I read Random Rules one too many times, and got "inspired."
To steal the idea in its entirety.
The instructions: "In Random Rules, The A.V. Club asks some of its favorite people [I doubt very seriously that this means me, by the way] to set their MP3 players to shuffle and comment on the first few tracks that come up— no cheating or skipping embarrassing tracks allowed."
1. "You, Who Do You Hate?" from Attack of the Grey Lantern (Mansun)
Probably the weakest song on an otherwise underrated album.
I know that (at the risk of being condescending) most Anglo/audiophiles don't have this one, as Mansun didn't cross over in the way that Blur, Oasis and to a lesser extent, Pulp did. But they/you should seek it out and get it... both because this is some of the best pop-rock to come out of the UK in the mid 90s, and because, well, the group went a bit nutty after this album.
I mean, really nutty.
Prog-flecked tunes, weird-ass time signatures, meandering 8-minute songs about nothing in particular… they became borderline unlistenable, and this coming from a Mansun apologist.
This album, though...seek it out. Trust me.
2. "There is a Place" from Tanglewood Numbers (Silver Jews)
I love a lot of what the Silver Jews do, but in truth, a good bit of it sounds like the same song on repeat to me—country-flecked misery songs.
I'm a bit of a poseur fan, I guess, because I only know about the Jews through Pavement, and Stephen Malkmus' involvement in both groups. And Berman's reputation as one of the best suicidal lyricists, like, anywhere.
So… eh. I don't listen to Tanglewood Numbers that much, even though it's often really satisfying… if I'm up for remaining immensely sad, elbow-propped-on-the-bar, drinking-shots-of-whiskey-style.
3. "Packing Blankets" from Daisies of the Galaxy (eels)
I seem to be getting album-oriented tracks, as opposed to the singles. This one isn't my favorite track on Daisies, not by a long shot, but hell, an upbeat eels track should be savored. Mostly because, much like the Silver Jews, perhaps, E doesn't crank that many of them out.
4. "Lozenge of Love" from the My Iron Lung EP (Radiohead)
Okay, I definitely had to check to see where this track came from. Which might mean that I kinda cheated, I guess. Oh, well. This one is… not one of my favorite b-sides, but then I've got at least two and possibly three CDs devoted to nothing but Radiohead b-sides and rarities.
Which makes me a massive tool.
This isn't the best song on the EP (that would be "Lewis (mistreated)"), but since My Iron Lung is, quite possibly, one of the best EPs ever... does it really matter?
5. "Carparts" from The Worst You Can Do Is Harm (The Long Winters)
I don't know this one, either, really… Jesus.
Probably because I only just got this album, and haven't had the chance to let it soak in yet. Anyway, when I got the Long Winters' most recent album, I knew I needed to get everything John Roderick had ever written or otherwise laid his hands on. And everything even remotely related— Barsuk stuff, Harvey Danger, that kind of thing.
He can do no wrong for me, right now. So, so great.
I'm going to have to listen to this song now.
6. "Glosoli" from Takk (Sigur Ros)
Like Radiohead, Sigur Ros is just a given. If you don't own any or all of their albums, please let me know so that I may provide.
7. "Hey Now What You Doing" from Waiting for the Siren's Call (New Order)
Of all the New Order songs, of all the albums, this one is the one that comes up? Aw, screw it… I'm listening to "Temptation" instead.
8. "After the Curtain" from Gulag Orkestar (Beirut)
Jill will disagree with me, but this album faded from my radar and most everyone's collective memory pretty fast. Sure, I talked it up earlier this year, I bought into the hype, I compared it to gypsies covering Neutral Milk Hotel tunes like everyone else did, or something along those lines, almost certainly, and then… I just stopped listening to it.
I think this is the final track on the album.
I'm sure that some out-of-tune horns figure into it prominently.
9. "Feel Good Inc." from Demon Days (Gorillaz)
This isn't bad, of course… just strangely unfulfilling.
Then again, you're reading the ramblings of a guy who doesn't want Damon circa The Good, The Bad and the Queen, doesn't want Damon circa Mali Music or whatever the hell that project was, doesn't want Damon circa Gorillaz… I simply want the Damon of 1994 to come back (shocking, no?).
Something about this track has always seemed not-quite finished to me, unlike most every song in the Blur catalog, which if anything tended to be overstuffed with tasty goodness.
10. "The Headmaster Ritual" from Meat is Murder (The Smiths)
What— I'm going to say anything about the Smiths that hasn't been said already? Okay, here's something.
I first got into the music I'm into through an odd combination of Camp Harlam (my counselors listened to XTC, God bless 'em), Rob Beideman (who introduced me to the Smiths) and Owen Gaskill (who played Fugazi to me over and over again, and insisted that they were the best thing ever).
Sure, Vern gave me Erasure, and Shane gave me the Indigo Girls, and we all shared Depeche Mode, I think, but it was those first three who cursed me and left me as you know me today.
Broken and lonely, writing lists for no one in particular.