FFWDing to the Best Part: “When You Were Young,” The Killers (2006)

When The Killers released  Hot Fuss in 2004, I thought at the time it meant bigger things for the landscape of popular music.  Not a full-on Nevermind-ish cosmic shift, but a change nonetheless.  With The Killers — and then The Bravery, the Kaiser Chiefs, etc. — I thought we were moving toward a new era of New Wave. Artistic and sometimes vague lyrics, a reliance on synthesizers, pretty boys in dapper outfits … as a (basically) lifelong Duranie, I was pumped.  And Hot Fuss was the first album in several years on which I liked every track.

And then came Sam’s Town. While not a certifiable “sophomore slump,” it sure was — for me anyways — lacking in the fresh excitement of its predecessor. It’s been a slow trickle downhill from there for Brandon Flowers and the boys from Vegas ever since.  But the opening track (what we would have called “Side One, Track One” back in the day) on Sam’s  is a good one.  A good one that has been tainted for me somewhat by the following story:

Right around the time of this song’s height of popularity (spring 2007), the world was active on the community blogging platform LiveJournal. This was right before Facebook had caught on with the masses.  So people would “blog” on LiveJournal, and the friends “following” them would comment.  It was a hotbed of meme activity, and one week, everyone was listing seven songs in heavy rotation in their iPods/Rios/MusicMatch libraries.

My friend Blair, her new boyfriend Chuck, and I all happened to put “When We Were Young” on said list.  Commenting in lyric form on Blair’s posting (below a post from Chuck), I merely quipped, “He doesn’t look a thing like Jesus.” At which point Chuck’s ex (who wasn’t in a terribly good place at the time), fired off “Blair, why did you tell [Lucy] that Chuck looks like Jesus?”

Lost in translation. And maybe that’s why she’s an ex.  KNOW YOUR CULTURAL REFERENCES.

Anyway, I think about that every GD’d time I hear this track.

Best part?  (Note, this isn’t accurate if just straight listening to the track, as the video contains a 90-second prologue of sorts.) At 3:47 (which would be ~2:17 on the regular single), the musical theme swells out of a subdued bridge and pulsates into the final choruses. It’s the type of moment in a song where you want to just push the pedal to the ground. Assuming I ever drove above the speed limit.

It’s this type of musical surge out of an island of serenity that’s often the “best part” for me, isn’t it? Soon these posts will just write themselves.

 

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FFWDing to the Best Part: “Broadway,” The Goo Goo Dolls (2000)

A 1996 episode of Friends introduced the “Freebie List” to the lexicon.  In essence, it is a list of five celebrities who, should the situation present itself, earn an “all-clear” from one’s current significant other. It’s a truth universally acknowledged … if this predetermined famous person will have you, you’re allowed to have him or her, with no negative repercussions to any current relationship.

Taking the top slot on my own “Freebie List” from 1999 until about, well, the time the photo below was snapped, was Johnny Rzeznik. The seemingly tortured, impressively coiffed, front man for Buffalo punk outfit (turned adult-contemporary-radio mainstay) The Goo Goo Dolls.

As luck would have it, I actually got to meet Mr. Rzeznik when he played a corporate gig I attended in 2009.  I made a stupid request (“Will you be playing We Are the Normal?”); he dismissed me with a stupid lie (“Well, I dunno!  I haven’t seen the set list yet!”); I entered a weeks-long shame spiral.  At least I got a good profile picture out of it:

Me with Johnny Rzeznik

After this impressive meet-and-greet, I assumed what will certainly be my best concert vantage point ever — immediately in front of the stage.

Goo Goo Dolls performing at corporate gig

From here, I watched them do their (modern-day) classics.  Slide (remains a jam).  Here is Gone (remains filler). Iris (whatever).  And I looked forward to watching Broadway up close and personal for the …

Best part?  2:00 – 2:04. In a thinly veiled rant against his abusive and alcoholic (and, btw, dead) father, Johnny asserts, “Your anger don’t impress me.”  The progression of notes is lovely, and differs enough from the first verse that it stands out, as is the suggested intent.

 

And yet!  Johnny screwed up this night’s performance.  Instead of launching into the second verse at the appropriate time, he started to repeat the first verse.  I tried to save him, from inches away, but he was doing his best to try and ignore me.

Whatever, dude.  Nice plastic surgery of late.  See you on LITE-FM.

Friday Lyric Quiz, No. 460 (The Rasta Edition)

Family Guy 420The reunion was a success! It took me two decades to gain some semblance of confidence, it appears. Just think how unstoppable I’ll be when I’m 60!

So today is April 20th, and the last time 4/20 occurred on a Friday, I was chastised for not paying homage to so-called Cannibis Day. I am, how shall you say, completely lacking in experience in this area (I just had to look up how to spell “cannibis,” for God’s sake). And that’s fine – it’s technically illegal, after all.

But as a result of my naiveté I just found myself on High Times and other niche websites cruising for songs that qualify for the themed quiz below. You’re welcome.

Celebrate responsibly.

Friday Lyric Quiz #460 [scroll down for answers to last week’s quiz]

1. “So you play your albums, and you smoke your pot. And you meet your girlfriend in the parking lot” (early 70s)

2. “Now the tow truck’s pulling away, and I know why (why, man?)” (early 2000s)

3. “My old man was born to rock, he’s still trying to beat the clock” (mid-90s)

4. “They’ll stone you when you’re trying to make a buck, they’ll stone you and then they’ll say, good luck” (mid-60s)

5. “People talk about me, baby. Say I’m doing you wrong, doing you wrong” (early 70s)

6. “Boy, you’ve been a naughty girl, you let your knickers down” (late 60s)

7. “You got me blowing, blowing my mind. Is it tomorrow or just the end of time?” (late 60s)

8. “Rolling numbers, rock and rolling, got my Kiss records out ” (late 70s)

9.  “Music happen to be the food of love. Sounds to really make, you rub and scrub” (early 80s)

10. “Born high forever to fly, wind velocity nil.” (mid-60s)

Answers to Friday Lyric Quiz #459

1. “Then you’ll know how it was meant to be, see the signs and know their meaning.”
These Are Days, 10,000 Maniacs

2. “But now you’ve come along and brightened up my world, in my heart I feel it, I’m that special kind of girl.”
Finally, CeCe Peniston

3. “But a v8 engine is a good start for me. Think I’ll drive to find a place, to be surly.”
Teen Angst (What the World Needs Now), Cracker

4. “Although I am black and proud, problems got me pessimistic.”
Tennessee, Arrested Development

5. “I’m living in an empty room, with all the windows smashed.”
Walking on Broken Glass, Annie Lennox

6. “I’m your average ordinary everyday dude, drivin’ with my baby, to get her in the mood.”
Let’s Get Rocked, Def Leppard

7. “People try to say I act a little funny, but that’s just a figure of speech to me.”
What About Your Friends, TLC

8. “And I’ll take with me the memories to be my sunshine after the rain.”
It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday, Boyz II Men

9.  “She sees my good deeds and she kisses me windy.”
Under the Bridge, Red Hot Chili Peppers

10. “Time can break your heart, have you begging please … begging please.”
Tears in Heaven, Eric Clapton


Awkwardness at the Movies (In Which It’s Probably Hugh Grant’s Fault)

Did I ever tell you about the time I paid $25 to see Two Weeks Notice?  Back in 2002? When I still had a student ID and could buy them at a discount?

Two Weeks Notice, Sandra Bullock

I know, Sandy. I know!

As it turns out, I bought a ticket for me ($5), one for a friend of a friend, and then paid said friend of a friend $15 for the pleasure of watching the movie with me. This was all an innocent mistake, an awkward situation, but one that I remembered a decade later when at the Chicago Bulls game last night.

Aside: you know at ball games when people pass money in exchange for beer/cotton candy/etc. down an aisle of strangers? Does anyone just ever pocket the money or keep the beer? I doubt it, because if it ever happened, it would have certainly happened to me.

Moving on.

So I had actually bought tickets for about five of us, being the only one with a valid-looking student ID (so I was slightly scamming the system. It was Two Weeks Notice, people).  We get to the theater, take our seats. Everyone pays me the $5 they’re blowing. The friend of a friend, let’s call her Tracy, two seats down from me.

“I only have a twenty,” she says.

“That’s fine, I have fifteen,” I say.

I hand her the $15 via my friend that sits in between us.  The movie darkens for the previews.

She doesn’t hand me the $20.  In-between friend starts whispering incredulously.

“No big,” I think.  “She will give it to me after the movie.”

She doesn’t.

“No big,” I think. “She will give it to me at the bar we are going to, or at least buy me a couple of drinks.”

She doesn’t.


Nope, I never saw that money she pocketed a cool extra $15. Not to mention seeing what was a pedestrian romantic comedy – for free! And here I didn’t even get a hug at the end of what was apparently a date.

Not that I remain irritated by it or anything. Not that the $20 I’m owed plus a decade of interest would buy me at least 12 boxes of Triscuits.

The thing is, Tracy is a nice person. I’m sure this was not calculated in any way nor did she realize it happened. I do find it odd that she tucked away the $15 I handed her without reciprocating, but it was just one of those situations where your brain and your manual dexterity don’t quite align. Sort of like when I use nail polish remover instead of astringent. Sure.

And I, as is always the case, preferred simmering silently rather than confronting the issue. If you see something, say something. Or don’t.

I saw Tracy years later when we were seated at the same table at our mutual friend’s wedding. And I totally stole the pashmina she had with her. Ahhh, I’d be so much cooler if that last part were true.

Crash Into Who? (In Which I Revisit One of my Many Public Humiliations)

A few weeks ago, when reflecting back on the least-impressive 21st birthday celebration ever, I alluded to another anticlimactic experience involving Dave Matthews and his Band of merry makers.  Here is that story, updated slightly from when I originally told it on June 2, 2005.   

Went to the Dave Matthews Band concert last night with my friend Anne. History: while DMB isn’t my favorite band, or even in the Top 30, there are definitely some songs and album(s) I very much like. And I feel a certain kinship with the boys, as they got their start in Charlottesville, VA, in the early 1990s, when I was an undergrad at UVa.

The show? Was a little disappointing. Dave and the boys remain extremely musically gifted, and good for them. But the set list adhered to the following pattern: three songs from new album; 20-minute “jam” session; two songs from new album; ‘Too Much’; 15-minute “jam” session; a cover of ‘Time of the Seasons.’ And … scene. Under the Table and Dreaming was sorely unrepresented. And while I know they want to live in the now, how about giving something back to the little people who knew you when.

So speaking of “knew you” …

Anne and I attended the show with friends of A’s mom (Dr. D) who, according to their own reports, are likethis with Mr. Matthews. Have dined with him and Mrs. Matthews numerous times. Have enjoyed backstage tours in multiple cities and swapped recipes with Dave’s personal chef. Their entry into this rock-and-roll lifestyle, should anyone care, was via the band’s sound guy, who was in a serious relationship with one of the friends’ daughters.

And the woman in the couple had told Dr. D that — should we all go to the concert together — we could totally get backstage, and hang, and possibly meet the band. After the show it’s the after party and after the party it’s the hotel lobby.  And so on and so forth. Sound guy, let’s call him Skippy, would be alerted to our seat locations ahead of time so we could be properly set up like the VIPs he would know us to be. And so Anne bought four, not two, tickets, and gave them to her Mom’s friends free of charge. Anne agrees to drive Dr. D’s friend and one of her daughters (not the one who dated Skippy) as our guests.We are set!

On the long and circuitous ride to the venue, Close-Personal-Friend-of-Dave Senior says they haven’t gotten in touch with Skippy, and in fact have not seen or spoken with him in four years. Interesting. And vaguely unsettling. Close-Personal-Friend-of-Dave Junior says she has a cell phone number for her sister’s former paramour, but the number is old, and he never used to answer it anyway. Anne and I, we are rapidly rolling downhill. A snowy, snowy hill of deception and megalomania.

Now … I don’t care about meeting Dave effing Matthews. The whole encounter might have been sort of embarrassing, as I know none of the band members’ names, know nothing off their new album, and am just not the kind of superfan who deserves to meet them. But Anne looooooved them in high school and college. During her formative years, she saw them in concert more than a dozen times, bought every CD, etc.  The opportunity to meet and greet warmed the cockles of her heart as a prior superfan.  So the gross and shameful misleading we were victims of was so much more shattering to my dear, sweet friend.

After the show, which, as aforementioned, was disappointing, (even to Anne), Close-Personal-Friend-of-Dave Senior and Junior decide to mosey down beyond the concert barricades and try to connect with Skippy. They do. And they stand there and chat with him for at least three minutes before thinking of introducing Anne and me. And when they did notice us standing there like jerk-offs, they said: “This is Anne and … and … [forgetting my name] … ummm, they drove us here.” Well, that’s fantastic. We shall never be Close-Personal-Friends-of-Y’ALL. Let me tell you, folks, that the 180 seconds prior to the shoddy introduction was TORTURE. Standing there, in a place we shouldn’t be, like a couple of pathetic sound-guy-groupie hookers.

And then? Needless to say, Skippy goes on his merry way, with no mention of a backstage tour, or a Fresca with the band, or anything.

This humiliation was followed by almost two hours spent gridlocked in the parking lot and on the highway with Close-Personal-Friend-of-Dave Senior and Junior in the back seat. Throughout the journey home, Close-Personal-Friend-of-Dave-Senior had a personal connection she felt compelled to share for any celebrity that was brought up. “Sarah McLachlan?  Oh, my other daughter designs her evening gowns.  Hanson?  My best friend from high school plays cards with their Mom. Tom Cruise?  Poor, misunderstood Tommy?  Oh, he  worked at the ice cream shop I used to frequent. Always gave me extra sprinkles.’ It took all the self control I could muster to not bellow, ‘LINCOLN?  ABE Lincoln?  Do you know him?  What about Moses?  Charlamagne ?  Hmmmmmm?’ 

A-holes.

And did I mention that my AARP card is coming in the mail any day now because during the show, while so many girls in front of me danced like free spirits without a care in the world, I was in my seat, calmly enjoying a cardboard container of NACHOS. They went well with the second-hand pot smoke wafting down from the lawn seats behind me.

Totally pathetic.

This ant’s marching out.

Mamere, the Friendly Ghost (In Which I Don’t Mind Being Haunted)

With Halloween being tomorrow and all, there has been a lot of discussion and cable-TV programming about the paranormal.  Apparitions.  Visits from the other side of the mortal coil.  Some people find this topic “scary.” I quite frankly welcome the presence of ghosts – even mean-spirited (no pun intended) ones – because to me that means there is … an afterworld. And as Prince once said, that is “something else” (and things are much harder in this life).

So I have one and only one ghost story of my own that I thought I’d share at this opportune moment.  I’ve talked about my maternal grandmother in this venue before. Famously strong personality, fiercely independent, frugal to a fault (my Dad, her son-in-law, had to make a calligraphed sign for her refrigerator that read, “When in doubt, throw it out!” for fear that she would eat spoiled food long before she would deign to toss it).

As previously mentioned, she was ‘green’ before that phrase was coined.  She washed and re-used aluminum foil and Ziploc bags. Took junk mail and used the back (blank) side for lists and letters. Waste was her least favorite thing in the world (after ‘Midwestern’ accents).

Back to the ghost story. Mamere passed in the summer of 2000 after a long life spanning almost 93 years and begetting three children, 10 grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren (since her passing, that third generation has expanded to 11).  Even in her final months, she continued to educate those around her, editing the newsletter at her retirement home and reading to the visually impaired. So while it was sad to bid her farewell, it was a celebration of a unique life well-lived until the very end.

Shortly after returning home to my Cincinnati apartment after the New Orleans (non-jazz) funeral, I was using my windowless bathroom. The door was shut.  For whatever reason (laziness), I ignored the one-third-of-a-roll’s worth of toilet paper directly across from my sitting place and grabbed a new roll from the back of the commode .  Instantly, the proper roll, the roll that was already attached to the holder, began rapidly unspooling.  And unspooling.  Until all of the toilet paper was gathered on the floor,  comme ça:

I just had to laugh.  I was convinced this was my ecological grandmother reprimanding me for grabbing a new roll before it was high time to do so.  Now …. in doing so, of course, she essentially wasted a roll to prove her point, but what’s she going to do.  She was incorporeal.

I told this story tonight to my friend Bridget, who asked why I didn’t flip out or get scared (side note, this was after watching The Sixth Sense, the twisted-ending of which Bridget had no knowledge?? How???).

But why didn’t I get scared?  I don’t know.  I expect because I knew it was just my grandmother, and she meant me no harm.  Just wanted to gently remind me that she was still watching, and still hoping I made good decisions around the house.  And in life.

Happy Halloween, everyone. Remember that candy corn is a fat-free food.

Swing and a Miss (In Which I Explain World-Series Ticketing)

Attention, sports fans! Game 6 of the 2011 World Series was postponed due to rain.  The St. Louis Cardinals, already the second-winning-est franchise in MLB, are going for their 11th title. The Texas Rangers are striving for their first – for the second consecutive year.  None of this is relevant to the story at hand.

The last time my beloved Redbirds were in the World Series, it was 2006. Saddam Hussein was hanged.  Pluto stopped being a planet.  Michael Richards and Mel Gibson kinda really screwed up. Big Momma’s House 2 was tops at the box office.  Also?  Not relevant.

Here’s what is. Mr. Glib and I were full season-ticket holders so had tickets to all three World Series games that would be played in St. Louis: games 3, 4, and 5 (if necessary). Before the opening pitch of Game 1 even sailed across the plate, we decided we would sell our tickets to games 3 and 4 (as one has to do to help offset the cost of the entire rest of the season) and keep Game 5.

We didn’t think they would sweep their opponents (the Detroit Tigers) but thought there was slight chance that maybe – just maybe – they could squeak out a series-clinching victory in Game 5, their final St. Louis appearance.  We bet on this slight chance – and we were right.

How lucky!  How fortuitous!  I – a lifelong Cardinals fan – was going to be breathing the same air as the team as they WON the World Series for the first time in 24 years (shut up, Cubbies fans, I know that doesn’t seem like a long time to you).  I would see the player pile-up on the pitcher’s mound.  I would smell the faint twinge of cheap champagne.  Tears would roll down my face as I jumped for joy with 50,000 other faithful.

Oh.  Except all of that?  Happened for the lucky guys that were holding tickets to Game 4.  What the what?

Yes.  Just like this year’s Series, one of the 2006 World Series games was postponed due to rain.  It was Wednesday night’s game – Game 4.  Those holding tickets to Thursday night’s game – “Game 5” – went on Thursday, which was technically the fourth World Series game.  Mr. Glib and I went, saw Jeff Suppan pitch a stunner, and cheered as our team went up three games to one. A really fun evening.  Still not the clincher.  Still no champagne.

Those holding Game 4 tickets attended the make-up game, played on Friday. Technically the fifth World Series game.

It’s just like the regular season, I suppose … if you have tickets to the August 2 game and it is rained out, you don’t go to the game on August 3 – people with tickets to the August 3 game hold the seat rights for that one.  August 2 ticket holders will have rain checks for whenever the schedule is free to host a make-up game.  Makes sense.  But in the case of World-Series strategizing, it seemed woefully unfair.

Of course, this makes me sound like an ingrate.  My team still won the World Series (and they are in it again a mere five years later!).  I still got to see one winner on the way to this particular crown.  But I’d planned to see the game – folks.  Allow me a little grudge holding.

And oh yeah … go Cards!  I’ll join ya in the stands one of these days. I can feel it.