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11:48 a.m. - June 04, 2005
Shufflin' the iPod Deck - 20 Random Songs From a Random Guys Music Collection
The best thing about the iPod is the shuffle feature. At this point, I have 11,707 songs loaded onto my iPod, and when you shuffle them, there’s no telling what comes up next in the playlist. There are some incongruous juxtapositions for sure, like the time I had Teenage Jesus and the Jerks follow “Caroline, No” by the Beach Boys. And then, sometimes, the randomness doesn’t seem so random, especially when by happenstance two Steely Dan songs, from the same album, follow each other.

From time to time, I’ll document a 20-song shuffle snippet. Come along, children, and follow me into this random world of iPod wonder and music magic!

1. Welcome to Planet M*****F***** / Psychoholic Slag – White Zombie. An interesting way to start this 20-song shuffle, as I just loaded this onto my computer and it pops up first. This is from their breakout album “La Sexorcisto”, which definitely is a horror lover’s metal album, full of sampled sound bites from old schlocky movies. The sound is a great improvement over their previous work, which seemed like it was recorded in an old grain silo, and is anchored by their great bass player, Sean Yseult. Of course, after this record (and their next one) became successful, Rob Zombie ditched the band, broke up with Yseult, and became an solo artist and auteur of sorts. All that means is that any type of people can become pretensious blowhards – even ‘underground’ artistes.

2. Half the Time – Lemonheads. The Lemonheads albums alternated between pretty good and mediocre, and this is a mid-tempo ballad from one of the mediocre ones. “Lovey” was the name of the record, and I couldn’t pick a damn song out of it unless you told me that’s what we were listening to. I think I played this whole record once or twice. This was a product of my “I must have every release by a band that I like” phase, which provided a great way to burn through cash and created headaches when I had to move my CDs into the new house.

3. Mohammed’s Radio – Warren Zevon. The late great Warren Zevon wrote a bunch of evocative songs like this – full of cryptic, cynical lyrics. The only downside is that they were recorded by a bunch of L.A. session pros, who gave them a very slick, polished sound, when I felt the material called for a bit more edge.

4. The Modern World – The Jam. This is the live cut from a concert recorded for the BBC. Being an obsessive, I bought it and loaded the whole thing onto my iPod. This means I have five versions of this song – three from the BBC, the single version and the album version. That seems a bit excessive, ya think? It’s not a song that you can really change up and make different every time you do it. So this one has now been sent to the recycle bin.

5. Bored of You – The Pursuit of Happiness. I used to really, really like them. Now I think some songs of theirs are really, really brilliant and some are just really, really, meh. Meet one of the mostly meh ones. The arrangement is boring, and the only thing that saves it are some nice vocal harmonies.

6. The Sky Lit Up – PJ Harvey. Now this, this here be a song. I’ve sent these lyrics to the Goddess and the Candidate, and put this on CDs for them and City Mouse. The sound of the chorus, when the bass part kicks in gives it such an edge, and of course PJ provides her own edge in her vocal performance. It’s highly recommended by all, so go buy it before the man takes it away.

7. She Loves You – The Beatles. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. You didn’t think I had any ‘normal’ music on here did ya? Well, I do.

8. Somewhere Down the Line – Pat DiNizio. “You bought the Pat DiNizio solo record?? Why??” said Moose. That’s a good question. It’s just like a Smithereens record without the great band behind it and without really good songs.

9. Dying – Hole. Say what you will about Courtney Love, “Celebrity Skin” was a hell of an album, probably her last gasp as a serious musician. At times she can really sell sounding so sad and desparate. In fact, it may not be much of a sales job. She’s got talent – she can act and write and perform. She’s just all messed up in the head.

10. Take Me With You (When You Go) – Jayhawks. I do love the Jayhawks, but I recognize a big flaw. A lot of their records have a whole bunch of songs that sound exactly like this one, and they’re usually in a row near the tail end. So you kind of snooze through them. Zzzzz…..

11. Apeman – The Kinks. The ‘other’ hit from the “Lola” record, it’s kind of a silly throwaway novelty song that Ray Davies could write in his sleep back in the day.

12. Grinder – Big Black. Another product of my previous obsession to own (and load on my iPod) everything by certain artists. This is a total undistinguished noise-burger by a band that is probably overrated, and not as shocking as they’d like you to think they are. Of course, I can say that now from a distance of a few years from when I thought they were the shiz-nit. Anyway, it’s been recycled, giving it’s bytes to a song that’s more worthy.

13. Please Mister Postman – the Beatles. Funny, out of all the songs I have two by the same artist so close together. What’s really sad, in thinking about this song, is tha there is a whole generation of people who were not introduced to this tune by either the Marvelettes or the Beatles, but by the Carpenters. Their version has enough sap in it to give you insulin shock.

14. Metropolis – Kraftwerk. Gotta love the shuffle feature, because we’ve had major paradigm shifts recently. This is inspired by the great 1927 film, and is noted for its enchanting monotony. No, seriously. I mean that. Of course, listening to this song I was assimilated into the Borg.

15. Mirror Of Your Mind – We The People. Popped the clutch shifting paradigms here! A classic ‘lost’ garage rock single from the 60’s that has all of the required elements of that genre – semi-veiled references to drugs and sex, a distorted guitar, some sort of organ and harmonica, and a lead singer that sounds like he’s up to no good, and a recording budget of $2.58.

16. Magic Toy Missing – Meat Puppets. Many can’t stand this band because they can’t sing, especially on “Meat Puppets II” which this is from. Sure, the singer does sound like he’s a cat being strangled with piano wire, but that’s not an issue here. This is a demented country-rock instrumental type-thing that’s only 1:21 in length. See, it’s already over.

17. Cool Cool Water – Beach Boys. Part of the long-lost ‘Smile’ record as, I believe, the “Water” part of the Elements Suite, and then expanded upon and added to the Sunflower record as the last track on that record, this is nothing more than a pleasant vocal chant. The harmonies and arrangement are stunning, of course, but there’s nothing really of substance, except wanting you to add some cool, cool water. To what, they don’t say.

18. Manic Mechanic – ZZ Top. A madcap little number, sung in a demented voice over a terrific groove, but I’m a little uncomfortable with the line “I done put the coon tune on this bet.” I have no idea what that means, and I don’t think I want to know. I may be reading too much into it – but I’m sensitive to any appearances of impropriety as you may know.

19. Hanging on the Telephone – Blondie. The Crawfordsville Public Library, of all places, had “Parallel Lines” available for checkout. This was the opening cut, and it was a great way to start a record, I thought. It should have been a huge hit, but I, of course was not in charge of the record company or the radio, like I should have been. I could have made ‘em all rich. Or died trying.

20. Dumb Waiters – Psychedelic Furs. If anyone can sound excited to be bored, thrilled about ennui, chuffed about nothing, its Richard Butler of the Furs. What’s the best way to describe his voice? Sandpaper? Gravel? Stinging Nettles?

Well, there’s 20 songs, ranging all over the board. God love the shuffle, it keeps you guessing! And that’s the best part of life, I think – it’s so random!


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