“Happy Boy” – Beat Farmers
From Tales from the New West
A local radio station plays this song every Friday at 5 in the PM. It’s a great, zany way to begin the weekend. It is a short little ditty with odd little lyrics (about putting his dead dog in a drawer and forgetting about him). But it is full of bouncy beats and a chorus that goes something like “hubba hubba hubba. For Friday rush hour traffic it is just about perfect.
There was a radio station in Oklahoma that used to play “Land of a 1,000 Dances” every Friday morning to get people prepared for the weekend. Strange thing radio stations playing the same song every week. You’d think we’d all get tired of it. Yet there is something sort of comforting about that routine. Like it is a full reminder that the weekend is here.
Of course radio stations have been playing the same songs a lot more often than once a week for years now…
“Dissident” – Pearl Jam
Right around the time I bought Pearl Jam’s second album I read an article where the writer talked about listening to one album over and over for days and weeks. Something struck me about that concept and I began listening to VS over and over again. It was both the great pleasure I took in the album, and some secret yearning to love a piece of music so much that I couldn’t listen to anything else.
Listening to the song, and album, now I’m not sure why I couldn’t give it up. My friend Eric Berlin recently posted his top 5 favorite bands of all time and asked for everyone to release their own lists. It’s a difficult thing to do, actually. Bands like Pearl Jam would have once topped that list. For a time in my life I loved PJ immensely. But over the years I found other bands and let Pearl Jam slip into the background. Bands that I love right now like Wilco may, in ten years, slip away as well. So, how do you choose your all time favorites?
“(Was I) In Your Dreams” – Wilco
From Being There
My wife put this song on the only mix tape she ever made me. It was long before we were married or even dating. It was while she was living in Canada – having a miserable time in the snow – and we had become good friends with a hint of romance simmering behind the scenes.
With every song she included an appropriate lyric and commented upon why she included it in the tape. For this song she had to not so subtly remind me that she just like the song and that she didn’t expect me to be dreaming of her. It was very typical of her strategy at the time to give me something that hinted at something more, but then immediately took it away.
It remains one of my least favorite Wilco tunes.
“The Way It Is” Bruce Hornsby
Bruce Hornsby plays this song for nearly every concert he performs. Having been written nearly 20 years ago, that adds up to thousands of performances. You’d think he’d get tired of the song. Truth is, Bruce is such a cool guy he continues to play the song because he knows his fans love it. He understands that at each performance a percentage of the folks paying to see him are people who only know his hits. To make them, happy, and for them to get their money’s worth he always plays several of his big hits, and “Way it Is” is the biggest.
To true fans eternal joy, and to not get too bored with the songs, he often changes the arrangement. I’ve heard it done slow, fast and with weird rhythms. That and Bruce’s insatiable desire to improvise create a thousand different versions of the song for him to play.
This performance was actually with the Roanoke symphony. For the most part you wouldn’t know on this song because Bruce rocks it out pretty much. He stretches it out for 8 minutes and keeps it completely interesting.
“Time in a Bottle” – Jim Croce
From Classic Hits
Another song that stirs the old memory cords. My first true love and I were really better friends than lovers. We came to know each other in what I’ll call pivotal moments in our lives. We were both also teenagers and full of angst and lust and wonderment over what would happen to us in the future.
We were the best of friends for a long time until we decided to become more. Problem was we lived some hundred miles apart and finding the time for the physical ties that belong with something more was difficult. Truth being told I had also very limited experience with the somethings more and was too shy to do much in that regard. We did spend a great deal of time writing letters (twas in the time before e-mail) and chatting upon the phone. Letters involved much drawing of hearts in the margins and the quoting of poetry and lyrics.
My dear once wrote the lyrics to “time in a bottle” for me in the margins and I treasured them dearly.
During the summer post my senior year I broke up with the young lass. In a few weeks I was headed to college many a mile away and I knew our love would not see us through. Intending to make the transition easier I ended our short lived fling. This was during a week of summer camp and for the talent competition she sang this song to me. It was a beautiful, lovely, weepy thing, and my last true memory of the girl. A treasure for a life time.