Friday, August 12, 2005

Today's Summer Songlist

As I crawl out of The Hole, I know I'm feeling better because the songs on my iTunes make me happy again. I've just been...i dunno, indifferent. That's one of the first signs of the impending blues for me -- when music doesn't lift my spirits on a cellular level.

Today, it's been summer songs that make me happy, that make me groove and bounce in my seat, and sing along with abandon. The thing I love about summer music is that it doesn't ask for too much. It's as if our vacation-mode minds, steeped in the humidity and heat, can't handle anything too deep, or heavy, or "important." Summer is the time when we switch from Johnnie Black and Guinness Stout to Grey Goose & tonic and hefeweisen. I want my summer songs to be fluffy. For now, give me something lightweight, music like a clean white tee shirt. These songs are the grilled cheese sandwich of the season, and I want Velveeta on Wonder Bread, not Brie on a baguette.

1. My Cherie Amour, Stevie Wonder -- one of my earliest memories is taking mom to the airport (back when going to the airport was still an event, not an ordeal) and waving goodbye to the Pan Am 747 from the observation deck at Greater Pitt as she flew halfway around the world to visit her family. This song was playing on the car radio as we drove home. Dad was taking care of us, so we ate a lot of hot dogs and baked beans while she was gone. He also took us to the Village Theater to see "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang," and we watched men land on the moon.

2. To Turn You On, Roxy Music -- "Avalon" is one of the most achingly beautiful records ever made, definitely a desert island disc for me. And Bryan Ferry yearns so in this song. Jerry Hall is an idiot.

3. The Thong Song, Sisqo -- Shut up. We're talking summer songs here, not delving into the meaning and depth of Proust. This song defined the summer of -- what was it? 1999? 2000? It's so bad it's good. I mean, just what does the lyric, "She had dumps like a truck, truck, truck, thighs like what, what, what, baby move your butt, butt, butt" mean, exactly? We may never know, but we sing along obediently, don't we? Plus, the kid could dance.

4. Roll with the Changes -- REO Speedwagon. Kevin Cronin is perhaps the least sexy man to ever play in a rock and roll band. But they played these songs with conviction, man. I can also play this on the guitar, which isn't saying much, since it's just A, D and G, but a beginner like me takes her satisfaction where she can get it.

5. Separate Ways -- Journey. What can I say? I'm a child of the 80's, and I love this song beyond reason. I play it when I'm driving, and something about it makes me go 90 mph.

6. Since U Been Gone -- Kelly Clarkson. I'll bet if you take a trip out to Long Island this summer, this will be the song that is blasting out of every single high school and college girl's daddy's car. Face it folks, this song is irresitably catchy and I just can't help doing the head bop when I hear it.

7. My Happy Ending -- Avril Lavigne. OK. This is crap, but it is some of the best-produced crap out there. And I'm of the opinion that once li'l Avril stops becoming "product" we'll actually get something great out of her. I mean, the girl can sing. Can YOU nail those octave swings when you sing along? That shit is hard to sing. Come on, sing along with me:
"You were EVerything, EVerything that I wanted..we were MEANT to be, supPOSED to be, but we lost it...." Plus, I love the way she enunciates the word "everything" so you hear all the syllables.

8. Entry number 8 has been deleted as of 8/17/05, due to the fact that I've finally accepted that the artist is a sociopath.

9. Take it Easy on Me -- Little River Band. I TOLD you, this is all about the fluff. But I do think Glenn Shorrock is one of the underappreciated pop voices of the 70's. I have to admit, I'm not wild about it once you get past the piano and vocal intro part -- it's one of those songs with a really promising start, but then those extra cheesy 70's guitars start and it kicks into a straight 4/4 and kinda gets boring. It's like that guy you love flirting with, but when it comes time to kiss him it's all formula.

10. Ah, Leah! -- Donnie Iris. Well, what can I say, he's a hometown boy and I love him. Saw him in concert in 1982. Don't be fooled by his nerdy Eugene Levy appearance -- in concert, he just rocked and rolled like he was Bruce Springsteen at the Meadowlands.

11. Don't Fear the Reaper -- Blue Oyster Cult. I've got a fever, and the only cure is more cowbell! Well, guess you had to catch that episode of SNL. But who doesn't recognize the riff immediately? If you've ever seen "The Stand," the miniseries based on Stephen King's book, they use this song to incredibly creepy effect as the background in the long, continuous shot that opens the series -- the camera pans over the dead employees at the government installation where the superflu "Captain Trips" has somehow escaped. Rent it, it's a good rainy Saturday's entertainment.

12. Good Times -- Tommy Lee. I'm on an all-junk-food musical diet this week, clearly. I find Tommy Lee skankily sexy. He looks like all those guys who were on my high school drum line whom I secretly lusted after but could never openly say I liked. They sat at the back of the band bus, smoked dope, drank, smoked and chewed. I, the angelic goody-two-shoes pom-pom girl, watched them from the corner of my eye while I did my homework and made sure the tassels on my boots were straight. I can't wait until next week when we get to see "Tommy Lee Goes to College." Sorry, I like my summer TV as fluffy as the music. This is a perfect amalgam of both, as it is the theme song for the show.

13. Papa Was a Rollin' Stone -- The Temptations. The bass line, man. The bass line. This is the first thing I'm going to learn after "Boogie Oogie Oogie" when I get a bass guitar. Isn't this the perfect song to play under a PBS documentary about the '77 blackout in New York City? Cut to footage of the residents of Bushwick rampaging down Broadway under the JMZ line. It makes me want to be cruising around Brooklyn in a 70's-era maroon Monte Carlo -- the one with the landau roof.

14. Groovy Train -- The Farm. It was the summer of 1992, I was dating Matt and lookin all Janine Turner and shit. Juliet was dating Pat, and we were hanging out a lot in that Times Square bar that is now a tourist trap. Matt had the convertible and Oh. My. God. That was a fun summer. This was the song.

And that's today's list. Next week it may be different. Or it may be a different theme. Who knows, but this sure was fun writing, and my god, I AM feeling better.


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