About a week ago I happened upon a musical something that has become a new obsession. I was perusing podcasts to add a few new ones to try and stumbled upon a kind of podcast that isn’t a podcast, but more like a radio show/radio shows. I’ve already made my way through about six of them, and have two that I’ve subscribed to and am hooked on.
It reminded me of my teenage years, when I used to lay on my bedroom floor with listening to my favorite DJ’s on KROQ, anxiously awaiting the next song. Sometimes I’d have a cassette tape all queued up so I could hit record and finally catch that track I was obsessing over, or, if I was quick enough, grab up a new song that I sensed would be my next obsessed with song.
They also remind me of a few of my favorite podcasts, where the host talks about a record, or movie, and all the personal reflections, trivial tidbits, or whatever said album, song, film means to them.
It’s a trip back to the radio I miss, met up with the kind of podcasts I love best.
Listening to them got me thinking of something new to lyriquediscorde. Something similar to these radio show/podcasts I found. Twelve songs and a little discourse as each plays. Maybe somewhere down the line I’ll try my hand on a radio show/podcast myself. For now, though, I’ll give this a go.
Picking twelve songs reminds me of sitting on the floor in my bedroom, records scattered across the floor, cassette queued up and ready. I’d sit there searching for the first song, and then the next song. Making the perfect mixtape.
Today’s theme is kind of that. The next song on the mixtape, put together, to play in my car.
In Search Of The Next Song
Twelve Songs – July 5, 2021
Up first, is one of my favorite “feels like summer’ songs. It hits on another music-favorite of mine – songs about Los Angeles.
I heard it first in a movie. Playing By Heart, a late 90’s ensemble story with separate, but interconnected stories of love, and family. I heard “Drinking In La” on one of the “radio show” podcasts – The Folklore Radio Show – on my way to meet a friend for coffee-and-pie. I was so excited when it started to play that I yelled YES in my car, turned up the volume, and (of course) sang-a-long.
I’ve listened it a half a dozen times since then. It seemed the perfect song to start out the debut of Twelve Songs at lyriquediscorde.
Track 1: “Drinking in L.A.” by Bran Van 3000
from the album, Glee (1997)
“But we did nothing,
absolutely buttkiss that day.
And I’ll say,
what the hell am I doing drinking in L.A. at twenty-six?
(With my mind on my money and my money on my beer, beer)
I know that life is for the taking,
so I better wise up and take it quick.
(yeah, one more time at Trader Vic’s)”
I inherited a few stacks of cookbooks that were my mother’s (some of them she’d inherited from her mother/my grandmother). My current favorite in the bunch is a recipe book from the LA restaurant Trader Vic’s. Some of my favorites I’ve tried (and added to – including making vegan versions) are Green Enchiladas, Chilequiles, and Cheese Enchiladas (with filling made of crushed tostadas, green chiles, cottage cheese, Monterey Jack cheese, and some spices).
Unfortunately, Trader Vic’s is no longer open in LA. I wish I’d gone there, at least once. I remember driving by it, seeing it’s sign and Tiki style out the window of my first car. I drove by it so many times, sometimes not really noticing, other times thinking to myself “someday.” I need to remember not to “someday” so many things.
There may not always be a someday.
Track 2: “Trigger Hippie” by Morcheeba
from the album, Who Can You Trust? (1996)
drop out of love,
pull the trigger,
I’m a hippie.
So said a truth,
Alive and well,
you push the buttons.”
Staying in the late 90’s, a little trip hop for the second song. I suppose that track one veers a little into the 90’s trip hop sound, though I think it belongs in the pop bin more. The DJ’s on the radio show I was listening to referred to it as hip-hop, but it doesn’t fit there at all, to me. Personally, I just think of it as a “summer song”, or one of my collected songs about LA.
Morcheeba, on the other hand, definitely belongs in the trip-hop lane. I fell in love with their sophomore album, Big Calm, in ’98. This girl I worked with then, who I thought was cooler than cool, introduced me to it. I listened to it obsessively in my car, driving around with it blaring, singing-a-long to “The Sea” and “Part of the Process”, wondering if she thought I was cooler than cool (or at least a little cool). Looking back, I think I had a pretty big crush on her, not that I realized it then. Not that I’d have acted on it then either. I wasn’t as in-touch with myself and with the fluidity of my attractions in the late 90’s. I let those feelings live in the songs I loved, and in the mixes I added them to.
I bought Morcheeba’s first album a few years later. I remember listening to “Trigger Hippie” in the car as we drove cross-country. Me and David, my daughter Julia in the back, two cats (one asleep on the floor behind the driver’s seat, one freaking out from the car ride, ripping apart my favorite pair of shoes), Julia’s pet rat Ratsy, stuck in a hamster cage that ended up being too small and too hot, and a small, rectangular plastic fish tank type thing, made of plastic, with six fish swimming around inside. David hadn’t wanted to leave his fish behind, so I got volunteered to hold them in my lap for the trip. Every time we hit a bump in the road water would splash out, and every time we made a stop, I’d get out, my pants damp and looking like I’d had an accident in them.
The fish made it to Saline, the Michigan suburb we were moving to. The cats and us people, too. Ratsy unfortunately didn’t survive the trip.
“Triggers and hippies to belong in the same song,” David said, as the song played. I didn’t have much to argue back with except to say, “maybe that’s the point.”
The point of what though? I still don’t know.
I like the lyric-line, “Alive and well, you push the buttons.” It reminds me of pushing the buttons – play, record, pause – when making a mixtape. It was an art to make a good mixtape, a skill, a trick of timing and flow.
There was way more work put into the perfect mixtape. Much more than a playlist on Spotify requires.
Track 3:”Dreaming” by Blondie
from the album, Eat To The Beat (1979)
dreaming is free.”
The first 45’s I bought for myself were Blondie singles. Not this song, though I’d end up buying a 45 of “Dreaming” years later at the Rose Bowl flea market.
It reminds me of dancing on Sunday nights at 1970. It was my favorite of the underground clubs my best friend and I frequented in the late 80’s and early 90’s. This song always takes me right back to Stardust Ballroom, in Hollywood, when it was still standing.
Last night, my boyfriend and I were listening to music together. He was talking about not knowing Blondie’s albums very well, not the way I do. He played this song, track one from Eat To The Beat, “it’s my favorite Blondie song,” he said.
Now it will also remind me of him, and that night, laying on our bed with one of our cats hopping up to join us. The warzone sound of illegal fireworks booming outside. I really don’t like Fourth of July much anymore. Not at all really. But I do love lying around with my boyfriend and a cat, listening to music, talking about albums, and favorite songs.
Track 4: “All Yours” by Widowspeak
from the album, All Yours (2015)
“I stopped looking for you.
I stopped looking for you,
and the places I won’t go.”
I like first tracks and title tracks. This is a newer song discovery. I’m liking it a lot this afternoon.
Track 5: “This Here Island” by Dekker
from the album, Slow Reveal: Chapter One (2020)
“And if we all fall out,
if the bottom drops out,
I hope that we share ground,
on this here island.”
One of the radio show/podcasts I discovered is called Hearful Ears. It’s hosted/DJ’ed by Dekker. I’d never heard of him before, or heard an of his music. Each episode is a theme. He plays twelve songs, one of them his, in the chosen theme. This one stuck with me from the first listen.
It reminds me of a favorite movie of mine. Seeking a Friend For the End of the World. When I first saw the film’s title I mistook it for a film version of my favorite book, God-Shaped Hole (it is part of something written in a personal ad from one of the main characters). I was so excited I almost screamed. That almost-scream was paused though when I realized it wasn’t. I still watched it, and ended up loving it anyway.
The end always makes me cry.
The end always leaves me feeling hopeful though, even though there is no hope in their ending.
What album would you choose to play if you knew the world was about to end? Today I think I’d pick David Bowie’s Hunky Dory.
Track 6: “Life On Mars?” by David Bowie
from the album, Hunky Dory (1971)
“Sailors fighting in the dance hall.
Oh man, look at those cavemen go.
It’s the freakiest show.
Take a look at the lawman.
Beating up the wrong guy.
Oh man, wonder if he’ll ever know,
he’s in the best selling show.
Is there life on Mars?”
At different times in my life I’ve felt this song meant different things. That said, I’m pretty sure I don’t know exactly what it all means. I don’t think I ever will. That’s okay though, because it has meant varying things to me, at different times in my life, which I know says more about me than the song – but it does say something timeless and evolving and complex about the song, don’t you think?
Today it feels very end of the world. Probably why I answered with the album it’s on, and why this was not originally the next song. No, it wasn’t even in these twelve songs. But suddenly, it just had to be.
As much as I have a wanderlust soul, I’m not sure I’d be in line to go to Mars, if it were an option. Would you?
Track 7: “Starlight” by Yola
from the EP, Starlight (2021)
“Because in my mind I’m seeing starlight.
One morе time for my imagination.
I’m not high,
don’t let me be misunderstood.
Like we should.”
From Mars to stars, to another first track song. I love when a playlist comes together like that without really trying.
Yola is relatively new to me. I love her voice. The R&B style from yesterday, with some jazz, some soul, and something entirely Yola. I’m enjoying getting to know her songs, and sound.
I’m playing this while I am cooking dinner. Trying a new recipe, because sometimes I need to shake it up, step out of my kitchen comfort zone, and see what happens.
I’ve been trying to do that in other parts of my life lately, too.
Track 8: “Good Days” by SZA
from the single, “Good Days” (2020)
“Good day in my mind,
safe to take a step out.
Get some air now,
let your edge out.”
Still cooking. Last day of the long weekend is winding down. I’m not really ready for real life to start again. That said, there are some things that may happen in the real life part of this week that may change so many things for me. These next few real life days may actually be “Good Days.”
We will see.
For now, I will keep cooking, listening to these twelve songs, swaying to the music, while I try to believe in good things. While I try to jump up and grab hold of hope.
Track 9: “Everything I Am Is Yours” by Villagers
from the album, Darling Arithmetic (2015)
Do you have any bands/artists that you forget about until you happen on one of their songs and then you sigh and think, oh my stars they are so good, why don’t I listen to them more? Taken for granted, or neglected music. I have a few. Villagers is one of those bands.
I don’t know why. I mean, I’ve known about them for awhile. Friends with amazing music palates have been raving about them for a long time. And every single time I hear one of their songs I have that same reaction: sigh, oh my stars, they are so good. Why don’t I listen to them more?
Maybe now is my time to change that….starting with this song.
Track 10: “Walls (Circus)” by Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers
from the soundtrack album, She’s the One (1996)
“Sometimes you’re happy.
Sometimes you cry.
Half of me is ocean.
Half of me is sky.”
Possibly my favorite Tom Petty song, or at least in my Top 5. The lyrics just resonate so deeply with me/my life/who I am.
I remember hearing it the first time in the movie “She’s the One”, and then immediately hunting down the soundtrack. It was one of my most played/go-to soundtracks for a long time.
As a friend of mine recently said, I too wish I’d gotten the chance to see Tom Petty live. I thought I’d have more time to do that. Going back to an earlier thing I mentioned, do things now. We may not always have more time.
A random Tom Petty memory. Not long after his passing I was in Amoeba Records, in LA. They were playing a greatest hits album. Everywhere in the store I went, without exception, someone was singing-a-long. Different people, varying ages and styles – yet they all knew the songs and sang-a-long. It made me smile. It made my heart soar. It made me tear up. And it made me think how amazing music is. How it connects and joins us all together. How music can be such a huge part of our collective consciousness.
Track 11: “Jive Talkin'” by Bee Gees
from the album, Main Course (1975)
“Oh, my child,
you’ll never know,
just what you mean to me.
Oh, my child,
you got so much.
You’re gonna take away my energy.”
Time to dance in the kitchen.
Dancing in the kitchen is a must. It’s one of my favorite things to do. I mean, the linoleum just feels like a dance floor, so why not? Slip and slide and spin around. Do it. You won’t regret it.
And there’s nothing like 70’s music to make me wanna dance.
Also, I’m not sure I’ve ever really listened to the lyrics before. Like listen-listen, really listen. That last line in the lyric above – I FEEL THAT.
I’m tired of having my energy taken. I really am. It’s part of why I’m learning to build up boundaries, and stick with them.
Track 12: “Girls and Boys” by Blur
from the album, Parklife (1994)
“Girls who want boys,
who like boys to be girls,
who do boys like they’re girls,
who do girls like they’re boys –
always should be someone you really love.”
Another first track.
Another song that wasn’t originally in this twelve song mix, but had to be added. It just had to be.
So, we made it through twelve songs, in this almost a radio show post experiment. I hope you’ve had as much fun as I have.