Tuesday, December 02, 2008

I like to go last: my contributions to the GMMP Eargasm Mix

Wow, time flies doesn't it? Earlier this afternoon I found an email in my in-box with the friendly subject line "Hey punk". It was Splotchy, gently reminding me that I had not yet submitted a post describing my choices in Bad Tempered Zombie's Eargasm Mix. I always like to wait until everyone else gets off, but this was pushing it.

So here, without further ado, my choices. You can listen to them by clicking over on Splotchy's post here.

Peter Gunn Theme--Henry Mancini

This is like, the most ultimate swanky, swinging private eye theme music ever. I remember watching repeats of Peter Gunn as a kid and thinking "cool". It starts with a simple cymbal, then the base line, then guitar and piano, and at about 0:12 the horns kick in. I love that moment. There's another great crescendo at around 1:15 when the horns get even louder, and swing harder. The rest is all peak, baby.

James Bond Theme--The Monty Norman Orchestra

Another song that, for me, defines cool. This is the version from the first Bond movie, Dr. No. Is there anyone who doesn't recognize the opening notes of this song? The first 40 seconds of the song is slightly menacing foreplay, then the perfect moment for me is at 1:07 when the brass section really starts screaming. The rest of it is all swagger.

Fear is a Man's Best Friend--John Cale

I first heard this song on a John Cale collection called The Island Years. It was a gift from Splotchy! I was a huge VU fan, but had never heard much of John Cale's solo work. The song begins almost delicately, building with guitar and piano. Around 1:24 it gets more intense when John bangs the keys a little harder:
You know it makes sense, don't even think about it
Life and death are just things that you do when you're bored
Then at 1:35 it peaks and gets louder:
SAY fear is a man's best friend
Say fear is a man's best friend
Say fear is a man's best friend...
The song ends
with Cale screaming the chorus over a series of increasingly de-tuned bass runs and crashing cymbals. It's liberating.

Heartbreak Hotel--Elvis Presley

I really wish I knew music, and musical terms, so that I'd have a better vocabulary to describe music that I like. I don't know time signatures or anything like that, but I know that I am consistently drawn to certain sounds. The eldest and I were talking the other day about how, in so many songs that we loved, that what really drove us wild was the space between the notes--the music that had those gaps and pauses that create so much drama and tension in the music. She mentioned Bauhaus' Bela Lugosi's Dead as a perfect example of this. I also thought of Visions Of Johanna by Bob Dylan.

But the one I settled on was this one, by the King. You cue it up, it starts and there's a moment of silence, and then a hillbilly wail:
Well since my baby left me...
Followed by two percussive chords on a honky tonk piano
I found a new place to dwell
Two more chords, bang bang, like a drunk pounding the flat of his hand on the bar
It's down at the end of lonely street that's heartbreak hotel...
The bass line comes in at 9 seconds, when Elvis takes a breath between "that's" and "heartbreak". Elvis' voice drops into a low, almost mumbling stutter and the song takes off, slow and swinging. The whole song is perfect, but what I love the most is the way those first few seconds grab you by the lapel and pull you in closer.

There's No Home for You Here--The White Stripes

Man, I love the White Stripes. I think they've got to be about my favorite act that's come along in the last ten years. The combination of primitive drumming, wild guitar heroics and Jack White's voice is just perfect for me. There's No Home for You Here is not even my favorite song by The White Stripes, but it's got one of my favorite moments: there's a pause around 1:53 in, then a chorus of "AAAAAHHHH" comes in over, and is eventually replaced by, a wall of guitar feedback that lasts until 2:12. I dig it.

Patricia--Perez Prado

I also loves me some lounge music; especially the jazzy, upbeat Latin tempos of Perez Prado. Patricia is one of those songs that people recognize when they hear it, even if they don't know its title or Perez Prado--it's turned up on a few soundtracks over the years. The song starts out with a simple melody, an organ riff over some brushed drums. At 28 seconds the brass comes in and the song starts swinging.


Paul D Brazill said...

Some great choices there. Cale used to be such fun.

Dale said...

I downloaded all the goodness on the weekend Bubs and was hoping you'd mention your offerings.

I loved the John Cale!!

I also really enjoyed the theme tunes and love a little lounge. Excellent choices.

Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein said...

You are one eclectic hillbilly.

Randal Graves said...

The White Stripes' track is quality, but that part you mentioned has some otherworldly groovetasticality and the Peter Gunn was so cool, Trick stole it!

dguzman said...

I love your descriptions of the songs--nice work.

Splotchy said...

Very nice.

I look forward to a Bubs-helmed very unhealthy green monkey mix sometime in the future.

Erik Donald France said...

Totally rad and awesome, every single one of them. Does the John Cale collection include "Ready for War"?

10,000 feet and closing . . .

Anonymous said...

Visions of Johanna is the one Dylan song that always creeps back into my head.

GETkristiLOVE said...

I admit, that's my favorite Elvis tune. It's corny as all get out, but I can see him in black and white performing it whenever I hear the tune.

Bacon Lady said...

If I let Jim read this, he will leave me for you.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

I know exactly what you mean about the spaces between the notes. SOmetimes those are the most sublime parts of the song.

Great choices, Bubs. Thanks for playing!

Katie Schwartz said...

Lounge music and movie soundtracks from the 60s rock my world.