More drinking, more playlist and more stories!!

Started with two martinis tonight, so I'm gonna be honest up front:  I'm going to talk a lot more about each song.  Previously, I've given snippets but, fuck, it's been a hell of a week and I'm ready to explore my feelings...  Ha!  Well, explore some music and bask in the overarching glow that it gives me in my time of need.  And, amen, I'm in need of some fucking music-lovin' tonight.  Might be a strange journey we traverse together, but trust me, it'll be worth it.  I know I'm not the only one that struggles from time to time, so hopefully someone else can also get a little enjoyment out of the randomness that consumes my music listening whilst drinking.  Or when not drinking.  There's too much music and too little time.  Life always gets in the fucking way of enjoying things, so let's fully enjoy this hour of our night with a cocktail, beer or wine of choice and relish in the comfort of some well-crafted musical pieces.  Without further ado, lest I ramble like I always seem to, let's sally forth to the music!!  Just a quick note, though.  Fuck Sam Bradford for playing the game of his life on Sunday night.  Seriously, Fuck off Mr. Deer-in-the-Headlights look who has done nothing but disappoint his whole career.  I don't think he's suddenly great, but man, hell of a good time to play like he's never played before.  I feel like this will be the old "High Fidelity" thing of looking back on this game with reverence like someone looks back on the night their band opened for Nirvana.  He'll look back fondly but never relive a greater glory in his life.  Or maybe he was playing possum because he secretly wanted to get to the same city that housed Mary Richards, the fictional, but still actually coked-out, TV news anchor.  We'll probably never know the real truth, will we, Mr. Bradford?  Oh yeah, no rambling; Music!

1. Dixie Chicks - "There's Your Trouble"

Gotta start the night off easy.  This one is fun and the video is so deliciously 90's.  I loved all those women country artists who crossed over into the pop world in the mid-to-late 90's.  Shania, Faith, LeAnn, Deana and of course, those dang ol' Dixie Chicks.  Sidenote:  I wish Faith Hill was still doing the Sunday Night Football theme...  Carrie Underwood is also pretty to look at, but the new song... Meh...

2. Elliott Smith - "Angeles"

I know...  It's a little early in the night for a tune like this.  But I don't plan these out.  You're living this shit with me.  Welcome to my brain, the theme park ride...  I can't tell you how many times I've played this album and, indeed, listened to "2:45 A.M" at that exact time...  Sometimes depression and insomnia mix ever so sweetly.

3. Rilo Kiley - "Does He Love You?"

This fucking record, "More Adventurous," is some fucking record.  So many great songs.  "Portions for Foxes" is on my all-time-songs-I-love-to-cover-with-a-Rock-N'-Roll-band list.  That's pretty specific, but goddamn, I could listen to this record everyday.  Even the songs the dude sings aren't half bad.  The linked video doesn't sound the best, but man, this fucking song rocks so hard at the end; after Jenny Lewis' character realizes her misguided love.  I often think back on playing this shit (way louder than I should have been) in my shitty apartment in Madison, WI, also at 2:45 A.M., pretending to fall asleep as I tried to hide from my insomnia...  I'm much smarter now, as I know bourbon (or gin) is the answer.

4. Shakira - "Whenever, Wherever"

I immediately bought "Laundry Service" upon hearing this tune.  And, after seeing the video (on MTV, no less.  Yes, children, they used to play music on the Music TeleVision channel), I was hooked "thereover, hereunder."  I could literally (yes, you fucking Hipsters, actually literally) watch her dance in those leather pants and bikini top on loop til I die.  If I wasn't fucking writing this list, I probably would...

5. Nelly Furtado - "Turn off the Light"

One of the guys that I lived with in Madison, WI was a massive fan of Nelly Furtado.  I had originally heard that song about her being like a bird and thought it was OK.  It was kinda different from the other shit I was hearing on the radio at that time but didn't blow me away.  I was intrigued but didn't really follow through and get into it.  He eventually convinced me to give this record a chance.  This is the song that got me.  Her voice wasn't your typical bullshit pop star voice.  She wasn't just another random blonde, white chick.  She was foreign and sexy and shit.  And this song definitely wasn't another boring, trope-y pop song.  There is something happening here that is the combination of a bunch of cool shit and I can't help but love it, immensely.

6. My Bloody Valentine - "No More Sorry"

I fucking love this band.  I can't get enough of them.  Did they kill Creation Records?  Maybe, but if "Loveless" is the cause of that, then fuck it, it was worth it.  This song and their first full album "Isn't Anything" isn't quite the masterpiece that "Loveless" is but I quite often find myself often returning to it.  Songs like this one plus "Sueisfine," "Lose My Breath," "I Can See It (But I Can't Feel It)," etc. are brilliant and would be celebrated much more had they not somehow found another gear (the way in movies there is always another "magic" gear that somehow only the protagonist uses as they drive past the lesser characters and the villain of the piece) and blown everyone's mindgrapes with "Loveless."

7. The Mountain Goats - "Sept 16 Triple X Love! Love!"

One of the biggest disappointments in my life was narrowly missing out on opening for a solo John Darnielle/The Mountain Goats show back in 2005.  I was living in Madison, WI (God, Wisconsin must be on the brain tonight) and Jake and I were performing acoustically as Tyger that Sleeps.  We were trying to get a show at this place just off the UW-Madison campus called, well, I don't remember what the fuck it was called, but it was on State St.  (EDITOR'S NOTE:  It was the Catacombs Coffeehouse)  They liked our demo but wouldn't let us play the John Darnielle show since it was a 21 and up show (Jake and I were 20 and 18 respectively).  Such a let down.  We even went so far as to contact the Mountain Goats booking manager to see if they could get us on the bill.  No dice.  And, to top it all off, they wouldn't even let us in to watch the show...  I hope that place burned to the ground.  Or, I think it might've become a Subway; a fate much worse than death.  Either way, it wasn't even the most disappointing time I couldn't get into a show that year.

8. Great Lake Swimmers - "I Saw You in the Wild"

Cafe Montmartre, Summer 2005.  It was late summer, maybe September.  It had been hot most of that day but the clouds weren't looking particularly pleasant as the day transformed into night.  The show was first come, first serve and, as it turns out, Andrew Bird was much more popular than we thought.  It was Jake, my girlfriend at the time and me.  We excitedly headed over to see a Tony Dekker solo show.  Jake and I were hopelessly in love with the Great Lake Swimmers eponymous first album and were beyond excited to see this man at such an intimate venue.  Only we miscounted the men, Liz.  We got in line around 8pm, with the show at 9pm.  Shortly thereafter, it started to rain.  Slowly, the rain got heavier and heavier.  As we stood there getting soaked, amongst the other 50-75 people in line, the venue kept telling us they would let more of us in, in just a bit.  Turns out they also miscounted the men, and after standing in the pouring rain for the better part of an hour, we were told there was no more room.  The show was officially "sold out."  Dejected, drenched and thoroughly denied the aural pleasure we so desired, we headed home.  Jake headed back to the apartment.  My girlfriend at the time and I, already wet, walked to the JMP (James Madison Park) and swang on the swings in the rain, watched the fish and ducks in the rain, and generally acted like little children, splashing in puddles and running amok (we so rarely get to "run amok" as an adult).  When we got back to my apartment we were wet, muddy, tired and I had almost forgotten about my disappointment in missing the show.  And, at the end of the night, I still got laid.  So I have that going for me, which is nice...

9. Jens Lekman - "Friday Night at the Drive-In Bingo"

Remember when Pitchforkmedia.com was a reliable source for introducing and critiquing new music?  I recall buying everything they gave an 8.5 or higher rating and just fucking loving it.  They never missed.  They brought so many new artists and albums into my life, like Jens Lekman and his collection of brilliant pop tunes called "Oh You're So Silent Jens."  I played that shit like it was the cure for cancer.  I loved it.  I cherished it.  I gave away the only physical copy I've found just so another human could enjoy Jens' songs the way I did.  So, needless to say, I was pumped as fuck when I found out Jens was releasing a new record.  I had built up "Oh You're So Silent Jens" so much in my head, I didn't think anything new would hold up.  But it did.  I love this album and this song is by far my favorite; probably my favorite Jens song altogether.  Definitely my most played.  And trust me, that's saying a lot.  It's just so goddamn fun...

10. The Prodigy - "Firestarter"

I can't believe this wasn't the first song I put on a drinking playlist.  Two things:  First, I remember hearing/seeing The Prodigy on MTV2 late one night shortly after it was released.  "Breathe" was the first song I heard from them.  I don't know if I missed "Firestarter," or they actually released "Breathe" first in the States, but either way I fucking hated it.  My 11 year old brain couldn't figure out what the hell this was or why anyone would like it.  It was so fucking weird.  The two singers were all sorts of not-from-rural-Southeastern-Wisconsin and didn't quite compute in my tiny, still-evolving brain.  BUT, I couldn't stop thinking about it.  Shortly after, I saw/heard "Firestarter," once again on MTV2.  I still didn't like it, but once again, I couldn't shake the images and sounds from my head.  Then I saw the video for "Smack My Bitch Up" and I was in love.  It was such a dramatic music video and such a statement at around the same time shit like THIS was happening.  I bought the cassette, never told my mom about it, for fear she would take it away, and listened to it religiously on my Walkman while vacuuming the house or mowing the lawn.  At the time, I alternated only two tapes, "Fat of the Land" and Boyz II Men's "II," in my Walkman.  That was until "The Slim Shady LP" entered my world and I found the second tape I wouldn't tell my mom about...

Second, any Prodigy song always reminds me of one of the best nights of my life and how The Prodigy were the undisputed high point of that night.  My girlfriend and I were visiting my family back in Wisconsin and stayed for a couple of nights in Milwaukee.  We were close to Old World/3rd Street area.  We found a piano bar on 3rd that was a hoot and half.  After meeting another couple, one of whom was a former Canadian Metal Singer (the husband), we set off on the nights journey.  We tried a couple more bars before running into some random guy whose buddy was a bartender at another bar that had a DJ and dance floor, or some shit like that.  By that point of the night, dancing sounded like the best fucking thing ever in the history of the world, so we hopped in a cab with "random guy" and he made good on his promise.  He not only got us some free drinks, but brought us to a dance floor.  The DJ was awesome and dancing filled the rest of the night.  The floor was packed and people were in good spirits.  After a while, I mentioned to my girlfriend that it would probably be the best thing ever if he would play some Prodigy.  She urged me to ask Mr. DJ.  I was going to when I realized it was probably advantageous to our position should a pretty girl make the request, as he would, therefore, be more inclined to acquiesce.  So she ran up and chatted him up a bit.  I'll never forget the look on his face the moment she must have said the words "The Prodigy."  They were having a good little conversation, she had obviously complimented him, when suddenly, he was taken aback, in a good way.  He smiled and I knew then that we were in business.  He then did play some Prodigy ("Smack My Bitch Up") and it indeed was the best thing ever.  What more in life could you want besides a pretty girl, the Prodigy and a dance floor?  Fucking seriously...

11. Iron and Wine - "The Trapeze Swinger"

I've made it this far without mentioning the sentimentality bug.  Well, fuck...  I could regale you with interesting (or sort-of-interesting, depending on your own personal level of narcissism) tales about this song, but I could write 10,000 words on what this songs means, and has meant, to me.  This song defined a time, a place, a relationship, a bout of depression, A New Hope (ha!) and the way that I think about music and the notion that certain songs can actually soundtrack our lives.  There are quite a few records and songs I think of this way, but few are more integral and embedded than this one.  I won't go into it now, but suffice it to say, it was sad.  And happy, in remembrance.  And hopeful.  And truthful.  And long.  Somehow the experience, feeling, emotion and scars lasted longer than this song...  And that's a feat as there's nineteen thousand verses in this song.  And each one is better and sadder than the last; just like life...

Well, goodnight y'all.  I've barely the competence to speak, let alone write, so I'm out.  Til we meet again...