Every album mentioned in Mystery Jets’ ‘Greatest Hits’

Let’s talk about Mystery Jets.

They’re a four- (and sometimes five-)piece indie band from London, and they’ve made it hard for them to enjoy future success because one of their most popular songs is called “Greatest Hits.”

With the kind of clever, catchy nod to the past that I always think is cool, the lyrics are full of references to some of the greatest albums in pop music history, as a couple’s massive record collection is cleaved in two during a breakup.

Here are the lyrics. I’ve linked every album to Spotify for your enjoyment and edification.

You can take The Lexicon of Love away
But I’m keeping Remain in Light
You can take away It’s A Shame About Ray
But I’m holding on to Country Life
Well you can keep No Need To Argue and I’ll keep The Aeroplane Over The Sea
But hold on to The Boy With The Arab Strap
‘Cause I’m holding on to Village Green

I don’t know if the knot just needs untangling
Cassette tapes get stuck all the time
But either way I’m keeping Double Nickels On The Dime

These were our greatest hits
The best of me and you

I still remember buying you Band On The Run
On the first day that we kissed
But you always did prefer McCartney One
‘Cause it reminded you of being a kid
No way you’re having This Nation’s Saving Grace
You only listen to it when you’re pissed
But when you sober up, it’s always why the fuck
Are you still listening to Mark E. Smith?

I don’t know if the knot just needs untangling
Or if we forgot which way’s up and which way is down
But still the tape keeps going round and round…

These were our greatest hits
The desert island discs
The best of me and you

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This cutie and her family took me in for Thanksgiving in NYC. I only snuck off to check the score of the Cowboys game twice. That’s a win for everyone.

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December 8, 2013 · 12:32 am

Big 10: Cover Songs (Of The Last Decade)

To quote Neil Strauss, “The beauty of music is that the intent maybe belongs to the artist, but the significance is the property of the beholder.”  Music inspires, and when the result of that inspiration is a reinvention, it’s really a high-risk, high-reward scenario.

Hearing a cover song done right can be goosebump-inducing, heart rate-spiking, and soul-feeding.  It’s finding a new song that’s an old favorite.  While I don’t presume to have combed the earth for a definitive list, these ten are, in my opinion, the best of the last ten years.

10. Changes – Seu Jorge After The Life Aquatic launched him into the teeny, tiny indie spotlight, Jorge’s David Bowie covers started drawing huge praise.  That’s Portuguese he’s speaking, and it’s more or less a direct translation of Bowie’s songs.  This isn’t always the case though – occasionally he’ll write entirely new lyrics with no one (aside from Earth’s 1.7 billion Portuguese speakers) the wiser.

9. Panic – Spoon A staple of their concerts for years, Spoon does this Smith’s cover fairly straight.  Morrissey is never an easy act to follow, but Britt Smith understands the inherent live power in the song.  Hipster anarchism doesn’t require several takes in the studio.  All it needs is a packed house screaming, “Hang the DJ!”  [Sorry for the poor video quality.]

8. Thriller – Imogen Heap Some covers just come out of nowhere.  A revamped, unrecognizable piano melody doesn’t give away the secret until she explains just what time it is.  No zombies, no Vincent Price, no claw-dancing, just a stripped-down, haunting voice with a build-up and come down that may be more scary than MJ’s original.

7. Heartless – The Fray Yeezy’s self-pitying dip into the done-me-wrong category found its way into the hands of the self-pitying, done-me-wrong alt pop kings.  The lyrics stand up surprisingly well given the liberal Ebonics sprinkled throughout and the whole thing is boosted with an adolescent doodles video, steeped in brooding hormones, that must be seen to be appreciated.

6. Handle With Care – Jenny Lewis with The Watson Twins It’s an indie music fan’s wet dream! Just the idea that M. Ward, Conor Oberst, Ben Gibbard and Jenny Lewis were even around each other at the same time is of a Malta / Yalta level of epic.  Not that the original group was anything to sneeze at — Roy Orbison, Jeff Lynne, Bob Dylan, Tom Petty and George Harrison made up the Traveling Wilburys, giving new meaning to the term ‘supergroup.’  Lewis and crew peel back layers until it’s vulnerable and emotive in a way that claims the song for a whole new generation.

5. Baby I’m Yours – Arctic Monkeys The anti-thesis of Imogen’s Thriller cover, Alex Turner shelves his usual cynicism and pretty much goes note-for-note with Barbara Lewis’ original, maybe slightly inching up the doo-wop.  It’s a heartfelt lyric with more cleverness than is usually expected from this type of pop.  Wikipedia says it has been covered by eight other artists, but it’s the Monkeys’ that proves Brit-Pop and Doo-Wop make cozy bed partners.

4. Hurt – Johnny Cash Had to have seen this one coming, folks. Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor explains.  “Tears welling, silence, goose-bumps… Wow. [I felt like] I just lost my girlfriend, because that song isn’t mine anymore… It really made me think about how powerful music is as a medium and art form. I wrote some words and music in my bedroom as a way of staying sane, about a bleak and desperate place I was in, totally isolated and alone. [Somehow] that winds up reinterpreted by a music legend from a radically different era/genre and still retains sincerity and meaning — different, but every bit as pure.”  Cash’s gravelly, death-bed rendition will land on lists of greatest covers for a long time to come.

3. Smile Like Your Mean It – Tally Hall Because they already have their own reputation and fan base, songs aren’t something you can cover half-ass.  The best have fearlessness, confidence, and vision.  Tally Hall’s cover of The Killers’ cut from 2004’s Hot Fuss has all of the above and more.  Going straight for the proverbial jugular, Tally Hall packs gospel harmonies, whistling, and even a xylophone into a tight 3:12 runtime.  The band retains the song’s core element: a hyper-produced wistful nostalgia, but wraps up the whole thing in a surreal, spiritual package.

2. We Will Become Silhouettes – The Shins The Postal Service’s original, a synth-burping juggernaut of rhythm, certainly has its time and place, but this acoustic reinvention is an absolutely gorgeous three minutes of music.  Already masters at juxtaposing dark lyrics with upbeat melodies, it doesn’t take much for The Shins to make this theirs.  A guitar solo here, harmonies there and voila, you’re left with a tune that outshines the original, both in terms of accessibility and overall fun.

1. I’m Going Down – Vampire Weekend Originally tested out on the road, Vampire Weekend finally laid this down, down, down in the studio for iTunes Sessions.  It derives from Springsteen’s seemingly bottomless Born In The U.S.A. album.  And while VW infuses their trademark glossy, sun-drenched style, it’s the singing that pushes it over the top.  Smooth-faced vocals resonate so much more authentically with the lyrics — how many of us can seriously picture a girl impervious to the smoldering Boss?  Exactly.  No, it’s the anxious, post-adolescent pipes of Ezra Koenig that punctuate the song’s resignation.


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Big 10: Teenage Love Songs

With just ten months left on the clock ticking off my teenage years, and with another meaningless Valentine’s Day rapidly approaching, I thought it would be a fun idea to celebrate the special awkward affections that constitute the “love” that teens everywhere feel.  It all starts the second that switch gets flipped, and you realize the other gender isn’t all that icky.  Really, it ends the same for everyone–in heartbreak.  Can one really evolve their idea of love into one compatible with an adult’s world without at some point having that idea broken or tarnished?  I don’t think so.  It’s part of growing up.  Part of learning to be less selfish. Everyone must love and lose before they can love, in my young, naive opinion.  These songs countdown the best of that ‘love’, the awkwardness, the selfishness, and when it comes to kissing, the regular substitution of enthusiasm for accuracy.

10.  I Saw You Standing There (The Beatles) – The Beatles were to evolve into the most artistically complex and musically diverse band in pop music history, but not before churning out chart-topping pop gems like this.  The first song off the Fab Four’s first album, this song introduced the world to a band that was light, airy; young gentlemen that mothers would approve of.  It’s all jangly riffs and handclaps, punctuated by swooping, smitten lyrics that center on promises of fidelity and innocuous dancing.  It validates the nervousness and subsequent uplifting payoff that that first attraction between two brings.

9.   Anyone Else But You (The Moldy Beaches) – A cover of this cut by Michael Cera and Ellen Page anchored the movie Juno, but it was always a teenage love song classic.  Sweet and goofy and never taking itself seriously.  THAT’S teenage love.  Or at least, teenage love at its best.  Musically the song couldn’t be any simpler.  The lyrics couldn’t be any plainer, any more direct.  There’s no mind games here.  The two voices connectat the ends of verses, leading up to one of the sweetest and most heartfelt choruses in indie rock. Even the Konami Code makes an appearance!

8.   Scenes From an Italian Restaurant (Billy Joel) – Joel’s sprawling epic spans seven minutes in length, ten years in story, and teenage love gained and lost by its subjects.  “Brenda and Eddie were the popular steadies, and the king and the queen of the prom / Riding around with the car top down and the radio on / Nobody looked any finer, or was more of a hit at the Parkway Diner / We never knew we could want more than that out of life /  Surely Brenda and Eddie would always know how to survive.”  That, in a nutshell, is what it’s like to be a teenager in love.  Everything your life is ahead of you and what you want is completely attainable.  And yet, Joel acknowledges and even romanticizes the other shoe falling:  Brenda and Eddie started to fight when the money got tight, and they just didn’t count on the tears.  A lesson that Joel doesn’t try to teach us, as he knows we must all learn it on our own, but it’s how he finds common ground.  Place that story inside a larger one centering on two old classmates meeting and catching up, and you have a frame story that’s poignant and perfect.

7.   Jack and Diane (John Mellancamp) – By now the little ditty about Jack and Diane isn’t so little.  It launched Mellancamp’s career into the stratosphere and made him an unintentional proponent of terrible 80’s hair styles.  In the same vein as other Mellancamp hits, this one is drenched in teenage nostalgia (hold that thought for a second, as we’re zeroing in on the king of that particular sub-genre).  It’s a simple song about the impermanence of those first thrilling relationships.  It’s never easy coming to terms with the fact that you were wrong about who you were certain was the one, especially when there’s no previous experience to draw from.  Mellancamp’s quick to remind us, however, that life goes on, and that we need to “hold on to 16 as long as you can / Changes come around real soon, make us women and men.”  Thanks, John.  Now we’re heartbroken and we’re reminded of our own crushing mortality.

6.   Leader of the Pack (The Shangri-Las) – Classic.  The first truly great teenage tragedy song.  Betty is forced by her parents to dump Jimmy after they chide her that he hails from “the wrong side of the tracks.”  Jimmy, in true James Dean bad-assery takes off on his motorcycle in the rain, and inevitably crashes and dies.  That’s when Betty vows to never forget the Leader of the Pack.  It’s a pretty stereotypical teenage pop song, as it came out in 1964, but that doesn’t negate its greatness.  The back-ups croon their ooh-wahs beautifully, and the whole thing is punctuated by Jimmy’s motorcycle revving between verses and choruses.  Billy Joel’s homage in “You May Be Right” (“Even rode my motorcycle in the raaaayyyyn”) may carry more weight when you consider that Joel once claimed to play piano on this track despite nearly everyone else involved asserting that it was some other guy named Roger.  Weird.

5. You Belong With Me (Taylor Swift) – Aw, the girl/guy-next-door syndrome.  Who hasn’t felt THAT at one time or another?  It takes a lot to cope with one’s own limitations in the romantic field.  The frustration, the longing, the almost inexpressible desire to be with someone who, naturally, doesn’t want to be with you goes hand-in-hand with teenage love.  Unrequited love is at its most romantic when teenagers are involved, after all.  Swift’s lyrics nail this feeling perfectly.  Add a catchy banjo line and some slick production, and you have another Top 10 smash for the rising princess of country music.  My only knocks on this song comes from the video.  The singer/narrator inexplicably changes everything she’s about in order finally get the guy at the video’s climactic Prom sequence!  Leaving her lonely but hopeful at the end of the song would’ve carried some much more gravity and made the entire message of the song so much more meaningful.  And the whole T. Swift playing both girls in the video is a great idea–that Avril Lavigne had three years ago.  Oh well.  (Proud I didn’t mention Kanye?  I am.)

4. Night Moves (Bob Seger) – Ladies and gentlemen, the King of Teenage Nostalgia, classic rock style. Listening to his greatest hits makes me wonder how old he is.  Perhaps he’s been roaming the earth looking for diners and dive bars since the beginning of time.  This cut is one of his best; a celebration of awkward, confusing and thrilling teenage sexual escapades.  “I used her, she used me, but neither one cared–we were gettin’ our share.”  Throw in his references to her breasts (“way up firm and high”), and every location the two of them ever had sex (“backrooms, alleys, trusty woods, out past the cornfields where the woods got heavy, out in the back seat of my ’60 Chevy”) and it’s actually a little too honest.  A gentleman never kisses and tells, Bob.  Even one “young and restless and bored.”

3. She’s In Love With the Boy (Trisha Yearwood) – Don’t stop reading!  Please!  Gimme a chance to defend this! ….  Still there?  Ok, good.  My older sister Jen made sure to pump my early formative years full of pop country songs, so occasionally I will hear a song that I’m sure I’ve never heard before, usually a country song from the 90’s, and for reasons I can’t understand I will be able to sing every lyric.  This is one of those songs, and maybe that’s why I feel so attached to it.  It picks up right where “Jack and Diane” left off, even including a throwback to the Tastee Freeze from Mellancamp’s own cut!  The down-home story of Katie and Tommy (Two incredibly stereotypical 90’s names, by the way.  See Power Rangers for more:  Jason?  Kimberly??) is twisted a little by Yearwood in the last verse, as so many country songs are apt to doing, when the listener learns that even though Tommy isn’t looked upon highly by Katie’s father, said father was just like Tommy back in the day.  When the mom defends her daughter, “Katie looks at Tommy like I still look at you!”  the admittedly predictable a-ha gotcha moment sinks in.  The music video is soul-crushingly depressing though.  Maybe that’s because it hits a little too close to home, literally.  Watch at your own risk.  [sidenote:  Chuck Klosterman, struggling to explain this song’s incredible popularity, concludes that this reference, “cuts an amazingly wide swath. […]  There are thousands of people in this country who still can’t believe Trisha Yearwood perfectly described the teenage experience of someone they know in real life.  And the amazing thing is that they’re all correct.”  His argument is that the lyrics are highly specific, yet secretly universal.  While that’s true, the fact to a sometimes lesser-degree is what makes all of these teenage love songs so great.]

2.  Hands Down (Dashboard Confessional) – A lyrical triumph centered around Dashboard frontman Chris Carrabba’s self-proclaimed greatest date ever.  Specificities and inside jokes and the meaningful little things are the building blocks of all relationships, and I’ve never heard a song so accurately understand the importance of those things.  The song also nails the frantic pacing, the risk of running off the tracks that teenage love routinely presents.  It holds great personal meaning for me, and again the highly specific/secretly universal law comes into play because everyone who hears this can apply it so well to one relationship or another.  Most importantly, the track captures the soaring invincibility that’s so easily accessible if we can just find the other person to give it to us.  Gah, it gives me goosebumps just listening to it.  Lyrically, the best song on the list.

1.  Paradise By the Dashboard Lights (Meatloaf) – Meatloaf gives us the gold standard by which all other teenage love songs are judged in this 8 minute plus epic.  Great lyrics are highlighted by the duet going on between a teenage guy just looking to get some and his date, hellbent on commitment and marriage.  The arguing and haggling between two lust-driven kids is so relatable and funny and in the end, predictable.  Props for the hilarious Phil Rizzuto announcing the boys’ advances as a baseball game.  “Here he comes rounding third base, squeeze play, it’s gonna be close, here’s the throw, the play at the plate, I think he’s gonna make it!  Holy Cow!”  Inevitably, the boy caves and promises his life to the girl for that one single night, setting him up for commitments he immediately regrets.  The music tempo changes are overly dramatic (clever, right?) and gives the idea that nothing else matters outside these eight minutes.  Which, to everyone, is an all-too-familiar feeling.  Just be glad I didn’t put up the music video.  How Meatloaf got any girl into that car with him is unfathomable.



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Big 10: Death Songs

Everything dies. Innocence, dreams, friends and colleagues, family members, ourselves. There are suicides, abortions, murders. Upbeat death songs, teenage death songs, religious death songs, accidental death songs and reflective death songs. These are the cream of the crop, though. The top ten songs about death.

10. The Show Must Go On – Queen

Queen put out their last album in October of 1991. Freddie Mercury was dead less than a month later. Because of the crushing deterioration of AIDS, Brian May doubted Freddie could even sing this song in the studio. Legend says Mercury nailed it in one take after a shot of vodka. The lyrics are startlingly emotive and vulnerable, especially for a Queen song, making it clear that it was always intended to be Freddie’s swan song. Although never directly articulated, the imminence of death is clear in every bold, meaningful chorus that Freddie belts out, desperate to get the final word in before the curtain falls. Not surprisingly, this one was voted the most popular funeral song in all of Europe not too long ago.

9. Candle in the Wind – Elton John

Although originally penned for Marilyn Monroe, this song didn’t really get huge until Elton tweaked it a bit and sang it at Princess Diana’s funeral. Lyrically, this one stands out because of its imagery. The lost, exploited girl with no anchor, adrift in a sea of celebrity, resonates with the image of Princess Di so clearly that Elton’s 1997 version of the song became the biggest-selling single of all-time. It’s really just a eulogy in a song—a tribute that nearly rivals its subject in beauty and grace. A pretty song, and like the best funerals, you get a sense of closure when it’s over.

8. Arc of Time – Bright Eyes

The one thing that puts this song in stark contrast to the first two, is how surprisingly upbeat it is. Hand claps punctuate the already meaningful drumline, and by the final verse Conor Oberst sounds positively joyous. First time I’ve ever heard someone sing “You will die, die, die, die” without questioning their hormone levels. And while the melody is catchy, like many Bright Eyes tunes the lyrics are the main draw. Conor Oberst’s message is clear: death’s presence is out of our hands, but our reaction to it is not. The choice to embrace it or run from it is our own. At first glance, this song sounds Christian, but in my opinion the song is more about finding your own salvation and clinging to it before death comes. Which, as Oberst kindly reiterates, is swift indeed.

7. Ocean Breathes Salty – Modest Mouse

The fifteen minutes I spent listening to this song, watching the video, and reading the lyrics got me approximately nowhere. Talking with Logan and Levi though, I’m getting a much more fleshed-out opinion. I believe it’s about two lovers, one very Christian and morally-centered, and the other a much more cynical Atheist. The Christian has died, and the other one is filled with bitterness at the loss. He’s torn between standing for his beliefs and hoping to see his lover in the afterlife. The guitar is haunting; a solid wall of somberness. Wah-wahs weave between Isaac Brock’s frustrated lyrics, and the listener is left pondering the same questions about the afterlife that plague the singer.

6. Keep Me in Your Heart – Warren Zevon

Months away from dying of inoperable cancer, Zevon put out his final album The Wind to say goodbye. Everybody from Billy Bob Thornton to Tom Petty and Bruce Springsteen helped him with it, and it was the biggest success of his career. This track is a look inside to a man who’s made his peace with his own death. It’s noble and dignified and just generally awesome. The music is Zevon’s standard folk rock, and it’s the lyrics that propel it so high. He reminds us that it’s the little things we end up missing about a person after their gone, and the importance to love in the moment. Plus it made an amazing appearance in Boston Legal when Michael J. Fox’s character (who’s dying of lung cancer, coincidentally) is about to leave the show.

5. Eleanor Rigby – The Beatles

The Beatles’ classic about loneliness and the consequences of never finding true love rolls in at number five. It’s a sweeping orchestral epic, inasmuch as a 2:11 song can ever be, and there’s over 60 cover versions out there to prove just how relatable it is. The lyrics are desolate and for the most part unforgiving: Both Eleanor Rigby and Father McKenzie need somebody to love—but don’t meet up until Father McKenzie is conducting Eleanor’s funeral. And then there’s the string arrangement, which is brilliant and probably primarily responsible for the song’s insane popularity. Just listening to the music’s instrumental is cool enough—it already sounds like a lonely funeral dirge—but add Paul’s lyrics and you have one of the greatest songs of all-time. It’s down so low because at heart it’s a loneliness song, but it surprised me just how often death and loneliness go hand in hand.

4. All Things Must Pass – George Harrison –

George says this song reflects how the ‘essence of the soul’ is the only thing that resists change. “None of life’s strings can last,” he sings. Released almost immediately after The Beatles broke up, Harrison sings to the thousands of fans across the world who’ve been crushed to learn their favorite band has split. The lyrics are somehow depressing and uplifting at the same time, again harkening back to George’s stated quest “to achieve duality of all things.” Crazy what doing drugs in India will make you think. However, bursts of brass and Harrison’s ever-present guitar make the song anything but crazy. Instead it’s one steady, beautiful march. I don’t think it was until Paul McCartney sang this at George’s funeral though, that it gained immortality.

3. Dead! – My Chemical Romance –

One of the rules on these lists is one song per artist. If there’s ever been a time to break that rule it was looking at My Chemical Romance. Welcome To The Black Parade is a modern rock opera; an all-around strong piece of music. And it’s a concept album about death! Kinda! Alas, I picked just one track. In my opinion, the most death-centric (ok, that’s kind of a cop-out. I mean, look at the title) jam on the album. From the tasty guitar solo in the opening to the epic la-la’s at the end, this song dominates every second it’s playing. It isn’t bashful about the message that frankly, no one cares if you die. Being confronted with that fact might be just depressing enough to make you kill yourself to end it early. “If life ain’t just a joke, then why are we laughing?”

2. Tears in Heaven – Eric Clapton

Conor Clapton was in pre-school when he fell 53 stories to his death in New York in 1991. Overcome with grief and regret—mostly due to himself being a terrible father—Eric Clapton withdrew into his own world. He emerged the next year with this moving ballad worth three Grammies and a place as one of the best death songs in history. Classic Clapton fretwork compliments unguarded (and rightfully legendary) lyrics: “Would you know my name / If I saw you in heaven?” Listening to the song is one thing, but listening to it and imagining the pain Clapton had to feel knowing his heroin and alcohol addictions obliterated his shots at being a decent dad is tough to fathom. It adds so much weight to an already heavy jam.

and number one…

1. Don’t Fear the Reaper – Blue Oyster Cult –

I don’t even really feel like I have to justify this song because the lyrics already do such an amazing job: “The door was open and the wind appeared / The candles blew and then disappeared / The curtains flew and then He appeared.” That’s some spooky stuff. Not to mention it’s graced by one of the most recognizable guitar riffs in rock history. Seriously, this song has it all: death incarnate, haunting background vocals, and a face-melting guitar solo. I guess, come to think of it, there IS one thing wrong with this song.  Needs more cowbell.



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Always protect the oxen.

Butterflies aren’t something I get anymore. For me, they’re reserved to memories of coming back in from recess and propping up the library’s pillows next to the cute girl before Mrs. Cole resumes Where The Red Fern Grows. Or praying that the Oregon Trail team I named after the members of N*Sync didn’t die of dysentery before I could get Lauren Nichols’ attention.

Justin killed a bear that weighed 3400 pounds, but was only able to carry 13 pounds.

It took awhile before I could differentiate between the good butterflies and the ones that suddenly plunge my stomach thirty flights after imagining skin scraping pavement. I guess that’s your mind’s early warning mechanism. Being with girls is like grinding your face against asphalt. In fact, I guess part of me assumed I’d outgrown them with my custom-made Hulk pajamas. When I felt them again, the good kind, I couldn’t even place the sensation at first. It was like finding an old toy you use to play with when you were little. It looks and feels the same, but you’re not quite sure what to do with it—the nostalgia plays tricks on you.

I thought new-found cynicism killed the butterflies. Turns out, it was the departure of surprise. They’re rooted in fear stemming from the unexpected; the old “that which we do not know.” The fear isn’t bad though. Not the kind I feel, at least. It’s true my sense of anticipation is demolished—and that legitimately scares me—but it is fun to just feel them again. They remind me of when my only concern was whether I would be first pick or second pick… when snacks were plenty and math was simple. Back then, everything was easier. Now it’s just fun to kick back and coast. That seems to be your forte.

I pretty much live for music. One of my biggest regrets in life is not being a musician. Music’s always been a driving force in me growing up. I learned my geography from Buffett and my history from Joel. To me, though it’s depressing to think that we’ll never hear some of our favorite bands. Our would-be favorite songs sometimes never reach our ears. And while the internet boasts godsends like Pandora radio and iTunes Genius feature to do miracle work to narrow that gap, they can only do so much. Out of my three favorite bands right now, The Strokes, Ben Folds Five, and Hot Hot Heat, I haven’t known of any of them for longer than a year.

That’s why it’s so exciting for me to discover a new band or song I love. In this giant game of reverse minesweeper, to me, that’s one more hit. I’m hoping I can get some help from you guys. Can you do me a favor and post your favorite obscure song or band? I promise I’ll check ‘em out.


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Borington-Bear, crucified cats, and porcelain presents.

**originally posted on April 13th on my myspace page**

8:03 PM (Mountain Standard Time): Nolan and I decide to have some Mexican food because Easter’s a special day. We discuss how we need to make a fun night out of this, because fun nights are running out quicker than Medicare. *zing!* Jazlyn keeps us entertained with her texts though, and talk turns serious when Nolan and I discuss how we’re basically accountability buddies. I’m going to need him on speed dial on those rainy, Oregon mornings when the snooze button is more tempting than Brooklyn Decker covered in melted Swedish fish.

8:13 PM: It isn’t much of a party. While Nolan and I can always manufacture fun, it’s easier with more people on the assembly line. Lance is the missing link. We pick him up at the gym… Kinda. He has to walk a little bit because I’m a quasi-tard and can’t figure out how to get into the gym’s parking lot.

8:22 PM: How many well-behaved slightly-nerdy kids does it take to come up with a fun idea? More than three apparently.

8:27 PM: A joke turns into a mission, as we decide to randomly follow cars for as long as we can. Once they reach their destination, we do the slow drive-by before speeding off as fast as Sascha (my decade old purple Camry) will allow.
8:35 PM: This is turning out better than expected. You can almost see the light bulb and the gnawing panic during that moment of realization that they’re being followed. We debate the legality of what we’re doing.

8:41 PM: A promising group of girls in a sporty red car (we also discuss how easily our lingo becomes associated with the Dahmers and Bundy’s of the world) pull into their driveway and drop someone off. They literally stay there for ten or fifteen minutes, causing us to give up.

8:50 PM: We meet out match. A dirty Suburu Hatchback with a bike mounted to the top and wildlife license plates gives us the runaround for quite a while. The car’s plain appearance encourages Lance to name him Mr. Boring: “‘with my boring license plates that aren’t even normal. I don’t even speak English I’m so boring’,” he drawls.

8:52 PM: Mr. Borington (as we’ve taken to calling him) tries to give us the slip in a dead end. Instead, we park in front of the entrance/exit and wait for his next move. The Mexican Standoff lasts almost a full minute, and Borington (he’s lost honorific privileges at this point) pretends to pull into a driveway. We pretend to buy it, and park nearby out of sight.

8:55 PM: Now Borington is tailing us, as we leave just seconds before him. No doubt he’s taking my license plates and calling me in. Well played, Borington.

9:00 PM: We shake him and wind up behind him, thanks to my expert maneuvering. Borington Bear (as I’ve taken to calling him) is in our sights once more. Eager to put a face on my white whale, I pass him on Central. He’s a normal-looking college-aged cyclist who looks a little scared. He won’t make eye contact. I try to slow down and get behind him, but he won’t let me. So I go slower. So does he. By this time we’re going five to ten miles below the speed limit on Central and I’m getting nervous. Borington Bear will not let me get behind him again. So I slip in front of him and go even slower, daring him to pass me. Traffic streams by on the left, as the three of us duel with Borington Bear. Finally, we reach an intersection and I decide to see if he’ll follow me. How much does Peter Borington-Bear (his final name) love the thrill of the chase? He doesn’t take the bait though, and as we turn and loop around to follow him again, we see him pull into Blockbuster. Followed by a cop. Touché, PBB. You win this round. We take a side street and slink into the night.

9:33 PM: After decided the group needs more estrogen, we meet up with MacKenzie and Kylie. MacKenzie’s idea of a good meeting place is Zimmerman Park. Nolan and I agree it’s a better meeting place for a Satanic worship group. MacKy finally agree to take my car, though we’re not totally sure if it’s been tabbed by the cops.

9:57 PM: Rehashing the Borington story for the girls is the main highlight. Everyone freaks out when I drive past the Police Department, and I search for justification that we’re not going to get arrested by pointing to a gang of gangbangers bangin’ down the street. I point out that they’re not getting arrested, so what’re we worrying about? Several of them stop and turn, one points at me, and I realized my loud voice has carried over to them. Part of me thinks this was my plan all along, and the other part hits the gas pedal and gets out of Dodge before they gat us.

10:28 PM: Somewhere in the conversation, the Crucified Cat crops up. Neither Kenzie nor Kylie has seen it, but Kylie thinks it’s a hoax. I almost driving up a one-way the fun way, and we spot the ill-lit stoop. Kylie covers up her bawk-bawking by saying she thinks there’s an alarm that goes off. Kenzie has more courage and walks up the steps. If you’ve ever seen the Crucified Cat, you can imagine her reaction. It was nearly as bad as Dustin and mine. She sprints around the corner to the car and for some reason singles ME out to be pissed at. Upon reflection, I wonder if the cat is risen, what with yesterday being Easter and all…

11:10 PM: MacKy heads back to Kylie’s house and we drop off Nolan after I fail to convince him to skip class tomorrow and hang out with us longer. Some accountability buddy I am. It’s down to Lance and me.

11:15 PM: Leaving Nolan’s street we notice a toilet someone has set out for the garbage man the next morning. “Wouldn’t it be a great idea…” Yes, it would. I try to lift the toilet, and the water inside spills all over my feet. I freak OUT. “ABORT MISSION! ABORT MISSION!” I yell, and we peel away as the house’s garage door opens.

11:20 PM: Thoughts keep returning to that can, as if it was placed there for the singular purpose of us stealing it. We call Anders, and surprisingly he’s in, so we swing by and pick him up. The only question that remains is where to put it.

11:33 PM: A target is proving to be hard to pick. Both Lance and Anders want to put it on a church, but I don’t wanna make a religious statement. Ideally, it would be somewhere public. Somewhere funny. Then it hits us before we know it. Naples and Ahoy.

11:59 PM: The house on Naples and Ahoy has gotten more than its share of underwear in its mailbox. It’s a rite of passage among our friends. Well tonight they’re going to get a little more.

12:23 AM: Conquering the toilet proves simple. Lance drains the water, and Anders bags it up. The porcelain present is loaded.

12:37 AM: Just plunking the toilet on their driveway isn’t flashy enough. We have to TAUNT them. The three of us hit up Wal-Mart for sidewalk chalk and liquid courage On the way to the target, we plan. I’ll write the note; Lance and Anders will jettison the package.

12:49 AM:


1:10 AM: I crawl into bed. What a fantastic night.

Had to get that out while it was still simmering in my mind.

One Battle of the Songs, a Big Ten, and Dustin up soon!


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