Words of Advice: Nothing could be something
Original Format: cassette
1994 was a good year for music (Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain; Teenager of the Year; Stoned and Dethroned; Mellow Gold; etc. etc.), and coincided with my discovery of some great older stuff and first tentative dabbling in hip-hop. The result was a two-cassette magnum opus that is still my favorite of all the mixtapes.
The Balls Are Clearing Again The Firesign Theatre
The real heads among you will recognize this as a clip from the Firesigns’ 1971 masterpiece I Think We’re All Bozos on This Bus. If you haven’t heard it lately — or if, “Bob” forbid, you’ve never heard it at all — there’s no time like the present. Or the future, as the case may be.
Turn It On The Flaming Lips
“On the recent ‘itunes originals’ with Flaming Lips, Wayne [Coyne] talks about the meaning of this song. Basically, it’s about being exactly who you are, whoever, however, whichever type of person you are, BE IT 100%. Turn it on and turn it all the way up!” —Commenter “Synergistic,” songmeanings.com
Come On The Jesus and Mary Chain
Sometimes less is more.
Backwater The Meat Puppets
Coming in the wake of the Puppets’ appearance with Nirvana on MTV Unplugged, this song made it all the way up to #47. They would never trouble the charts again, returning to their natural niche as a hard-touring band with a small but devoted audience. But 27 years later they’re still at it, or at least were before the bad thing happened, and presumably will be again when it’s over.
I’m a Veg, Danny Chevy Chase
I recently spent some time exploring Cameo.com, where you can pay celebrities to record birthday messages and such. Chevy is on there but he’s asking $500, so that’s unlikely to happen anytime soon. But if I ever strike it filthy rich, some of you are going to see Chevy in your inboxes.
Get Off This Cracker
“i rmeember [sic] getting toco [sic] bell food and a cd with many cool songs came with my meal, this was one of my favorite songs on that cd. I love my mom.” —YouTube commenter “evilbadguystrikes”
Cut Your Hair Pavement
“‘Cut Your Hair’ was featured on the soundtrack to Jackass: Number Two and A Very Brady Sequel. It is available as a downloadable track for Guitar Hero 5.” —Wikipedia
Dig It The Beatles
This autographed photo of Wee Georgie Wood is selling on Etsy for only $28.41. I am sorely tempted.
Trip and Glide Love and Rockets
With Hot Trip to Heaven L&R were seen as jumping on the electronica bandwagon — and maybe they were, but it was a great fucking album. I will die on this hill.
Pay No Mind Beck
“Like a giant dildo crushing the sun.” Now that’s an evocative simile. The results of an image search for this term are… interesting. I can’t necessarily recommend or disrecommend.
Deteriorata The National Lampoon
I knew and loved this long before I ever heard the record it’s parodying, Les Crane’s 1971 version of Max Ehrmann’s prose poem from the 1920s:
It was also recorded in 1968 by Leonard Nimoy for an album called The Two Sides of Leonard Nimoy, where for marketing reasons it was called “Spock Thoughts”:
And in the course of searching for that, I found a clip of Nimoy reciting poetry backed by the Captain & Tennille on the latter’s short-lived TV variety show. This is apropos of absolutely nothing, but there’s no way for me to resist including it here.
Castles Made of Sand The Jimi Hendrix Experience
“Utilizing Curtis Mayfield guitar riffs galore,” says Matthew Greenwald’s review of this song on Allmusic, “Hendrix’s low-key psychedelic ballad sounds as though it could have been cut by Mayfield in the mid-’60s.” Well, maybe; to my ear this is a fair bit further out than Curtis ever got, but since he is eternally underappreciated, let’s show him some love anyway.
Pie in the Sky Frank Black
I love this song because a) it is a classically Thompsonian blast of melodic noise and b) it always reminds me that it’s a good idea to get outside and “behold the pie in the sky,” as the man says.
Your Friend and My Friend Ras I. Zulu
Words of Advice for Young People (excerpt) William S. Burroughs
These both appear — though not in that order — on the delightfully warped Spare Ass Annie and Other Tales, produced by the late, great Hal Willner and featuring the Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy. Do I sometimes imagine that Ras I. Zulu is actually introducing me to an adoring crowd? No comment.
Intro (The First Step) Gang Starr
“Hard To Earn has the most memorable opening of any Gang Starr album, starting with ‘The First Step,’ Guru’s essential spoken instructions for aspiring rappers on how to conduct themselves around established artists.” —Jesse Ducker, Albumism
The First Rule Al Pacino & Jack Lemmon
As true now as it was then.
Code of the Streets Gang Starr
“The street culture has evolved what may be called a code of the streets, which amounts to a set of informal rules governing interpersonal public behavior, including violence. The rules prescribe both a proper comportment and a proper way to respond if challenged. They regulate the use of violence and so allow those who are inclined to aggression to precipitate violent encounters in an approved way. The rules have been established and are enforced mainly by the street-oriented, but on the streets the distinction between street and decent is often irrelevant; everybody knows that if the rules are violated, there are penalties.” —Elijah Anderson, The Atlantic
Everybody’s Happy Nowadays The Buzzcocks
“This song is based on the 1932 Aldous Huxley novel Brave New World, in which culture and art have been excised from society, leaving the populace in a mindless state of contentment and pharmaceutical bliss. One character says: ‘I am free. Free to have the most wonderful time. Everybody’s happy nowadays….’ In 2007, this was used in a commercial for the AARP showing spry, mature adults frolicking at a birthday party. The tagline: ‘An organization for people who have birthdays.’” —Songfacts.com
Nowadays Everybody’s Crazy Charlie & Diane
Charlie Manson was a murderous psychopath, sure, but an eminently quotable one — and never more so than in his 1993 interview with Diane Sawyer. They made quite a duo; too bad they never got to tour.
Nowadays a Woman’s Gotta Hit a Man Captain Beefheart & the Magic Band
“I’m a sexy, healthy male — I’ve got blood running everywhere. I have a group of men, who play men’s music, to women. Other men can enjoy it too, but it is definitely to women because I’m playing to a receiver.” —Captain Beefheart
There’s Nothing to Knock Over Beavis & Butt-head
It’s interesting that, although Butt-head is clearly the dominant partner in this relationship, Beavis always gets top billing. I would like to read a lengthy monograph on this topic… but not right now.