Thursday, February 14, 2008

Thursday Top 20: What The Snowman Learned About Love

It is a truth universally acknowledged that my itunes playlists are, by and large, "depressing," so you might think I'm too young to keep a good love song from goin' wrong. (Name that co-opted literary quote and co-opted song lyric, win a sticker!). I think it's 'cause I write while listening to music, and upbeat music w/aggressive lyrics is distracting, hip-hop's not really conducive to my process (my process is very complicated and involves a lot of feelings), and mostly 'cause if I'm writing and a hot track pops up that makes me wanna dance, what can I do? I can't dance and write simultaneously, I can barely dance at all as it is. Like "I Want You Back" just came on coincidentally, and what can I do? This song makes my number one feeling "dancing" instantly! But I'm going to sit here, tap my foot, and write this bitch. I'm listening to the "because of now" playlist. Very illuminating, my playlist titles. (Others, constantly vying for alphabetic superiority, include: a girl-girl thing, all we have is each other, and if i ever feel better, august melts, and so it is, all we have is now, are you happy now, baby it's cold outside, back in my head, beyond words, can't come quickly enough, cause we're young, c'mon get happy, crazy, dance party, destruct, drive, fair, get it out, holiday magic, hot fun in the summertime, july! july!, lesbian road trip, party party party, seasonal affective disorder, sunday, wistful night music, work it work it, writing).

Oh first of all, speaking of Love Songs, Monday night we time-traveled to 1994 Pop Paradise to partake in the cultural event that is the Spice Girls Reunion Tour. It's hard to put into words, because it was music, and writing about music is like dancing about architecture. That's probs my number-one dance move: 'architecture.' I'm not exactly a music journalist, though I did a killer story in '02 about Sugarcult and a killer post in '07 called "Musical Memoirs." So what can I say ...
****

Mostly I was concerned about their feelings: I think Posh and Ginger are both totally over it, but they're both hot, so it's cool, and the other three were clearly having a legitimately fabulous time. I'd never realised how smokin' hot Scary Spice is! Sporty -- my fashion icon -- can actually sing, too. The costumes were mind-blowing, the dancing was incredible, seriously it was like a SHOW, and I'm used to seeing like, lesbians with guitars, not lights & music & Ginger looking Haviland right in the eyes. It was a true pop music spectacular the likes of which I've never seen before in my life and probs never will again, because I'm old. Unless there's a New Kids on the Block reunion tour, clearly I'd be there in a hot minute. I think many of our feelings are best summarized by this photo of Alex:

*
Spice Up Your Life! Seriously, Go For It!
*
I made a "Auto-Win Lovesongs" CD to send out with pre Valentine's Day auto-apparel, and it took a really long time to assemble. Srsly. Love songs are complicated. Like, for example -- what IS a love song? I tried initially to be true to myself, including what I actually feel are the top 20 auto-win love of my life songs, but then I realised that I'd earn a lot of massively unimpressed customers if I sent out a bunch of cds containing tracks like Sarah McLachlan's "Ice Cream" and Dave Matthews Band's "Crush 16," so I revised the list to be the top 20 auto-win love of my life songs that aren't embarrassing. Then I decided to make the liner notes this week's top 20, therefore killing 20 songbirds with one rolling stone.

1. Love Song - The Cure
It's called "love song," for one thing. It's pure unapologetic feeling that manages sentiment without sentimentality, it's probs one of the top 10 love songs ever. You can disagree with me, that's fine, I will never love you, no matter how far away, how long you stay, etc.

2. Might Tell You Tonight - Scissor Sisters
Exuberant, catchy, golden -- this song is about brand-spanking-new love, being in love with a total critter -- like, yeah! Wear your sweaters and don't get cold! I love your toothbrush by my mirror! I hope that we're together when we're old! This kid is on a bus towards a two-way street of love magic, when you're that excited to tell someone that you love them and that they should stay all your life, you're probs pretty sure they're gonna say it back. Also, the instruments, whatever they are, sound like glitter.

3. Tonight - Stars
This is like the on-again-off-again-treacherous-relationship piano ballad. It's about how people fight and throw things (I imagine a boy sitting at his window, staring mournfully at the sky, thinking video montage-style about all the times it hasn't worked and all the times it has) but maybe they could just look at each other and think "let's make it work tonight." That's a nice idea.

4. Day Too Soon - Sia
Did you guys know that Sia has a girlfriend ? I didn't. I discovered her via "Breathe Me"'s prominence in Six Feet Under and her new album, oddly drop-bombed in every Starbucks ever, is brilliantly titled "Some People Have Real Problems" and I like all her pretty sunshine songs about serious things even more now that I know she's thinking about a lady when she writes them. This one is super dreamy: "Honey I will stitch you, darling I will feel you in my heart." "You're never gonna put me down"! Aw. She's like, pick me up, perfect timing, let's fly!

5. Underwater - Tegan & Sara
This is a cynic-crumbling song, my favorite kind. It mocks itself and still yearns loudly and fully. "I would go to jail with only boys just to prove I was as tough as you"? Amazing. They even do an "oh-ohhhhh" thing on the chorus, like that's how pumped they are about "silly love songs"! Also, can't say enough about this line: "I'm a car crash but I have to get up, and every morning it's a clean-up."

6. Late at Night - Buffalo Tom
This is the song that plays during the greatest scene in television history: the last two minutes of Episode 12 ("Boiler Room") of My So-Called Life, when Jordan Catalano asks Angela if they can, like, go somewhere, and then ... well. You'll just have to watch it, and see.

7. This Will Be (An Everlasting Love) - Natalie Cole
This was the first track on a V-Day mix I got in '06, and I used to listen to it every morning to get excited enough about life to leave our apartment. It kinda works. Also, Ellen and Sharon Stone dancing in the last scene of If These Walls Could Talk 2? Seals the deal.

8. In a Manner of Speaking - Nouvelle Vague
Nouvelle Vague covers classic new wave singles, exclusively. They transform them into Brazillian poppy songs that sound like slow-dancing on tip-toes. This song is perfect, it's the musical equivalent of looking someone in the eyes or touching their fingertips with your fingertips.

9. Let's Get it On - Marvin Gaye
Um, obvs.

10. It's Good to Be In Love - Frou Frou
This song is like a trick, because it sounds so peachy and frou frouy, like "omg, it totally IS good to be in love!" But in fact, she's just pissed off that her ex is in love without her and probs about to set his house on fire. Still, though.

11. Both Hands - Ani DiFranco
Sorry, I had to. It's just that this is the 90's acoustic lesbian love song that gave birth to all future 90's acoustic lesbian love songs. Also, there was this girl we were all sort of in love with at Interlochen, and she played this at open mic and said it was one of the best songs ever and I thought "right on." It's a scene, and you can see it, and the scene is a white room and a bed that's not big enough and the whole sum of us bringing itself to bear upon some naked moment of decision if it's worth it anymore. It's like this is where we are, and now, what next. "I am writing graffiti on your body/I am drawing the story of how hard we tried/I am watching your chest rise and fall/like the tides of my life/and the rest of it all,/and your bones have been my bed frame/and your flesh has been my pillow/I am waiting for sleep/to offer up the deep/with both hands."
I dunno. It just sounds to me like a song that was written by someone who means it.

12. I Wanna Hold Your Hand - The Beatles
Dude! Sometimes I just wanna hold your hand! Yeah!

13. First Day of Your Life - Bright Eyes
This video, directed by John Cameron Mitchell, is an indulgent fruit medley of gender-flexible hipster love, and it's so earnest it goes all the way past corny and back to earnest: "I think I was blind before I met you," “this is the first day of my life/I’m glad I didn’t die before I met you /But now I don’t care I could go anywhere with you/And I’d probably be happy." It inspired me to write in my personification-of-'hoods erotica story for in the flesh: "But I love the coffee, and his small hug, how genuine he is about lying. We fuck, he cries and blogs and takes photos of my body parts in appropriately etheral shafts of light, under which he'll then lay gently upon me and make love to the part of my soul that still likes Bright Eyes." Obvs that was for Williamsburg. I mean, this is the kind of stuff that doesn't work for me in real life, but is nice to think about in theory. Like yeah, you sing softly, i sing softly, we all strum softly for weirdo love! Also the last line is: "I really think you like me" and he goes me-eee-ee-eee-ee and you're just like, aw. And then you're like, oh gross, Bright Eyes. Whatever, post-hipster, you love it.

14. On & On - Erykah Badu
This is like the sequel to "Let's Get it On." Or like, the DVD extras.

15. Always on My Mind - Pet Shop Boys
All the things we wanted to do but didn't, all the things we did when we already knew what we wanted but didn't know what to do about it, or did ... "little things I should've said and done, but I never took the time, you were always on my mind."

16. Little Wing - Jimi Hendrix
Last spring in her dark room and Maggie singing, Tara playing guitar, me playing girl-in-the-oversized chair without a musical bone to offer. Or uptown on the street during one of the only months of the year I actually enjoy -- the crisp prologue to summer -- this song. This pretty little song. It reminded me of heart flutters and while she played it, I breathed easy. I love the word "little." It's a word that means what it sounds like it means. It's that person who makes you feel fun & light but also so light that she could fly away at any moment, which is sort of okay, because she doesn't ask anything in return besides just to inspire a million smiles.

17. Wonderful Tonight - Eric Clapton
Call me a weirdo, but I have always believed with something resembling conviction that this is truly one of the best love songs ever written ever. He's totally humbled to this woman and I think he's awestruck by her beauty and the privilege he's got to be with her. I used to hear it when I was a little girl and wonder if my Dad ever felt that way about my Mom and wonder if one day someone would ever see me and feel like I was a beautiful lady walking around with them and know that if that ever happened, I'd be like the lady in the song who was too insecure to even know how loved she was and also dealt way too well with her drunkity drunk drunk husband.

18. I'm Your Man - Leonard Cohen
This scene in The L Word seems cheesy and improbable in conception and is absolutely flawless in execution. I never forgot it. Also, I can't make a love songs CD without Leonard Cohen on it, unless it's for someone who hates Leonard Cohen. And, sidenote: I don't know anyone else who's a Leonard Cohen fan really except for me, but I don't care, I don't need you guys, I can take care of myself!

19. My Love (T.I.) - Justin Timberlake
I just like the dance beat on this one. I'm not sure I'd want Timberlake's love, as he's sort of a narcissistic asshole, but if I knew how to dance, it'd be nice to dance to this song.

20. I Want You Back - The Jackson Five
Did anyone else think it was weird that Micheal Jackson sang this when he was like, 10? Like how could he have possibly not only ALREADY had a relationship, but ended it and wanted his girlfriend back? Or boyfriend, whatevs? Anyhow, I'm just into this song this week so it has to be on everything. Even though the lyrics are about fucking up and wanting somebody back, it's got the energy of "A-B-C, it's easy as 1-2-3!" 'Cause maybe it is, or something. Easy as , or not. Whatever. I wanna be a dolphin.
*
The original playlist is titled "autowin love songs" and had 55 songs on it. The 35 songs that failed to make the final cut include: Beautiful (Aimee Mann), When I See You Smile (Bad English), The Luckiest (Ben Folds), Forever (Ben Harper), Simple Twist of Fate (Bob Dylan), Save me from Myself (Christina Aguilera), Feel Like Makin' Love (D'Angelo), All I Ever Wanted (Depeche Mode), Here You Come Again (Dolly Parton), More Than Words (Extreme), Bohemian Rhapsody (The Fugees), I Need You Tonight (INXS), Me and Bobby McGee (Janis Joplin), Alright (Kinnie Starr), Borderline (Madonna), The Luckiest Guy on the Lower East Side (Magnetic Fields), Everything I Need (Melissa Ferrick), Signs of Love (Moby), Turn off the Light (Nelly Furtado), Happy Valentine's Day (Outkast), Maybe I'm Amazed (Paul McCartney), Wish You Were Here (Pink Floyd), Here Comes Your Man (The Pixies), Music to Fuck To (Portishead), We Danced Together (The Rakes), Baby You Got Me (The Roots), You Are the One (Shiny Toy Guns), Nothing Compares to You (Sinead O'Connor), Baby it's You (Smith), Beautiful (Snoop Doggy Dog), Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover (Sophie B. Hawkins), I Believe (Stevie Wonder), Nineteen (Tegan & Sara).
*

*
I think though really that holidays exist so bloggers have automatic topics to write about. Sooner or later, heads explode, and ideas vanish into thin air.
*
I love how pop songs seem profound
when we're in love,
though they wound us too sweetly,
never seriously enough.
I love the good home
cliches can find in an authentic voice.
-Stephen Dunn, "Loves"
*
[gloria aniela]
*

28 comments:

kate said...

that song would be jeff buckley - lover you should've come over. yeh?

Jo said...

"First Day of My Life" = one of my top ten favorite songs ever. But as far as songs I wish I had someone to sing to me, "Everything" by Lifehouse definitely tops the list.

Crystal said...

I'm a Leonard Cohen fan, Hallelujah is one of my favourite songs. Also loving that Hendrix and Clapton made your list. And T&S, obvs.

I really dig Sia. I'm annoyed that she hasn't released her new album here, given she's Australian, etc, it's disappointing. Anyway, nice one.

Lauren (formerly Fragolina) said...

Okay, the literary quote is obviously "Pride and Prejudice" but I'm less sure about the song lyric. A big part of me wants to say Bon Jovi. But that part of me is drunk (and fixated on "You Give Love A Bad Name"), so it's not to be trusted. (And Kate says it's Jeff Buckley, which sounds more plausible.)

Love the list. I myself am a sucker for hopeless love songs, like the Magnetic Fields "All My Little Words," which is both ironic and kind of pathetic. And also "Only You" by Yaz, which was a) featured in Can't Hardly Wait a terrible movie I still watch all the time and b) is by a band called Yaz. That's awesome, even if it is also the name of a birth control pill. (Side note: how awesome would it be if a band called Orthotricyclen had a Top 40 hit? Just a thought...)

As for "I Want You Back" when he sings "When I had you to myself..." I always want to be "Like, in the sandbox? Or the treehouse? Maybe at recess?" cause, ya know, he's so wee.

All right, good night. Happy Valentine's Day.

eric mathew said...

i am happy the concert was so amazing. i am really worried that when Hav goes to LA she is going to make friends with the spice girls and then is going to wind up on Perez as a new couple.

well you all looked hot. i agree Ani totes paved the way. without her how could we have Amy and Emily. PLUS she made Iowa sound so nice. Vaca?

keeping checking back for the indigo girls dance medley...all i'm saying is...its gonna be intense.

happy vday!!

The Spaz said...

I Love other people's playlists! Its like taking a vacation and wearing somebody else's clothes for a while, but in a better more hygienic way than that sounds.

Three quarters of the stuff on yours I already know and like but I've never arranged them in such a way before.

Also, Bird on a Wire, Hallelujah, If It Be Your Will, who doesn't love Leonard Cohen?

Allie said...

Ok, I would totes put "Ice Cream" on a CD of love songs, because I love ice cream more than anything in the world. Except, you know, my sweetie's love. Her love is, well, better than ice cream.

The song I would NEED on a CD of love songs is Ben Folds Five "The Luckiest." No love is complete without the twisted complications of telling someone you love them in the terms of someone else dying.

"Both Hands" reminds me of my first girlfriend, and whenever it's raining really hard and I'm walking in it, I can't help humming that song.

caitttt said...

you are a total weirdo for liking wonderful tonight. it reminds me of prom in the worst way, but to each his own, obvs no judgment here. i do love leonard cohen though so clearly we're still friends even if you did put a picture of me with pigtails on the world wide webernet. holla

Katyn said...

nouvelle vague. nice.

i probs would've put "somebody to love" by queen on my mix, just cuz i'm a weird critter (as proven by listening to "wonderful tonight" and "let my love open the door" on repeat for about 3 months straight when i was 12).

Lozo said...

ever since all your guys' photos from this monstrosity began popping up everywhere, i've been trying to think of the male equivalent to you going to a spice girls concert. there has to be something us guys have done or do that is just as terrible as this.

but i really can't pinpoint anything i was into (music, movies, fashion, fads, whatever) that was universally acknowledged as terrible at the time, then a decade later, voluntarily taking part in that thing again as an adult.

Vanilla Ice? Cuffed jeans?

nothing. nothing is worse than going to see a spice girls reunion concert.

a;ex said...

dancing about architecture...
reminds me of Playing by Heart (I think? I need to brush up on my Angie movies.) Thats a cute Valentines day movie.
Buuut I dont celebrate Valentines day... right?
or DO i?

nice list.
though something spicey is missing from it... I cant put my finger on it...

ry guy said...

OMGZ. Is it When 2 Become 1??! I believe I last heard that while walking on Ave A. Riese, I wish Sinead O'Rebellion would have made the real playlist. It somehow made it on my iPod awhile ago and shuffle pops it up at all the wrong times. That doesn't stop me from listening to it.

stef said...

lozo, i feel like that something is hair metal, and i feel like i go to those reunions too.

smith - 'baby it's you' = my jam.
right after "damn, i wish i was your lover."

shucks.

for me there is no other.

riese said...

kate - yes, yes it would be.

jo - someone has mentioned this song to me recently ... was it you?

crystal - yes, i love all the hallelujahs ... rufus wainwright, jeff buckley's too. in sia's interview, it said she lived in adelade, which is "notoriously laid-back."

lauren - yes, yes it is. i love magnetic fields, the 69 love songs album, and i love the movie can't hardly wait. if i ever learn to sing or play an instrument I will name my band ortho-tri-cyclen, and we can play a double-bill with the fake band we started in middle school called the flying embryos, which was a jordan catalano shout-out. i lol'ed about the sandbox. he probs gave her his sunshine meal toy.

eric mathew - when did ani sing about iowa, tell me more? dar williams has a good song about iowa. for your indigo girls dance medly you need to hear the dance remix of "free in you," srsly.

the spaz - holla for leonard cohen, and other people's playlists, I remember enjoying very much yours around xmas.

allie - The luckiest almost made the final cut, maybe I should've slipped it through. ice cream should probs be a love barometer. like "i love you a lot, but do I love you more than ice cream? errr ..."

caittt - omg, i wish they'd played that at MY prom. thank you for the forgiveness in all areas.

lozo - maybe professional wrestling or something? um, there are guys that line up to meet jenna jameson. that might be up there. strip clubs? all-star strip clubs? is there a such thing? Ooo when a famous porn star comes to a strip club! beer pong tournaments? um, hm. I'm gonna think of something, watch out.

a;ex - it's supposed to be the NOT embarrassing playlist, remember? that movie, playing by heart,has a stunning ensemble cast ... i think? i dunno ... i should probs hop on an angelina jolie message board and check it out ... also, 2.cookie, 3. mickey mouse!

ry guy - It's on my ipod now and forever (ooo ... there's another song i should've put on it, now and forever by carole king from the movie a league of her own, that woulda been hot hot hot ... and i think it is, i think it IS when 2 become one.

stef - smith i have 'cause of vega, i can't even take credit for it. and 'damn, i wish i was your lover' totally would've made the cut (as would've sinead o'rebellion) if it wasn't over 5 minutes long. my mix cds are less forgiving than your haikus.

Lozo said...

riesey cakes -- i think pro wrestling is your best hope. a great choice. i was totally into it. had the hulkamania gym set, the dolls, everything. and yes, it doesn't get gayer than grown men in speedos play-fighting.

but until me and my friends say now, "OMG! we have tickets to the big wrestling show at The Rock this weekend! we're gonna get dressed up as Big John Studd and get crazy," you will win this battle.

eric mathew said...

OMG. How could i get my singers messed up? You caught me. you defr caught me.

well..i will def. check it out.

Katyn said...

i don't get a reply comment? i see how it is.

riese said...

katyn -- i've done this probs about 400 times, accidentally skipped someone, usually 'cause i'm like, ok, i have a lot of thoughts, gonna go back to that, like with you, i was like "omg, she used the term critter, i'm in love," and then posted it without going back. but yeah don't take it personally, i do it on accident all the time. in fact, i don't think i've ever done it on purpose. also, eric, Hi!

riese said...

lozo: At first I thought "hulkamania" was like a japanese word and you were somehow referencing anime and/or harajuku lovers and/or sailor moon. Also, for the record, I dressed up as myself.

eric matthew: It's okay, it happens to the best of us.

katyn: Wanna know how I knew about nouvelle vague? cuz juno (ellen page) made a playlist on itunes and i downloaded almost all of it and was like "omg, wow!" and then became obsessed. feel free to share your own tale of discovery. now.

Katyn said...

no worries, i didn't take it personally - it was more amusement that obvs you're, like, human.

know where i first heard about nouvelle vague? ellen page's playlist. i had a gut feeling that's where you got that song, since she's the epitome of critterific, and you + critters = wonderful tonight.

caitttt said...

omg then you would have loved our prom, cause not only did they play it, but it was the theme of the nightttttttt. it was the line of the night actually, everyone told everyone else, hey, you know what? you look WONDERFUL tonight and probs thought they were soooo funny. k bye.

ps- i love the autofun of the day.

Hannah said...

Happy VD Day! I think you will like this video, with all your Apple Genius stories.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e4oeO-QcSio

Katyn said...

Even thought the Susan Sontag link isn't working, I still have to tell you that you won my undying admiration for linking something related to her. "Illness As Metaphor" and her later "AIDS and Its Metaphors" are amazing (well, to an anthropology nerd like myself).

MoonKiller said...

Lover You Should've Come Over is my most played song on LastFM. I think that says something about me. But I'm not sure what.

Most of my playlists are 'depressing', I actually have one called 'Depressed' and another one called 'Semi-Depressed'.

Have you read Love Is A Mix Tape? Amazing book.

Love Song is one of my favourite songs. 311 did a pretty good cover of it for 50 First Dates.

First Day of My Life is another favourite. One of the few songs in my 'I Feel Fine' playlist.

chrissy said...

Yo, so I finally caved in a bought some auto-apparel.

Not like it took much caving on my part, but still.

Peer pressure's a bitch.

Mitzie Destructo said...

I got my package, I got my package! The cd rocks. Thank you so much!

P.s. Leonard Cohen is my dream.

Lozo said...

you never blog anymore. sigh. auto-fun used to be auto-posts!

Anonymous said...

totally embarrassing, but this video just popped into my head. Stumbled across it one day, and it's cute (!)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nQzc0I0rA6U