Wednesday, April 01, 2009

The Hump Day Shuffle: 1999

1. Flaming Lips - Suddenly Everything Has Changed - The Soft Bulletin
It's actually very weird to come across a song from this album on shuffle, alone out there among the scattered masses. Aside from "Waiting For A Superman" and "Do You Realize?" I don't think I've heard anything from this album, except for in its entirety. A left-field triumph. (And you gotta love the subtitle of this one: "Death Anxiety Caused by Moments of Boredom")

2. Mike Ness - Cheating At Solitaire - Cheating At Solitaire
I had a great of weeks rediscovering this album last summer when I saw Mike Ness at an unbelievably packed Club Congress. This album was in such heavy rotation that year that it's probably still one of my most played albums ever. This is a slow and hot bluesy burner of a song, full of pain and regret and just one of the best songs Ness has ever written.

3. Blink 182 - What's My Age Again - Enema of the State
Those dudes beat me to 23, but I knew enough skate punks around that time who were on the verge of burning out or making major changes that it was a song that rang with just enough truth. And even those same skate punks still held on to just a little bit of love for the now-MTV-saturated Blink 182, for their years-earlier show in Prescott, and the to-this-day-pretty-good Cheshire Cat album.

4. Modest Mouse - Other People's Lives - Building Something Out Of Nothing
A hodgepodge compilation album just before I got into Modest Mouse, this one is still a bit of a curiosity for me. When I first heard this album, I had a hard time connecting the dots between it, Modest Mouse's earlier stuff and The Moon And Antarctica, which is still my favorite of theirs. And all that really says is that I didn't have much of an excuse not to be listening to Modest Mouse in 1999. Damn.

5. Clem Snide - African Friend - Your Favorite Music
This is another one I hit a couple years late, but man, Clem Snide blew me away with Your Favorite Music. This was a band I felt like I'd been missing. "African Friend" is a perfect example of Clem Snide - a bit sad, a bit weird, with a passionate country shuffle, a great chorus ("Come lay on the couch, with me. 'Cause nature's too wild and free. Come lay on the couch. We don't have to work on our tans") all working together to make for a memorable song time and time again.

6. Pavement - Anna Don't Cry - Terror Twilight
It must be due to the lack of an intimately close connection with the first Pavement albums as they came out, but I've held Terror Twilight as my favorite since I heard it. The good Dr. Chung was hugely into this album and played it all the time in our old 8th Street house. And "Anna Don't Cry" is the best on the record.

7. Jimmy Eat World - 12.23.95 - Clarity
The Clarity 10th anniversary tour was too short, too far away and too sold out for me to catch a show, but I would've loved to have seen Jim Adkins & Co. tearing through this album anew. This shimmering song has the simplest lyrics of the whole album: "I didn't mean to leave you hanging on. I didn't mean to leave you all alone. I didn't know what to say. Merry Christmas, baby."

8. Bueno - Errands - Finding Humor In The Tragedy
I've been making mental demands on myself to sit down and write a good and long post on this band, hometown friends of mine and one of the best punk bands of all time. I will. Until then, just a quick bit of this song, a quick burst of demanding energy that I'll forever use to help myself find inner peace. That's not remotely a common reaction to a punk song (especially one with the outgoing chorus of "failure is my religion") but this song and album will always be an important part of me. R.I.P. Brian.

9. The Magnetic Fields - Grand Canyon - 69 Love Songs (vol. 2)
Until my friend Doug sang "Book of Love" at Cory & Shannon's wedding in November, I'd have told you that "Grand Canyon" is the best song on this wonderful concept triple-album. It's quick and beautiful: "If I was the Grand Canyon, I'd echo everything you say, but I'm just me, I'm
only me and you used to love me that way. So you know how to love me that way."

10. Old 97s - Lonely Holiday - Fight Songs
If I were blogging in 1999, this album probably would've been at the top of my year-end list (fighting out with Beck's Midnight Vultures and Wilco's Summerteeth for the No. 1 slot). The Old 97s did nothing special, but everything they did was perfect. The country-pop combination, the harmonies, the lyrics and every note from every guy just right.

I was at this game:

Mike Ness - Cheating At Solitaire (live)
Pavement - Anna Don't Cry (live)
Bueno - Errands

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