Posts Tagged ‘the police’

Plain text complete list to date here.

86. Run DMC – King of Rock

I just spent an hour watching Run DMC videos, groovin’ and rhymin’ and laughing at some of the memories that go hand in hand with these songs. But in the end, there can be only one:

I’m the king of rock, there is none higher..Sucker MCs should call me sire.

For the rhymes, for the bass line, for putting rock and rap together in a way that bands like Limp Bizkit thought they could but never did.

87. Public Enemy – Rebel Without A Pause
Long Island represent! Before rap became about bling, before Chuck D annoyed the hell out of me, before Flava Flav went crazier, there was Terminator X and horns and heaviness and a song that was so simple yet so complex.

88. The Police – Synchronicity II
This whole album defines the summer of 1983 for me. Everyone I knew was listening to it. The punks, the metalheads, the disco geeks – even my mother was in love with it. It was at times beautiful and at times dark and ugly. But the entire album – even the songs a lot of people write off like Miss Gradenko and Mother – were perfect musical specimens, showing off the talent of each individual band member and bringing everything together – music, lyrics, stories, emotion – in what I always described as a masterpiece (the overplayed and misunderstood Every Breath You Take notwithstanding). For me, the pinnacle of the album came on Synchronicity II, a tale of the darkness that looms under the surface in the life of a suburban family; how all the little things become big things when lived day to day, every single day of your entire life and sometimes it’s enough to turn you into a monster that slowly creeps toward madness (my take, anyhow).

There are pop rhythms thrown in with intense drumming and a foreboding bass line and the way the chorus and verses switch up pace is like moving between between chapters of a story. I always loved the line “The secretaries pout and preen like cheap tarts in a red light street,” more for the way he breathlessly sings it than the words, and my favorite part is when Stewart Coupland’s drumming perfectly punctuates the line ” a humiliating kick in the crotch.”

I really wish Sting didn’t go off and fall in love with himself after this album. Then again, the band put out five near-perfect albums. Maybe they knew enough to quit while they were ahead (and before Sting inflicted his penchant for pretentious pop tunes on the rest of the band).

89. Sick of it All – Potential For A Fall
This is NY Hardcore. A voice as mean as the South Bronx, music heavy as Hell’s Kitchen. Whatever that means. I’m just trying to make an analogy here. This is part punk, part metal, all aggression. I think it’s about materialism, but really, sometimes it’s just about needing the right kind of music to play when you’re feeling all aggro

90. Supersuckers – Rock Your Ass
If anyone ever tells you rock is dead, just sit them down and make them listen to the Supersuckers. This is the kind of music that makes you believe there is life after nu-metal and emo and boy bands, that there is no such thing as the day the music died, that the negative aura left by every niche and novelty rock band out there can’t kill rock and roll because as long as Eddie Spaghetti and the Supersuckers exist, rock and roll will still be around to kick ass and take names.

There are so many good songs to choose from. I could sit here all day and tell you about the virtues of each one. I ended up with Rock Your Ass simply because it epitomizes what the Supersuckers are all about: I said I’m Eddie Spaghetti, here to rock your ass steady.

91. The Kinks – Victoria
Do you know how many great songs this band had? It’s really a shame that so few people mention them when making lists of the greatest rock bands of all time. Look over there catalog – they tried a little of everything, fast, hard, mellow, groovy, conceptual – and almost all of it worked. They were really a brilliant band whose work spanned almost 20 years before I started to wish that they would stop.

Victoria is everything that was great about 60’s music, with none of the bullshit. It’s groovy and funky and it’s got great harmonizing laid over some cool rock and roll.

92. Pearl Jam –Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town
It’s funny, I always say that Ten was Pearl Jam’s greatest work and how they were never able to repeat the awesomeness of that album, but when pressed for my favorite Pearl Jam song, I always revert back to this one from VS. Maybe because it’s one of the few songs where you can actually understand what Vedder is singing. Or maybe I just like the sad poignancy of it.

Eight more to go and I reach my goal for the weekend. Below is an updated list of what’s coming up…but….I need more if I’m going to get to 300! I know there’s still a few bands I’m waiting for that haven’t been suggested yet. Also, the suggestions are now being left all over the place in the comments and I can’t keep up, or find the new ones readily. So if you left a suggestion in, say, the last two or three days and it’s not on the list below, please add it again.

Beastie boys
David bowie
LL Cool J
Gordon Lightfoot
Bad Brains
Rocket from the Crypt
New Bomb Turks
Green Day
The Dwarves
The English Beat
Guess Who
Elvis Presley
7 Seconds
Steve Miller
Ben Folds
System of a Down
Talking Heads
Snoop Dogg
The Doors
Grateful Dead
Angry Samoans

For those just joining us, explanation here.

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1983. One of the most action packed years of my life. A constant stream of parties and clubs. So many nights spent in someone’s garage listening to our friends’ band practice and then driving to the club to watch them play, then out to another club to make some spastic attempts at dancing to punk rock and gothy new wave. The soundtrack to that time was a bizarre mix of The Police, New Order, Circle Jerks, Aztec Camera and Metallica. And Iron Maiden. Minutemen. Big Country. Suicidal Tendencies. Man, that was a good year for music. The The! U2’s last good album! PiL! Kurtis Blow! That’s right. I said Kurtis Blow.

But this story is earlier in the year than some of that. I hadn’t even started working at the record store yet. By July, I had done more drinking and partying in one half year than I had in the past four years combined. I was 21 and a slacker. I was jobless for most of the beginning of that year. Which isn’t always a bad thing when your friends were buying the beer and dope, and your boyfriend was paying for dinner.

Ah, the boyfriend. He was becoming creasingly agitated with my desire to have a life outside of sitting in his mom’s basement watching Clint Eastwood movies. And not the good Clint movies either. We’re talking orangutans here. But he comes into the picture later. The boyfriend, not Clint. Or the orangutan. Right now it’s the afternoon of July 4th, 1983.

There’s a big party at my parent’s house. Well, there was always a party at my parent’s house. They were the consummate entertainers. A lot of my early childhood memories are of weekend cocktail parties in the backyard. They were typical 70’s parties with drinks with fancy names and couples dressed in fancy clothes and food with names like Weenie Casserole. I kid you not.

But this was the 80’s. We had moved on from charcoal roasted weenies, Brandy Alexanders and demure women to gas grills, kegs of Bud and drunken firemen. Yea, dad knew how to keep with the times. Best of all, he ran the tv cable outside so we could party AND not miss a moment of a baseball game.

So here we are. Fourth of July, 1983 (insert wavy lines here that transport you magically back to that time). A yard full of firemen and relatives. A keg or two. Grill going. Yankees on the tv.

If you are a Yankee fan you know exactly what we were watching unfold that afternoon. Dave Righetti on the mound vs. the hated Red Sox. 41,000 people at the stadium. Dave’s pitching a no hitter. We sat mesmerized in the yard, squinting at the smallish tv, trying to see past the sun glares, drinking, eating and watching history being made. When the game was over and Righetti had thrown a no-hitter (the Yankees’ first since 1956) we all raised a plastic cup of beer to the Yankees, and America. Oh yea, patriotism runs deep when you are drunk on beer and melonball shots and high on beating the Red Sox.

When the game was over, the party really began. There was swimming and drunken volleyball and the obligatory lighting off of M-80s in garbage cans. It seemed to be a tradition in my neighborhood, along with lighting off mats of firecrackers. Personally, I never understood the attraction of making something go boom without the benefit of pretty sparkles or at least something going on fire, but that’s just me. I’m a visual kind of person. Go boom? Meh. Go boom with flames? Kick ass.

So in the midst of this noisy celebration of America and all it had to offer (like hot dogs, beer on tap in your backyard and your mother dancing on the deck to The Police), I get a phone call. It’s my fiancé. Oh yea, I forgot to mention. I was engaged to this guy. I was young and stupid. As opposed to later on when I became old and stupid. But that’s another story. This guy was, hmmm how to describe him? Nuts? Psychotic? He had just taken a job at Riker’s Island as a correction officer and came home one night telling me how he really identified with some of the prisoners. Ok. I may want to start rethinking my life plan here. Clint Eastwood monkey movies and identifying with murderers? That just might be a lethal combo.

Anyhow, the deal was this: I had his car at my house. He needed it back to go to work in the morning. Could I drive it over to his house? Well, let’s see. I had been drinking all day and he’s the one who left the car at my house when he ditched me the night before to go out with his friend and….well, the conversation went in such a way that I agreed to bring the car. At the last minute he told me to fill it up with gas before I brought it to his house. Let’s not get into the why of my saying yes. Young. Stupid. Etc. We’ll leave it at that.

So my cousin follows me in her car. We drive the mile or so and I stop at the gas station just down the block from my the fiance’s house. The car windows are rolled down because it’s hot out and the a/c is broken. I tell the guy to fill it up and lean back in my seat and wait. There’s a few kids sitting in the lot of the 7-11 across the street, shooting off bottle rockets. Another useless firework. Oh boy, it makes a whistling sound and then a small pop the end. If that’s your idea of excitement, then I bet Seven Minutes in Heaven is the perfect sex game for you.

I remember thinking that it probably wasn’t a good idea for these kids to be lighting off fireworks so close to a gas station. Probably a really bad idea considering it looked like they were actually aiming the bottle rockets toward the pumps. I started to get nervous. What if one hit a pump? Would it blow up? Would I die right there in a ball of flames, screaming for help while realizing that my imminent death would mean every subsequent Fourth of July after this would be ruined for my parents?

I pulled myself together. Sat up straight. Watched the little numbers on the gas pump turn. Come on, fill up already, let’s get out of here.

And then: A whistling in my ear. Deafening, like a jet plane was landing in my head. A pop. A sudden burst of pain. What the fuck? What. The. Fuck?? Pain. Pain. Pain. I’m deaf and in agony. My chest. My chest is on fire, I think. Let me tell you, nothing sobers you up quicker than the idea that someone just blew a hole open in your chest. Was I shot? Dying? I looked down and saw red. Red all over. My shirt was red and my chest was in pain and…holy shit. They nailed me with one of those bottle rockets!

At first I thought I was bleeding out but quickly realized that the red was dye from the rocket. The pain? That was real. I could feel my shirt starting to stick to the burn underneath it. That hurt like a bitch.

I guess I had screamed when the rocket hit, but I didn’t hear it because of the whistling in my ear. My cousin was at my window and the gas station attendant had come running over. I was clutching my chest and hyperventilating and at first my cousin thought I was having a heart attack. The shirt I was wearing was a V-neck and I slowly pulled the material to one side and pointed to what I was sure was a gaping in hole in my chest. My cousin gasped. The gas station guy said “Ewww.” Nice. Well, it wasn’t a hole, but it was a pretty intense burn. I was shaking and in pain and the guy said he would run across the street to the firehouse and send an ambulance over. No. No. No. No ambulance.

I paid the gas station guy, who said he was calling the cops on the kids with the bottle rockets. Whatever, I didn’t want to stick around. I needed some first aid, stat. And by first aid I mean someone to calm me down. Preferably someone holding a bottle of vodka.

Ok, start the car. Drive down the block. Fiancé only lives five houses away, I’ll make it there ok and we’ll get this burn taken care of and he will calm me down and tell me I’m not dying and give me a drink and some ointment and gauze and a few words of comfort and everything will be ok.

I walk into his house. My cousin yells at no one in particular “Hey, hey, she got hit with a firecracker. Anyone here? Hello? Emergency!” Fiancé guy comes down the stairs, looking annoyed.

“What? She what?”

My cousin repeats. Slowly, for the retarded. “Hit. With. Firecracker.”

She doesn’t like him much. Never did. He looks me over. I don’t say anything. Partly because I’m still hyperventilating and kind of crying and partly because the mess on my chest really should speak for itself. He looks me over again. Shrugs. Says the words that would become fatal to our pending nuptials.

“Did you at least put gas in the car?”

Well, you can imagine my stunned silence. What you can’t imagine and I can’t do justice to is the Glare O’ Death my cousin gave him. A glare that said all at once “You are such a fucking asshole and I hope you say the wrong thing to the wrong prisoner at work and he takes you hostage and fills your ass with his beefstick. And then I hope your ambulance crashes on the way to the hospital to have your ass repaired. And you die. DIE.”

I didn’t say a word. I just threw his keys at him and walked out of the house. The only thing I said to my cousin on the way back to my house was “Fucker. Fucker.” Over and over again.

We got back to my house and a couple of the firemen there fixed me up the best they could. I probably should have gone to the hospital. But there was vodka and hot dogs and The Towering Inferno on tv. I decided to skip the fireworks festivities for the evening. And decided to skip my upcoming wedding (though I didn’t get around to actually saying that out loud until November).

That bottle rocket might have actually been a sign from god. Ok, not the best choice of signs, but sometimes it takes a little force to send someone a message.

Every time I get a slight sunburn, you can see a faint scar on my chest. A constant reminder of Fourth of July, 1983. Makes me think of The Police, Dave Righetti and searing pain. Both physical and emotional. But hey, what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger, right? Or can just be offset with a keg of beer, hot dogs and Steve McQueen.

America, fuck yeah!

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