Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Blog Music Quiz, pt. 1

Along with Elise, I've been tagged by Travis at Now More Than Ever to play the blog music quiz (thanks!), which is more like an opinion poll than a quiz but still. Elise will presumably play at After School Snack. My choices, all of which are utterly unquestionable and in eminently good taste will follow in this and other posts.

A. Top Five Lyrics that Move Your Heart
1.Uncle Tupelo, "Watch Me Fall," from Still Feel Gone
For when you're pissed off and/or disenheartened. Like after grad school.

"Some folks find that their role in life
Is to fail at everything they try
While other folks see
But not like me
There's one thing that they're damn good at
Gather around you all
Come around and see
Those who stand tall
Why don't you please watch me fall"

2. Radiohead, "No Surprises," from OK Computer
For when you're really pissed off and/or disenheartened and/or sad. For some reason, this is the first song I listened to when celebrating passing my dissertation defense.

"I'll take a quiet life
A handshake of carbon monoxide
With no alarms and no surprises
No alarms and no surprises please"

3. Stan Getz & Joao Gilberto, "Girl from Ipanema," from Getz/Gilberto
There's no better musical interpretation of longing and lust. Astrud Gilberto's voice and phrasing are so tropically unrequited.

"Tall and tan and young and lovely
The girl from Ipanema goes walking
And when she passes he smiles
But she doesn't see.
She just doesn't see.
No, she doesn't see..."

4. Liz Phair, "Stratford-on-Guy," from Liz Phair
This brilliantly and beautifully captures the weird here-but-nowhere sense I get when flying - and I've flown into Chicago at night quite a bit.

"I was flying into Chicago at night
Watching the lake turn the sky into blue-green smoke
The sun was setting to the left of the plane
And the cabin was filled with an unearthly glow
The stewardess came back and checked on my drink
In the last strings of sunlight, a Bridgette Bardot
There's a hat on my headphones
Along with those eyes that you get
When your circumstance is movie size"

5. Hank Williams, "Lonesome Whistle (I Heard That)"
Maybe Hank's most maudlin and even melodramatic song, but still - the man could sing.

"All alone I bear the shame
I'm a number not a name
I heard that lonesome whistle blow
All I do is sit and cry
When the ev'nin' train goes by
I heard that lonesome whistle blow."

B. Top 5 Instrumentals
As a jazz fan, this one's easy:
1. Miles Davis, "So What," from Kind of Blue. The best jazz song ever.
2. Duke Ellington, Charles Mingus, and Max Roach, "Wig Wise," from Money Jungle. The second-best jazz song ever.
3. Bill Evans "Autumn Leaves [Take 1]," from Portrait in Jazz. My all-time favorite trio playing at its best. (See my take on this tune about midway down this long archived post.)
4. Brad Mehldau, "Song Song," from Art of the Trio: Songs, vol. 3. A devastatingly slow and melancholy song.
5. Charles Mingus, "Peggy's Blue Skylight," from Oh Yeah. Features an unforgettable riff.

Rather than an instrumental per se, my last choice is a tie between two fantastic rock-to-end-the-world guitar solos:
6. Uncle Tupelo, "Chickamauga," from Anodyne
6. Wilco, "At Least That's What You Said," from A Ghost Is Born

C. Top 5 Live Musical Experiences
I haven't seen that much live music in my day, really, but here are four shows I think about quite a bit and two headphones-on experiences:

1. Uncle Tupelo at First Avenue in Minneapolis, 1994/1995 (?). A great show on their last tour, supporting Anodyne. I watched part of the opening act standing an arm's length from Jay Farrar, whom I worshipped as a god.

2. Brad Mehldau Trio at Dakota Bar at Grill in St. Paul, 2002. The first set, which my friend Kris and I paid to see, was really great, and then they let us sit in the back of the restaurant to listen to the second set for free. Well, if we bought drinks, which wasn't exactly a crushing burden. Watching the trio interact was the best part of the night, which is saying something since the music was out of this world.

3. The Bad Plus at the Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis, 2004. I had to go to this show by myself, but it turned out I was about ten feet away from Ethan Iverson's piano and Dave King's drumkit. Watching King play one song with the antennae of two turned-on baby monitors was the highlight, but hearing them rip shit up with songs like "And Here We Test Our Powers Of Observation" was pretty choice, as Elise might say.

4. Wilco at Navy Pier in Chicago, 1995 (?). They were playing as part of a beer festival, so the crowd was plenty soused, and it turned out we could have gotten in for free, but they played a hell of a show even if Tweedy largely ignored his Uncle Tupelo output in favor of increasingly weird Wilco stuff.

5. Miles Davis, Kind of Blue, and Radiohead, OK Computer. Two great late-night/headphones-on albums that will make you feel real, real funny inside.


Elise said...

Nice choices. I posted mine at A.S.S. Such a diversity of musical tastes! Who are you tagging?

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