Yesterday I'm working at Caribou Coffee: sipping a coffee, reading a stack of articles from JAC, taking notes. A balding, 60-ish African-American gentleman at the next table alternately makes business calls ("the Novi property has depreciated...I drafted the work order...pull up the spreadsheet") and punches data into a wireless device of some sort. Later, a younger guy--also dressed the part of a businessperson--joins him and they talk shop.
Finished with business, the older guy says the following: "You know what my next playlist is going to be? Songs that don't suck by bands that suck." Then he brainstorms titles for his mix, including Dokken's "Breakin' the Chains." I would have gone with "In My Dreams," but, hey, dowhatyalike. Plus, great conversation to overhear.
Not an easy list to make. I scan my memory for a Dave Matthews Band or Sheryl Crow song I like, but can't think of one. I try to avoid easy targets like the rap-rock hybrids of the late 90s. I come up with the following:
-"Talk" by Coldplay (Kraftwerk homage, 'nuff said. Plus, bonus points for smart lyrics about conversation as a technology.)
-"Somebody to Shove" by Soul Asylum (Another band that, to me, is boring and another entry that pays homage to an elder artist, this time Jefferson Airplane.)
-"Anyway You Want It" by Journey (I know, points deducted for shooting at an easy target. I would have gone for "Stone In Love" but this gets the nod due to Caddyshack).
-"Abacab" by post-Peter Gabriel Genesis (I have no explanation. I also have no clue what the lyrics mean. I have a vague memory of seeing this video on a snowday in like second grade.)
-"Photograph" by Def Leppard (Another blurry memory: a skating party in about third or fourth grade where a bunch of kids wore faux leather pants with bandanas tied around their legs in some kind of odd Punky Brewster-Joe Elliot mash-up.)
-"Taking the Long Way Home" by Dixie Chicks (Unlike about a billion people, I like their politics but their music, not so much. They seem really nice but they also seem like the result of record company focus groups. But this tune makes me like optimistic songs.)
-Other ideas? Use the comment section to add a title or refute one of mine.
Of course Stylus comes up with brilliant lists:
Songs Featurin' Present Participles or Gerunds with Dropped Gs.
People Who Should've Been Drafted into the Wu-Tang Clan.
Things I Hate About Top Ten Lists.
And, of course, My Mom's Top Ten Songs.
I'd like to tackle the latter topic and compile unlikely songs my mom used to always sing. And also, songs that made me really sad when I was little. Stay tuned for those.