Continuing from where we left off last week, here are numbers 90-81 on my list of favorite songs
90. MGMT- Time to Pretend
“I’ll miss the boredom and the freedom and the time spent alone.”
I like the idea of a band growing up into stardom and not getting a say in it. It’s hard to complain because of how fortunate you are just to continue to be relevant for the time being, but the lifestyle robs you of some of the best parts of being alive. “Time to Pretend” dives into this mindset really well and covers a lot of the awful parts of the lifestyle, along with the necessity to pretend that things are never going wrong to maintain the image. In reality, MGMT never wanted to be the pop superstars, and that envious.
89. Guided By Voices- Closer You Are
“The closer you are/ The quicker it hits you.”
High energy, quick punching song to capture the awesomeness of Guided By Voices. It’s amazing to think about how talented Pollard is at working his way to choruses, and it’s how they always fill forty minute rock albums with twenty-two tracks. This one was one of the first GBV songs I loved when I re-dove into their discography, and it stays on the list because of the rock mentality message. The closer you are to a person/situation, the quicker it will hit you.
88. The Hold Steady- Ask Her For Adderall
“If she happens to suggest/ A love based on trust and respect/ Tell her I’ve been wasted since last week.”
It’s crazy to me how this is just the beginning to a bonus track on Stay Positive. It’s the ultimate dodger anthem; the guy who’s not really doing anything with his life right now, but wants to keep that a secret so people don’t have to worry about him. Lie about what we already did, come up with an excuse for why I never answer the phone, and try to get them to send more stuff.
87. Neutral Milk Hotel- Oh Comely
“The Music and Medicine you needed for comforting.”
An epic song which says way to much for actual summarization. “Oh Comely” is the favorite Neutral Milk Hotel track by many fans because of the sheer artistry which is present. Giving Mangum eight minutes to continually develop a story, and listening to the incredibly poetic nature of it’s delivery is jaw dropping. It’s a song which can hush a room full of people for eight minutes, and that’s a pretty special quality to find in music. End note on the end of the track, where “Holy S***!” is audibly said by a background voice: There appears to be two stories about it. One is that it was Robert Schneider who was simply amazed that the track was done in a single take. The other is that some dudes were watching the Braves game at the time and their reaction to a play got caught on the recording. Either way it ends up being a nice ending to a magnificent song.
86. The National- Mr. November
“I wish that I believed in fate/ I wish I didn’t sleep so late”
I’ve always viewed this song from the mindset of the guy who used to be the hero but is currently becoming more and more irrelevant. He’s peaked but isn’t ready to acknowledge that, because he still feels like he’s the kind of person who gets out of this situation. He has to succeed, he can’t f*** us over, because he’s Mr. November.
85. Titus Andronicus- A More Perfect Union
“I never wanted to change the world, well I’m looking for a new New Jersey.”
The true greatness of this track lies in it’s ability to convince you to buy into the concept of a punk album being set in the Civil War. It sounds odd but cool, and within the first minute of this song you suddenly realize that it’s perfect. As a speech by Abraham Lincoln segues into Bruce Springsteen trademark phrase getting transformed into “Tramps like us, baby we were born to die!” by the New Jersey punk band, you become a full believer. It sets the table better than any other song I’ve experienced, and it flat out rocks.
84. Bright Eyes- Four Winds
“The Bible’s blind, the Torah’s deaf, the Qu’ran’s mute/ If you burn them all together, you get close to the truth.”
This was the first Bright Eyes song that I latched onto, and it made me love listening to Oberst immediately because he was so comfortable in calling out religion. It was something I was desperate to do at the time, and how it could just become a statement rather than an attack hit me perfectly. It was also a nice introduction to the story-telling quality of Oberst as “Four Winds” is packed with characters and events which you actually had to think about to understand, which made it so incredibly cool in my mind.
83. The Magnetic Fields- Absolutely Cuckoo
“Give me a week or two to/ Go Absolutely Cuckoo/ Then when you see your error/ Then you can flee in terror.”
For starters, the song is incredibly cute and catchy with overlapping vocals, a ukulele and a synthesizer playing in unison. It’s similar to many other tracks in 69 Love Songs where it’s not really about being in love at all, but rather the begging for someone to not fall in love with you because of the tragic events that that always leads to. It’s really sad in that way, but the hopeful tone of the song seems to suggest that they’re going to fall in love despite the warnings.
82. Joy Division- Love Will Tear Us Apart
“Why is the bedroom so cold?/ Turned away on your side/ Is my timing that flawed?/ Our respect run so dry.”
I don’t listen to this song to often as I should in reality. Being able to be so open and honest about the failures of your relationship to the world is simultaneously depressing and admirable. I also really like the idea of creating a song which defined your life like this one did for Ian Curtis. It did happen, and upon his death his former wife Deborah Curtis asked to have the title engraved onto his tombstone. You also have to respect the influence it has over other bands with how frequently they chose to cover or incorporate the song into a new project.
81. Modest Mouse- Bankrupt on Selling
“Well I’ll go to college and I’ll learn some big words/ And I’ll talk real loud, g**damn right I’ll be heard/ You’ll remember that guy who said those big words he must’ve learned in college.”
A nice thing about Modest Mouse is that they can produce some truly beautiful tracks for a rock band. “Bankrupt on Selling” is all about the doubts of Isaac Brock; about religion, the people that surround him and those who he grows close to. I associated with a lot of the mindsets in this song, but the one that took on a personal tone for me was the selected one up top. When I was growing up I was bothered by the fact that I hadn’t really changed as a person but people would compliment my progression because I aged since the last time we’d met. It’s a fake way to say that you actually know a person, and it was one of the things that made me despise small talk so much.
Check Airwaves next Monday for 80-71