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Friday, February 24, 2006
Seven Songs I'm Listening To Lately

Mr Ugly American tagged me with this post, asking for seven songs that I listen to currently.

Let me specify here that like a lot of other boomers, I listen to quite a bit less music than I did in the past. So these are some songs that I have made an effort to listen to lately:

1. Joni Mitchell, Big Yellow Taxi. I happened to hear this song the other day in a pizzeria and downloaded it from Usenet so I could listen to it again. Silly little anti-development song, but entertaining.

2. The Kinks, Apeman. From the brief "relevant" period of singles, this song captures perfectly liberal angst:

I think I’m so educated and I’m so civilized
’cos I’m a strict vegetarian
But with the over-population and inflation and starvation
And the crazy politicians
I don’t feel safe in this world no more
I don’t want to die in a nuclear war
I want to sail away to a distant shore and make like an ape man
I’m an ape man, I’m an ape ape man
I’m an ape man I’m a king kong man I’m ape ape man
I’m an ape man
’cos compared to the sun that sits in the sky
Compared to the clouds as they roll by
Compared to the bugs and the spiders and flies
I am an ape man.

3. Renaissance, Mother Russia. More serious stuff here, Annie Haslam and the rest of the band take on the Soviet Union:

Punished for his written thoughts
Starving for his fame
Working blindly, building blocks
Number for a name his blood flows frozen to the snow

Red blood, white snow
He knows frozen rivers won’t flow
So cold, so true
Mother Russia--he cries for you

4. Synergy, Legacy. Larry Fast announces that the sythesizer has come of age in an amazing 1975 recording from Electronic Realizations for Rock Orchestra. I would never have heard the album, but when CDs first came out I bought a $400 CD player and then discovered that there was a very limited selection of CDs; this was back in 1985 when you'd walk into a Tower Records and there'd be only 10 CDs to choose from.

5. Benny Goodman, Sing Sing Sing. An oldie even for me. In a lot of ways, Goodman's band was a forerunner of rock, with a clarinet substituting for the electric guitar. This song features terrific drumming by Gene Krupa.

6. Strawbs, Round and Round. From the Hero and Heroine album, Round and Round is one of the perfect bicycling songs of all time, with a rocking beat and lyrics that fit the exercise:

For we are just a product of the ever spinning wheel,
Oh, round and round we go
Round and round and round we go.

7. Crash Test Dummies, The Superman Song.

Hey Bob, Supe had a straight job
Even though he could have smashed through any bank
In the United States, he had the strength, but he would not
Folks said his family were all dead
Their planet crumbled but Superman, he forced himself
To carry on, forget Krypton, and keep going


Kitty Myers
Pam Meister
The Chief Brief

Update: Pam's got her songs up. Our tastes certainly overlap on Abba; yes, they're a silly pop group, but there's something really enjoyable about their tunes. I'd guess they're the band that almost everybody feels a little embarrassed to admit they like, which of course means there's really nothing to be embarrassed about. I'd probably rate Fernando as my favorite of theirs, but Mama Mia does have a catchy beat.
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