Looking over this list, there’s nothing too embarrassing—the single worst offenders here are probably The Wallflowers and The Goo Goo Dolls—and nothing too dated—Beth Orton, maybe?—it shows that I’d recently gotten into both Jackson Browne and Van Morrison, and that even at seventeen years old I had pretty good taste for a sixty year old man.
Throughout Monster, Michael Stipe deliberately inhabits a queer space, particularly on this song which flows nimbly from a woman’s perspective. "I’ve always felt that sexuality is a really slippery thing," he told Newsweek at the time. ”I like fucking around with gender. I like writing songs that aren’t gender specific.”I remember around the same time the kids’ magazine Disney Adventures extracted the necessary information from the record, the interviews around it, and how Stipe’s face had become freshly armored in glossy paints: Michael Stipe was queer, and how wonderful. They congratulated him on navigating a combustible sexual space, then lamented it, as his sexuality mysteriously destabilized the staff’s crush on him.
Reading this at age 8 introduced me to several bottomless concepts at once.
My high school had a beauty pageant every year—a pretty fucked-up thing, in retrospect—the proceeds of which went to help fund the yearbook. I was, of course, on the yearbook staff, and one year I got to pick out the music that was used during the program. I spent a couple of days at least putting together three 90-minute cassettes of what would be considered background music to play underneath the goings-on, plus a fourth cassette that was to include the music to be played at certain predetermined portions of the show.
Among those predetermined portions were what I guess you’d call an opening processional, or something, where first the girls would walk from the rear of the auditorium up onto the stage. In what I thought was a pretty clever bit of commentary on the goings-on, I chose “Tongue”—a song that I was pretty sure was both about eating pussy and the sad glamour of teenage girls—as the song for the girls to walk out to. I don’t remember what song I picked for the boys, but I think it might have been "The Pop Singer’s Fear of the Pollen Count" by The Divine Comedy, which isn’t really about anything other than having allergies.
Regardless, neither of those choices were picked. They let me keep my weird music for the background stuff no one would pay attention to. I don’t remember what song they actually played for the girls to walk out to. I think the boys made their entrance to “Back In Black”.
Which, you know, might have been the better choice.
I had something of a vision the other night…not exactly a dream, but not entirely the workings of an entirely lucid mind: I was thinking about all those cable drama shows like Sons of Anarchy and Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead, and how the lamest trope of them all is the Badass Outlaw/Nazi/Redneck Biker character, and I just kept imagining/hoping that David Allen Coe and his band would show up on one of those zombie shows, basically playing themselves, a hard-living band that has survived whatever madness has gone down, driving around in a tour bus that’s got barbed wire and shit all over it. I don’t know. It might be a bad idea, but who wouldn’t love to see David Allen Coe with a bayonet attached to his guitar, stabbing the undead hordes?
Their masterpiece, probably. This one takes what they were going for with All Cats Are Grey and blasts it into outer space. I’ve seen them live five times and this is the song they’ve opened with every time.
This remains the only Cure album I’ve ever owned (on cassette!), and, though I loved it, I had basically forgotten about “Plainsong” until its use in the coronation scene of Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette, where it basically blew my mind. The scope of this song is incredible, and it makes me wish I liked The Cure a lot more than I do.
It rained like hell late Thursday night, and 24 hours later it has turned cold; the drop into the high 60s when you’ve had three months of 90+ degree days makes it seem even colder than it is. It’s nice.
I got up this morning and went for a drive. The sky is all clouded over and the color of graphite, and for whatever reason before I left the house I grabbed this Modest Mouse EP I haven’t listened to in years—I didn’t like it very much at the time, because there’s no obvious “hits” on it. But now, all these years later, it absolutely hit the spot. There’s almost nothing better than when the music you’re listening to perfectly soundtracks your actions. Which in this case means driving around on a cold and overcast day and looking around at the town you’ve spent the last decade in with something that you could call love.