e-mail me at billdeg@umich.edu


and now for a serious post

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.


Michael Faris said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael Faris said...

I hate the Dave Matthews Band, but I really loved "Too Much," probably because it was a mixed tape my best friend made for me when I was a freshman in high school. I don't think I've actually heard it in years, but it still goes through my head occasionally.

(the deleted comment is from me. oops.)

bdegenaro said...

seems like every song, for me, has some kind of association. when "too much" was a big single, I was an undergrad and edited the campus lit magazine. one day a group of us (half professors, half students) were making a two-hour drive for an early a.m. meeting with the publisher. one of the profs was hung over and we had to pull over so the prof could throw up. "too much" was on the radio.

Kelly Ritter said...

Bill: Some trivia for your list: "Abacab" comes from the progression/structure of the song (A = lyric, B = Chorus, C = bridge). Apparently Genesis did not have a name for the song, so they used the outline of its structure instead. So this may be why the lyrics seem to not match up to the title, if that's what you were saying.


bdegenaro said...

Kelly: Thanks for the trivia!