The Zombies ~ She’s Not There

Z already? The end of the alphabet? That means I’ve been doing this A – Z thing for 26 weeks, 1/2 a year. Crazy, huh? I don’t know a lot of Z bands. There are the Zombies, and ZZ Top. I know there are plenty of others, but these are the only ones I’m familiar with. And I’m not very familiar with either, really.

Anyway, enjoy the Zombies, (appropriate for Halloween week, no?), and I hope you enjoyed ‘ABC Music Monday’, which was influenced by Gina’s ‘Music Monday’, and then was picked up by my friend Simon as well. Simon lives in Belgium, and I don’t think we’ve ever picked the same group for the same letter. Go check his blog out to see what he came up with.

Yaz(oo) ~ Only You

Yaz in the U.S., Yazoo in the U.K..   Either way, I really liked both of their albums, Upstairs at Eric’s and You and Me Both.  When they broke up and Vince (who was previously with Depeche Mode) went on to Erasure, I loved that, too.  Funny how he found a guy to sing that sounded so much like Alison Moyet.  I guess I was just a big fan of the synth pop sound of the 80s, huh?

There wasn’t an official video for Only You, just this, which sounds kind of….muddy.  If you care about such things and want better sound, listen here.  Want more?  How about Didn’t I Bring Your Love Down,  or Nobody’s Diary.  SO early 80s, huh?

XTC ~ Dear God

One of my favorite songs ever, and one that sums up a lot for me.  A lot about atheism.  A lot about not being able to make the leap of faith to understand how the tragedies that affect so many people: earth quakes, tsunamis, sick asshats who kidnap kids and keep them in the basement, etc..  How can these things be explained in a world with a loving God, who at the same time, is involved in our lives and answers our prayers.   I can’t make that leap.  I know that many people can, and that a big part of it is being able to say, faith.  Faith.  That they believe that we cannot understand God, that His will is a mystery.  That his love is there for comfort, even if he doesn’t cure your dying child.  I can see that.  I just can’t get there.

The Wallflowers ~ One Headlight

I remember being really impressed by Bringing Down the Horse, by The Wallflowers. Loved all of it. My favorite three songs were probably this one, One Headlight, along with Three Marlinas, and 6th Avenue Heartache. The pop hook is great in all of them, but I particularly think that Jakob Dylan got some pretty decent lyric writing chops from his old man.

Here are the lyrics to 6th Avenue Heartache, which I think I like even more than One Headlight, but I couldn’t find a copy that would embed on YouTube. Click the link above, to listen to 6th Avenue Heartache. Written for a homeless man in New York City below Dylan’s window, who sang the same songs, day after day, until one day he wasn’t there. His things still were, but he was gone. Eventually, his things were stolen.

Sirens ring, the shots ring out
A stranger cries screams out loud
I had my world strapped against my back
I held my hands, never knew how to act

And the same black line that was drawn on you
Was drawn on me
And now it’s drawn me in
6th Avenue heartache

Below me was a homeless man
Singin’ songs I knew complete
On the steps alone, his guitar in hand
It’s fifty years, stood where he stands

And the same black line that was drawn on you
Was drawn on me
And now it’s drawn me in
6th Avenue heartache

Now walkin’ home on those streets
The river winds move my feet
Subway steam, like silhouettes in dreams
They stood by me, just like moonbeams

And the same black line that was drawn on you
Was drawn on me
And now it’s drawn me in
6th Avenue heartache

Look out the window, down upon that street
And gone like a midnight where was that man
But I see his six strings laid against that wall
And all his things, they all look so small
I got my fingers crossed on a shooting star
Just like me just moved on

And the same black line that was drawn on you
Was drawn on me
And now it’s drawn me in
6th Avenue heartache

On a lighter note, while One Headlight isn’t exactly a cheery song, there are times when my house is particularly cluttered and messy and I feel out of control that I like to sing this lyric:

Well this place is old
It feels just like a beat up truck
I turn the engine, but the engine doesn’t turn
Well it smells of cheap wine & cigarettes
This place is always such a mess
Sometimes I think I’d like to watch it burn

Violent Femmes

Here we are at V already, coming mighty close to the end of this mostly ignored experiment called, The ABC’s of Music, which I copied and morphed from Gina, and was then copied (yay!) from me by Simon.  I thought of Veruca Salt, who I do enjoy from time to time, but I’ve mentioned them before already.  Thought of the Verve, but then I remembered The Violent Femmes!  Oh my, does this take me back to a particular time and place, that being my sophomore year of college, in Stockton, CA.  We didn’t get much ‘good’ music in Stockton, or at least it didn’t feel like it at the time.  It’s not like we were living in the land of Footloose, where dancing was outlawed or anything, but the radio that we got generally sucked.  Classic Rock, A/C, and top 40.  Not much room for the late-teens, early 20s in the crowd, if you know what I mean.  But when we heard the Violent Femmes…well, we felt like we were getting away with something.  Quite racy back in the day in the burbs.

So I went looking for some Femmes on YouTube, and due to copyright stuff, most of what you can find is grungy live stuff, which is fun if you’re there, but the sound is pretty crappy.  Sigh.  So, here’s a cute little video of one of their more popular songs, Blister in the Sun.  Love it.  And how about just audio for Gone Daddy Gone?  Love me that.  How about a video for a later work of theirs, Children of the Revolution.  Excellent.  Want to get naughty?  Try Add it Up on for size.  Want to stay clean, and still have fun?  Here’s American Music.  Me?  Popular, naughty, or clean, I love it all.

Until December ~ Free Again

There’s no video for this song.  As a matter of fact, it’s not a very easy song to find anywhere, probably because it wasn’t their most popular song, and Until December wasn’t ever big as a group.  But I loved this song, love the very 80s sound of it all.  Love the bitter lyrics, which while I don’t agree with them, there are certainly times in our lives when they feel very real.  Maybe right after a break up, for example.

Enjoy the crackles at the end of the song, proving that the person who posted this on YouTube ripped it from their LP.

Translator ~ Everywhere That I’m Not

There’s no way that I was cool enough to have heard this song when it came out in 1982.  I was just graduating from Hall & Oats and deciding that I was into heavy metal.  And the radio stations that we got in the San Joaquin Valley in the early 80s sucked, so there wasn’t much chance of hearing it there, either.  Anyway, finally I met Ted, and he was cool enough to have heard this song, cool enough to actually own it, and he put it on a mix tape for me.  See why I married him?

Enjoy.  Back to the early 80s.

Suzanne Vega ~ Men in a War

Funny how things change in life, right? This song isn’t even my favorite Suzanne Vega song, and before I lost my mom last year, it never would have made me think of her.

But now. Now, any time I hear it, it makes me think of that horrible adjustment period after she died. Of how confusing the world suddenly was around me. Of how, though I still had (have) so many things and people in my life that were (are) so very important to me, things would never be the same again, would never be right again.

I know how it is
When something is gone
A piece of your eyesight
Or maybe your vision

A corner of sense
Goes blank on the screen
A piece of the scan
Gets filled in by hand

You know that it was
And now it is not
So you just make due with
Whatever you’ve got

Men in a war
If they’ve lost a limb
Still feel that limb
As they did before

It’s been over a year now since my mom died. I don’t hurt as much any more. I don’t cry as often any more. I am very thankful for all of the wonderful gifts that I have in this world. My family. My friends. My health. A job. A house. So many things to be thankful for, so many people who have lost far more than I have. And in my heart of hearts, I must admit that while losing my mother was horrible, the worst thing I have ever gone through…losing Ted or Maya would have been even worse. I’m not sure how people recover from that. My grandma has, two husband and three children now, but I don’t know how she does it. So yes, I am thankful for my gifts.

But still, there’s that sense in my day to day life that something is gone. Something I will never stop missing.

Rush ~ Time Stand Still

Ted loves Rush.  If he could, he would marry Rush. Really, he loves them.  Totally.

Me? I loved Rush in 9th grade (this is me in grade 9), totally into 2112 (both sides, I know, I’m a dork), and that was about the end of it.  But Ted is a true fan, has loved them from the beginning.  Still loves them.  Has seen them  in concert many times.   Maya and I finally went with them last year, and they were totally great.  I was really impressed with their stage presence, their skill, the fun that they had, and the connection with the audience.  Really great.

I think my favorite Rush song, though, is Time Stand Still, which they recorded with Aimee Mann from ‘Til Tuesday.  Love ‘Til Tuesday, love Time Stand Still. Such a song of middle age…or at least your mid to late 30s, when you’re starting to realize that time is starting to pass you by more quickly than you might like.  Really, I love this song.  Love it.  The video is truly lame, but the song is great.  Enjoy.

I turn my back to the wind
To catch my breath
Before I start off again.
Driven on without a moment to spend
To pass an evening with a drink and a friend

I let my skin get too thin
I’d like to pause
No matter what I pretend
Like some pilgrim
Who learns to transcend
Learns to live as if each step was the end

(Time stand still)
I’m not looking back
But I want to look around me now
(Time stand still)
See more of the people and the places that surround me now
Time Stands still
Freeze this moment a little bit longer
Make each sensation a little bit stronger
Experience slips away
Experience slips away

Time Stands still

I turn my face to the sun
I Close my eyes
Let my defences down
All those wounds that I can’t get unwound

I let my past go too fast
No time to pause
If I could slow it all down
Like some captain, whose ship runs aground
I can wait until the tide comes around

(Time stand still)
I’m not looking back
But I want to look around me now
(Time stand still)
See more of the people and the places that surround me now

Freeze this moment a little bit longer
Make each sensation a little bit stronger

Make each impression, a little bit stronger
Freeze this motion a little bit longer
The innocence slips away
The innocence slips away…

Time stands still
Time stands still

I’m not looking back
But I want to look around me now
See more of the people and the places that surround me now
Time stands still

Summer’s going fast, nights growing colder
Children growing up, old friends growing older
Freeze this moment a little bit longer
Make each sensation a little bit stronger
Experience slips away
Experience slips away…
The innocence slips away.

Queen ~ One Vision

I remember the day I heard on the radio that Freddy Mercury had died from complications of AIDS. I wasn’t the biggest Queen fan in the world, but still, the news broke my heart, and I knew the world was worse off without his exuberant spirit in it. I think the DJ played Bohemian Rhapsody, and these lyrics never rang more true:

Too late, my time has come
Sends shivers down my spine
Body’s aching all the time
Goodbye, everybody
I’ve got to go
Gotta leave you all behind and face the truth
Mama, ooh
I don’t want to die
I sometimes wish I’d never been born at all…

Crap. AIDS sucks. Cancer sucks. Heart disease sucks. War and famine and diabetes…they all suck.

Anyway, ignoring the devastating lyrics there, I think my favorite Queen songs were One Vision, Under Pressure (with my first husband, David Bowie), Somebody to Love, and You’re My Best Friend. Hard to choose. I choose One Vision…really, a very cool song.

Police ~ Message in a Bottle

What is it about being a teenager that makes you feel so in tune with the ideas of alienation and loneliness?  I swear, I had so many wonderful, caring friends, not to mention a very warm and loving family, and yet songs, poems, and stories that dealt with these issues just SPOKE to me.   Resonated like no other subject.  So “Message in a Bottle” was a favorite for me, from the very first time I heard it.

Back in 1983, The Police went on tour.  They played at Day on the Green, which was an amazing all day concert in the Oakland Coliseum in Oakland, California.  The Police headlined, and the other groups on the lineup were The Thompson Twins, Oingo Boingo, Madness, and The Fixx .  My favorites were The Fixx and The Police.  What I remember most about hearing Message in a Bottle live was that everyone there seemed to know every word.  There’s no other feeling just like being in a huge amphitheater full of people, everyone singing along, knowing every word, and totally being in the palm of the hand of the group on stage.

This was the second concert I had ever seen.  The first was another Day on the Green, just a few weeks before, which was Simon and Garfunkel.  It was years before I realized that concerts could indeed suck, and that there could be animosity between the performers and the audience.  If I could go back in time, I might give poor Mike a goodnight kiss, because he took me to one of the best concerts of my life.  But I didn’t like him that way, and I did not want him to get the wrong idea.  My older brother had drilled the idea into my head that there was nothing worse than a tease, someone who led guys on.  So he went home with no kiss.  It was a frikkin’ amazing concert, though.

Outfield ~ Mystery Man
This isn’t really a video, just a picture of the album cover. Sorry.

Back in the 80s, I was a big fan of The Outfield. I had a little rag top VW bug, which was foolish to put a stereo in, because it was ridiculously easy to break into (unsnap the homemade rag top, take what you want. Done. For faster access, slash the rag top, so J has to go have a new one custom made.) So, I had a little boom box that I took in the car with me, and I listened to cassettes that way. Play Deep was on seriously heavy rotation, and now that I have it on my iPod, I find myself cranking it up while I’m cooking dinner. I’m not sure if this is my super duper favorite song on the album, but it might be. I like it for the simple and stupid reason that they mention Mozambique. What’s gonna be wrong with a song about a spy in Mozambique, right? Besides, it’s a totally fun, take the top down on the convertible and enjoy the summer kinda song.

Natalie Merchant ~ What’s the Matter Here

I totally forgot to do a ‘music Monday’ last week, but no one seemed to mind.  It’s the getting back into the swing of work, worrying about my dog, all of that, I guess.  Anyway, I’ve always liked this song, originally performed by 10,000 Maniacs, but here by Natalie Merchant, their lyricist and vocalist.

The only version I could find that I could embed was this live version with just Merchant. If you want to see the original video, you can find it here: 10,000 Maniacs – What’s The Matter Here.

Leonard Cohen ~ Everybody Knows

It’s getting harder and harder to find you tube videos of songs for this, due to copyright infringement, etc. So here we have Leonard Cohen’s Everybody Knows, which is a great song, but the video is to a TV series, The Man from Uncle. I first heard it in the wonderful and underrated Adam Egoyan film, Exotica. Actually, it was also in Pump Up The Volume, but I didn’t like that movie at all, so I guess I missed the song.

I also really like this L song, Liz Phair, Johnny Feelgood. Couldn’t find a decent video that was embeddable. So click and enjoy. There is certainly a less than savory feel to the song…he is abusive, she likes it. Not the message that you want your kids to hear, really. I can’t help it, though, I like the song a lot. Do I lose my feminist street cred? Watch out for one small F bomb.