Jim Croce

One of the first records I ever bought, back when I was still living at my parents’ house, was Photographs & Memories by Jim Croce. It was from a small junk store a couple miles down the road, right by a gas station, but I still have it in my record collection.
I bought it because I knew You Don’t Mess Around with Jim and Bad Bad Leroy Brown from the Oldies radio station in Seattle, but I was pleased to find other great songs.

Today, while listening to my 1000 favorite song playlist, I’ll Have to Say I Love You in a Song came up. If it hadn’t been for that junk store 18 or so years ago, I probably would not have had this song on the playlist.

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Being restrained in celebrating the past is somehow brilliant

Harvey Danger were a band from Seattle who had a surprise national hit with their song Flagpole Sitta. In 1997, it was the #1 song of the year on the alternative radio station in Seattle. It received major MTV airplay back when MTV still played music on the television.

Anyway, I just found out a couple of days ago that the band will be releasing their first album, Where Have All the Merrymakers Gone, on vinyl. Here’s the brilliant bit: They updated the album cover to reflect the passage of time in Seattle, they didn’t remaster any of the music, and the liner notes take a realistic look back on not just their album but the impact it had on their career trajectory.

Releasing a bands landmark album at 17 years, offering no bonus features, and not even remastering the album? Cynics might see that as a cash grab for nostalgia, but for somebody who saw deeper than their hit single, I say good on Harvey Danger for not going for the “deluxe edition” box set and quietly stating the significance of their album. Not just for their fans, but for themselevs.

Real 25 most played songs: 12 – 1

12. Like a Rolling Stone (81 plays)
Bob Dylan (album version) – 41 plays
(live “judas heckle”) – 17 plays
Green Day – 13 plays
Bob Dylan (vinyl rip) – 4 plays
(live 1966) – 2 plays
(MTV unplugged) – 2 plays
(Self Portrait) – 1 play
Seal & Jeff Beck – 1 play

11. Black (82 plays)
Pearl Jam (Ten redux) – 47 plays
(Benaroya Hall) – 9 plays
(Seattle 2009) – 6 plays
(Philadelphia) – 5 plays
(album version) – 4 plays
(New York City) – 3 plays
(Toronto) – 2 plays
(unplugged) – 2 plays
(vinyl rip) – 2 plays
(East Troy, WI) – 1 play
(unplugged rehearsal) – 1 play

10. Richard Cory (82 plays)
Simon & Garfunkel (album version) – 63 plays
Botox Aftermath – 9 plays
Simon & Garfunkel (vinyl rip) – 5 plays
(live 1967) – 3 plays
Damon di Cicco – 2 plays

9. The Best Ever Death Metal Band in Denton (83 plays)
The Mountain Goats (album version) – 75 plays
(live) – 8 plays

8. Sliver (84 plays)
Nirvana (single version) – 40 plays
(album version) – 14 plays
Casper Babypants – 10 plays
Nirvana (live 1993) – 5 plays
(live at Reading) – 4 plays
(live at Seattle 1991) – 3 plays
(45 rip with Krist phone call) – 3 plays
(live at Seattle 1993) – 2 plays
(Seattle 1991 bootleg) – 1 play
(Nevermind deluxe) – 1 play
(1989 home demo) – 1 play

7. Territorial Pissings (85 plays)
Nirvana (album version) – 51 plays
Surfer Blood – 12 plays
Nirvana (live at Reading) – 8 plays
(live at Seattle 1991) – 6 plays
(Devonshire mix) – 4 plays
(Seattle 1991 bootleg) – 2 plays
(boombox rehearsal) – 2 plays

6. Yesterday (86 plays plays)
The Beatles (1987 album version) – 60 plays
(2009 vinyl rip) – 6 plays
(live 1965) – 5 plays
Paul McCartney (“Scrambled Eggs” w/ Jimmy Fallon) – 4 plays
(Love Version) – 3 plays
(take 1) – 2 plays
(mono remaster) – 2 plays
(1965 stereo mix) – 2 plays
(stereo remaster) – 1 plays
Paul McCartney (live) – 1 play

5. What We Worked For (86 plays)
Against Me (album version) – 74 plays
Tom Gabel & Kevin Mahon – 6 plays
Against me (vinyl rip) – 4 plays
(live) – 2 plays

4. Dirty (86 plays)
The Eels (live with strings) – 80 plays
(album version) – 6 plays

3. Such Great Heights (96 plays)
The Postal Service (album version) – 66 plays
Streetlight Manifesto – 17 plays
The Postal Service (in studio performance) – 8 plays
(vinyl rip) – 6 plays
Iron & Wine – 3 plays
The Dresden Dolls – 1 play
The Postal Service (live Minneapolis) – 1 play

2. Verse Chorus Verse (AKA Sappy) (98 plays)
Nirvana (album version) – 78 plays
(live 1990) – 6 plays
(live unknown) – 4 plays
(vinyl rip) -4 plays
(1990 demo) – 3 plays
(2013 mix) – 2 plays
(Smart Studio session) – 1 play

1. Working Class Hero (100 plays)
John Lennon – 74 plays
Green Day – 17 plays
Screaming Trees – 5 plays
Marilyn Manson – 3 plays
Damon di Cicco – 1 play

Real 25 most played songs: 25 – 13

25. Where Did You Sleep Last Night (67 plays)
Nirvana (Unplugged) – 36 plays
Leadbelly – 21 plays
Kurt Cobain & Mark Lanegan – 6 plays
Nirvana (vinyl rip) – 2 plays
Nirvana (1989 demo) – 2 plays

24. Solidarity ( 67 plays)
Tchkung (live) – 61 plays
Tchkung (studio) – 6 plays

23. Culture Shock (69 plays)
The Degraded – 55 plays
Botox Aftermath – 14 plays

22. Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town (70 plays)
Pearl Jam (album version) – 50 plays
(Penn State) – 6 plays
(Philadelphia) – 6 plays
(East Troy, WI) – 2 plays
(Seattle 2009) – 2 plays
(Toronto) – 2 plays
(Boston) – 1 play
(Seattle 2002) – 1 play

21. Parade (70 plays)
Pretty Girls Make Graves (album version) – 67 plays
(vinyl rip) – 3 plays

20. I am a Rock – 72 plays
Simon & Garfunkel (album version) – 57 plays
(vinyl rip) – 7 plays
Me First and the Gimme Gimmes – 5 plays
Simon & Garfunkel (live) – 3 plays

19. Soon Forget – 73 plays
Pearl Jam (album version) – 66 plays
(Verona) – 3 plays
(Seattle 2000) – 2 plays
(Seattle 2002) – 2 plays

18. El Scorcho – 75 plays
Weezer (album version) – 53 plays
Titus Andronicus (live) – 7 plays
Weezer (vinyl rip) – 4 plays
Weezer (acoustic) – 3 plays
Weezer (Shorecrest 1996) – 3 plays
Weezer (Seattle 2007) – 2 plays
Weezer (Reading 1996) – 1 play
Weezer (radio session) – 1 play

17. Modern Girl – 75 plays
Sleater-Kinney (album version) – 71 plays
(vinyl rip) – 4 plays

16. Another First Kiss – 76 plays
They Might Be Giants (Mink Car version) – 70 plays
(Severe Tire Damage version) – 6 plays

15. Drunken Lullabies – 77 plays
Flogging Molly (album version) – 66 plays
(live) – 9 plays
(acoustic) – 2 plays

14. Little Boxes – 78 plays
Malvina Reynolds (album version) – 45 plays
Rise Against – 15 plays
Malvina Reynolds (live) – 9 plays
Death Cab for Cutie – 8 plays
Pete Seeger – 1 play

13. A Day in the Life – 80 plays
The Beatles (w/o inner groove) – 57 plays
(1987 album version) – 7 plays
(mono remaster) – 5 plays
(take 1 & 2) – 4 plays
Paul McCartney (live) – 3 plays
The Beatles (Love version) – 2 plays
(Stereo remaster) – 2 plays

Way to go, Of Monsters and Men

Of Monsters and Men is an Iclandic band that first got played in the United States during a Reykjavik Calling broadcast on Seattle’s own KEXP (listener funded radio, of which I have been a proud member since 2010).

Their song, Little Talks, broke big a couple of years ago, leading to wide-spread distribution of their album, My Head is an Animal, into the US Market.

And now, without releasing any new material, Of Monsters and Men have injected themselves back into the internet consciousness with the first of 12 animated lyric videos for every song on their aforementioned album.

Way to go, Of Monsters and Men

Working Class Hero

A little while ago, Working Class Hero became the first song with 100 total plays on my ipod.

Allow me to explain. I have several versions of this song (at least 4 come to mind), and in total, it has now been played 100 times on my ipod. It’s not a surprise because it’s my favorite song of all time, but still, it’s a milestone.
I’ve been busy lately, but when I have time, I’m going to re-rank my Real 25 most played playlist and see where songs fall now. I’ll keep you all posted.

Casey Neill & The Norway Rats

I recently picked up this album from the library, mostly because I liked the name of both the band and the album. I didn’t really know what to expect, but was pleasantly surprised. It’s a kind of folky/punky/celticy vibe with well structured rock ‘n’ roll songs.

Apparently, Casey Neill has PacNW ties, which is pretty cool.

It was 20 years ago today….July 1994

NOFX: Punk in Drublic

I don’t think I heard this album until 1996 or 1997, but I very specifically remember where I was and what I was doing the first time I heard it. By that time, I had already heard plenty of punk rock, Bad Religion, Rancid, The Offspring, etc, but this seemed like an entirely new animal. NOFX used humor to get their point across, they weren’t terribly political (though they do have their moments), and the lead singer had a delivery method that was at once clean and abrasive. Plus, that’s a pretty awesome album title…

Ah, Linoleum. I was hooked on hearing this album by 40 seconds into the first track. Just the lyrics of the first verse were enough to leave me (no pun intended) floored by how good this song was. “Possession never meant anything to me…well, that’s not true I’ve got a bed and a guitar and a dog named Bubba who pisses on the floor/that’s right I’ve got a floor/so what, so what?” If I had to make an educated guess, I’d say that this song is about enjoying what you have in life, even if what you have isn’t much.

The second track that caught my ear is number 4, The Cause. Taken quite literally, this song is about doing what you want to do because you want to do it, even if people tell you it’s not worth it, even if people tell you that you’re wrong. For a 17 year old wanna-be punk rocker, and already having a strong sense of individuality, I took “doing it for the cause” as a sort of rallying cry and/or oath.

The Cause is immediately followed by Don’t Call Me White. Although I have strong feelings about this song, I’m still conflicted about the meaning. “I wasn’t brought here, I was born…I ain’t part of no conspiracy, I’m just your average Joe.” I mean, I don’t know what exactly my skin color is, but it’s not white…I try not to use that slang. On the other hand, the words mean more along the lines of not lumping one person into an entire ethnicity (not race, which is biological variation, whereas ethnicity is pertaining to familial heritage). I don’t know, maybe what bothers me about the delivery is the idea that 30 years after the end of Jim Crow laws, the idea that stereotypes are still a problem needed to be pointed out.

The Brews is another track which uses humor directly to get the point across. NOFX make fun of their own heritages overtly, they have an album titled White Trash, Two Heebs and a Bean referring to each of their cultural backgrounds. The aforementioned Heebs use humor in The Brews, even throwing in several yiddish terms, to take the sting out of any perceived stereotypes. For a band that purports to be mostly about having a good time, short of hating on “W”, this is as overtly political as I’ve heard them.

Track 15 is titled Punk Guy, and I’m not sure, but it’s a track about the specific brand of punk rockers who feel that they’re the “most punk mother fuckers you ever did see”. Hell, they’re even more punk then me… The track does a good job referencing GG Allin, Ian MacKaye, Johnny Rotten and Charles Bronson, among others. Personally, those punks who scoff at people who go to shows without the requisite mohawks, wrist braces, thigh high Doc Marten’s etc are rarely worth the time. Several of the nicest, most highly educated people I’ve ever met are punk rockers through and through, and wouldn’t even pretend to look down on somebody who enjoys the same music but comes to shows in a button down shirt or dress slacks.

The final track on the album is called Scavenger Type, and is about a homeless busker trying to make enough money to buy a bottle to help keep him warm. Said bottle doesn’t do enough to stave off the dropping temperatures and he dies without anybody around to mark his passing. With just an acoustic guitar and vocals it is by far the most simple song on the album, but in very few lines serves as notice that there are people who die every day on the street with nobody to mark their passings either.

Instead of ending the album on a downer, however, the hidden track has the singer practicing the “he’s even more punk than me” line in several classic cartoon accents such as Boo Boo, Huckleberry Hound and Popeye. I’m not sure whether this hidden track is on the vinyl, but one of these days I intend to find out.

20 years after this album was released and the tracks I listed above haven’t lost their potency and my capacity to enjoy them has not in any way been diminished. Several NOFX albums have good songs, but this in many people’s minds, is their high water mark. 2012 saw their track “I’ve Got One Jealous Again, Again” be my favorite song of their year. 2013 saw a 30th anniversary box set, marking 30 years as a band, which makes NOFX’s first demo 30 years old this year. Even 30 years on, this band are still very well respected in the punk scene, having appeared on the Vans Warped Tour several times through the years.

Alright I’m done playing around with my 1000 favorite songs playlist

Calm down, I’m not going to list them all here (maybe post the last 20 played when that time comes).
Instead, I’d like to do an analysis of how many songs of each genre are included in this playlist, in order to give some sort of idea how my favorite songs are distributed.

Acoustic: 2 songs
Alternative: 207 songs
Bluegrass: 1 song
Blues: 6 songs
Children’s: 2 songs (both Kermit the frog)
Comedy: 22 songs
Country: 13 songs
Electronic: 1 song
Folk: 6 songs
Grunge: 63 songs
Holiday: 1 song (John Lennon)
Indie: 16 songs
Indie rock: 54 songs
Industrial: 21 songs
Jazz: 1 song (Louis Armstrong)
Metal: 7 songs
Pop: 15 songs
Punk: 246 songs
Punk as fuck: 5 songs (my own genre label, I only have 6 labeled this)
R&B: 13 songs
Rap: 33 songs
Rock: 265 songs