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July 01, 2008

Heart songs: Not just a Bibliophile.

These are my heart songs/ 
They never feel wrong/
And when I wake, for goodness sake/
These are the songs I keep singing. 

-"Heart Songs," from Weezer's Red Album
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So, if you haven't guessed, I'm not just a bibliophile: I love music! WHOOO! What is that? A musicophile? Someone wikipedia it, stat. 

From the young age of seven, I was subject to weekly thirty-minute torture sessions a la piano. Let me tell you: I hated that one guy with that one gad-awful warm-up book as much as the next kid. (Someone wiki that or something, too-- I'm sure you fellow former or current piano players know exactly what I'm talking about.) 

But when I finally got to an age where I started to appreciate music and develop my own, independent tastes, I began to thank my mom for making me take lessons. It's great to be able to just have the radio on and be able to kind of know what's musically going on. (I'll never fully know because I've sworn never to take the ass-kicking music theory classes at school.)

So enough beating around the bush. In my music book, some bands have only been fleeting loves, but some have just made a lasting impression on me that's stayed with me for years and will for years to come. To me, these ten or so bands epitomize my musical world. They've stuck with me through the many ups and downs so far. They've stuck with me on the long-ass bus rides to school where the only way of surviving was to drown out the noisy middle schoolers in the back seats. They've stuck with me on even longer plane rides to the other side of the world, and they've stuck with the spirit of defiance, passion, and truth that I've come to admire in each and everyone of them. 

And just a heads-up: I really love the 90s. 

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11. Queens of the Stone Age- I don't know about you, but I really love Era Vulgaris. I also love their dirty, dirty guitars and their dirty, dirty, tongue-in-cheek lyrics. I remember being really hooked on Never Say Never my junior year. I was listening to it in the car on my headphones when I was one some long car trip (on full volume, of course! Is there any other way to listen to Queens of the Stone Age?), and I remember when the chorus rolled along, my mom looked over at me from traffic and shot me the evil eye.  

I turned beet red: Oh sweet, sweet pubescent embarrassment. 

Try out the entire effing Era Vulgaris CD, their cover of Little Sister, and of course, Never Say Never

10. Fugazi- To me, they are the infinitive "to rock out." Arpeggiator? Greed? Joe #1? I love it all. 

9. Bright Eyes- You can't beat simplicity. The unabashedly angsty or emotional lyrics and rawness of the stories in their songs are an immediate hook. I particularly love The Invention of Beauty; The First Day of My Life; and It's Cool, We Can Still Be Friends. In It's Cool, you gotta love the bit about the whiskey... classic passive-aggressive anger. 

8. Neutral Milk Hotel- Oh Comely is perpetually stuck in my head. Well, just the first verse or so-- eight minutes is a bit much for my functional-group studded brain. It's all in the lyrics: transgressive undertones coupled with a magical wryness. 
Magical wryness? Er, yeah. Just listen. Try out Communist Daughter-- you gotta love that trumpet. Or pretty much the entire "In an Aeroplane Over the Sea" album. 

7. Daphne Loves Derby- One of my first pop-rock loves. It's sad to think that I go to school what? Fifteen minutes away from where they're from and I haven't been able to get my butt down to a venue to see them in concert. Catchy, catchy guitar melodies and riffs that for some reason, were always stuck in my head during math class? I love it. That, and the lead singer. Shhh! Try Closing Down the Pattern Department, Deserts Eating Oceans, Patterns and How They Change the Visible World, and of course, a Purevolume classic, Hopeless Love. Lots and lots of fluff, I know. HUSH!

6. Jimmy Eat World- I'm mostly a sucker for their big big guitars, especially on 77 Satellites and Salt Sweat Sugar. But that's not all that's good. The lyrics are great, particularly in Spangle and Authority Song. Barebones honest and bitter, just the way I like it. Very, very cathartic. 

5. America the Band- I've loved these guys since I was little, mostly thanks to my parents' mix tapes that played over and over in the effing car. I would beg my mom to skip over ABBA so I could listen to Muskrat Love. I've sung along to all of their songs so many times that me and my dad have perfected singing Sandman and Horse With No Name in harmony. It's just good old stuff from the good old days. 

Well, I assume they were, because I wasn't alive yet. But come on: when was the last time someone sang about a muskrat? 

4. The Beatles-- Of course, no list is complete without them. I mean, come on. They're the Beatles. Based on past bands, can you guess which song of theirs is my favorite? 

3. Dave Brubeck--  I've always loved jazz. I spent a good five years in a jazz band, and I loved every moment of it. Plus, he was the first guy that made me realize that piano playing could be totally kick-ass. Mr. Brubeck always is my company of choice on a quiet night in or when I'm in the library. Try Blue Rondo a la Turk, the classic Take Five, and Unsquare Dance. 

2. Weezer-- I don't even know where to begin. A few good friends of mine introduced them to me my sophomore year, and it was love. Love in the car when I first learned how to drive; love when I was on the trains; love while waiting for buses; love late at night on the sidewalk, howling El Scorcho with my buddies; love when I was pondering chem equations; love when I was just sitting in my room, doing nothing in particular. 
Just listen to everything. Really. You can't go wrong with Weezer. And if you listened to El Scorcho, you'd sing it sitting out on a sidewalk, too.

aaaaand the numero uunooooooo...

1. The Smashing Pumpkins- Summer before freshman year was spent cradling my Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness MIDI tape in my back pocket. Back when MIDIs were kickass, and way before the time of the iPod. Billy and the gang have seen me through it all: from getting on the school bus on my first day of high school to the transpacific plane ride to my first days of college. Billy himself is a tad over the top sometimes, but I've come to realize its I admire. Bold. Aggressive. Unafraid of lashback from everyone. Completely out there and a bit misunderstood, but all guts. Raw, raw guts. And it shows in the music. Classic example: X.Y.U. You can feel the tension through the speakers-- raw, undulated anger and feeling. It takes talent to make something as base and truly human come through all the whatnot of today's noisy mess. 
Try: 
We Only Come Out at Night. (I always think of little Miyazaki Totoros bouncing up and down with ginko leaves in a yellow submarine when I listen to this song.)
Zero. (Definitely a classic Smashing Pumpkins song.)
Farewell and Goodnight. (I don't plan on having kids anytime soon, but I already know this is going to be their lullabye. Plus, it shows a different, but equally beautiful side of the Smashing Pumpkin's musical identity.)
The Boy. (Bouncy. I listen to this in the car all the time.)
Okay, pretty much everything. Pay particular attention to Mellon Collie, though. It's chock-full of gems. 

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2 comments:

ZJL88 said...

sadly i cannot agree entirely with this list. i wish we could both be right, but you know it doesnt work that way. im sorry.

i hope this blog keeps you busybusy, but not too busy to call me some time.

nihonsuki said...

I was going to tell you I had one on your bulletin but I figured this would do some justice. :)

blogger's unite once again.

i hate yet to publish something though.