1) If you were making a soundtrack for your life so far – this song would have to be on it.
"The Good Earth" -- The Feelies. It'd be easy enough to list a bunch of songs about women who've managed to break my heart, but this one is from a particularly rough patch in my life. It was a few days after my dad died; I'd put this cassette into my Walkman and jacked it into the stereo so I wouldn't have to listen through headphones. My baby sister, Emma, started dancing along when this song came on. There's something of a relief from watching a 3-year-old bouncing around the house, rather than the other recent events.
2) A song from one of the CDs currently in your 1) car stereo 2) portable CD player 3) stereo (No MP3 or iPod players, just cause)
"Chains of Love" -- Dirtbombs Disc 1, Track 1 in the car six-loader. This is from an album of soul covers entitled Ultraglide in Black. Furious fuzz and percussion. Word has it they give great live show.
3) A song from the first album, cassette, or CD (whichever was first or the oldest that you still have access to) that you purchased for yourself.
"Dog Eat Dog" -- Adam & The Ants. I actually bought two that day; my first couple of purchases of cassettes with my own money were Men At Work Business as Usual and Adam & the Ants Kings of the Wild Frontier. So it was a toss-up between these, and A&tA won because I recently copped an Adam Ant comp. The music is actually better than I remember, which is often not the case with my nostalgia kicks. The stuff from Dirk Wears White Sox is especially worthy of a re-listen, especially in this age of garage redux.
4) A song without a word in its title. (i.e. numbers or acronyms)
"6V6 LA" -- The Meters. This is from a cutout bin snag at a Camelot Records in Boulder, CO. Camelot always did have the best bargain bin stuff of the chains (at least until Media Play came around), but this is by far one of the coolest things I've ever bought for super-cheap. I think it stayed in my disc magazine for 3 months.
5) A song from the year you were born (we’ll take written, recorded, or released)
"Here Comes the Sun" -- The Beatles. Significant for any number of reasons, but I'll take this one: When I was growing up, I was often given the option of what I wanted to listen to before naptime. I had my choice between Rod Stewart's Every Picture Tells A Story, The Beatles Sgt. Pepper, or "Apple Beatles," which was how I referred to Abbey Road. This song also begins what is probably one of the most perfect LP B-sides ever pressed.
6) A song with the name of someone in this music swap in it (doesn’t have to be in the title)
"William, It Was Really Nothing" -- The Smiths. My tribute to William Ham.
7) A song in a language other than English.
"Cerebro Electronico" -- Gilberto Gil. As far as so-called world music is concerned, I don't know how easily one can top the sheer force of Gil. From the LP 1969, coincidentally the year of my birth...
8) A song with a city or state/province name (countries don’t count).
"Ft. Worth Blues" -- Steve Earle. Earle's tribute to the late, great Townes Van Zandt. If you ever get the chance to see this performed on the Austin City Limits tribute to Townes, check it out.
9) Say you're planning a multi-day road trip, this song could go on every mix you make for the trip.
"Kit Kat Clock" -- Bottle Rockets. Catchy, head-bopping country pop from their 24 Hours a Day LP.
10) A song by a local artist.
"Message from the Birds" -- The Bees. Not to be confused with the Nuggets act. These guys kinda fall into the low-blood-sugar category, but their album is positively infectious. It's sorta emo music, minus 72.6% self-indulgent navel-gazing. Features the ample talents of Daniel Tashian.
11) A song with a color in the title (bonus points for pink, negative points for raspberry beret)
"Betty Was Black (And Willie Was White)" -- Bis-Quits. And a two-fer for this category. Written by Tommy Womack, a straight-up delta-fried blues rawka about the realities of interracial relationships. I dig the rhymes in this song, especially the couplet, "Fell in a bottle of Tanqueray/Fell in love that very day."
12) It’s 5am, your alarm is going off, this song would still make you smile.
"Cruel to be Kind" -- Nick Lowe. It's unfair that Lowe gets pigeonholed as a one-hit wonder as the result of having just this one hit, but despite its overexposure on MTV, this song still holds up as a pop masterwork. I suppose if you're going to have one hit, this ain't a bad one to have.
13) Either a cover you thought was an original or an original you thought was a cover (identify in case we may not know which & if a cover, identify the original artist)
"Freddie's Dead" -- Fishbone (Curtis Mayfield). The first time I heard the original was on some moldy-oldies AM station out of Chicago driving down the Eisenhower Expressway on the way back from work one night. I had to ask someone who was performing this tune, as up until then, I'd thought Fishbone had written this song. I was unfamiliar with Curtis Mayfield at the time, but in fairness, I gotta say that the 'Bone made this song their own.
14) A song that is about a specific movie or book or at least mentions a specific movie or book. (identify which one if it is not mentioned by name)
"Solar Sister" -- The Posies. The first line points out Theodore Dreiser's first work, Sister Carrie.
"Self-Referenced/West Germany"-- Nels Cline Trio. This is one of the few covers of a Minutemen song which captures the fury of D. Boon at his best, and even improves upon it.
16) A song that has reached number one on a Billboard chart (state which chart and when).
"Rapture" -- Blondie (Hot 100, 1981). I had to dip into the wife's CD collection to come up with this one.
17) It’s a little bit country/it’s a little bit rock and roll – this song doesn’t fit a category as far as you’re concerned.
"Back Screen Door" -- Pat McLaughlin. Pat's been referred to as "the Van Morrison of Nashville." He can rock with the best of them, but he's also got a folksy feel to a lot of his music when he's not bluesy or just a shade left of country. The lyrics are intelligent, and you will seldom see an artist work harder on the stage.
18) I hate the artist, but I love the song.
"To Be Young (Is To Be Sad, Is To Be High)" -- Ryan Adams. This is a bit of a cheat, as I really like a lot of Adams' work. It's just that he's such a colossal asshole that it's hard to be too worked up about his stuff. I really don't care much for him, but his work is impressive. Not only impressive, but almost instantly classic.
19) Wha? If anyone can tell me what this song is about, give me a call. (no fair using Mansfield Park)
"Lady Sniff" -- Butthole Surfers. "Pass me some of that dumbass over there, yeah boy." Near as I can tell, this is a send-up of a homeless blues artist who speaks in expressionist phrase.
20) Guilty Pleasure or I am embarrassed that I like it song.
"Two Tickets To Paradise" -- Eddie Money. Actually, I'm almost proud to admit that I like this song -- the studio work is impeccable, particularly the rhythm section work. It's just too bad that most of his other stuff is such twee crap.
*Bonus tracks – if you have the room and the inclination you can include any or all of these rare and never before mentioned bonus tracks.
21) TV theme song
"In The Street" -- Big Star (redone by Cheap Trick). From That 70's Show.
22) An unrequited love song.
Would have been "Untouchable Face" -- Ani Difranco had I had the room. Scrubbed, as was optional.
23) A song you love just for the title.
"I Married Her Just Because She Looks Like You" -- Lyle Lovett. Another artist which I find difficult to categorize instantly, even though he's most often lumped in the country category.
"15 Kinds of Fool" -- Persian Rugs. Australian quartet comprised of ex-Hoodoo Gurus.