Saturday, May 23, 2009

a song about brian jones by enduring weirdo musicians psychic tv. i suspect brian would've liked it, but then who knows?:

Saturday, May 16, 2009

well don't believe in people who say it's all been done
they have time to talk because their race is run

wmcn's class of 2009 graduates in about 12 hours. as every graduation needs a theme song, i propose the sorta obvious but totally sweet silver jews track "advice to the graduate." david berman has a way with words i wouldn't pretend to share, so i'll let the song speak for itself.

but i do have a thought to share with classes 2010-infinity. remember that wmcn only exists because of years and decades of love and hard work. it's our little corner of st. paul and beneath its grimy exterior lies something really special. it's in your hands now.

[mp3] silver jews--"advice to the graduate"

Every graduation needs a theme song (?), so I’ve got one. It comes to us from one of the great 80s synth pop albums, The The’s Soul Mining, and is called “This is the Day.” You might think the sentiment is a bit obvious

This is the day your life will surely change
This is the day when things fall into place

but in the scheme of things (i.e. a preternaturally great pop song), it comes across as an unanswerable prayer shouted in the face of cruel monotony, especially given these lines from “The Sinking Feeling,” the song that follows “This is the Day” on Soul Mining.

The path of least resistance leads to the garbage heap of despair
I think I better get back in bed
I’m just a symptom of the moral decay that’s gnawing at the heart of the country

I don’t think we’re living in Matt Johnson’s England, but I like how a cynic and cultural critic like him can turn a song about sitting in your room into a mantra of imminent renewal. And it works. I believe this is the day every time I hear it.

[mp3] The The - "This is the Day"

A good percentage of WMCN graduates tomorrow, but some of the senior constituency aren't letting go of their blogging privileges just yet.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

the bonzo dog band were a group of british art-school outcasts who loved 50’s and 60’s pop so dearly they couldn’t help but parody it. still a cult favorite, the bonzo’s closest american analog is zappa and the mothers. their classic 1968 lp, “the doughnut in granny’s greenhouse,” traversed most genres of popular music that existed at the time, and even created a few (like the lovesick cockney space shuffle of “beautiful zelda”). my favorite track on the album is the languid music hall number “hello mabel,” on which dry british humour and a genuine love of pop coalesce like the most natural thing in the world:

[mp3] the bonzo dog band—“hello mabel”

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

No, I don't actually hate Pet Sounds. But I will say this: it doesn't contain either of my favorite Beach Boys songs (and I'm not even talking about "Don't Worry Baby" and "Heroes and Villains"!). That's right. The Beach Boys (as an entity distinct from Brian "God" Wilson) reached a creative peak during the Brother Records era with 1970's Sunflower, which is in every way a group effort, with a message of togetherness and love that is perfect for these post-classes springtime days. WMCN may be off the air, but we're doing our best to keep bringing you the love.

Sunflower is the album where Dennis Wilson emerges as a songwriter to rival his brother and Bruce Johnston announces himself as a groovy manufacturer of breezy love songs, but once again Brian Wilson comes out ahead (with a little help from Mike Love). Here he is to spread the word. It's painful to think that someone somewhere might not have heard these songs.

Late at night I think about the love of this whole world...

[mp3] The Beach Boys - "This Whole World"

All I wanna do is always bring good to you...

[mp3] The Beach Boys - "All I Wanna Do"

Appropriately, Sunflower, like Pet Sounds, was a commercial disaster.

Coming soon: The decidedly non-optimistic 1970s pop stylings of Randy Newman.