If it’s December at You Ain’t No Picasso, then it’s time for Mixmas! Every year I like to turn YANP over to some of my favorite bands to showcase some of their favorite songs through a themed mix. They pick a theme, five songs that fit the theme and then share a little about why they picked each one.
YT link: We Are Scientists – After Hours
We Are Scientists had probably the busiest year of any band that didn’t put out an album. Keith holed himself up in Athens, writing their next record; they recorded a series of shorts for MTV UK called “Steve Wants His Money”; and they did a bit of touring to boot. As such, I’m extremely glad Keith was able to fit a Mixmas mix into his schedule. He’s always a highlight to have involved, and it just wouldn’t be the same without him.
“Songs of Excess” by Keith Murray of We Are Scientists
Guys, over the holidays, I really go for it. I eat too much. I drink too much. I want too much. Essentially, I live out Dave Matthews Bands’ smash hit, “Too Much.” It helps assuage the guilt, though, to listen to tales of other people’s excess. By comparing myself to other monsters, I can more easily absolve myself of my sins, which, ultimately, is what Christmas is all about: comparative absolution. Right? Am I understanding it correctly?
The Clovers – One Mint Julep [YT link]
A classic story: boy meets girl, boy has one drink, boy kisses girl, boy is compelled by girl’s angry father to marry her. My favorite part of the tune is when the baritone guy pipes in and asserts that his own misbehavior has resulted in “six extra children.” Six EXTRA children? I’m not even sure how many actual kids that constitutes. Does he have eight total, only two of whom were intentional? Hard to say. It’s telling that, for a narrative, the lyrics are curiously free of solid details, save for the name of the responsible drink. That tends to be the nature of my nights, as well. I never remember falling down flights of stairs or punching cops, or whatever – I just remember drinking that first pina colada.
John Lee Hooker – One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer [YT link
I love a guy who’s self-aware and shameless enough to go ahead and order some scotch and some bourbon and some beer for himself, all at once. Dude is triple-fisting, and doesn’t give a damn. How is he drinking these, though? Is he taking a peck from the bourbon and then immediately following with a sip of scotch? Or is he cleansing the palate with the beer and alternating the whiskies? Also, why mix your whiskies? Just drink twice as much bourbon, John Lee Hooker! Your drinking style is outrageous!
Hooker really nails the belabored storytelling style of your average drunk here, though, which is nice:
JLH: And then I sit there, getting high.
Me: Yes, you were drunk.
Me: And then …
JLH: Feeling good.
Me: Get to the damned point, John Lee Hooker.
JLH: And by the time… I looked on the wall…
Me: Yeeees . . . ?
JLH: At the old clock on the wall.
Me: Right, looking at the clock …
JLH: By that time . . .
Me: What! Tell me!
JLH: It was 10:30.
Me: Great story, John Lee Hooker. You should write that one down.
MP3: Wild Beasts – Hooting & Howling
Despite the fact that Wild Beasts made my favorite record of the year (Two Dancers) and became my not-so-secret band-crush of 2009, I’m pretty sure I’d not want to spend a night out on the town with them. Over the course of the album, they willfully scare old people, have sex in public, and, in Hooting and Howling, engage in all manner of thievery and violence. It’s nice to know that there are guys left in the world who can write dazzling, intoxicating lyrics about beating the hell out of their romantic rivals, even when, they admit, occasionally, the guys don’t deserve the punishment and, perhaps more importantly, the girls aren’t worth defending. Sometimes, I guess, you’re just too bored to NOT get some guy’s blood all over your hands or go loot a local shop, you know? You know?
Weezer – Can’t Stop Partying [YT link]
I’m just going to come out and admit it: I think Raditude is amazing. I can’t defend it. I can’t even begin to try to get down to the mechanics of it. It’s just good, in the same way that water is just wet. Yeah, the record is stupid. Yeah, it was apparently written by and for thirteen-year-olds, but, HOLY COW, it scratches a bunch of itches, all at once. I first heard it when a friend stopped by my house and declared it “the biggest piece of shit of the decade,” and proceeded to sit me down for a listen. When it was over, I very calmly told him that he was an “idiot jerk,” and that the record was amazing. He agreed, and, through some Disney-prince’s-kiss-type magic, he immediately fell in love with Raditude, as well. It’s JUST GOOD. Although “Can’t Stop Partying,” isn’t the best song on the record (that title goes to “In The Mall”), it does win points for being so tear-jerkingly tragic. It feels like the transcript of some Hollywood AA-meeting: “Hi, my name is Rivers, and I gotta have Patron.” “Hi, my name is Lil Wayne, and I gotta stop mixing alcohol with pharmaceuticals.” “Hi, my name is Jermaine Dupri. Screw rehab, I love my addiction.”
Fabolous – Throw It In The Bag [YT link]
Man, Fabolous has simply written THE theme of excess for 2009. Not only does this dude not look at price tags, he doesn’t even know where to find people who would do such a thing (he suspects they live in Atlanta, though). Dude buys Mercedes Benzes and immediately proceeds to do donuts in the parking lot. Questioning the veracity of his offer of gifts? Think again: his license plate says GetChu1! My favorite part is when he really goes big by offering to “help you out with the groceries.” Thanks Fabolous!
For a long time, I thought that, at the end, he was saying “Everybody do the Throw It In the Bag” (I think it’s actually, “Everybody do it. Throw it in the bag.”) and I got really excited about the idea that maybe Fabolous had come up with a sweet, shopping-based dance move that he was really hoping would catch on. Oh, well.