Location: St. Vincent & Grenadines

You were driving home in the dark on one glass-slippered heel, window sliced open and bathing in the snowliquor of the night air. We heard you singing, and couldn't bear to wake you.

21 July 2005

Who's at the center of the wheel?

Wes invented a game called Shuffle Survivor, which I have taken upon myself to play. Since I don't have an iPod, I can't play the classic version; instead I went to my iTunes library, set it to random play, and fast-forwarded seven times. Here are the results. (They'll make more sense if you follow the previous link first.)

1. "Karma Slave" — Splashdown
2. "Dead" — The Pixies
3. "Common People" — Pulp
4. "In The Highways" — Sarah, Hanna and Leah Peasall
5. "Recycled Air" — The Postal Service
6. "Daphné" — Django Reinhardt
7. "Waiting For The Bus" — Violent Femmes
8. "Road To Nowhere" — Talking Heads


"Karma Slave" vs. "Recycled Air"
Splashdown is one of the greatest bands no one's ever heard of, because their evil, stupid label decided to prevent them from releasing their music. You can listen to it anyway here; the Blueshift tracks are the place to start. "Karma Slave" isn't one of them, but it should be. It's great. "Recycled Air" is pretty good, too, but as with many Postal Service songs, I find the hyperactive machine-percussion backdrop distracting and somewhat annoying. Splashdown wins this one.

"Dead" vs. "Daphné"
You crazy babe Bathsheba, I wantcha! Awesome first line, but far from first-tier Pixies. It's up against an odd opponent, Reinhardt's gypsy guitar instrumental with violin accompaniment. The guy had only nine fingers and still played rings around anyone else in the world. Round to Django.

"Common People" vs. "Waiting For The Bus"
This one's easy. I can't stand Jarvis Cocker's pretentious, overwrought, Frenching-the-mike style of singing, nor the pretentious, overwrought classism of the lyrics. And at nearly six minutes, it's at least twice as long as it has any excuse to be. Femmes win by default.

"In The Highways" vs. "Road To Nowhere"
From the O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack, the first contender is a trio of young girls singing a perky, off-key hymn about workin' for their Lord in a variety of places, including highways and hedges. How do you work in a highway? Nevermind. They're cute, sugary, and Christian; I'll go with the Talking Heads.


"Karma Slave" vs. "Waiting For The Bus"
I like the scrappy no-budget smelly-socks ambience of early Femmes, and this is just about as early as it gets. It's in sharp contrast to Splashdown's glossy cosmological centrifuge — an absurd matchup, really, like John Cusack versus Laurence Olivier or something. But I'm going with Splashdown.

"Daphné" vs. "Road To Nowhere"
"Road" isn't one of my favorite Heads songs. The a capella intro is nice, but after that it gets marchy and there's no room to breathe. Django wins.


"Karma Slave" vs. "Daphné"
Another weird matchup. Now, "Daphné" versus "Waiting For The Bus" would have been interesting — they both have a similar jaunty insouciance despite the difference in genre and time period. But I just don't know what to make of these two vastly different finalists. On the one hand you have whirling Hindu-inflected electronica, and on the other a lo-fi, intimate, Left Bank café-ish jazz guitarist. I guess it comes down to the fact that I don't really spend a lot of time listening to Django Reinhardt, cool as he undoubtedly is, whereas Splashdown has been on replay ever since Kev introduced me to them about six years ago. "Karma Slave" is not the best Splashdown track by a long shot (and don't ask me to name the best — that's a whole nother ridiculous contest) — but it still kicks ass, and, therefore, wins the showdown.


Blogger Wesley said...

Nicely done!

11:10 AM  

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