As I mentioned in today’s Song of the Day, I need a “big loan from the girl zone” today, so the Top 5 Music Obsessions for this Wednesday is all women in music all the time.
It starts off with the goth-gorgeousness of Siouxsie and the Banshees, with one of my favorite tracks of theirs, “Hong Kong Garden”. This one always makes me want to dance.
Next up is St. Vincent, and the song “Prince Johnny”. I’m often reminded of Siouxsie, Tori, and Kate Bush when I hear Annie Clark (St. Vincent), so this one really fits in well today.
Then we have “Caught a Lite Sneeze” by Tori Amos. I had to include it, don’t you think? Since I’ve been quoting it all day, here, and in this post, too.
Polly Jean Harvey comes at it for Obsessive Song #4, with “Rid of Me”, which leads in perfectly to today’s “last but not least” track, “Army of Me”, by the irreplaceable and ever-unusual Björk.
Cheers to today’s Music Obsessed “Girl Zone” for helping me get up and get through it. I hope these 5 help you, too.
Top 5 Music Obsessions – April 10, 2019
1. “Hong Kong Garden” by Siouxsie and the Banshees
from the album, The Scream (1978)
“Tourists swarm to see your face.
Confucius has a puzzling grace.
Disoriented you enter in.
Unleashing scent of wild jasmine.
Slanted eyes meet a new sunrise.
A race of bodies small in size.
Chicken Chow Mein and Chop Suey.
Hong Kong Garden takeaway.”
Always makes me want to dance, this track. It also now reminds me of the Sofia Coppola film, Marie Antoinette, which featured the track in a key scene.
All that said, and despite the fact that this is one of my favorite Siouxsie songs, there is something that seems racially/ethnically incorrect now. Reading the lyrics above, I can’t help but feel uncomfortable with them. It’s a long ways away from 1978, that’s for sure, and the lyrics definitely show it.
What do you think?
2. “Prince Johnny” by St. Vincent
from the album, self-titled (2015)
“I’ll mean more than I mean to you.
I’ll mean more than I meant to him.
So I pray to, oh-oh-oh-oh-oh, to make me a real girl.
So I pray to, oh-oh-oh-oh-oh, to make me a real girl.”
There is something other-worldly and magical to St. Vincent.
Sometimes I forget how much I get from her music. There is still so much of it I need to dig into and learn. This track is off what is probably my favorite of St. Vincent’s. This one, and 2017’s MASSEDUCATION.
“Prince Johnny” reminds me of Pinnochio (the real boy/real girl lines), and of the movie Ruby Sparks, for those lines, too. There’s a darkness in this song, a dreaminess, something speculative and as I said before, other-worldly and magical. And very St. Vincent.
3. “Caught a Lite Sneeze” by Tori Amos
from the album, Boys For Pele (1996)
“Caught a lite sneeze,
dreamed a little dream,
made my own pretty hate machine.
Boys on my left side,
boys on my right side,
boys in the middle,
and you’re not here.
Boys in their dresses,
and you’re not here.
I need a big loan from the girl zone.”
This song and this album cut to the core of me. I’d say they are odes to break-ups and heartbreak, but “ode” doesn’t seem to be the right word. They are reactionary, emotional, cathartic songs full of pain and loss and stages of grief and hopelessness and hopefulness and all of it. These songs can feel like train wrecks and cracks internal, but they can also feel like lifelines and understanding.
I so need that girl zone today. Maybe you do, too.
4. “Rid Of Me” by Polly Jean Harvey
from the album, Rid Of Me (1993)
“I’ll tie your legs,
keep you against my chest.
Oh, you’re not rid of me.
Yea, you’re not rid of me.
I’ll make you lick my injuries.
I’m gonna twist your head off, see.
‘Til you say don’t you wish you never never met her.”
The pain and the pathos, and all that glorious anger. Damn.
There are times when I could conjure up all that – all the feeling in THIS SONG – and keep it for days. All the pain of swallowed, all the hurt feelings, the neglect, the abandonment, the heartbreaks, and the disappointments, I wish I could fill myself up with them and then spit them out with this kind of melodic vitriol.
Also, my FAVORITE version EVER of this song is the live version below. I’m pretty sure it was THIS live video that had me following for PJ hard.
“Rid of Me” (live) by Polly Jean Harvey
5. “Army of Me” by Björk
from the album, Post (1995)
“And, if you complain,
you’ll meet an army of me.”
Badass women unite and join this army of me. That’s how I feel when I hear this song.
I also feel motivated, inspired, and strong enough to be my own army.
“Army of Me” was the lead single released off of Post, Björk’s 3rd studio album. It was written and produced by Björk and Graham Massey, who helped her in producing and writing the majority of Post.
The song reminds me of the film Tank Girl, which featured “Army of Me”. I remember seeing Tank Girl with a bunch of friends I worked with at Tower Records, together in 1995.