Songs I Tried To Resist
|1||Get in or Get Out||Hot Hot Heat|
|3||Glamour Girl||Chicks on Speed|
|4||Smells Like Teen Spirit||Nirvana|
|6||I'm Like A Bird||Nelly Furtado|
|7||Gay Bar||Electric Six|
|8||You'll Be In My Heart||Phil Collins|
|9||I'll Take New York||Tom Waits|
|10||Midnight Train to Georgia||Gladys Knight & The Pips|
|11||Manitoba||Frank Black & The Catholics|
|12||The Night Has A Thousand Eyes||Bobby Vee|
"If I'm going to like a song I usually like it right away. I try to be open-minded and I don't feel that I'm particularly jaded. But there are times when one is so worn down by repeated disappointments that the ears stop paying attention, and then you sometimes miss out on the real hidden treasures. With that in mind, here's a collection of songs that someone (often my wife) played around the house or specially for my consideration that I didn't go for until after the first or sometimes even the tenth listen. In some cases I had every reason to believe that I wouldn't like what I was going to hear and was, to paraphrase the redoubtable George Michael, "listening with prejudice." In all cases my reservations turned out to be unfounded and my resistance was crushed."
Comments On Individual Tracks
"Get In or Get Out" (Track 1): "I knew I was supposed to like this CD and resisted partly on that basis. The band was presented as The Cure meets XTC, which sounds kind of appealing but which paradoxically turned me off. I guess that Hollywood-style formula of 'A meets B' always smells unpromising. When I hear the song now I forget all about the hype and enjoy it on its own terms."
"Blitzkrieg Bop" (Track 2): "We had a friend in high school who kept pushing this record on us. I remember indulging his relentless enthusiasm for this brand new, puzzlingly stripped-down kind of music without really liking it for a few weeks. The whole thing took a while to make sense, but once I got it, it changed everything forever. I know someone who's about 10 years older than me who had an identical response to Jimi Hendrix's 'Purple Haze' when it came out. He and his friends heard it and tut-tutted about the fall of Western Civilization, and within a week or so they were all walking around going 'Daernt DAERNT! Daernt DAERNT!'"
"Glamour Girl" (Track 3): "My wife played me this without any explanation. My ears were tired and grumpy and I didn't want to like it. I still don't know exactly where it's coming from, but the disturbing, subtly messed-up vocal was what eventually won me over,"
"Smells Like Teen Spirit" (Track 4): "How can I explain this one? I clearly missed the boat, and I really don't know why. When the record came out it sounded noisy and unfocused and like an inferior version of the Pixies to me. I didn't see the video until I had already 'gotten it', but it was an interesting example of why I would fail miserably as a record executive."
"Dancing Queen" (Track 5): "I can barely remember hating this song because I've loved it for so long, but there was definitely a moment sometime in the mid-seventies when all indicators pointed to ABBA as a toxic force and to the malignancy of this song in particular. Hard to explain this to youngsters who were not actively oppressed by this unavoidable juggernaut when it came out. Listening now I'm haunted by it's reverb-y beauty and the poignancy of the lyrics."
"I'm Like A Bird" (Track 6): "Another example of my self-defeating, knee-jerk aversion to songs that are wallpapered all over the radio. My problem, perhaps not yours."
"Gay Bar" (Track 7): "I remember the tolerant winces I and other listeners wore the first time we heard this. Every now and then, however, offensiveness is a perfectly valid form of entertainment. After a few more listens I started singing along to this, and then I checked in with the RatherGood.com video which added some depth to the whole experience."
"You'll Be In My Heart" (Track 8): "Defending the music of Mr. Collins can be a fruitless, time-wasting effort. In the simplest terms, throughout his career I've been silently praying that the earth would open up and swallow him and all his works. So the pleasure I took in this ballad from the Tarzan soundtrack took me completely off guard. Something about the third and fourth chords against the melody in the chorus seems to transcend the cheap sentimentality in his music that I have found so offensive in the past. Either he made some radical breakthrough in his songwriting or I've gone soft in the head. Or both."
"I'll Take New York" (Track 9): "I must have heard this record when it came out, but I had completely forgotten about it until John Flansburgh and I heard this on the radio recently, and it made Tom Waits seem suddenly fresh and interesting again. To me it echoes a really strange, creepy version of a song called 'Stepping Out With A Memory,' that Ted Lewis performed in his plaintive style."
"Midnight Train to Georgia" (Track 10): "This was Mr. Flansburgh's suggestion for my list of the initially unappreciated. He reports that he thought it was a little pop confection with no depth until sometime well after he first heard it, when he checked out the truly poignant lyrics and realized what a heart-wrencher it really is. I feel similarly about 'Do You Know The Way to San Jose' by Burt Bacharach, having originally heard it when the lyrics were uninteresting and incomprehensible to me."
"Manitoba" (Track 11): "I'm embarrassed to admit that I didn't run out and buy this CD when it came out. I wasn't anticipating the effect that the song would have on me because the way I listen to everything is clouded by context and expectations. This song really kills me in a way that I can't really explain, tending towards the atheistic and anti-mystical as I do."
"The Night Has a Thousand Eyes" (Track 12): "The night does indeed have a thousand eyes, though it makes us uncomfortable to contemplate this." (Thanks to Lohner from a.m.tmbg for transcribing).