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A few movies that coulnd’t take down Avatar splooge-a-thon.

the upheaval is endless… so much media to consume….i am currently shooting “The Wire” into my veins and indulging every moment of this Baltimore crime drama. Also my ratio(download/upload) is almost at the point of no return so i have to slow my roll on the online media. fuck being nice on the internet, putting my virtual cock in a ball and chain. anyways there really hasnt been anything good out lately, maybe wolfman, maybe shutter island but who knows until this ratio problem is fixed.

so…i will continue with my halfwritten entries from the land before time. During Avatar winning streak(box office #1) a slew of garbage came out.


Daybreakers has a really cool idea, but fails to do anything with it, its like in American Pie when hes got gold in his room, and he busts to soon. The story revolves around a vampire ruled land, where humans are harvested as food. Typical yeah, but the way the new society is set up has not been done, underground tunnels, everything is catered to a vampire. And the vampire isn’t one of those lame as ones, its legit, invisible in mirrors, fangs, everything except turning into a bat, but actually they do do that HAH in a weird fucking way. The movie has a very marry shelly van helsing feel. Like any one sided genocidal race movie, there is always a search for a cure, and let me tell you the cure in this movie was really fucking stupid. The cure was discovered by launching William Dafoe out a window, comedic yes, making any sense no. I thought the idea of a entire vampire society was great, and i like how they didnt try to explain the magical abilities of vampires, except the part of how one becomes a vampire. The movie sucked, dont watch it. Ethan hawke is a pale lookalike jew, and dude from jurassic park (sam neil) was just weak.  You expect greatness from Dafoe but bad writers can easily cure this belief.

Youth In Revolt

So this cera kid, is just trying to get some -tang. which he seems to be doing in all his movies. Oh look at me im this silly white kid, and my awkwardness shows uniqueness and maybe one day some slut will do me, oooh thats what love is. Fuck you. So Cera hates his life, and he narates, and he basically tries to be a bad ass to impress this christian chick. In the end he just loads of stupid shit cause hes a scared boy. … people say the best part of this movie is alter ego this french dude, it had its laughs, but it also had its i dont give a fuck. The movie as whole gave me a few chuckles, but story wise plot wise was just a introverted version of any “hs tried to get laid movie”, i was also intoxicated one way or another during this movie, due to me not giving a fuck. I also hear that they only did half the book, so yeah micahel cera you’re a fucking evil mastermind trying to get hipster chicks to like you, and thats cool in a way…

Edge of Darkness

Mel Gibson first role in 10 years, remake of a classic, and no real advertising except the overkill of posters in LA i saw. You know i watch the trailer and i was like HOHOHO another “TAKEN” hmmm neg. The movie tries to go indepth about the investigation of his daughtesr death. The story was slow and not really entertaining. For instance, the bad guys capture him, and lock him up, and he breaks out right away and runs to the bad bosses house. Why was this capture scene even necessary when he takes out two guys and runs all the way back… bah. Ok the action scenes are disgustingly awesome, im sure allot of you wont watch this so *SPOILER …. his daughter pukes, they get ready to leave for the hospital, as they open the front door, BLAM shot gun in the chest…. disgustingly awesome right, its like OOHH SHIT BUT FUCKKKKKK THAT WAS SICK…. you dont really feel for the daughter, you are mostly overwhelmed with how surprisingly intense that scene was. I thought this movie would be an action flick, it had lack of it, and story wise was overly complicated for its own good. Taking two sittings to finish a movie is never good. If you want to watch two really fucking  OHHHH SHITTT scenes, check it out, otherwise dont bother.

which leads me to I want to watch “From Paris with Love” or is it one night in paris, who knows.

i have time so maybe ill write two more, oh shit i gotta jet.


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Top 25 Songs of 2009

1) “All For The Best,” Thom Yorke. Long essay planned.

2) “Spanish Gold, 2044,” Swan Lake. Shorter long essay planned.

3) “Throwing Bricks at Trains,” Future of the Left. Just listen, you’ll get the idea. The most enjoyable kind of anger you can have: sarcasm.

4) “The Czar,” Mastodon. The last epic of 2009.

5) “11th Dimension,” Julian Casablancas. A dance-rock-disco more at home in the crowded clubs of Los Angeles than the Lower East Side’s seedy back-alleys. This is The Strokes reprocessed by game boy wielding sugar-high nineteen year olds: baby smooth production, a labyrinth of a melody — never quite the same, always slipping with Casablancas’ drawl, a puzzle of a song. We had to listen back-to-back-to-back before the song even started to come into a focus. This being an immediately accessible, downright catchy track, makes that act even more remarkable. So we have a dance-rock track with a singer who refuses to take the vocal-road most traveled, a maze with innumerable back roads of melody. Never mind that the song was recorded in LA, that’s the least of our clues that the “11th Dimension” is actually 11th Street, which is the best way to get wherever you’re going anyway since the freeways have already become a river of brakelights, traffic on top of tired, predictable traffic, FM radio waves clogging the sky. You’re right, Julian, we wouldn’t go that way either.

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In my MIND sounds like OooOOOoOOOooOOOHhhhHHh

Woah HOWDY, coming@you from your local happy donuts. Im looking through some drafts i wrote a few weeks ago for some post, and boy are these fuckers outdated. here is a taste

“TOP 5 OSCAR picks

Inglorious Basterds
The Hurt Locker
Up in the Air

This year the academy will most likely be nominating these five movies,  why cause they’re weren’t any better movies to there standards. A general concesus on the internet community has been observed.

Ive seen these five, I don’t think any of them are cumshot great.  The best movie overall I would say is “UP in the Air”. Best action, hurt locker DUH, avatar had a pretty sweet fight scene at the end.  I pray to god avatar does not win”

what is this gibber jabber garble fuck your mother. Well since then, i did some browsing this is the first year the academy will nominate 10 fucking movies for best picture, since who knows when. The nominees for this year are…

[Avatar, The Blindside, An Education, District 9, Hurt Locker, Inglorious Basterds, Precious, A Serious Man, Up, Up in the Air]

I will reiterate how i feel of this primal selection, I have seen everything besides “an education” ,”a serious man”,”blindside”.  I want to see a serious man. The rest i could care less for” aww look at me i need help for football, let my loving family take you in”… BORING WHO THE FUCK CARES. As for the ones ive seen, they are all good in there own ways, i think they are great for what they are. district 9  if you want to see some fucking aliens get dominated, and some sick ass sci fi shit, sweet, but if you want to see a dumb fuck, fuck up everything don’t watch it. But what i can say definitively IN my Opinion, none of these are comparable to previous  movies that have won best picture.  Mutiny on the Bounty? Casablanca? The King and I? Ben Hur? The Graduate? The Godfather? The Sting? One Flew over the Cookoos? the list continues… The only one i think is worthwhile is “Up in the Air” from the ones i have seen. This year selection in movies just suck, most of the movies weren’t that good, “Precious” was unbearable with its irradict scenes. Even though “Hurt Locker” has some awesome explosion scenes, i thought the way it dwelled into a soliders mind during war was very hollywood, like the main character is a walking contradiction. I would like to see “Port of Call, Bad Lieutenant New Orleans” on there, nicholas cage does a phenomenal job acting as a corrupt cop who gets the job done. But i am purdy sure Avatar will win this fuck fest because of people going “OOHH BEST MOVIE IVE EVER SEEN ” and “OOOH IT MADE SO MUCH MONEY”, seeing as how these are  trends  for winners in the last decade. Big $$$ usually wins best picture, lotr, titanic.. . SHUT YOUR MOUTH BEFORE I FUCK IT.


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Animated Wins

mmmrhrmmmMEOWWWW.  ive been absent, my presence translucent and my mind in a herbal stupor. crestfallen from my shortcomings, i had to do something. The only remedy in site was … filling my mud brain with films.  I have a list of blog posts to write but am 2 fkin lzy* to write them, on my road to recovery these posts will unhinge from my  mind. I started my short weekend with a couple of films, my favorite the animated ones.

Princess and the Frog

This movie is typical disney flick but with a hint of cajun flava. HOHOHo “typical” the haters are thinking but when was the last time you seen a Disney animated film… fucking forever, thats right. The movie uses fairy tale concepts (princess and amphibian), if we dwell into these concepts the frog can be seen as a cock of freedom that the princess needs to pounce on to successfully conquer her ambitions. The movies local is NAWLANINS? new orleans, you know where Gambit is from… anyways it follows the story of a young poor working girl who’s only dream is to start a popin restaurant, shes saved up her whole life to do it and the TIME HAS COME butt… the heroes journey begins, with everything that could possibly go wrong happens and worse. The “worse” is this fucking bad man, or shadow man, i think of him as the bad man cause the voice of this character is the guy from Requiem for a Dream that says “asstoass” if you know what scene im referring to, you know why hes the bad man. I forgot to mention the prince, hes a dumbshit but incredibly funny with his charms. Like any disney movie we know shit goes bad, shit gets worse, shit goes uphill, i wouldn’t want to ruin any more of it, the story was short simple and not too complex, so ill stop discussing story. Each character matches their animated personas perfectly, the setting of new orleans was a great place to dwell,  the stereotypes of the area where proudly animated. There were two things i frowned on, one that they’re too many side characters, who try to be main characters but are not developed enough, 2nd from disney i expect great music, but the songs they sang where not very memorable, i cant even hum a beat from it, how sad is that. I thoroughly enjoyed each character, which is what made it for me, i was just sad i didn’t get to know them better. Though wonderful this movie was, it failed miserably at the box office, nowhere as successful as poca, beautybeast, rey de leon, kids just dont get all shit ridden over animated films like the use to, with a mere 100mil in a mini 10 weeks, this movie in the eyes of the Lords of Disney is a failure, so we wont be seeing much more of these films in the future, i ass ume.

Fantastic Mr. Fox

wallace and gromet can sucks mr fox glorious snout. Wes anderson does a spectacular job, if you know wes anderson then you will like this film, all his quirky awkward family dynamics are mashed into Road Dahls story that few have read. ?there something wrong with that sentence, and probably all my setences… but ok so yeah i dont think anyone can dislike this film, Its hilarious, its unique, the animation is superb, and let me say again fucking hilarious. They take the outline of Dahl’s story and jammed it with comedy. Mr Fox, who is fantastic, is a supreme thief, he retires due to his new born son, his fantastic skills are put back to use after a long hiatus, and thats when the trouble comes. He steals from the big white men, and they seek vengence.  his awesomeness is revealed over and over again, which is just awesome!#!@#!@!$!@! too much flatering, but i have to go back to work, just watch it and as the internet community would say Laugh out Loud.  the entire movie is like a how a child would imagine self beating up the bully and finding a big ole twix bar in his pocket, or any other amazing victory one could come up with. Win, watch it. Two concluding ending statements, live with it.

*be ready for a rating system.


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#9 comes full circle: Jay Reatard covers Nirvana

In what is surely a cosmic coincidence, Jay Reatard’s estate — one day after his passing — found a recent recording laying around and released it. It’s a cover — if this were fiction we couldn’t have written it out any better — of Nirvana’s “Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge On Seattle.” And how’s this for perhaps the last chorus Mr. Reatard ever recorded: “I miss the comfort in being sad.”

Wasn’t that our whole argument for “It Ain’t Gonna Save Me”? That the song was despair transformed into a comfortable, almost happy, emotional release?

We’ll go ahead and chalk up a few more points for ourselves.

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Top 25 Songs of 2009: 6-10

10) “1901,” Phoenix. That synthesizer tone is enough, in and of itself, to force “1901” into the ten-spot. It’s perfect: round, deep, fuzzy, yet clear and taut despite its wall-to-wall massiveness. The song, built as it is on the synth line, sports the same unusual qualities. There’s no wonder the song dances so well in car commercials and as background music for teens shopping at Urban Outfitters — any listener is sold on its charm immediately. The synth, the hard-to-understand (they’re French but sing in English, duh) yet soothing chirps of lead singer Thomas Mars, the heyheyheyhey of the pre-chorus, the parts make a whole so downright satisfying that there just might be an excess of good-songwriting here, give or take a chorus. In short, these guys are hotter than Phoenix, Arizona.

9) “It Ain’t Gonna Save Me,” Jay Reatard. When an artist dies unexpectedly, we return to their songs to hunt — hopelessly — for a few choice lyrics, a certain signifier to provide a guide to understanding their deaths. Nirvana fans, for example, wrestled with Cobain’s morbid lyrics on songs like “Milk It,” where the chorus included the line, “look on the bright side, suicide,” desperately trying to match music with method, as if Kurt’s screams were shotgun shells, loaded as they were by the verse, fired in the chorus.

Jay Reatard died early yesterday morning. No one knows why, exactly. Could be drugs, could be homicide (the police are investigating). His death, at 29, alters this song and his legacy immediately and irreversibly. As for overanalyzing, we’ll indulge ourselves for a few short points and then get to a more important and ultimately compelling point-of-view.

First, the title: Whatever it is, it sure didn’t save you, Mr. Reatard. Second, the song’s catchy post-chorus closing chant of “all is lost / there is no hope / all is lost / you can go home / all is lost / for me” becomes exponentially more of a downer, to the point of almost sounding fucking twisted. Couple that with the album title, Watch Me Fall, add a pinch of paranoia and we’ve got ourselves an ominous little death note in song form.

That said, now is the time to replace that pinch of paranoia with some salt, and proffer a reading that is both serious and supportable. The song’s pleasure emerges from its conflicts and contradictions — its attempt to be simultaneously the catchiest, most upbeat rock song Mr. Reatard has ever written and an absolute resignation to his own melancholy. Accordingly, the form and the lyrics couldn’t be in more opposition. Unless they just, well, aren’t. As in, this is despair as emotional release — short, sweet, catchy. An upbeat earworm born from the most tragic emotions: loneliness, negativity, feelings of low self-worth, melancholy.

It’s funny, too, just how much this form-conflicting-with-content argument about Reatard’s song reminds us of something else that has to do with death. It’s that ritual, inevitably plagued with sadness but which tries to keep the mood upbeat and provide a forum for emotional release and a chance to get rid of all those leftover emotions that linger with death; where we are inevitably told to laugh and cry at the same time and remember all the good times we shared with someone while, at the same time, reminding ourselves that we’ll never have those times, with them, ever again. Celebrate his life; mourn his death. This is the purpose of the funeral.

Moreover, the same purpose maps pretty well onto “It Ain’t Gonna Save Me.” Which is to say, “It Ain’t Gonna Save Me” might be the most unpretentious funeral song we’ve ever heard. R.I.P. Jay Reatard.

8.) “This Blackest Purse,” Why?. Yoni Wolf has become one of the best lyricists in indie rock. What were, early in his career, scattershot metaphors — seemingly random for random’s sake — have become poignant and accurate portrayals of what life really means for a certain segment of society: the twenty-something’s of today, urban dwellers stuck looking for their specific village (hipster, frat, punk, jock, et cetera); hip to outsiders, confused to themselves. Wolf is always drunk and sober at once. He almost undermines our notion of those things as mutually exclusive, his lyrics so desperately without inhibition, so furiously introspective and personal, fused with a practiced, seductive delivery. Listeners are never quite sure whether or not to give Wolf a hug, concede sexually to his advances, or tattoo the lyrics on their biceps like some kind of hipster gospel. This explains Why? their shows have come to include sing-along-horny teenage girls, young moody intellectuals and, at least in Europe, British kids — taxonomically somewhere between hipsters and ex-N-Sync fan girls — snorting coke in the front row.

We won’t parse the song’s lyrics. That’s for you and your British and/or underage girlfriend to do. We’d just like to add that “This Blackest Purse” is Why? in the most revealing clothes they’ve ever worn: nothing more than a simple piano line, a touch of bass and drums, and Wolf’s voice upfront and clear. It’s poetry set to music, or maybe it’s the other way around. We’re not really sure.

7) “Idiot Heart” / “Insane Love Is Awakening,” Sunset Rubdown. We would like to take this opportunity to call anyone who doesn’t like SR — using Krug’s very specific word choice — an idiot.

Two songs chosen here because they were released around the same time and showcase exactly how dynamic Krug’s songwriting is insofar as he can move between rambling, rumbling, busy songs like “Idiot Heart” and the naked, electric-guitar-and-that’s-it pseudo-folk of “Insane Love.” Krug’s resume with Wolf Parade, Swan Lake, Frog Eyes and Sunset Rubdown practically murders the competition — or as he describes it, “flashing silver like the knife of a killer.” (PS: The silver/killer half rhyme is insanely rewarding.)

6) “And The Hazy Sea,” Cymbals Eat Guitars. We will wager that the moment of silence at 3:34 — the point at which “Hazy Sea” falls into an eerie stillness, the only audible sound the buzzing of guitar amps — still stands five years in the future as one of the best moves a rookie band has ever made. The silence breaks a second later, when the vocalist takes a deep breath (to be remembered alongside Cobain’s sigh from “Where Did You Sleep Last Night” and Yorke’s panicked “Idioteque” breathing) and lets go of a piercing scream into the cacophony — all at once, crashing symbols, bass, a guitar solo, howling struggling to become recognizable words, and then, sudden and immediate release: The pounding stops, the tension retreats, deep breaths return once again — the illusion of peace. As with life, so goes the song.


Filed under Fred | Unnecessary, Top 25 Songs of 2009

A Live Music History: All The Bands I’ve Seen

A Live Music History

Just for fun. And to brag — here’s a list of all the significant bands I have ever seen. (Except that I can’t possibly remember it all and refuse to include all the shitty house-show bands I’ve seen.) Most of the shows were in San Francisco since I grew up just 90 minutes north of the city. High school (hard to believe, right?) was the busiest “show-going” time in my life. We were seeing major shows at least once a month, sometimes three or four in the span of a few weeks. Those were the golden days and most of the reason why I’m looking to move somewhere urban after I complete my term with Americorps.

When I remember the best moments of my life a lot of times it’s flashbacks to live shows. I’ve been brought to near tears too many times to count, most recently while attending a Radiohead show alone in Berlin back in 2008 when it started to rain on everyone just as the band began their closing song, “Street Spirit”. It was way too much to handle, the song itself, the fact that I was there completely alone except that there were 15,000 other people there too, and that my time in Berlin was coming to a close and I was preparing to leave a whole bunch of new friends who I had spent every minute of every day with for the last 4 months. Actually, I wasn’t crying — I swear it was just rain getting in my eyes.

Here’s to live music, alphabetically:

Against Me! (2x) / AIDS Wolf (2x) / Air /  The Album Leaf / Animal Collective / Arcade Fire / Arctic Monkeys / BARR / Battles / Be Brave Bold Robot / Beck / Bjork / The Black Keys / Black Mountain / Black Rebel Motorcycle Club / Blob Dylan / Bloc Party / Cake / Casiotone for the Painfully Alone / Cat Power / Clap Your Hands Say Yeah (2x) / The Cure / Daft Punk / The Dead Science (2x) / Deerhoof / The Decemberists / Depeche Mode / The Dodos (2x) / Does It Offend You, Yeah? / The Dresden Dolls / Eagles of Death Metal / Earlimart / Editors / Explosions in the Sky (2x) / The Faint / Foo Fighters / Franz Ferdinand (3x) / The Fratellis / Frog Eyes (2x) / Future of the Left / Girl Talk (3x) / Gnarls Barkely / The Go! Team / Grandaddy / Grizzly Bear / Handsome Furs / Holy Fuck / Interpol (4x) / Islands / Jason Webley (4x) / Jel / Jemina Pearl / The Jesus and Mary Chain / Julian Casablancas / Justice / Kings of Leon / LCD Soundsystem / Le Tigre / Liars / Madonna / Massive Attack / Mastodon / Matmos / Matt & Kim (2x) / The Melvins / Menomena / Metric (2x) / Mindless Self Indulgence / Modeselektor / Mogwai / Mount Eerie (2x) / MSTRKRFT / Mum / Muse (2x) / Nine Inch Nails / The Notwist / Of Montreal / Peaches / Pissed Jeans / Pixies (2x) / Placebo / Port O’Brien (2x) / Prefuse 73 / Radiohead (4x) / Rage Against the Machine / The Rapture (3x) / Ratatat / Red Hot Chili Peppers / Robyn / The Roots / Scissors for Lefty / Shellac of North America / Sholi (7x) / Sigur Ros (3x) / A Silver  Mt. Zion / Sleater-Kinney / Sleepytime Gorilla Museum (2x) / Slint / Smashing Pumpkins / Spoon / Stephen Malkmus / The Strokes (3x) / Subtle / Sunset Rubdown (3x) / Super Furry Animals / Tapes ‘N Tapes / Ted Leo & The Pharmacists / Tenacious D / Thom Yorke / Tool / Travis / TV on the Radio (3x) / The Walkmen / Why? (4x) / Wolf Parade (3x) / Wolfmother / The Wrens / Xiu Xiu (4x) / Yeah Yeah Yeahs / Yo La Tengo / to be continued for the next 60 years…

Sometime in the future: A list of the best and worst shows and actual real descriptions of the concerts. Imagine that!


Filed under Fred | Unnecessary, live music

Top 25 Songs of 2009: 11-14

14) “Cloud of Evil,” Blackout Beach. Carey Mercer is lost between genres. The praise for ‘avant-garde’ reinterpretation of pop music this year, 2009, has been universal. Dirty Projectors and Animal Collective continue to bask in the post-coital glow of descriptors like “innovation” and “difficulty” and “weird genius”. Fuck that. Mercer is twice as interesting, innovative and difficult as either of those two artists. He’s also twice as good — but difficult to classify. 2008’s Tears of the Valedictorian was a frenetic epic of an album that found catharsis in its song structure — most often by dropping all other instruments mid-song except Mercer’s terrific howls and a quick, pounding drumbeat. These emotional wails (“Bushels”, “Caravan Breakers”) were always precursors to an instrumental climax, formed by a wall of swirling, distorted guitars, pounding drums, and staccato keyboards. “Cloud of Evil” is the inverse, in terms of form, as the climax never comes but rather builds for three and a half minutes without repose. Instead of live drums, the background is electronic beats and heavily delayed guitars. The tension here is altered. Instead of when will the climax come (re: Tears), the question becomes: will it come at all?

The answer is, of course, yes and no. And that’s exactly what makes “Cloud of Evil” ‘avant-garde’ in a way AC or DP could never be. Their resolutions are merely disguised behind polyrhythm, guitar effects, and complicated harmonies. Mercer, that wild magician of a musician, takes the tension of the verse awaiting the chorus and makes it his song. So that when Mercer reaches “Cloud of Evil”s crescendo while crying “decelerate, decelerate,” we now know exactly what he means.

13) “Jake Leg,” Baroness. Like their competitors, namely the far-superior Mastodon, Baroness are helping heavy metal return to clear, clean, unprocessed vocals. It’s a turn, in our opinion, for the better. Screaming, like everything else, is best in moderation. It’s sort of unfortunate that we can now understand the lyrics, what with the over-the-top fantasy gibberish these bands favor (“Crawl past the soft / Spiraled sinewy teeth / ‘Soiled dove!’ steal the fruit of it’s jaws”).

Ignoring the lyrics, which if taken in the right mood are still a lot of fun, “Jake Leg” is a bruising four-minute metal anthem, with a terrific verse-chorus-verse-chorus sing along. The vocals are multi-tracked relentlessly, giving them a brute force unreachable by a single voice. Although we had to miss Baroness’ recent show in SF, we wouldn’t be surprised if the mosh pit also included a raging side-pocket of lustful metal fans hoisting their fists in the air and yelling the words at the top of their lungs. Such is the nature of the best metal these days — so catchy that even Metallica would be jealous. More on that later. [YouTube]

12) “Americon,” Slayer. Not a band comfortable with explicitly political songs, Slayer has stepped out of their comfort metal zone with “Americon”. Although the message feels six years or so off the mark (“it’s all about the motherfucking oil / regardless of the flag upon each soil”), formally speaking the song still rips. Double bass, guitar solos, shrieking vocals. Shit the drums are good. But come on, it’s Slayer. While the USA rips off other countries to become Americon, Slayer is so damn consistent they’re practically robotic. Hello, Slayertron. [YouTube]

11) “Lust for Life,” Girls. A gay little ditty with a title stolen from Iggy Pop (whose actual song was stolen by Jet), the steady bright guitar, harmonica, and clean bass runs underneath make this one of those ‘summer songs’ bloggers have been obsessing over this past year. Despite all the hype, this is the only song that still seems listenable. From the cheesy but memorable lyrics (“I wish I had a sun tan / I wish I had a beach house / I wish I had a pizza and a bottle of wine”) to the short and sweet structure — this song is the best soundtrack 2009 had to offer for those moment when everything just seems so damn crazy. For a song about insanity, it sure feels good to relax with some Girls.

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Top 25 Songs of 2009: 15

15) “Aisle 13,” Built to Spill. Before the veteran indie rockers released 2009’s There Is No Enemy, this writer appreciated Built to Spill from a safe distance: singles only, please. “Car” was a big hit freshman year of college and for obvious reasons. Lead singer Dough Martsch sounds like a candid sophomore; he’s got advice for you but also a lot of questions. In “Car” reality is, as cliché as it sounds, almost always like a dream (“I wanna see the movies of my dreams”). The whole song pivots between a desire to have the world explained (“I wanna see it when you find out what comets, stars, and moons are all about”) and the deep seeded fear that these things about life are mysterious for a reason (“You’ll get the chance to take the world apart and figure out how it works / Don’t let me know what you find out”). It’s the stoned philosophical babble of a freshman “on a cloudy breezy desert afternoon.”

As for the instrumentation, the song relies an unusual amount on the cello to carry it forward. We don’t like to argue that strings or cellos actually sound like nostalgia or earnest emotion or anything along those lines. That’s just silly. But, seriously, in “Cars” the cellos aren’t adding just low frequencies — they are what pushes the song past its loud drums and screeching guitars (the traditional instruments of overwhelming teenage emotion; see: music, punk) and into an arena peculiar for guitar-rock bands of the 90s. Perhaps that is the right word for this whole song, its themes, its instrumentation, Martsch’s singing, the cellos — everything is, just, well, peculiar. And catchy too, we might add.

What’s strange too is that 15 years later and BtS finally release another song that catches my ear. Get this: it’s about the same shit as “Car”. The chorus’ second couplet is the exact sentiment the band captured all the way back in 1994: “No one knows cuz no one wants to / know what’s in their minds.” A decade and a half after “Car” and the band is still grappling with the same issues — dreams, the mind, reality — but this time it’s not mystery hiding away, it’s human nature denying us answers. No one wants to know.

Note that this kind of skepticism about mankind fits nicely with caricatures of bitter old men, which BtS could be. Lucky for you, they just aren’t. An older Martsch (maybe wiser, too?) still sings like his senses are overwhelmed, the high tone in his voice and the cadence retaining the bemused style of 1994. And Martsch keeps observing, in a way: “Every day / something strange / I can’t explain / happens to me / often I am called by name to clean up Aisle 13.” The mess, we imagine, is the result of flabbergasted adolescents stumbling up and down the aisles, knocking milk off the shelves. This time BtS assume the role of reassuring father figure, “don’t be all / so all afraid / everyone / has weird dreams.”

Sure, the message isn’t mind-blowing — but it doesn’t have to be. The band knew something all along: that milk, it was built to spill. Don’t worry about cleaning up, 15 years later and BtS still have you covered.

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