How Soon Is Now?

There are plenty of great rock anthems out there, but there are only a handful of nearly perfect singles in this world, and this gem by The Smiths is one of those tracks.  I’m old school, so I come from the line of thought that, much like The Rolling Stones and The Beatles, you have to choose either The Smiths or The Cure– it’s theoretically impossible to like both bands equally, so you have to pick one.  Well, I choose The Cure because when it comes to emo angst, I’ll take Robert Smith’s sincerity over Morrissey’s any day of the week.  But that doesn’t mean I can’t acknowledge The Smiths’ “How Soon is Now” as one of the most iconic songs of the 1980s and also one of the greatest recordings of the last thirty years.  With Johnny Fuckin’ Marr’s hypnotic reverb riff and Morrissey’s haunting vocals, this is a song that sticks its hand right into your chest and grabs hold of your beating, bleeding heart just long and tightly enough for you to fully comprehend the pain of loneliness.

“I am human and I need to be loved– just like everybody else does.” 

Yup.

I am the son
and the heir
of a shyness that is criminally vulgar.
I am the son and heir
of nothing in particular.

You shut your mouth–
how can you say
I go about things the wrong way?
I am human and I need to be loved,
just like everybody else does.

I am the son
and the heir
Of a shyness that is criminally vulgar.
I am the son and heir
of nothing in particular.

You shut your mouth–
how can you say
I go about things the wrong way?
I am human and I need to be loved,
just like everybody else does.

There’s a club if you’d like to go–
you could meet somebody who really loves you.
So you go and you stand on your own,
and you leave on your own,
and you go home and you cry
and you want to die.

When you say it’s gonna happen “now,”
well when exactly do you mean?
See I’ve already waited too long,
and all my hope is gone.

You shut your mouth–
how can you say
I go about things the wrong way?
I am human and I need to be loved,
just like everybody else does.

(apologies to The Smiths)

(I’m Always Touched By Your) Presence, Dear

Feelin’ awfully melancholy and nostalgic tonight (Melanostalgic?) and stumbled upon this old tune by the venerable pop/punk band Blondie.  While the band will always be remembered foremost for “Heart of Glass” and “Rapture,” it was ethereal tracks like this one that made them my favorite band when I was a teen (helped in no small part by Clem Burke’s wicked drum fills which made it impossible to listen to Blondie without beating the hell out of everything in sight whilst air drumming).  And name me another rock band to use the word “theosophy” in a song, I dare you.

Was it destiny?  I don’t know yet.
Was it just by chance?  Could this be kismet?
Something in my consciousness told me you’d appear–
now I’m always touched by your presence, dear.

When we play at cards, you use an extra sense.
You can read my hand, I’ve got no defense.
When you send your messages, whispered loud and clear–
I am always touched by your presence, dear.

Floating past the evidence of possibility–
we could navigate, together, psychic frequencies.

Coming into contact with outer entities–
we could entertain each one with our theosophy.

Stay awake at night and catch your R.E.M.s
when you’re talking with your super friends.
Levitating lovers in the secret stratosphere–
I am still in touch with your presence, dear.

(apologies to Blondie)

Southern Accents

Had this song stuck in my head for a while the other day, and I just felt like sharing. “Southern Accents” is technically Tom Petty’s song, but as soon as Johnny Cash recorded it, it officially became his.

This is a wonderfully honest song with one of the most beautiful and haunting bridges ever sung.

“For just a minute there, I was dreaming…”

There’s a southern accent, where I come from–
the young ‘uns call it country, the yankees call it dumb.
I got my own way of talkin’, but everything is done
with a southern accent, where I come from.

Now that drunk tank in Atlanta, was just a motel room to me.
Think I might go work Orlando, if them orange groves don’t freeze.
I’ve got my own way of working, but everything is run
with a southern accent, where I come from.

For just a minute there, I was dreaming…
For just a minute, it was all so real…
For just a minute, she was standing there, with me…

There’s a dream I keep having, where my mama comes to me
and kneels down over by the window, and says a prayer for me.
I’ve got my own way of praying, and everything one’s begun
with a southern accent, where I come from.

We’ve got our own way of living, and everything is done
with a southern accent, where I come from.

(apologies to both Tom Petty and The Man in Black)

Do You Realize?

Listening to late night radio again and happened to hear a tune I hadn’t heard in a long, long time.  I’ve never really been a huge fan of The Flaming Lips, as they’re more or less a pyschedelic jam band (and I fucking hate psychedelic jam bands), but I can distinctly remember hearing this song for the very first time on the radio in 2002 and being so moved that I had to pull over my car to finish it.

So here’s a brutally honest and beautifully poignant song (both lyrically and musically) from an otherwise absurdist band.  The video’s a bit ridiculous, but the song sure as hell isn’t.

Do you realize… that you have the most beautiful face?
Do you realize… we’re floating in space?
Do you realize… that happiness makes you cry?
Do you realize… that everyone you know someday will die?

And instead of saying all of your goodbyes,
let them know you realize that life goes fast–

it’s hard to make the good things last–
you realize the sun doesn’t go down–
it’s just an illusion caused by the world spinning round.

Do you realize? (oh, oh, oh)
Do you realize… that everyone you know someday will die?
And instead of saying all of your goodbyes,
let them know you realize that life goes fast–

it’s hard to make the good things last–
you realize the sun doesn’t go down–
it’s just an illusion caused by the world spinning round.
Do you realize… that you have the most beautiful face?

Do you realize?

(apologies to The Flaming Lips)

The District Sleeps Alone Tonight

I’ve been a fan of The Postal Service since this album came out in 2003, but I never fully grasped this particular song until the last year or two, and I just felt like sharing.

Smeared black ink, your palms are sweaty
and I’m barely listening to last demands–
I’m staring at the asphalt wondering
what’s buried underneath…
(Where I am)

I’ll wear my badge– a vinyl sticker with big block letters
adherent to my chest that tells your new friends
I am a visitor here… I am not permanent.

And the only thing keeping me dry is… 
(Where I am)

You seem so out of context in this gaudy apartment complex,
a stranger with your door key explaining that I am just visiting,
and I am finally seeing why I was the one worth leaving…
why I was the one worth leaving…

D.C. sleeps alone tonight.

(Where I am)
You seem so out of context in this gaudy apartment complex,
a stranger with your door key explaining that I am just visiting–
I am finally seeing why I was the one worth leaving…
why I was the one worth leaving…

(Where I am)
The district sleeps alone tonight after the bars turn out their lights
and send the autos swerving into the loneliest evening–
and I am finally seeing why I was the one worth leaving…
why I was the one worth leaving…

(apologies to The Postal Service)

We Will Become Silhouettes

I’ve got a cupboard with cans of food,
filtered water and pictures of you,
and I’m not coming out until this is all over.

And I’m looking through the glass
where the light bends at the cracks,
and I’m screaming at the top of my lungs
pretending the echoes belong to someone–
someone I used to know.

And we become
silhouettes when our bodies finally go.

I wanted to walk through the empty streets
and feel something constant under my feet,
but all the news reports recommended that I stay indoors…

Because the air outside will make
our cells divide at an alarming rate
until our shells simply cannot hold
all our insides in, and that’s when we’ll explode–
and it won’t be a pretty sight.

And we’ll become
silhouettes when our bodies finally go.
And we’ll become (and we’ll become)
silhouettes when our bodies finally go.

(apologies to The Postal Service)

Things Can Only Get Better

I’ve been in need of a new set of songs for my commute lately, so I recently bought a CD of 1980s new wave tunes for shits and giggles and one of the tracks turned out to be a tune I probably haven’t heard SINCE the 1980s.  It’s Howard Jones and his 1985 neo-soul classic, “Things Can Only Get Better.”  This track is so good that when I listen to it, I’m almost tempted to believe it.  But as soon as the song’s over, the real world creeps in and I realize that this new wave anthem of youth and idealism was all just a beautiful dream.  (It’s too bad Howard’s hair couldn’t have also been a dream– that shit was for real.)

We’re not scared to lose it all,
security thrown through the wall–
future dreams we have to realize.
A thousand skeptic hands
won’t keep us from the things we plan,
unless we’re clinging to the things we prize.

And do you feel scared?  (I do.)
But I won’t stop and falter.
And if we threw it all away,
things can only get better.

Whoa whoa whoa-oh-oh whoa-whoa whoa-oh-oh
(Whoa whoa whoa-oh-oh whoa-whoa whoa-oh-oh)
Whoa whoa whoa-oh-oh whoa-whoa whoa-oh-oh
(Whoa whoa whoa-oh-oh whoa-whoa whoa-oh-oh)

Treating today as though it was
the last, the final show–
get to sixty and feel no regret.
It may take a little time– 
a lonely path, an uphill climb.
Success or failure will not alter it.

And do you feel scared? (I do.)
But I won’t stop and falter.
And if we threw it all away,
things can only get better.

Whoa whoa whoa-oh-oh whoa-whoa whoa-oh-oh
(Whoa whoa whoa-oh-oh whoa-whoa whoa-oh-oh)
Whoa whoa whoa-oh-oh whoa-whoa whoa-oh-oh
(Whoa whoa whoa-oh-oh whoa-whoa whoa-oh-oh)

And do you feel scared? (I do.)
But I won’t stop and falter.
And if we threw it all away,
things can only get better.

Whoa whoa whoa-oh-oh whoa-whoa whoa-oh-oh
(Whoa whoa whoa-oh-oh whoa-whoa whoa-oh-oh)
Whoa whoa whoa-oh-oh whoa-whoa whoa-oh-oh
(Whoa whoa whoa-oh-oh whoa-whoa whoa-oh-oh)

Whoa whoa whoa-oh-oh whoa-whoa oh-oh-oh-oh
(Whoa whoa whoa-oh-oh whoa-whoa whoa-oh-oh)
Whoa whoa whoa-whoa oh-oh-oh
(Whoa whoa whoa-oh-oh whoa-whoa whoa-oh-oh)
Whoa whoa whoa-oh-oh whoa-whoa whoa-oh-oh

(apologies to Howard Jones)