2001)
36. Death Letter, Son House (#71)

35. Pale Blue Eyes, Velvet Underground (#53 )
34. Ace of Spades, Motorhead (#51)
33. Walking to You, ETBTG (--)
32. Enjoy the Silence, Tori Amos (#42)
31. I Just Wasn’t Made for these times, Beach Boys (#40)
30. It’s Tricky, Run DMC (--)

29. Suspicious Minds, Elvis Presley (#36)
28. By the Marks, Gillian Welch (1996) (--)
27. Born for Me, Paul Westerberg (--)
26. If I had Possession over Judgment Day, Robert Johnson (#49)
25. I Can’t Stand the Rain, Ann Peebles (#29)

24. Gravity of the Situation, Vic Chesnutt (#28)
23. More than This, Roxy Music (#64)
22. Back in Black, AC/DC (1980) Holy Writ (#26)

21. Tumblin’ Dice, Rolling Stones (1972) (#24)
20. Tonight I Think I’m Going to Go Downtown, Flatlanders (1972) (#22)
19. Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos, Public Enemy (1988) (#21)
18. Louisiana 1927, Randy Newman (1974) (#20)
17. Try a Little Tenderness, Otis Redding (1966) (#19)
16. In the Midnight Hour, Wilson Pickett (1966) (#15)
15. Best is Yet to Come, Sinatra (#46)

14. I Walk the Line, Johnny Cash (--)
13. Little Honey, Dave Alvin (1994) (#13)
12. Barrett’s Privateers, Stan Rogers (#14)
11. Black Eyed Dog, Nick Drake (1974) (#11)

10. Paranoid, Black Sabbath (--)
9. Train Song, Tom Waits (1987) (#5)
8. Breakfast in Bed, Duffy Springfield (1969) (#10)
7. Have You Been Making Out Okay, Al Green (1973) (#6)
6. Kiss, Prince (1986) (#7)
5. Tonight’s the Night, Neil Young and Crazy Horse (1975) (#3)
4. Divorce Song, Liz Phair (1993) (#8)
3. Idiot Wind, Bob Dylan (1974) (#34)
2. Tracks of My Tears, Smokey Robinson & The Miracles (1965) (#2)
1. Brompton Oratory, Nick Cave (1997) (#1)

Well, I see I have a lot of explaining to do. I'll start soon enough.

*I say "represents" because the assorted soundtracks and comps that are stored following the Z's make an anti-climactic finale, and I choose not to mention the ZZtop album. Although the trio's orthography makes a more definitive conclusion, they so lack Ze's hipster cache. But, as I am able to actually drive to LaGrange, you couldn't expect me not to do so, listening to the "how-how-how-how" as I rolled into town?


books: Watt (Beckett) Wittgenstein's Ladder (Perloff), Poetry in the Museums of Modernism (C. Paul) McSweeney's 12, The Believer

Movies: Two Towers, Return of the King, Band of Outsiders

Music: Sweetheart of the Rodeo, Randy Newman Songbook, Soul of Black Peru