Ok, I swore I wasn’t going to say anything political this year because it usually just leads to no good, but extreme times call for extreme measures. It’s enough to pull me back into writing something in this space, at least.
If you are even considering voting for Donald Drumpf, just don’t. He’s a opportunistic demagogue who spouts nothing more than applause-seeking generalities, while pedaling inane fantasies like an impenetrable wall that other countries will line up to pay for and a future where Apple will make all of its products in the United States simply because of the force of his will. Are you kidding me? Does anybody actually believe these things will happen?
If you were with your children and saw somebody acting like he does on the side of the street, you’d turn around or speed across to the other sidewalk to avoid him. If you got reports from school that your child was saying half the ignorant and hateful garbage that spills from his orange, frothing lips you’d ground them until they turned 18. If you were sitting next to him at a restaurant or or in a movie theater you’d move to another seat without thinking twice about it and likely report him to the manager. He’s a ****, plain and simple (Fill in your own choice of word there.)
The true sign of a bully is somebody who cries loudest when others call them on their own BS and push back. When you taunt, insult, and condone violence in an already emotional group setting, don’t be surprised when those you pick on thinking they are low hanging fruit push back. And Drumpf isn’t the one in danger. He stands behind his security detail and turns tail when things get heated. He doesn’t give a damn about you or any of his supporters. When things get rough he’ll push you to the ground like George Costanza and step on you as he flees the smoke in the kitchen.
Now he’s whining that his First Amendment rights were violated in Chicago. Funny how the people who complain most about their First Amendment rights being violated usually understand them the least. The First Amendment protects you from the government, it doesn’t provide any protection from the legal consequences of your speech from others, as inconvenient as those may be.
Frankly, I doubt anybody in the race really deserves your vote or mine, but just about any of them would preferable to this jackass. (Though Cruz actually scares me just as much, as he’s likely to start WWIII just to hasten the rapture.) If you want to protest and shake things up, vote for the Libertarian candidate and make them a viable alternative for future elections. Write in Al Gore or Michael Bloomberg or Elizabeth Warren or Paul Ryan or anybody you want. Just don’t get played and reward the orange blowhard. Let’s at least leave the bar for entry into the White House at “he/she acts like an adult.”
In case you didn’t know, I co-host a podcast with all around swell guy and my good friend Shawn. It’s called the Mundanity podcast, and once a week we talk about all things pop culture, including movies, music, television, and anything else that comes to mind. We have a blast doing it, and if any of you are so inclined to listen that would be just swell. You can listen on our site, listen and subscribe on i-Tunes, or subscribe to our RSS feed using your favorite podcast app. And hey, if you like what you hear or want to tell us that we are terrible, leave us a review and a rating on i-Tunes and let us know what you think.
With that in mind, it occurred to me that most of what I write here falls under the broad category of pop culture, so I’m going to try and move all of that over to the other site from here on out. If you like what you read here then I encourage you to follow me there. I reserve the right to pop into this space from time to time and use this space to write things that fall outside of pop culture sphere, but for now I’m concentrating my efforts there and trying to consolidate. Frankly I’m just too lazy to try and maintain two sites at once.
Thanks to all of you who have taken the time to read my stream of consciousness ramblings and follow the site, and I hope you’ll continue to do so over at my new home. If you like what you there you can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and just about any other social media outlet. Shawn’s in charge of that social media stuff and he’s done a great job blanketing just about every site known to man.
Have you ever listened to a song that you’ve heard a million times before, only to be struck suddenly by how odd/strange/disturbing the lyrics to the song actually are? This happened to me over the weekend when I was l enjoying the song “Save the Last Dance for Me” by the Drifters (which, coincidently you can find on the Best of 1960 and the overall Best of the 60s mix tapes). On the surface, it’s quite a compelling love song, but if you listen a little deeper, there’s a whole other point of view to the song that should be considered.
Since I’m not going to run afoul of the copyright law, take a couple of minutes now, and give it a listen.
Ok, got it? Here’s what I hear now when I listen to that song:
(A couple is riding the bus, the gentleman is talking to a rather lovely but pissed off looking girl. He’s using lingo that I can only assume that young people used in 1960.)
“Listen, girl, daddy is a little short of cash this week, so when we get to the party go ahead and hit up whoever you want for dinner and free drinks, okay? I’m going to meet a guy in the alleyway about a really solid business opportunity, but I’ll meet you at the back door in an hour and you can let me in so we don’t have to pay two cover charges. Try to pick me up some of those little hot dogs in a bun. In fact, see if you can dump a tray of them in your purse for later. Then we’ll leave at 10:30 so we have plenty of time to make the seven block walk back to the #3 bus. I sure hope it doesn’t rain”
Girl just shakes her head and stares blankly through the window.
While we’re at it, here’s a few more songs that change meaning if you just shift your point of view slightly…
Margaritaville – Jimmy Buffett
An isolated, alcoholic, manic depressive is slowly drinking himself to death thanks to a string of failed relationships, if he doesn’t strangle himself getting out of his hammock in a drunken stupor or die from the tetanus he picked up stepping on rusted pop tops and getting back alley tattoos. He also has a habit eating dessert and shrimp for breakfast and of misplacing common household items, the latest being his salt shaker.
Baby It’s Cold Outside – Various
Alternate title: The Rohypnol Song
This song must have originally been written as a date-rape PSA, but it inexplicably gained favor as a Christmas song (and the video with the little kids only makes it that much more disturbing. Creepy.) I’m just guessing here, but I’m betting this is one of Bill Cosby’s favorites.
Maxwell’s Silver Hammer – The Beatles
On second thought, this song is pretty straight forward disturbing. Boy takes girl on a date, boy kills girl with a big bloody silver hammer. Boy goes back to school, boy gets in trouble, boys stays after school and murders the teacher in cold blood with the same silver hammer. Boys actually looks to be a serial killer. Da-do-da-do-do…
Charming little ditty, no?
There’s tons of songs like this, really, but these four jumped into my head as being especially good examples. Which ones did I miss?
The Rolling Stones are playing in Orlando tomorrow (Friday, June 12). I love the Stones, they were the first rock band that I really got into, but I never had any inclination to go see them live again. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure it will be a really great spectacle (I hesitate to use the word “concert,” because Rolling Stones shows have been more spectacle than concerts for years now), but I have seen them once, I don’t need to see them again. For one thing, I’m just not into paying top dollar to see 70 something year olds play music, but for another, I have no real desire to deal with that many people in one place unless it’s really something special. The one time I did get to see them, it was indeed something special.
I saw the Stones on the Steel Wheels Tour in 1989, playing the football stadium in Clemson, SC, and it was absolutely packed (So that means 70, 80K). My friend and later college roommate Tommy and I camped out overnight outside of the venerable (and by venerable I mean “absolute dump”) Greenville Memorial Auditorium to score tickets, paying what was then a kings ransom of $45 (45!) to sit a few rooms from the top of the stadium.
Even though we camped out, I remember that we were still pretty far back in line, and we were worried that we weren’t going to actually get tickets. Then, for reasons I still haven’t quite figured out, the line in front of us started to move, slowly at first, but soon it was a full gallop sprint. We were kind of slow getting up and moving, which was good for us, because all these people ended up doing was running in a circle around the building and losing their place in line. Some how, some way, the rumor had started that the tickets were going to be sold at a different window, and literally hundreds and hundreds of people ran themselves into a place at the back of the line. And I’ll always thank them, because I’m pretty sure more than a few of them walked away empty-handed the next day.
Fast forward then to November 29, 1989, as we begin the climb to our seats. If you’ve been to a football game at Clemson’s stadium and have sat in the upper deck, you’ll know that it is a steep climb. The deck angles basically straight up, so making that climb is more than a little daunting when your ticket is row “Double Letter.” The first thing we noticed on our climb is that our section was stage left, and by “stage left” I mean so far to the left of the stage that the only time we saw drummer Charlie Watts was at the end when he walked to the front of the stage to wave goodbye to the crowd. The other thing was how big the stage was. Where we were eventually sitting was pretty much eye level with the top of the stage setup, which (I may be misremembering this but it sticks in my mind) had warning lights on the top to warn low-lying aircraft.
Living Color opened the show, and I’m sure they were good but we didn’t make it into the stadium in time to see much of their set, but I do remember how good they sounded on our trek into the stadium. You know how at a lot of outdoor shows the sound is pretty terrible and actually gets worse the closer you get to the stage? Not at a Stones show, my friends. The sound setup was like nothing I’ve ever heard since, and it sounded like the band were playing in your living room no matter where you were within about a 1/2 mile radius of the stage.
The Stones kicked things off with classic track/eventual Windows 95 theme song Start Me Up, which was memorable from out vantage points because Keith Richards boot appeared out of the smoke and haze of the front stage fireworks about the same time as the riff from his guitar reached us. I remember it being a pretty great set, if a tad but heavy on the album they were ostensibly touring behind. A quick search of the Google tells me that 6 of 25 songs in the main set were from Steel Wheels, which in retrospect isn’t that bad at all (the ratio of songs, not the album Steel Wheels – that was a dud).
I remember the highlight being toward the end of the set with Happy (Keith on vocals!), Paint it Black, the underrated 2000 Light Years From Home (one of the few bright spots of the Stones short-lived psychedelic phase), and Sympathy of the Devil. Towards the end of 2000 Light Years most of the house lights went down and the stage was basically dark as the band faded out of the song, before the spotlight revealed Mick Jagger on a platform at the top of the stage, more or less parallel from us, as the opening percussion of Sympathy sounded. The entire audience went apesh*t and drowned out the band completely. It was AWESOME. Easily one of the best concert moments of my life, and I’m sure in a lot of people’s lives. This video from the Cotton Bowl in Dallas doesn’t do it justice, as you don’t get the perspective on where Mick was to start the song, but it basically took him the entire guitar solo to make his way back down to the stage mid-song.
Moments like that are why you pay the money, brave the crowds, and go see what even then was a band threatening to reach self-caricature status – not to go see a band play only their hits for the millionth time. The Stones back catalog is unfathomably deep, so that for every Satisfaction and Jumpin’ Jack Flash, you’ll get to hear songs like Midnight Rambler and Dead Flowers as well. I doubt they let Mick journey to the top of the stages any more (probably for a litany of insurance reasons), but you’re guaranteed to see something amazing, no doubt. I just never need to see it again. I do hope everyone going enjoys the show, regardless.
Editor’s Note: I fully stipulate that I am old and there was enough marijuana smoke gathered in a haze in the upper stratosphere of the stadium where we were sitting to give everyone in the upstate of South Carolina a contact high that night, so I may have misremembered and/or hallucinated some or all of the details described here. The important thing though is that this is how I remember it, so that’s just as good as it actually happening. Caveat emptor though, just in case.
So here we are. 1004 songs, 67 mixes, 57 blog posts, and 9 months later, it’s the final entry in the “best of…mix tape” project. Quite frankly, I’m exhausted just counting up those totals. Finishing on 1969 was no picnic either, as I had to cut fantastic songs from Townes Van Zant, Marvin Gaye, David Bowie, Stevie Wonder, Scott Walker and a bunch of others to whittle this mix down the required hour. For once I’m at a loss for words, so enjoy one last time.
Love Man – Otis Redding
One of the my favorite Otis Redding songs, which didn’t appear until two years after his death.
Good Times Bad Times – Led Zeppelin
Without a doubt a pretty killer tune.
Hot Burrito #2 – The Flying Burrito Brothers
You might question including this at the expense of say, Space Oddity by David Bowie, but I’ll stand by its inclusion. Outside of The Velvet Underground the FBBs may be one of the most influential artists on this mix. The entire genre of “country-rock” basically exists due to Gram Parsons.
Fortunate Son – Creedence Clearwater Revival
One of the all-time classic tunes. It was either this or Proud Mary, and that’s not really much of a decision.
Pale Blue Eyes – The Velvet Underground
So many classic tunes from The VU, in so little time.
Let It Bleed – The Rolling Stones
Awesome, blues-y tune? Check. Mick Jagger singing in an affected country accent? Check. That’s the recipe for a top shelf Stones tune, alright.
It’s Your Thing – The Isley Brothers
Love this tune a LOT.
Girl From the North Country – Bob Dylan (and Johnny Cash)
The Dylan-Cash recording sessions are a thing of almost mythical proportions, but sadly this is the only official release that came out of that collaboration. There are multiple bootleg recordings floating around the interwebs though, should you be so inclined to look for them. (Here’s a good place to start.)
I Wanna Be Your Dog – The Stooges
If it’s possible to be lightyears ahead of your time while sounding absolutely OF your time, then this song is it.
Suzanne – Leonard Cohen
A stone classic from one of the true giants of song craft.
Cinnamon Girl – Neil Young
Does this song make any sense? No, not particularly. But it’s awesome nonetheless.
The Boxer – Simon and Garfunkel
Hands down my favorite Simon and Garfunkel song (today).
I Can’t Get Next To You – The Temptations
Another monster track from one of the most underrated acts of the decade.
Pinball Wizard – The Who
Timeless stuff. When you think about it though, a rock opera about a deaf, dumb, and blind kid who plays pinball is a pretty bizarre stuff.
Everyday People – Sly & the Family Stone
So many great songs from Sly. And so many great messages in most of them.
Suspicious Minds – Elvis Presley
A straight up classic. You know it’s good because it made the cut over In the Ghetto, which is AWESOME, as well as being a song that I SLAY at karaoke. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, look out.
The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down – The Band
Seems like a perfect way to close out the decade, and the mix tapes project.
Here’s the Spotify playlist for your listening/subscribing pleasure.
Which one of your favorites did I miss? (I know, Sweet Caroline.)
And to top it al off, here’s the cumulative best of the 1960s playlist to close everything out.
I think that’s the last mix I’ll make for a while. 67 is enough to be getting on with for now.