These music lists strike at something dear to my heart: music lists.
Almost never do I like all of an artist’s work, or even the majority of it. But there are a lot of one hit wonders that I’ve stumbled on over the years. Not that these people’s music is necessarily bad in general, nor that their “hit” was actually popular with anyone but me. But some of these have really stuck with me over the years (I still want to find a copy of “Scrabble Girl” or “Mercury” (no, not that Mercury, not that Mercury either, the Mercury that isn’t on the list) from the WXAC formats bin circa 1996).
A lot of these songs I’ve heard on Rhapsody or from free sample disks I got working at Borders, so I didn’t have to shell out the prohibitive costs for entire albums to find them. But some of them can be found free on the ‘net, and here is a smattering:
One of the three games we have for the X-Box is Fable. I have little context to tell you whether it’s the best RPG type video game in the world, or even if it’s “revolutionary” in some way. People say it’s too short and maybe should just be viewed as a teaser for some hypothetical Fable II. But I like it. I think it has some endearing quality to it. And the name alone was a hook for me.
So, I was bored the other night (ironic really since I have been pretty busy these days and probably should’ve been doing something else), and surfed Rhaphsody for random junk. Typing the word “Fable” in to Rhaphsody’s search engine pulls up this song by Axum. Taken in the context of the rest of their music I guess it seems to stand out less, but heard alone it really resonated with me. Struck me at the time as one of the awexumest things I’ve come across since Awexome Cross 98.
M.I.A. (et al)
She Dragon and I live in a dorm on Boston University’s campus. Actually it’s the “flagship” dorm for new “John Hancock Student Village” so it’s pretty swank really. When I first walked into it I thought it looked more like a 3+ star hotel lobby rather than a dorm. The rooms are more like apartments, etc. By the grace of God the Almighty we are allowed to live here together as husband and wife due to She’s position as the Senior Resident Assistant for the building. This in a city where a studio apartment routinely rents for > $1000/month.
The previous chancellor of BU was a man named John Silber (aka. “The One Armed Man”). By just about anyone’s definition John Silber was a hard case and on the strongly conservative side of idiosyncratic. This was a man who gave away a copy of his own book, Straight Shooting, to the graduating class. His biggest claim to fame was ascending through the presidency to the position of chancellor. Popular belief was that “chancellor” was a position he actually shaped the creation of and existed as an office above all others including the president and board of trustees. Basically making Silber emperor for life of BU.
As a result of this Silber had final say in every aspect of the university and tended to occasionally make policy rulings on things due to moral or ethical standards which seemed a bit outdated or bizarre to BU’s modern, worldly, and largely wealthy/entitled-feeling student population. One of these little odd policy rulings was the banning of cable from most BU dorms (excepting Hamilton “Ham” House, in which case cable was presumably a compensation for the low window-to-student ratio, and the fact that the place had to be roach bombed every year), the theory being that students should be studying, not watching TV.
Surprisingly in Boston few TV stations can be picked up well with a normal antenna. Maybe about three if you’re lucky. However the new flagship dorm here got almost (gasp!) twenty TV stations.
How could this be?
It turns out we actually got something called “enhanced antenna” which included all major networks and, oddly, TBS. Basically what it came down to is a gimped out cable package that claimed not to be cable.
Then, in a slightly byzantine set of events (involving a former director of NASA) which are too large for the margin of this blog to contain, John Silber retired. Within a year and a half (i.e. as of January 2005) the dorms had 80+ channels of cable including Cartoon Network, Comedy Central, Sci-Fi Channel, G4 Tech TV, four or five music stations, and at least six foreign language stations.
One of the music stations provided is something called MTV U, which purportedly caters specifically to college students and, as nearly as I can tell, runs the same playlist for weeks at a time. But, not to say that some of the music isn’t pretty catchy. I was lured in by the cheery suburban, little kid, artsy, gothy angst of Arcade Fire’s Rebellion (always a sucker for cute gothy angst, I) and stuck around long enough to catch M.I.A’s Sunshowers.
My first thought on seeing M.I.A. was, “Who is this chick?” and thinking that maybe she’s one of the daughters from the Cosby Show or something. It turns out that: No, she apparently bears no connection to the Cosby Show and in fact doesn’t really look anything like Lisa Bonet. She’s actually a Sri Lankan refugee who lived in London for awhile.
Later impressions of her music, and this song in particular, were something like getting slapped in the face with a ladle full of mango chutney (Does mango chutney even exist?). An experimental recipe cooked up by mama-ji’s rebellious daughter on the upper floor tenement of some jungle ghetto.
MTV U also made me aware of Love is an Arrow by Aberfeldy. The video for which is one of the most heart-tugging things I’ve seen since first hearing Barcelona DC’s Fun Without Me, lo those many years ago.
Ok. Maybe not that sad, but come on… poor little eskimo… poor little computer geek…
You’ll Have Time
And lastly: a little something special by those who brought you such classics as “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds”. No, not the Beatles. That’s right William Shatner!
Now I have not been following Shatner’s career with bated breath or any other kind of breath. Heck, I even liked Picard better than Kirk. But a couple months ago the entertainingly tortured editorialist Ab3 mentioned Shatner’s You’ll Have Time on rpg.net tangency forum.
And, hey. It’s tough to argue with the fact that, short of the second coming or a sudden unexpected transhuman revolution:
You are going to die.