Thursday, December 16, 2004

Waist Deep in the Hooplah

FUCKMYCOCK TIL IT BLEEDS, I just wrote the longest post EVER and my session timed out and it disappeared. Arrrrrgh. Fuck a duck. I shall try to repeat it.

A few things:
Firstly, thanks very muchly to all my new readers who are writing in with such lovely and joyous comments. You done made a girl feel all happy and shiznit. And a superhuge enormous thank you with ice cream and whipped cream on top to Randy at Something Positive for sending so many people in my direction. You rock so hard.

Secondly, I've been thinking many thinks about how "Waist Deep in the Big Muddy" is the most fantabulous metaphor-based antiwar protest song ever.It's just so wonderfully simple. Every time I try to write a song about current politics, it ends up being about sex. Because every song I write ends up being about sex, or sex and politics, or sexual politics. But anyway. Ya'll know the story about the song, right? CBS yoinked Pete Seeger's performance of this song off of the Smothers Brothers' show because it was too controversial and disrespectful of President Johnson and his policies in Vietnam. It's just so wonderfully simple. I've uploaded it here for you to savor. I lurf the Smothers Brothers tv show -- they got to show all sorts of awesome artists doing their thang. I wish it were still on, but I feel like I'm the only person who wants to see folk-singing brothers banter and do social satire.

In fact, in my deepest of dreams, I'm producing a socially-savvy variety show and it's like the new incarnation of the Ed Sullivan show -- every person with a TV simply has to watch it on Sunday night because they have to get the scoop and then be able to talk about it on Monday morning or else they're tools. The Ed Sullivan show kind of blows my mind -- he got to break new musical acts, showcase hot comedians, AND show traditional cultural performances (opera! ballet!) AND vaudeville acts (plate-spinning!) and exotic multi-culti art. Clearly, we've all been exposed to stuff like Butoh and the Gamelan these days, but it's so exciting to think about sharing all sorts of neat art with the people in, like, South Dakota who don't get to see stuff like that -- stuff like Pina Bausch and The Improbable Theater Company. I mean, holy shit, that stuff blew my mind and put it back together in a new way.

I was lucky enough to spend my summers during college interning with with the amazing Mark Russell at PS 122. I got to see the hottest performances, all sorts of new ideas and techniques, and it changed my life. I once wanted to be Wendy Wasserstein, and all of a sudden I just wanted to be Eric Bogosian (insert Under Siege 2 joke here: ______, but I saw "Pounding Nails Into the Floor With My Forehead" and it shook me up so hardcore that my brain bounced around a lot and settled back in and I was never to be the same.

So! To do a variety show where the greatest and most exciting people could perform and show their stuff and affect the world -- man, I lust after that so badly.

At least indie music is the new folk music. Hip, hip, hooray!

Ah, music affecting the world... Last night, Steve and I were discussing the value of popular music. We were talking about how a perfect song makes you feel something ("After all, they call it rock and ROLL," said Steve, "Because it makes you move."). We were talking about U2 and their current unique place in the history of rock -- they have a HUGE single, they're co-branded with hottest piece of must-have gadgetry, AND they're about to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. (Granted, I acknowledge that Aerosmith was inducted a few short years ago and there are some who might argue that Aerosmith is also still at the top of its game. For the record, I'd like to say that their game suuuuuuuuuuuux). I mean, whoa. They're relevant and they're historical, all at the same time. And people LOVE them.

We were talking about how Rock and Roll was firstly about FUCK YOU TO THE MAN, and then it went introspective, and then U2 brought it back to "we, the people." Like, angry rock and roll was all middle-finger FUCK YOU and then it was all about crossing its arms and shutting out the audience and then U2 was like: here are my arms, let me hold you. And it just works. They're still totally at the top. They even beat REM.

Back in the day, REM and U2 were neck-and-neck for BIGGEST BAND in the world and then REM blew the roof off the joint with "Out of Time" and its smash single "Losing My Religion" and then U2 countered with "Achtung Baby" and then REM again smashed 'em with "Automatic For the People." It was like the whole Revolver - Pet Sounds - Sgt. Pepper progression. And then U2 got a little iffy for a bit, with that whole "Lemon" song and then REM put out "Monster" but then Bill Berry left the band and they stopped making perfect pop songs and moved into more esoteric realms and then U2 stepped in just blew them out of the water. REM is my all-time faverave band and I will defend them to the death, but I will readily admit that "Leaving New York" off of "Around the Sun" is NOWHERE as accessible as "Vertigo" is. When I saw REM recently, MSG wasn't even full. And U2 gets people to leave work and trek to Dumbo to catch a free outdoor concert in the middle of the day. Whoa. It takes a lot for me to say that, as I am not necessarily the hugest U2 fan (although I am particularly fond of "All I want Is You" and that "wild horses" song off Achtung Baby), but I will admit that they write the fuck out of pop songs. Solid verse, good bridge, catchy hook. And Bono, up front, singing as the people for the people. And apparently he's got the faith, but I'll overlook that for the moment.

Speaking of the faith, I was thinking that all those Jesus-lovers who sing about how much they love Jesus aren't that different from me singing about the boy on whom I have a crush. I reckon the gospel folks don't want to do naughty things to Jesus, but the sentiment is the same. Like take a secular song about love and affection like Nelson's song "Love and Affection" and compare it to some Xtian rock song about loving Jesus, and it's the same thing except for the subject of the song. Golly Gee, Mr. Wilson, maybe we're not all so different after all!

Speaking of Nelson, can we throw some hearts their way? Like in the Back to the Future game for Nintendo when Lorraine throws pixelated kisses at you over the soda fountain? I was rocking out to Nelson today whilst working on I Love the 90s Part Deux and I was like -- hot damn; they're so fucking cute. And that song kinda made me a little melty. I dunno, maybe it's because Matthew and Gunnar and I share the same birthday (September 20) --we're kindred spirits.

Anyhoo. So we were talking about perfect pop songs and about how they have this incredible power to move you. To rock&roll you, so to speak. The best pop songs are the ones that make you feel, whether its happy or sad or angry or lustful or full of regret. The best pop songs break through your emotional shield make you feel something -- how incredible is that?

We spend so much time behind these elaborate shields we construct (mentally or pharmaceutically) to protect us from feeling things. Like tonight, I got home from work really late and was enjoying some soup in front of a tivo'ed CSI and suddenly there was this horrible screaming outside. We looked out the window -- a man had a woman down over the hood of a car and the woman with her was, almost literally, screaming bloody murder. It was horrific. People leapt out of their doors to break up the fight and I called 911. The good people on the street broke up the fight and then the cops arrived. I didn't see what happened after that because we were talking about the whole thing and I was thinking about Kitty Genovese, but MAN, hearing screams like that was just terrifying. And then I was like: hey! I was rattled! I'm a super tough grrrrl New Yorker and I was RATTLED! Wow, I do have the capacity to be affected by my environment! Who knew?

Back to pop songs. I've written extensively about my desire to have sex with musicians who make music that I love because I love the songs so very deeply and they make me feel such a very specific type of emotion that I simply want to transfer that feeling into fucking. As in: I love your song so much that I must sleep with you immediately if not sooner. But I realize it's more than just starfucking, or semistarfucking (it's so not about the fame, though, so I guess it's really just musicianfucking) because it's actually about the fact that these particular songs have made me feel a certain way, a certain filled-with-joy or filled-with-passion type of feeling, and my brain somehow transfers that feeling into a sort of lust or desire for proximity to the creator of that sort of effect. You take a perfect pop song that fits so incredibly well that it makes your heart hurt, with the aching and the wanting and the loving, and it's just so wonderful. I live for that.

In theory, of course, I could someday fall in love with an actual real person as opposed to an idea, and theoretically that's what being in love feels like. Alas, I wouldn't know. But I'm pretty sure I know what the song sounds like.

(note: this is NOT a perfect song, but several of you wrote to say that the link to "little green apples" wasn't working. I fixed it.)


Andrew Ironwood said...

Well, *I'd* like to see a show with folk singers and 'the new Mort Sahl' (whoever that is these days) and some Balinese gamelan (or Javanese, I'm not particular...)

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