Liner Notes

Oh man. Maybe you don’t remember when cassette tapes were the dominant medium for music. I definitely had a few astonishingly large storage cases specially designed for tapes. They were so damn bulky that I’ve seen Dominicans fly home with less baggage.

The era’s biggest technological advance was when tape decks could flip sides without your having to eject the cassette. Curiously, this feature was called auto-reverse. Stranger still, it was generally limited to car stereos.

The next big breakthrough was when tape players could detect the gap between songs, thereby allowing you to skip to the beginning of a song. Until that was possible, you might get distracted while fast-forwarding a song, then forget about it until all the tape was spooled to one side. That’s like reading all the way to the end of a blog, only to realize it was a total waste of time.


I don’t miss anything about tapes. Ditto CDs, which were a rip-off. With rare exception, you were lucky to get two good songs. Now with MP3s, you have the option to only buy songs you love.

Still, I suffer from that perennial problem: I’m totally sick of my music. Even though my music collection is way awesomer than yours, familiarity breeds contempt. And I can’t get through life without a constant feed of groovy tunes.

Accordingly, I’ve thrown together some awesome-possum songs, with hopes you’ll reciprocate. If you groove on any of these, consider listing a few gems in the comments section.

5 Songs Because You’re Sick of Your Music

Ain’t No Sunshine – Somehow this version by a teen Michael Jackson eluded me until recently. Despite his youth, MJ’s voice is so precociously soulful that he sings about heartache as though from experience.

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Beamer, Benz, Or Bentley – Much of my rap collection is stuck in the ‘90s. But occasionally some young thug comes out with a bumpin single. Lloyd Banks is one such thug.

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I Like It, I Love It – I run but don’t particularly enjoy it. Music is about the only thing that makes running tolerable. This song actually makes it temporarily enjoyable. Am I the only one who thinks Lyrics Born sounds exactly like Cee Lo Green?

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Brest Bay – I’m not usually a big fan of dub, but these French dudes keep it skanky.

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Bitches Ain’t Shit – Somehow Ben Folds managed to 1) cover Dr. Dre, while 2) preserving his suburban rock inflection without sounding like an asshole, and 3) convey much more of the song’s true pathos than the original. That, is how you cover a song.

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5 Songs Because Raising Kids Is Expensive

Thrift Shop – Stretching a dollar in the service of style never sounded so good. This song came out just a couple of weeks ago, so the jury’s out on whether it’ll stand the repeat listenings test.

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Price Tag – I never heard of Jessie J until she filled in for Freddie Mercury during Queen’s London Olympics closing ceremony performance of We Will Rock You. I normally have little use for pop music, but damn if I didn’t catch myself head bopping to this track.

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Atlantic City – Usually when celebrities die, you take note and then forget until months later when their picture flashes by during the Oscars in memorium montage. Not Levon Helm. Every time I hear his voice I’m reminded that despite a long and illustrious career, he was still taken from us too soon. Thanks a lot, cancer. Helm gives this Springsteen tune a refresh with a swamp blues arrangement.

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Pot Still Haffi Bubble – Translated from the Jamaican patois, the song’s title is “The Pot Still Has To Boil.” As in, no matter what else is going on in your life, you’ve still got to pay your bills, get to the grocery store, cook it up nice and put dinner on the table.

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Tenement Yard – Another reggae tune. “Dreadlocks can’t live in a tenement yard” is the refrain. “Too much watchy watchy watchy too much su-su-su-su-su,” is a reference to there being no privacy in a tenement. “Watchy” simply refers to never being able to come and go unobserved. And su-su refers to gossip. The etymology is unclear, but it’s probably meant to be onomatopoetic, as in the susurration of people whispering.

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5 Songs For When Your Toddler’s In The Backseat

Bear in mind I enforce zero censorship when it comes to catchy tunes. I figure, worst-case scenario: my two year-old starts quoting Biggie in public. Note: that’s also the best-case scenario.

Izzy Izzy Ahh – I think this was on Missy Elliott’s first album, back when her rap name was Misdemeanor. It’s got bumpin beats and some boozy scat.

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Push The Button – My kid is suddenly into robots. Lucky for us both, so is Money Mark.

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Rubber Biscuit – Dan Aykroyd’s gibberish is impossible to faithfully reproduce. But my son seems to like my trying.

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The Payback – This song’s been sampled more than the freebies at Trader Joe’s. If your kid doesn’t like James Brown, consider having him evaluated.

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Totally Nude – Fox’s anthem since moving to the woods. It’s about embracing nature while discarding the material trappings of civilization. For some reason I can’t get my wife to share our son’s enthusiasm for the song.

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4 Responses to Liner Notes

  1. Sarah September 28, 2012 at 5:17 pm #

    The Weeknd – fav songs are House of Balloons/Glass Table, and Wicked Games – sets the mood to snort coke off a hooker’s ass. Am I allowed to say that on this blog? If not, delete this, but check him out anyway if you haven’t.

  2. Amanda September 30, 2012 at 7:10 am #

    I have to admit, I’m hopelessly stuck when it comes to my music. Give me some Green Day and Offspring, and I’m happy. My oldest son’s CD has been Offspring’s Greatist Hits – since he was 4. Which, you know was totally awesome when he’d go around humming “Hit That,” which was his favorite song of the time, at preschool. He also got witnessed at swim lessons two years ago for saying he likes Alice Cooper when asked by another kid what music he listens to. I became the worst parent ever. Which, if the worst thing I’m doing is letting my kids listen to music, which is entertainment, then I’m probably not doing half bad.

  3. Amy B. October 4, 2012 at 2:07 pm #

    Can’t get away from Salsa:

    Joe Arroyo: Rebelion
    Celia Cruz: La Vida es un Carnival

    Don Omar: Pobre Diabla
    Zion ft. Eddie Dee: Amor de Pobre

    Classic Rock:
    Chase: Get it On
    Chase: Open Up Wide

    Ginuwine: Pony

    Sooo many more…if you want some classical suggestions…I have several favorites. Apocalyptica Plays Metallica is phenomenal!

  4. Jeremy M. October 4, 2012 at 11:15 pm #

    Patrick Sweany: Them Shoes
    The Fumes: Cuddle up the Devil
    Scott Biram: Victory Song, Judgement day
    G-unit: G’d Up
    Joe Buck Youself: Devil in my head (a personal fave)
    Trampled by Turtles: Wait So Long
    .357 String band: Down on a Bender
    The Black Angels: Bloodhounds on my Trail
    Black Rebel Motorcycle Club: Beat the Devil’s Tattoo
    Systema Solar: Quien Es El Patron?
    Possessed by Paul James: Feed the Family

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