My little ‘Top Five Songs You Wish You Never Heard So You Could Hear Again For The First Time’ had me feeling a bit incomplete. Those songs belong in their places, but I feel like I’ve left out some important ones. Well, as a music fan, I feel like the list will never be complete. However, I feel the need to do a ‘Top Few More Songs You Wish You Never Heard So You Could Hear Again’. I’m at the amount of wine where I’m certainly not drunk, but I am certainly over television and the like, and only want to be with my music.
Either way, this list will be far from comprehensive. I feel like one of these days I need to make a ‘Top Random Pop Hits’ list in order to make it right, because there are an inordinate amount of AM hits from the sixties and seventies that have shaped my musical taste. I blame this on the fact that I was raised on KRTH 101.1 Los Angeles, my favorite radio station of all time (Southern California people will get this). Okay, wow, rambling. Anyway, although Bob and Joni are two artists I listen to on a daily basis and would die without, I feel that this list will add the other artists who are essential to my existence (I love how I’m writing this as if some of you out there are really interested in my life).
Now, I am going to attempt to write reasonings for each song, and I must tell you, it will be more fleshed out than the previous post. This is not because I love these songs more or love those songs less (definitely not), it’s just that I am in a more verbose mood at the moment.
Thunder Road: I somehow got my hands on this album (Born to Run) via my father’s cd collection my seventh grade year. I remember that it was seventh grade because I had an assignment asking that I made a soundtrack of my life, and this song was on it. From the first time I heard it, and this was the first Bruce Springsteen song I remember hearing, it elaborated on the idea that American Girl had planted; it was one thing to have the dream to get out of the suburbs and do something great (American Girl) and it was another thing to do it (Thunder Road). As Bruce says, if it’s a town full of losers, you gotta pull out of here to win.
One of my favorite blogs pointed out about this song, “I decided, this, this is it, this is the first dance song at my wedding. And before you’re all what if he doesn’t LIKE Bruce Springsteen, the answer is that man is not my husband.” I don’t care how silly it is, but it’s true. If a man can’t appreciate this song, he’s not gonna be my husband.
On another note, my friend (HEY NICHOLE) and I were commencement speakers at our eight grade graduation and I used a line from this song (‘These two legs will take us anywhere’) as well as a line from Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town (‘I changed by not changing at all’) in my speech. To this day, I still can’t decide if I was among the coolest eighth graders or the lamest.
Black: When Korey and I became best friends in seventh grade, I remember having her over to my house and putting on some (I thought) obscure Who recordings. One of the recordings was a song they recorded as The High Numbers called Leaving Here. Korey, like any good younger sister of a kid who was a teenager in the nineties said, “Hey, this is a Pearl Jam song!” The connection was made. I introduced her to The Who, and she, thank God, introduced me to Pearl Jam.
Black really didn’t become a significant song to me until I was older. I remember being stood up at sixteen years old on New Year’s Eve, listening to this album and crying to this song. The next day, I forgave my boyfriend, but the song still stuck with me. “Oh, and all I taught her was everything. Oh, I know she gave me all that she wore” came into play as I became more adult in my relationships; Ed demonstrated how I felt better than I ever could have. I could go on forever about the structure of the lyrics in this song, but Ed’s helpless yelps at the end say more than any string of words in the English language could.
Also, for the record, the only time I have ever cried at a show was when I saw Pearl Jam for the first time and they played this.
L.A. Woman: This one is going to be short, but anyone who has know me from the age of eleven will be able to verify it. For some reason, when I was eleven, I made the decision to listen to better music. Since I wanted to go to UCLA and be an L.A. woman, when I went through my dad’s cd’s, this album stood out to me. I put the album, skipped to this track, and that was it. It was the first Doors song I ever heard and from that point on I fell in love with music.
It’s safe to say, had I never listened to the Doors, my life would have turned out drastically different. It sounds ridiculous to attribute so much to a band, an album, but it’s true. Had I never listened to the Doors, I would have never been interested in music, my dad would have never shown me Almost Famous, I would have never had the idea to be a journalist. I would be a completely different person. In fact, I probably would have been a cheerleader in high school.
Valentine: Paul Westerberg came into my life later compared to every artist I have mentioned on either of these lists. Since I was a Pearl Jam fan and a Cameron Crowe fan, Korey and I decided to watch Singles at the end of our seventh grade year. Clearly, we were in it for Pearl Jam, but I found the score and the songs written for the movie irresistible. I learned the infectious songs Waiting For Somebody and Dyslexic Heart were written by a man named Paul Westerberg who was once in a band called the Replacements. However, I didn’t give too much thought to it.
Fast forward a year and a half later and I was at my local record store (Lou’s!) flipping through used cd’s. I came across the Replacements album, Pleased to Meet Me. Even knowing that the man who was responsible for the Singles songs was behind the band, I was still hesitant to purchase the cd. It was when I glanced at the track list, noting a song called “Alex Chilton”, did I decide to buy the cd. Since I was already an established Big Star fan, I figured any band who wrote a song about the front man had to have some merit.
When I came home and put on the cd, it was a song called Valentine that ended up defining my identity as a Replacements fan. Even at fifteen, when I heard the lines “If you were a pill I’d take a handful at my will and I’d knock you back with something sweet and strong”, I knew that that was the only kind of love I ever wanted. Like A Case of You, the song describes a lethal mix in any other situation, but when it comes to love, it’s not only survivable, it’s necessary. I’ve often entertained the idea of having this song as my wedding song (willing the groom agrees, but honestly, come on), and kind of scoffed at the notion of having such an alternative choice. But then I remember, I want my love to be like the love Paul describes. Yeah, it may be a bit unorthodox, but it’s true.
Enough rambling for tonight I’d say. I also think some of you folks should make your own top fives, because I would love to read them.
Korey and Emily forever. From 2003-2011 and beyond.
Yep, I’m drunk, but that doesn’t make a difference. Me and Kor forevers.
And Eddie Vedder. And Pearl Jam. And Mother Love Bone. Whatever. Grunge. Whatever.
Dear Edward Louis Vedder,
Thank you. Just, thank you for your beautiful music. Sometimes, I’ll admit, I forget about you. I get mixed up with Dylan and Westerberg and get distracted. Even in the past few weeks, it has been all Ryan Adams and Jenny Lewis. I love all of them, but I love you, too. Your performance with Pearl Jam a few weeks ago brought me so much joy.
I feel like it is going to be you and me for the next few weeks. You seem to be nailing how I’m feeling in too many songs to mention here.
If you hate something, don’t you do it, too?
What a weekend. I don’t even know where to begin. I’m so exhausted, I’ve spent the entire day in bed with the exception of going to one class and taking Korey to the Civic Center BART station. I needed a mental and physical rest day like this.
I suppose I’ll start on Thursday, when Korey came into town. I seriously sprinted from my rhet class on one side of campus (which happens to be on the peak of one of the City’s largest hills) to the other to meet her. We had that movie-style-running-and-embracing-best-friends moment. Adorable.
From there, we met up with her friend Karen from Connecticut and headed to Half Moon Bay for part of the International Rust Fest. We had a lovely dinner at a seafood restaurant that reminded me of places on Long Island and then headed to the bar where Neil Young fans were playing covers into the night.
Korey and I were there for about fifteen minutes before some local boys (definitely not there for Neil-related activities) insisted on getting us drinks. The conversation was vapid at best, which explains my previous post, but super funny. One of the guys thought “Smoke on the Water” was by Led Zeppelin, whom I also think they thought was a singular musician and not a band of four members. It is only fitting that my first experience chatting up guys at a bar was with Korey. When the guys left, we hung out with Karen and other Rusties, and had an awesome night. So much fun.
The next day, Korey, cath-the-kid, and I hung around Hayes Valley and ate macarons and perused book stores. Later that night we procured liquor sans ID on Haight and had a belligerently fun night back on campus with all my friends.
The next day, Saturday, was day one of the 24th Annual Bridge School Benefit. It was raining, as it had the day before, but was not so bad. We successfully took the BART to Millbrae and connected to Caltrain to get to Mountain View. No problems. We got to the Mountain View station where it was pouring and could not find a cab to take us to the venue. We waited a while and met a Swiss fellow on “holiday” and two guys from the City who we all split a cab with. One of the guys from SF was a legitimate Die Antwoord fan, so I was set in the humor department. We met two of my friends at the show. It was cold as hell, but all was well.
Grizzly Bear and Modest Mouse were both very good. Jackson Browne made me so happy by playing “For Everyman” and made me teary when he played “These Days” with just an acoustic guitar and fiddle. The first time I have ever gotten emotional at a show. Billy Idol was hilarious and surprisingly really, really fun. The whole crowd seemed to be dancing and yelling the lyrics to those 80’s hits. Elvis Costello and Emmylou Harris played an awesome version of “Tell Me Why”, one of my very favorite Neil songs. I enjoyed the both of them immensely, but was pretty mellow about them since I saw them three weeks ago at Hardly Strictly.
Other than the obvious Buffalo Springfield reunion, I was dying with excitement over Pearl Jam. I have been a Pearl Jam fan since seventh grade and have been actively trying to see them live since eighth grade, but between having tickets and having Eddie bail, being out of town, and being broke, I had never been able to actually pull it off. But Saturday, I saw Pearl Jam. I loved it. Had emotional moment number two during a version of “Black” with a string section. I am thinking of having Eddie, Ryan Adams, and Paul Westerberg all be brother-husbands.
And of course, Buffalo Springfield was amazing. So amazing. “On the Way Home”, “Do I Have To Come Right Out and Say It?”, “Bluebird” (my song), and so much more. Ahhh. And, I’ve seen Neil before, but I have never seen my beloved Stephen Stills in person. I don’t know why (I think it’s because of our shared pattern of being rejected by lovers), but I’ve always had a connection to him and his music. And Richie Furay was so adorable because he seemed so happy to be there. “Buffalo Springfield Again”…a reality.
The night ended with a group version of “Rocking in the Free World” with Ed and Neil on vocals. Wooo.
However, before Pearl Jam’s set, Korey and I acknowledged a big problem: we only had a theoretical way of getting back to the City. The theoretical way did not happen, and it appeared we were stranded in Mountain View.
10:20 pm: We call my friend Dillon to ask her to look up any potential way out of Mountain View. Amtrak, Greyhound, anything. No luck. Last Caltrain was at 10:49. Well, Pearl Jam wasn’t even on yet, so that was not happening.
11:20 pm: Talk to condescending, twenty-something security guard about possible ways getting back. “You guys should go back to the City, and never leave, this way you’ll never get stranded. But, I’ve got a buddy who works here, sells beer, named Freeze. He lives in the City. He can tell you how to get back.” Freeze is never found.
12:30 am: Buffalo Springfield’s set ends. Korey and I resolve to take a cab back to the City instead of getting a hotel room in Mountain View. But, Korey decides to go to ask the security office if they know any ways back to San Francisco. They tell us to get a cab from the venue to El Camino Real and take the 22 bus to Palo Alto, where there is an hourly bus that runs all night to SF.
12:45 am: All cabs are occupied. We decide to walk a few blocks down Shoreline Boulevard hoping to find one. This goes on for an hour. Creepy car pulls to side of the road, we freak out and it leaves. Finally we get a cab.
1:45 am: Get on the bus to Palo Alto.
2:00 am: Get on the bus to San Francisco. The bus driver seems to feel bad for us and lets us ride for free. The cops are called twice to extract problematic riders, however, the riders leave before the cops actually come. We stop at every trivial stop in San Mateo County.
4:05 am: Arrive at 10th and Mission. Korey finds a 24-hour doughnut shop and buys one with sprinkles. We walk to McAllister to get on the 5 bus. The 5 is not scheduled to arrive for another thirty-two minutes. We take a cab.
4:15 am: Home.
We woke up at 9:30 the next morning and ate breakfast. We had minor inconveniences getting back down to Mountain View and it was pouring all day and I ended up being covered in mud, but it was quickly forgotten when Pearl Jam played a Lost Dogs-tastic set and gave me another touching moment during “Just Breath”. T-Bone Burnett’s rock ‘n roll clusterfuck was sweet. Elton John and Leon Russell were awesome, Neko Case sounded great, and listening to the crowd (myself, unfortunately, included) yell out “Dude!!!!” and “White Russians!!” to Jeff Bridges was a treat. And I’m very in love with Elvis Costello, I think. We left during Buffalo Springfield’s set to insure we’d make the 9:19 Caltrain to the City. Which we did, thank God. And had an uneventful ride home, with the exception of my discussion with Korey regarding how funny Ryan Adams is, and how we wish it could still be Spacewolf’s birthday.
When we got home, I got pissed off because of some stuff regarding Boy that seriously seems like a joke, and went to bed. I was still in a semi-shitty mood today, but am now over it for the time being. I think part of the reason for my sour mood was exhaustion. But, like everything, “So it goes”, and I’ll just have to wait and see what happens.
However, despite everything, it was a super fun weekend that I will never forget. It is another adventure to add to the Korey and Emily list. Even as pissed as I was on that bus somewhere near Burlingame, the absurdity and humor of the situation was not lost on me. And besides, I got to see a band I love reunite after forty-two years and end a five year long quest to see another band I love. Seriously, this year’s Bridge line-up did not disappoint. But, next year, I’m staying at a hotel.
I am excited for life right now. A little too excited. Tonight out for my girl Dillon’s birthday. Hardly Strictly all weekend. Placerville/Tahoe with cath-the-kid next weekend. Gonna pan me some gold down at Sutter’s Mill! My darling, fixingsoul, will be here on October 21st. We are gonna tear up the town and see our old friends Neil and Eddie at Bridge School. Then comes Halloween, where I will terrorize San Francisco as Alex from A Clockwork Orange.
And, of course, the song refers to a little something as well.