Friday, April 6, 2012

My Private Concert For Myself

I don't know how to write about music.  How can one express in words the feeling you get from a great song?  And how can you explain in words what distinguishes a good song from a bad one?  I have never been able to say why I like a song or a band.  But I do have bands that I love and I understand not many people like everything I do so for me music is a very private thing.  And since I rarely have time to really listen to music, it is rare for me to really rock out and enjoy music fully. I have found that the times that this is most likely to happen is during solo road trips where I can listen to whatever I choose and scream (mind you not "sing") along with my stereo. 
This most recently happened in the last weekend of February when I had a chance to drive by myself from my house in Vermont back home to Queens.  It started out during a pseudo-blizzard in the middle of the mountain when I decided to brave the elements and try and get home to my beautiful girlfriend.   The first thirty minutes of this drive is through the mountains and were frankly quite scary.  It was a white-out and I couldn't see more than 20 feet in front of me.  The roads were windy through the mountains and I wasn't even paying attention to what was on my ipod.  After 45 minutes of driving I finally reached the highway and the snow stopped almost at the exact moment that this song came on randomly from my 1000+ loaded songs:

This started off my private 3 hour concert.

Below I will list a selection of the set list that happened in my car.  If you can, please feel free to picture me screaming at the top of my lungs to all of these songs.   As I write the set-list, I will warn you 1) it is possible you do not know many of these songs, and if you do, it is quite possible you don't know these specific songs by this band.  For example:  Not many people know the song "It's Late" by Queen, but it has all the elements of a classic Queen song, but for whatever reason it is not as popular as some of their worse songs.   2) I will simply list the songs as they come, and perhaps add an anecdote from time to time if I feel the need.  3) I just got into the band My Chemical Romance.  I think they are actually pretty good.  But do not know them very well.  However, on this specific trip, they were my ipod's favorite band.   That said, I was happy when they came on because since I don't know the songs very well, but do like them, when they came on I was able to get a much-needed reprieve from my singing work-out.

The set list was (with my notes in italics):
1) It's Late - Queen
2) Little Acorns - White Stripes
3) Land of Gold - Shawn Smith
4) Skylines and Turnstiles - My Chemical Romance
5) Luna Park - ...And You Will Know Us By The Trail of the Dead  - Here's another band that really should be a lot bigger than they are.  They have been making some great music for over a decade and everytime I listen to them (which isn't often) I am surprised by how good they are.  I recommend them for anyone.
6) Go To The Mirror - The Who - Yeah, I like The Who!  So shoot me!
7) Seen Your Video - The Replacements
8) Ashes to Ashes - Faith No More - What an amazing song!!!!  Faith No More is just an amazing band.   Oh yeah, I forgot to say, this set list got a little heavy....

 9) To Live is to Die - Metallica - Surprisingly, I have JUST started to get into Metallica recently.  I always thought they just weren't for me. 
10) New Cannonball Blues - TV On The Radio - Their new album has not quite grabbed me like their first and third did.  They may be an every-other album band for me.  We'll see.
11) Communication Breakdown - Led Zeppelin - This is where the wheels started to come off of my road trip.  I think I was going horse by now, but I was only in Springfield Massachusetts with a lot more road to cover.   This song made me go 90 MPH.   Sometimes you forget how good some songs are.
12) Guns of Summer - Coheed & Combria
13) Southern Girls - Cheap Trick -  Another Great band that I am just getting into again (like The Rolling Stones)
14) Ghost Woman Blues - The Low Anthem
15) You - TV On The Radio
16) At Least That's What You Said - Wilco
17) Pop Is Dead - Radiohead
18) Palo Alto - Radiohead - Do you sometimes kill bands for yourself for a while?  I go in phases where I listen to a certain band for days/weeks on end until I am sick of them.  This happened for me with Radiohead last summer and as a result, I only have a few unreleased tracks of theirs on my ipod.  Don't worry, I'll come back.  I always come back to my greatest loves
19) Try It On - Interpol - When I'm in the mood for Interpol they are amazing.  When I'm not, I can barely listen to 20 seconds of their stuff.  I've been into them lately though.
20) We're All Gonna Die - Slash - He has a new solo CD with different singers.  I'm not going to say it's good, but I can listen to slash do anything, so I know my judgement is skewed.
21) Keep Your Heart - TV On The Radio
22) Fields of Coal - ...And You Will Know Us By The Trail of the Dead -- This song sounds like an updated Irish Drinking Song.  And I think this may be the song that caused me to get back into my concert after a few songs where things looked like they were slowing up:  
23) Take a Bow - Muse - Over the last 2 years, I think Muse has been my absolute favorite band.  They always seem to shock me.  This song never really grabbed me fully until this night while driving.   It is a great driving song the way it builds up and sucks you in.
Take a listen:
 24) What is and What Should Never Be - Led Zeppelin
25) JellyBelly - Smashing Pumpkins
26) I'm One - The Who
27) 48 - Sunny Day Real Estate
28) 47 - Sunny Day Real Estate - I swear on all that is holy that my ipod decided to randomly play these two songs back to back out of all of the 1000+ songs loaded on it.  I need to understand the logic that Apple put into their products because sometimes it's just insane.  How many times have I been thinking of a specific song and then it comes on next?  I can't even count. 
29) Rock & Roll - Led Zeppelin - One of the absolute greatest songs ever recorded.  And really, a perfect title to a perfect song.  I listened to the studio version, but this is pretty good too:

30) We Are The Waiting - Green Day - A song that gets better the louder you play it.
31) Guiding Light - Muse
32) Rhythm and Soul - Spoon- Another great band that only gets credit in Indie circles
33) We Almost Lost Detroit - Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr  - A band that I picked up at the library simply because their name made me laugh.  But I was pleasantly surprised by their music
34) Exogenesis: Symphony Part 2 - Muse - At the end of their most recent album, Muse included what they call  a three part symphony to close out the album.   Yes it is amazing.  Hauntingly beautiful and amazing.   It's amazing that this is a three piece band.  Feel free to listen to the entire thing: 
35) If I needed Someone - The Beatles
36) Lies Of The Beautiful People - Sixx AM
37) Got To Get You Into My Life - The Beatles - Another band that I have recently killed for myself, but started listening to Rubber Soul and Revolver instead of the staples of Abbey Road and Sgt. Peppers.  This helps keep things fresh.
38) Glorious - Muse - Yes, I love them!
39) Exhausted - Foo Fighters
40) Faded Beauty Queens - The Thrills
41) A Quick One While He's Away - Green Day

This concluded my Road Trip.    I was riding a natural high that is difficult to reproduce.  I hope even one person in this world decides to try some or all of these songs out for themselves.  I know it's my dumb taste in music, but I truly think these are great bands and some great music.  Given: They're not all home runs, but most are.

Enjoy.  And I hope to be writing more than just this one post.

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