Wednesday, December 01, 2004

The Top Hari songs of 2004

(This is the unedited version of an article I submitted to WBOR 91.1 FM's zine Flip Your Shit)

The Top Hari Songs of 2004
(Chosen based on their place in the soundtrack of my life, and their joke making potential in this piece.)

By A Former WBOR Music Director

Frou Frou “Let Go”

This song served as the soundtrack to the best trailer in the history of the world! I’m not really sure what “there’s beauty in the breakdown” really means, but it seemed to make perfect sense in the minute long video clip this song accompanied. Too bad Garden State, as a whole, was a very disappointing picture that attempted to tie a bunch of humorous, and well-written, individual scenes together with an uninteresting plot and some very pretentious, directorial decisions. The soundtrack is pretty solid, but is not used in a subtle manner, but simply to jerk emotion. The end was unpredictably predictable in that you didn’t expect something so trite out of a film that tries unsuccessfully to be something bigger than it is. Even the brilliant acting of Natalie Portman-Kondabolu could not save this picture from “artsy-fartsy” disease.

But this is not supposed to be about Zach Braff’s disappointing directorial debut, or how he looks like the “Michael Bolton” character from Office Space. (I even made a bet with my friend about this after the movie, and was embarrassed to find out they weren’t the same guy!) What was I talking about…oh yeah…this is not about that dumb movie, but this really dope song. Seriously, it’s awesome.

Avril Lavigne “Don’t Tell Me”

“Did you think that I was gonna give it up to you, this tiiiiiimmmme?”

I will now answer this question for the boy she directed it to:

“Yes, of course I did. You are loud, obnoxious and my friends make fun of me because I am dating you instead of someone who deserves to be famous. ‘So she’s dumb, rude, not particularly attractive without her face paint, a terrible song writer, and doesn’t even know who David Bowie is. You’re having sex with her though, right?’ What am I supposed to tell them, Avril???”

And, of course, there are these darling lyrics:
I'm gonna ask you to stop, thought I liked you a lot, but I'm really upsetGet outta my head, get off of my bed, yeah that's what I said

It’s like she took a class called The Dr. Seuss Guide to Writing Angsty Teenage Poetry… and only got a C+.

All Avril Lavigne songs are short, catchy, and completely self-indulgent. The only reason why this particular song is on the list is because my friends and I have a good time singing it in the car (usually when we are driving to and from Loserville or Virgin City.)

P.S. For those of you who don’t get the reference, Avril mispronounced David Bowie’s name during a Grammy Nominations ceremony a few years back. She pronounced it like Pavement’s “Wowee Zowee,” which is another reference she wouldn’t get. (I’m so awesome because I’ve heard of Pavement!)

P.P.S. There is no such place as Virgin City. If there was, the population would be dwindling because of the male citizens’ inability to recreate life…as a result of their inability to ask girls for phone numbers instead of screen names.

P.P.P.S. Loserville is code for the Loews Raceway movie complex in Westbury, New York where my afformentioned loser friends and I see films. On Friday nights, we are usually the only guys under 25 there without dates. Sometimes I attempt to make us look better by yelling things like “Man, when are the girls supposed to meet us again? If they don’t hurry up, they might miss the movie!” before the movie starts. I’m pretty sure, however, that people can tell by my friend’s “Mr. T: Pity the Fool” T-shirt that we are lying to ourselves and everyone else in the theatre. Anyway…FUCK YOU AVRIL!

Preston School of Industry “Caught in the Rain”

From the title alone, you can tell that this folk influenced rock tune, from a band that includes a former member of Pavement, will be played along with “Splish Splash” during rain delays in ball parks across the country. Personally, it reminds of a great sandwich I ate this summer in Seattle at a hip sandwich joint called The Honey Hole. Though I am not certain, I have a feeling that everybody in there had their nipples pierced, and was in a band that was probably too cool for any of us to know about. Anyway, back to the point: That was a great sandwich! Here is a description of this fine piece of man-made heaven from The Honey Hole website:

“Texas Tease: In-house smoked and shredded breast of chicken smothered in homemade BBQ sauce, served with red onions and Tillamook sharp cheddar cheese on a fresh French roll”

This marvelous song by Preston School of Industry accompanied that mythical feast, and makes my mouth water whenever it plays.

Jay-Z “99 Problems”

We are used to rappers flaunting their MC skills, their wealth, and their sexual prowess, but this is a new one. Jay-Z is flaunting his ability to not be affected emotionally by lady folk. And not just in the “women are objects, I don’t care about them” way that we have become accustomed to. In the chorus to “99 Problems,” Jay-Z states:

“If you’re having girl problems, I feel bad for you, son. I’ve got 99 Problems, but a bitch ain’t one.”

He’s like Buddha. He has found enlightenment. He is free from desire… kind of. He’s not free from all desire, he’s just not stressing about women anymore.

This song is so powerful that even sensitive liberal boys can jump up and proclaim to all that will listen:

“IF YOU’RE HAVING GIRL PROBLEMS, I FEEL BAD FOR YOU, SON. I’VE GOT 99 PROBLEMS BUT A …A…girl who is not very nice, but still does not deserve to be called the b-word, even though she tore my heart out of my chest for the sole purpose of raising her own pitiful self-esteem…AIN’T ONE!”

Seriously, this anthem could lead to boys around the country finally throwing out the journals they’ve kept since the 8th grade.

Not me though, I don’t keep a journal to talk about my feelings. I imagine that some boys deal with their emotions by keeping logs of the day’s major events and writing poetry about all the girls they’ve liked…but not me! I just imagine that…you know… umm…anyway… FUCK YOU AVRIL!

The List Exists “Barcelona”

Yes, three of the members are from Bowdoin. And yes, I am friends with everyone in the band. And yes, I cheer for their success not only because I care for these kids, but because I plan to find a way to get a cut of any future monies they may make. But even if you take away the friendships…. and my plans to exploit these friendships…this song off their debut EP Barcelona (currently out of print, but I can burn you a copy for 8 bucks) is still stellar. The comparisons to Sigur Ros and Radiohead are unavoidable, but why is that such a bad thing? The musicianship, and creativity are top-notch and lead singer Matt Lajoie’s voice is getting sweeter and stronger by the minute. They’re like Sunny Day Real Estate (think LP2) in that I have no idea what Matt is saying most of the time, but the sounds are so beautiful that it doesn’t really matter. I generally just make up lyrics as the music plays. “Hari is so great…I love him so…I’m just trying to figure him ouuutttt…trying to see what he wants from me…probably thirty perceeennnt.”

OutKast “Hey Ya”

Yes, yes…it’s from 2003, what’s your point?

Hari's REAL Top 10 Songs of 2004

1. Preston School of Industry- Caught in the Rain
2. Faithless- Mass Destruction (single mix)
3. Modest Mouse- Float On
4. Interpol- Evil
5. Franz Ferdinand- Jacqueline
6. The Killers- Mr. Brightside
7. Arcade Fire- Neighborhood #2 (Laika)
8. The List Exists- Barcelona
9. Walkmen- The Rat
10. Willy Mason- Oxygen


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