Archive for lyrics

Willis Earl Beal’s Circular Victory

Posted in Prose with tags , , , on September 16, 2017 by sethdellinger

Turn.  Circle.  Sun.  Moon.

These are the four words that comprise the title of the latest collection of songs by Willis Earl Beal.  The title is not only succinct–it also could not be more apt.

(the album doesn’t have a physical release yet but can be purchased for download at this link.)

All four of the words imply a kind of motion, an orbital, cyclical, or circuital movement (in the case of sun and moon, these motions are dependent on the motions of others).  Beal–who professionally wishes you’d call him Nobody–doesn’t choose words (or melodies, or masks) carelessly.

Sonically, these songs–like much of his recent material–consist of rising and falling keyboard dirges that weave in and out of prominence, often cycling back to where they started, but just as often running like a steady current behind Beal’s  plaintive vocals.  Within the framework of this wide-open musical canvas, Beal still manages to find unexpected nooks and crannies to place his vocal rhythms–he’s suddenly jumping out at you from a corner you didn’t even see–or he’s hiding in it.  Add to this a production value of lo-fi immediacy (I often felt like I could hear him change positions in a chair) and the cumulative effect is one of urgency, despite the modest tempo of the tunes, each song still manages to make you feel as though you are in the grip of strong stuff that is racing to an end.

But to “review” this album in any typical way would be like trying to review a cloud, or dirt.  That statement sounds preposterous, I know, but there it is, just the same.  As he continues to evolve as a songwriter and musician, Beal keeps mining material that gets closer and closer to the elemental; this is art like wind, or the subliminal functioning of a gland.  One feels these songs pass through you like quarks.

Beal has often layered the vocals one on top of another, giving the impression that they rotate around one another (like, for instance, the moon around the Earth and the Earth around the Sun); it’s like Beal orbiting Beal, at first the words just one more sonic tool, one more instrument, but eventually the words start to coagulate and meaning attaches to the dirge.

They are songs of loneliness, and love, and helplessness, and yearning.  From the opening song “Stroll”, where we are taken on a midnight constitutional with our narrator contemplating the greater meanings of the universe, to the closing number “Sun & Moon” with it’s sad binary truth (“I am night/ And you are day”), I felt connected to every song; ultimately, they are deeply human.  We experience the resignation to hopelessness, but also perfect hope (again in “Sun & Moon”: ‘But I will see you tomorrow”).  As we continue orbiting and turning, we experience the push and pull of our contrary desires: to be alone, but to be loved.  To be anonymous, but to be great.  When I invested myself in these songs, I felt understood, but also complex.

In “Cowboy”, we are presented with lyrics so brazen, bold, and current as to warrant presenting some without comment: “Passing places through the mall/ Empty faces filling all/ Hear the laughter off the walls/ Birthday presents for you all/ Know resistance while you can/ Avoid incessant clapping hands/ Put your face in garbage cans/ Take the trash do what you can/Recycle all your wasted shit/ There are people trying to quit/ (You’re a cowwwwwwwwboy/Roping all your bulls.)”

In “Release” we are presented with the lyric “You must let go of all the linear victories”, which is a boy-howdy of a line; you could chew on that line for days.  What is a linear victory?  How do we let go of it?  Like the best art, the songs offer some answers, but not all of them.  However, who knows? If you let these quark-songs flow through you enough, maybe the answers will find you.

The art of Willis Earl Beal–Nobody–has been an undercurrent in my life for years now, and this album more than any others before is like a chameleon, a changeling.  As I listen to it it darts away into my peripheral vision and changes shape, form.  It’s hard to hold onto.

Currently, “Turn, Circle, Sun & Moon” does not have a physical release, but can be purchased for download by clicking this link.  If you buy it, it will almost certainly be a linear victory for you–but at the moment, that’s still the only kind I know how to get.

Posted in Snippet with tags , , , , on March 22, 2017 by sethdellinger

Richard Ramirez Died Today of Natural Causes
by Sun Kil Moon

Richard Ramirez died today of natural causes. He got amped up on speed and broke into houses, bludgeoned people to death, wrote shit on their skin and left them. They finally got him and he went to San Quentin. His last murder was south of San Francisco. A guy named Peter Pan, from the town of San Mateo. The little girl in the tenderloin was his first, and in the laundry room he took a dollar from her fist. His last free days were at the Bristol Hotel. I was reading “Nightstalker” when I went and rang the bell. The doorman buzzed, said, “You’re just like them all.” He gave me a key and a black cat led me down the hall. I had a flight today from Boston to Cleveland. Got a death in the family, gotta do some grieving. Lost my baby cousin and it’s eating me up. And I’m achin’ real bad and I need a little love. Richard Ramirez died today of natural causes. These things mark time and make us pause and think about when we were kids, scared of taps on the window, what’s under the bed and what’s under the pillow. And the Jim Jones massacre got in our heads and the TV headlines, “Elvis Presley’s Dead”, and the Ayatollah Khomenei hostages and Ronald Reagan dodging bullets. One day I’m gonna stroll through the old neighborhood. Rick Stan’s my age, he still lives with his mom when he’s not in jail from menacing and stalking, writing bad checks and cocaine charges. Mark Denton had such a beautiful smile, always sat on the porch passing the time, and drinking a beer and smoking a pack until one day poor Mark had a heart attack. My friend Ben’s got a good job as an electrician, his sister married the pool shark Jim Evans. And my next door neighbors whom I love so, and they love me too, but they passed long ago. And if you walk just a few blocks down Stahl there’s a house that was the scariest of them all, a cute little palm with a sign “For Sale”. For those Sexton’s kids, life was Hell, and I’m telling the truth and if you don’t believe it, pick up Lowell Cauffiel’s “House of Secrets”. Had to fly from Cleveland to SFO. I got 3 months off until my next show. Gonna spend time with my girl, make a record this summer, fix my kitchen up and hire a plumber. The headlines change so rapidly. Today I came to the studio to work on something pretty, then I saw the news on James Gandolfini while I was eating ramen and drinking green tea. The “Sopranos” guy died at 51. That’s the same age as the guy who’s coming to play drums. I don’t like this getting older stuff, havin’ to pee 50 times a day is bad enough. I got a naggin’ prostate and I got a bad back, and when I fuck too much I feel like I’m gonna have a heart attack. I woke up today, I saw the headlines, an airline crashed and 2 people died, and I’m at a barbecue in San Rafael, and everybody’s drunk and feelin’ pretty well. At 53 years Richard Ramirez died but in ‘83 he was very much alive. He was the scariest killer in the band. He had a pentagram in the center of his hand. And everybody remembers the paranoia when he stalked the suburbs of Southern California and everybody will remember where they were when they finally caught the Night Stalker. And I remember just where I was when Richard Ramirez died of natural causes.


Days of Something

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on March 7, 2017 by sethdellinger

Philadelphia is a great city, but there’s nothing special about it in the winter. It becomes winter just like every place else becomes the winter: slowly, and then all at once. My first winter in the city was also the first winter I’d spent anywhere without a car. During the summer I had learned to get around by riding my bike and walking, and was just getting pretty good at it when the gradual winter hit all of a sudden. It was cold and it was windy, but didn’t snow for the first few months, and then one day, a day that I also happened to have off work, the sky opened up and dumped down about eight inches. It was a very different experience than my previous winters elsewhere, where you might go outside and walk around, do some shoveling, maybe go see a few of the local landmarks covered in the fluffy cliches. In a densely packed urban area that stretches out for miles and miles in any direction, and where local landmarks are a dime a dozen but breathtaking beauty might be a little scarce, I wasn’t sure exactly what to do with myself, other than sit on my couch and watch Netflix. Eventually I decided to just bundle up, put on some heavy shoes (since I never really am in the habit of keeping boots around) and venture out into the snow and see what happened. I started walking through the streets of my South Philly neighborhood, unplowed, unshoveled, the houses squished up against each other like sandwich bread, snow building up in the trashy pedestrian alleys between them, choking the tops of open the trash cans, pawprints sometimes the only sign anyone had been down a sidewalk.  And I kept walking and walking, taking note how it was different than my previous experience, and also ways in which it was similar, compare and contrast, compare and contrast, that is essentially how I Live every moment of my life. One experience must always be similar or different from previous ones; otherwise, how do you measure anything?  Eventually the neighborhood started to change as I kept walking, buildings got farther apart, the roads got wider, the streets were starting to be plowed, cars started moving around, the city seemed to wake up. I started passing people on the 1975051_10203223839982559_754980658_nstreet and there was an air of conviviality, of shared experience. Everyone was saying hello, commenting on the snow, and it wasn’t just what people were saying, but the attitude, the feeling, like we were all finally together, not that we were undergoing any major hardship, but just that the presence of something so different, something so sudden, almost held us together like a web. Connection.  Eventually I realized I was closer to Independence Mall, which is the cluster of extremely significant historical sites in the city, than I was to home, so I just kept on walking. I arrived behind Independence Hall probably an hour and a half after leaving my house, still trudging through almost a foot of snow, surprised to see that there were a few people milling around, but only a few, much less than the hundreds and hundreds that crammed into this park in the summer months. I circled the building, taking note of what the roof looked like covered in snow, imagining it would have looked the same to George Washington or Thomas Jefferson when it snowed in the late 1700s. I crossed Chestnut Street, which is directly in front of Independence Hall, my feet not quite hitting the cobblestones, but still feeling the unevenness of the walk, as the snow impacted into the cracks around the cobblestones, as it surely has done to other foot travelers for centuries. I trudged across the open space in front of Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell to my left, taking note that it was still open, the Park Service still there and operating, but I didn’t see a soul in line to see the famed bell. I kept on going, heading towards the visitor center, with its bright glass interiors, newly built restrooms, shiny gift shop and concession stand. I often used to stop at the visitor center in the summer, as I was riding my bike around the city, for its quick and easy access to a restroom and bottled water.  As I swung open the heavy glass and stainless steel doors, it was clear to me that everyone inside the visitor center was surprised to see me, not because of anything about me, but simply because I was a human being. I was literally the only non-employee in this entire visitor center. It’s amazing what snow does to history tourism. Despite the fact that it was winter and snowing, I was sweating greatly, and was glad of the opportunity to take my coat off, breathe a little bit, stomp the snow out of every crease and crevice. I was thirsty and hungry, as I didn’t leave the house with the intention to walk halfway across the city, so I went straight to the concession stand, got me a bottle of water, a hot coffee, and some sort of breakfast sandwich.  I sat alone in the bright, metal cafeteria, my belly growing content as I fed it.  I took note that outside, it had begun snowing again, and heavier this time.  It was quiet in the visitor center.  I was far from home.


This day started very early. I woke up around 4am not knowing what I was going to do with the day, but knowing that I wanted to wake up early enough to have a really thorough day, if you know what I mean. I was living by myself in Erie Pennsylvania, in an apartment, one bedroom, on the second level of an old house that was nearing dilapidation, but still teetering on the edge of respectability. It was smack-dab in the middle of summer, and waking up at 4am, the whole apartment was already laden with a heat, an oppressive second floor apartment kind of heat; a thin layer of sweat somehow on everything you looked at. I rolled out of bed, made myself a latte on my proudly-acquired home espresso machine, and set about pondering what to do with such a lengthy, summery kind of day all to myself.  I took a long, overly hot shower while the local morning news played on the television which I had crammed into my tiny bathroom. I stayed in the shower for the whole newscast, mind mostly blank. After the shower, while air drying mostly to cool off, I randomly selected a DVD from my bloated collection, and came up with “The 40 Year Old Virgin”, a movie that I don’t know how it ended up in my collection and no longer resides there, but at the time, a mindless comedy seemed just the ticket. I laid on my couch and let the Steve Carell comedy wash over me. Having gotten up so early that an immense amount of day still laid stretched out before me, even after my lengthy ablutions. What to do? Living by one’s self for so long, and so far from everyone you know, turns days and 31316_1458245861882_8379455_nmornings into quiet studies of one’s inner mechanics, and if you linger too long without plans, your cogs and belts begin to make a lot of noise. Suddenly it hit me: Niagara Falls. I’d been living relatively close to Niagara Falls for almost a year at this point, and it was always something bouncing around the periphery of what I wanted to do, but I never quite made it there, never quite made that my actual plan. Almost the moment that it struck me, I bounded off the couch, went to my computer to MapQuest the directions, threw on some clothes and some essentials into a backpack, and I was out the door.  I don’t remember much about the drive, although certainly there had to be a drive. It was close but not incredibly close, probably something like an hour and 15 minutes. A decent trip, but then again, much closer than almost anyone else in the world lives to such landmark. I remember having trouble figuring out where to park when I got close to it, the town itself surrounding it not exactly being incredibly helpful with instructions.  Finally I did get my car parked, and walked across a large grassy mall, the sound of the falls quite distinct, just like you expect the sound of Niagara Falls to be: thunderous, droning, like a white noise that comes from within.  I remember hearing the falls, I remember a large grassy area you had to walk across to get to it, but I don’t remember actually arriving at the falls.  In fact, the order of what I did that day and the specifics of how I did it, are lost in the labyrinth of my brain. I did the touristy things, I rode the boat, I walked up and down the path alongside the falls, I wore the poncho they provide you. I took selfies on the boat, all by myself, surrounded by revelers and families and church groups. After doing the requisite attractions, I found myself walking around the grounds, reading the historical markers, interpreting the interpretive maps. I noticed that there was a small landmass called Goat Island, out of the middle of the river, one of the features that gives the Falls that look, where it is divided occasionally, not one big solid Falls. It was accessible quite easily via a pedestrian bridge across the river, so I went out there, reading the Wikipedia entry on my phone as I went, the long and somewhat interesting history of the island, its ownership and various names. I arrived on the island to find a sweltering patch of grass, the heat dense with liquid, the roar of the falls now like a white noise outside myself, like a curtain descending. The island itself was no larger than a small park, and trees lined the northern edge, so that one couldn’t actually see the land fall away at the end.  I had the island entirely to myself. Of course the only thing to do on an island like that is to walk toward the edge. Walking through the grass I was assaulted by bugs everywhere, insects nipping at my legs, bouncing off my knees like miniature Kamikazes. The closer and closer I got to the river, the more amazed I was that there were no protections of any kind in place. One expects to find some sort of railing here, some warning signs, maybe even Park Rangers or something. But no, the island just walks right up to the river, and right up to the falls, anyone with dark designs would be in no way dissuaded.  The design of the island makes it


A photo I took from Goat Island that day.

challenging to walk right up to the falls, but instead it is very easy to sit at a clearing about twenty yards away from the actual precipice. I took my backpack off and sat in the grass, and looked out across the Niagara River, just beginning to get a real good head of steam up, just beginning to get its little whitecaps and wavelets, the water not knowing it was about to fly.  The heat washed over me, the insect buzzing began to mesh with the white noise of the falls, it all became a hot buzzing constant, I laid my head on the grass and sunk in, sunk down into the dirt, I was so far from home, and for a moment, I had no idea where I was, or maybe even who I was.


“Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day
Fritter and waste the hours in an offhand way.
Kicking around on a piece of ground in your hometown
Waiting for something or someone to show you the way.

Tired of lying in the sunshine, staying home to watch the rain.
You are young and life is long and there is time to kill today.
And then one day you find, ten years have got behind you.
No one told you when to run. You missed the starting gun!”

‘Time’, by Pink Floyd

We’re the Sexiest of All Primates!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on March 27, 2015 by sethdellinger

Like many people, I have many favorite bands that come into and out of prominence over time.  I’m not shy about blasting my opinions about these bands online, so many of you are probably at least slightly tuned into my current obsessions. There are some bands that have what I would call themes; they don’t just write songs, but their entire body of work represents a specific worldview or thought process; others bands just sort of write songs.  I like plenty of both kinds of bands.  For instance, I love My Morning Jacket, and while I could say quite a bit about their musical themes, I’d be hard pressed to make a statement about what the whole of their songs say about a specific worldview.


My favorite band, Hey Rosetta!, has a very distinct worldview that is expressed in nearly every song: they believe in the lifting-up of humanity–of rising above our base and dreadful selves into a state of grace, be it secular or otherwise.  I believe in this worldview and embrace it.  I’m an unashamed atheist and I don’t think this concept is anathema to atheism; joy, redemption, and existential victory are just as (if not more) possible secularly as they are with religion.  As such, the content of the songs of Hey Rosetta! speak to me greatly.


However, there is a flip side, and that side is Modest Mouse.  Modest Mouse also has a worldview, and I believe in theirs, too, despite how different it is from Hey Rosetta!’s.  Modest Mouse’s worldview is that the world is a painful, pointless collection of atoms; we spring into existence and consciousness by accident and then after a short time, we stop existing.  Their music explores what it’s like to be trying to make sense of the damned mess during the brief period that your carbon gains awareness.  I find this worldview to be unassailably true; however, when coupled with Hey Rosetta’s philosophy, it meshes into my own cohesive idea of the world: we’ve sprung from nothing and we end up as nothing, but it can be beautiful and inspiring while you’re here.


Modest Mouse (which nowadays really just means Isaac Brock, the main lyricist and songwriter) have just released an album that I think could not possibly better encapsulate their theme.  The album, Strangers to Ourselves, digs deep into not just the whole “everything is pointless” concept but examines more closely American problems like urban sprawl, screen addiction, gun control, anhedonia, climate change;  the things that serve to separate us from our experiences, rob us of our individuality, and kill us early–in a universe where there are no second chances. The music on the album is completely immersive: huge, sweeping, danceable yet dirty, like Death come to visit for a playdate, or like a syphilitic disco ball.


But the real accomplishment here are the words. Isaac Brock has always written wholly unique lyrics; only a man with such a sideways twist on conventional rock lyrics could successfully tackle the topics he has (I hesitate to say he is the best current rock lyricist; I don’t know who is but their name probably rhymes with Gibbard).  But on Strangers to Ourselves, Brock’s goal has finally become crystalline, his thesis fully formed.  This album is his doctoral dissertation.  And like any great work of art, it is so bold and cunning that the flashes of brilliance are accompanied by other moments that seem daft or even silly.  This is the nature of a rock and roll record that aims, ultimately, to tell us big truths about the entire universe. Here now, a selection of some of my favorite (or more interesting) lyrics from Modest Mouse’s Strangers to Ourselves:


“Well the Earth doesn’t care, and we hardly even matter–we’re just a bit more piss to push out its full bladder.  And as our bodies break down into all their rocky little bits, piled up under mountains of dirt and silt: still the world, it don’t give a shit!”


“How lucky we are, that we are so easy to forget.”


“Well fear makes us really, really run around.”


“Pack up again, head to the next place, where we’ll make the same mistakes.  Burn it up or just chop it down; this one’s done, so where to now?”


“The world’s an inventor and we’re the dirtiest thing it’s thought about, and we really don’t mind.”


“This rock of ours is just some big mistake and we will never know just where we go or where we have came from.  These veins of mine are now some sort of fuse and when they light up and my mind blows up my heart is amused.  So this heart of mine is just some sort of map that doesn’t care at all or worry about where the hell you’re at, but you’re right there.”


“We don’t belong here, we were just born here.”


“We get dressed as ghosts with sheets taken from the bed, inside our socks we hide Traveler’s Checks, we are tourists of the dead.  So let’s pack up, let’s go!


“Pack a lunch, wander ’round, toss the map on the ground, it is inaccurate anyway.  We’ve been getting away (we’ve been getting away), we are strangers to ourselves.  We sneak out, drip-by-drip, through papercuts on our hands.  Day by day, nothing’s quite the same, we are tourists in our own heads.”


“These Western concerns: hold my place in line while I take your turn.


“We all led the charge, till we ran aground in our party barge, and every little gift was just one more part of their grift.  Oh yeah we know it.  The best news that we got was just some dumb hokum we’d all bought.  Let’s go reckless feeling great, we’re the sexist of all primates, let’s let loose with our charms, shake our ass and wave our arms, all going apeshit!”

Winter Songs, #4

Posted in Snippet, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on January 6, 2015 by sethdellinger

Not only does “White Winter Hymnal” by Fleet Foxes remind me of winter, it is about winter; or at the very least, it involves a memory that takes place in winter.

I listened to this song, and the album it is on, very frequently during the first winter I spent in Erie (a very unique time for me, here are lots of entries about it).  This song will always evoke, in my mind, the images, smells, and feel of driving the pot-hole filled Erie streets in the dead of winter, with ice and snow filling my wheel wells, and a particular afternoon where I drove to a cemetery which sidles a bluff overlooking Lake Erie, and while this song played in the background, I looked out over the vast, frozen lake, and felt sorrow as well as joy.

The song’s simple lyrics go thusly:

“I was following the pack
all swallowed in their coats
with scarves of red tied round their throats
to keep their little heads
from falling in the snow,
and I turned round and there you go!
And, Michael, you would fall,
and turn the white snow red as
strawberries in the summertime.”


Winter Songs #1

Posted in Rant/ Rave, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on November 10, 2014 by sethdellinger

As winter nears, I being to again turn to the songs that I most associate with this most dreadful of seasons.  We all have different ways we experience music, and our own unique ways we have them tied to specific sensory sensations or memories from our own pasts.  Many of “my winter songs” have little to do with winter; I was just listening to them heavily during winters, or maybe even just once during a very winter-specific moment.  Of course, the same goes for “summer songs”, etc.  Over the next few weeks I’m going to post a few of the more prominent of my own winter songs; usually without personal commentary, but sometimes with.  In the process, I’d love to hear about some of your own “winter songs”!

This first one is one I listened to a lot during a winter, but is also thematically about winter.  “Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)” by Arcade Fire is an almost wholly unique song in the rock world, at least lyrically.  It tells the story of two kids (who are next door neighbors) whose town is subjected to an enormous, almost apocalyptic snow storm.  They dig a tunnel from one bedroom to the other, and then escape to the surface (supposedly their houses are actually buried) and they begin a life by themselves in this new winter world, eventually almost forgetting the details of their past, and their “skin gets thicker/ from living out in the snow”.  Using very few words, lyricist Win Butler has crafted a song with layers of intense meaning and emotion that I can only begin to write about in this space.  Interspersed with this tale is the love story of these two kids…and perhaps your love story, with the person you love.  Perhaps YOU are the couple living alone in the barren white world.  For my money, you don’t get a more romantic line than

“You change all the lead
sleepin’ in my head to gold.
As the day grows dim
I hear you sing a golden hymn:
the song I’ve been trying to sing!”

If you watch the video below and really like the song, there is a BADASS live version if you click  here.




And if the snow buries my neighborhood,
and if my parents are crying
then I’ll dig a tunnel from my window to yours.
Yeah, a tunnel from my window to yours.

You climb out the chimney
and meet me in the middle of the town,
and since there’s no one else around
we let our hair grow long and forget all we used to know.
Then our skin gets thicker from living out in the snow!

You change all the lead
sleepin’ in my head.
As the day grows dim
I hear you sing a golden hymn.

Then we tried to name our babies
but we forgot all the names that,
the names we used to know.
But sometimes we remember our bedrooms
and our parent’s bedrooms and the bedrooms of our friends.
Then we think of our parents.
Well, what ever happened to them?

You change all the lead
sleepin’ in my head to gold.
As the day grows dim
I hear you sing a golden hymn:
the song I’ve been trying to sing!

Purify colors. Purify my mind.
Purify colors. Purify my mind.
Spread the ashes of the colors
in this heart of mine.



My 10th Favorite Song of All-Time

Posted in 100 Favorite Songs with tags , , on February 9, 2013 by sethdellinger

First, let’s recap everything that has come before:

100.  “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” by Deep Blue Something
99.  “Jack & Diane” by John Mellencamp
98.  “Hotel California” by The Eagles
97.  “American Pie” by Don McLean
96.  “Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough” by Michael Jackson
95.  “Nuthin’ but a G Thang” by Dr. Dre
94.  “Bushwick Blues” by Delta Spirit
93.  “For the Workforce, Drowning” by Thursday
92.  “Fish Heads” by Barnes and Barnes
91.  “Shimmer” by Fuel
90.  “Rubber Biscuit” by the Blues Brothers
89.  “House of the Rising Sun” by The Animals
88.  “Asleep at the Wheel” by Working For a Nuclear-Free City
87.  “There’s an Arc” by Hey Rosetta!
86.  “Steam Engine” by My Morning Jacket
85.  “Scenario” by A Tribe Called Quest
84.  “White Rabbit” by Jefferson Airplane
83.  “Fits” by Stone Gossard
82.  “Spring Flight to the Land of Fire” by The Cape May
81. “The District Sleeps Alone Tonight” by The Postal Service
80.  “Sober” by Tool
79.  “Dream is Collapsing” by Hans Zimmer
78.  “Why Don’t We Do it in the Road?” by The Beatles
77.  “In This Light and on This Evening” by Editors
76.  “Lemonworld” by The National
75.  “Twin Peaks Theme” by Angelo Badalamente
74.  “A Comet Appears” by The Sins
73.  “The Mariner’s Revenge Song” by The Decemberists
72.  “Pepper” by Butthole Surfers
71.  “Life Wasted” by Pearl Jam
70.  “Jetstream” by Doves
69.  “Trieste” by Gifts From Enola
68.  “Oh My God” by Kaiser Chiefs
67.  “The Righteous Path” by Drive-By Truckers
66.  “Innocence” by The Airborne Toxic Event
65.  “There, There” by Radiohead
64.  “Ants Marching” by Dave Matthews Band
63.  “Symphony 1: In the Barrel of a Gun” by Emily Wells
62.  “The Best of What’s Around” by Dave Matthews Band
61.  “Old Man” by Neil Young
60.  “Cumbersome” by Seven Mary Three
59.  “Knocked Up” by Kings of Leon
58.  “Machine Head” by Bush
57.  “Peaches” by Presidents of the United States of America
56.  “Gimme Shelter” by The Rolling Stones
55.  “Fell on Black Days” by Soundgarden
54.  “The New Year” by Death Cab for Cutie
53.  “Call Me Al” by Paul Simon
52.  “Real Muthaphuckin’ Gs” by Eazy E
51..  “Evening Kitchen” by Band of Horses
50.  “Standing Outside a Broken Phone Booth with Money in My Hand” by Primitive Radio Gods
49.  “Top Drawer” by Man Man
48.  “Locomotive Breath” by Jethro Tull
47.  “We Used to Vacation” by Cold War Kids
46.  “Easy Money” by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
45.  “Two-fifty” by Chris Walla
44.  “I’ve Got a Feeling” by The Beatles
43.  “Another Pilot” by Hey Rosetta!
42.  “Revelate” by The Frames
41.  “Wise Up” by Aimee Mann
40.  “Sample in a Jar” by Phish
39.  “Spitting Venom” by Modest Mouse
38.  “Sometimes I Rhyme Slow” by Nice & Smooth
37.  “I Shall Be Released” by The Band
36.  “When I Fall” by Barenaked Ladies
35.  “East Hastings” by Godspeed You! Black Emperor
34.  “Terrible Love” by The National
33.  “Jolene” by Dolly Parton
32.  “Sometime Around Midnight” by The Airborne Toxic Event
31.  “This Train Revised” by Indigo Girls
30.  “Mad World” by Gary Jules
29.  “White Winter Hymnal” by Fleet Foxes
28.  “Once in a Lifetime” by The Talking Heads
27.  “Growing Old is Getting Old” by Silversun Pickups
26.  “Brian and Robert” by Phish
25.  “Is There a Ghost?” by Band of Horses
24.  “Be Safe” by The Cribs
23.  “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” by Judy Garland
22.  “Ashes in the Fall” by Rage Against the Machine
21.  “We Laugh Indoors” by Death Cab For Cutie
20.  “Dondante” by My Morning Jacket

19.  “We Used to Wait” by Arcade Fire

18.  “Oceans of Envy” by Seven Mary Three

17.  “This is How We Do It” by Montell Jordan

16.  “Fast Car” by Tracy Chapman

15.  “What a Good Boy” by Barenaked Ladies

14.  “Styrofoam Plates” by Death Cab For Cutie

13.  “Hard to Imagine” by Pearl Jam

12.  “Everything In Its Right Place” by Radiohead

11.  “A Day in the Life” by The Beatles

…and my tenth favorite song of all-time is:

“Rattlesnake” by LIVE

I have written extensively already here on this blog about the song “Rattlesnake”.  I talk about it a lot in this blog entry about why you should love LIVE, and then I posted a lot of pictures inspired by the song, here and here and here.  If you don’t feel like clicking on all that shit, let me sum it up for you: LIVE is from the same place, roughly, that I am from (and that place, roughly, is this).  This song directly addresses being from this area, but feeling a disconnect with the general culture here.  It also happens to address these things during the band’s creative peak.  Musically and lyrically it is as artful, un-obvious, non-cliche as a rock band of their stature is going to get.  A lot of people I know actually make fun of this particular song’s lyrics; they might seem truly random, silly, or meaningless to some.  But I beg to differ, and think he’s working on on higher level than just about any songwriter ever, on this song, and the whole Secret Samadhi album (for a more detailed breakdown of my opinion of the lyrics to “Rattlesnake”, click the link above about why you should love LIVE).

And there is just some very special feeling, upon hearing those foreboding, badass few chords, and the slow rock creep that starts out the song, in knowing that sound is designed to thematically represent the life we live here in Central PA, and the thoughts and feelings of not being a hunter or truck driver, and not “skinning hunted deer”.  In another place, in another time…

Do yourself a favor, Chachi, and watch the live performance video after the studio version I’ve embedded here.

“Rattlesnake” by LIVE

Let’s go hang out at a mall,
or a morgue, a smorgasbord.
Let’s go hang out in a church,
we’ll go find Lurch,
and we’ll haul ass down to the abbey.
Is it money, is it fame?
What’s in a name? Shame?
Is it money, is it fame
or were they always this lame?

It’s a crazy, crazy mixed up town,
but it’s the rattlesnake I fear.
In another place, in another time,
I’d be drivin’ trucks, my dear.

Let’s go hang out in a bar.
It’s not too far.
We’ll take my car.
We’ll lay flowers at the grave
of Jesco White, the sinner’s saint.
The rack is full, and so are we
of laughing gas and ennui.

It’s a crazy, crazy mixed up town
but it’s the rattlesnake I fear.
In another place, in another time,
I’d be drivin’ trucks my dear
I’d be skinning hunted deer.




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