Ed. Note: This is a new feature, which I'm blatantly ripping off of The Onion's AV Club. For more information on how you can help your local The Onion's AV Club, please visit www.avclub.com
As alluded to in the above note, this here is a fancy new feature. The premise is simple. I fire up the old syPod (my vain pet name for my iPod, being as my name is Sy..and..well, I've already spent too much time explaining this)....anyway, what was I talking about? Oh yes. The point of this post. So yeah, I put the old syPod on shuffle, and the first 5 songs that play get highlighted in this very prestigious space.
I'll drop random factoids, personal anecdotes relating to the songs, and maybe even shoot some t-shirts into the crowd. Cause who the hell doesn't love a free t-shirt? A caveat: my collection of songs is kind of ridiculous. Not ridiculous in the "wow, there's a lot of songs here!" sense. Rather, ridiculous in the "my God, why would anyone admit to having that song on their iPod?" vein. (Note to self: two points for two separate and correct uses of vain/vein in consecutive paragraphs!) I hope this venture is as informative for you as it is embarrassing for me. On we go!
Song: Mrs. Robinson
Artist: Simon and Garfunkel
Released: April 1968
Ah, a fine song to start with! It's not my favorite Paul and Arty tune, but that's mostly due to its ubiquitous use in just about everything ever. As a stand alone song, it's quite nice. Its prominence through the film The Graduate has lent it a tone of bawdiness that, in my opinion, betrays its themes of hope, despair, and, ultimately, the foretelling of the celebrity worship that would continue to this very day ("Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio?/A nation turns its lonely eyes to you.") It's light on production, with simple, yet memorable lyrics that make it easily digestible. This makes it one of the best examples of a pure pop song I can think of.
Song: Rabbit Run
Released: October 2002
Maybe I should credit this song to Eminem's 8 Mile character, Jimmy Smith, as it's rapped from his point-of-view. As we now know, this movie spawned the monster hit Lose Yourself. But I say this song, as much as any other on the soundtrack, exemplifies what Mr. Mathers was trying to get across in the film. The hunger, the anxiety, the sense that the clock is moving faster than your pen can write. In some way, we all can relate. It's that feeling that as much as you're doing, you're not doing enough. Eminem's rhymes are in a foot race with the beat, and an impending sense of failure is hot on his heels. If I had to point out to a current Eminem fan why I've been disappointed with the majority of his output over the last decade, this song would be exhibit A. The pitfall of having his talent is that he can be "good enough" and get by, but I like to think he knows that when he gets down to business, he's as good, if not better than anyone.
Artist: Last Emperor
Ah, yes. The Last Emp. From West Philadelphia, born and raised. A cult favorite of the indie backpacker movement of the late 90s/early 00s, he was signed for a minute to Dr. Dre's Aftermath label. Accordingly, his album never saw the light of day. This is one of his signature songs. Sampling the main theme from the Otto Preminger film Exodus, Emp waxes on what he expects to see when his run here is done. If nothing else, it provides food for thought and some truly beautiful music to listen to. So fresh. So fly.
Artist: Ol' Dirty Bastard
Oh, you have no idea how happy I am this song popped up. Few people know of it, and even fewer know WHY it exists. If I recall correctly, there was a Phil Collins tribute album by the R&B/hip-hop community. And why not? Phil is funky. I don't remember any of the other covers except this one. And really, what else do you need when you have Ason Unique paying homage to the Genesis gawd? Just...just listen to it. It's incredible.
Song: The F Word (RJD2 Remix)
Artist: Cannibal Ox/RJD2
Man, this is a gem. Cannibal Ox (Vast Aire and Vordul Mega) released a critically acclaimed album in 2001 called The Cold Vein. It put fledgling indie hip-hop label Definitive Jux on the map. Honestly, I don't even remember how the original version of this song sounds. RJD2 did such a great job with capturing the emotions of Vast Aire's unrequited angst. Its structure is kind of peculiar for a rap song by a duo. Vast handles all the verses while Vordul doesn't so much provide a hook as he does a mantra wedged in between Vast's therapy sessions. RJ uses driving guitars and fading drums at exactly the right moments to create an instant classic for anyone who's spent time in the friend zone.
Well, that's the first installment. I noticed it's heavy on hip-hop. I listen to a lot of stuff. Just so happened to be hip-hop that popped up on the first 5 plays this time. I'm sure with each edition the genres will vary in reflection of my eclectic listening habits.