Tuesday, June 28, 2016
"The Ballad of El Goodo," Big Star
Oh, this song! Alex wrote it about the Vietnam war, and though I wouldn't pretend to know or understand it in that context, I do know that the world is full of El Goodos…whether they're planet-sized ones with lightning hands and the courage to speak for a nation, or smaller, quieter ones with much less significant impact and little power, whose most resilient act is to look at the world day after day with gentle and kind eyes.
P.S. President Clinton says it way better, but heck, he had more than 88 words : ) Please read his beautiful tribute to Muhammad Ali if you haven't: "In the second half of his life, he perfected gifts that we all have: Every single solitary one of us has gifts of mind and heart. It’s just that he found a way to release them in ways large and small."
Tuesday, May 31, 2016
“Someone’s Looking At You,” The Boomtown Rats
With less than 2 hours to fulfill my New Year’s promise to write 2 of these entries a month, I’m down to the wire… Luckily, this isn’t the only time Jayne Mansfield makes an appearance on ssspunerisms!
No one stares like New Yorkers riding the subway do! From that flabby man who leered directly at the bosom of a young woman whose shirt was missing a button in an unfortunate location to the bitchy ladies who size each other up, lingering on each other’s weak points (smug smiles should they spot a doughy lump, a cankle, thighs with no space in between)…this one’s for you--thanks for making the rest of us feel rotten. May your cup never be empty.
(And we still didn’t get to talk about how underrated Bob Geldof’s lyrics are.)
Tuesday, May 24, 2016
"Blood on the Dance Floor: TM's Switchblade Edit," Michael Jackson
Ira has a toy with a rainbow-colored tail he's obsessed with. It's in a cabinet, duct-taped shut because he kept opening it, rifling through like a burglar. When he gets it, it's like he still wants it. That's how I am about dancing to this song.
How it starts! There's no way to stop
your rotting shadow come out to play,
sweat blossoming into the inky stains of your shame.
You choke on air as
listing in releve
on a stiletto heel.
Thank you to whomever put this video together! Click to hear song : )!
Saturday, April 30, 2016
Number one with a bullet on Pollyanna’s playlist—ladies and gentlemen, I give you the happiest song ever!
"The Loving," XTC
A friend of mine once said that all songs have balls—some are enormous, some are small, some are hardly there at all. This song boasts a veritable bunch of balloons, big and birthday-colored, filled to a breath below bursting and delivered to you by a troupe of Siamese kittens. In lederhosen!
Seriously, though, I’m blown away by that big, fat ujjayi-breathing guitar chord in the chorus that makes you feel all oceanic. Freud might’ve really dug it if he could get past the whole ball-sizing thing.
Sunday, April 17, 2016
“Salvation,” Elton John & Bernie Taupin
The latest installment in my little series—for my mom on her birthday. (It’s not the first time my card has arrived a day late. )
At the bottom of the hill I met a man with a cane, carrying a pack of Dunhill Blues.
“I’m going to quit,” he said, "when I get to the end of the street."
“Good luck,” I said.
“I’m going to quit today.”
I saw my mother fall at the bottom of the hill.
She couldn’t talk, eyes shut to light
She squeezed my hand when she got there:
A developing Polaroid of a shy ingenue,
a violet on her first day in the world.
I don’t think I’ve shared my own video here before—it was a limited release, and supposed to be as close to a minute as possible : )
Sunday, March 27, 2016
“Glam Slam,” Prince10 years ago or so I performed a solo completely of my own design to this song in a student bellydancing showcase. I was so naive that at the time I didn’t realize my teacher disliked me, even when all she said when I was done was that my hair was nice (super-high pony tail like Pebbles Flintstone).
If songs were flowers, this is what grows when you plant horny goat weed in the Garden of Eden. Comes up something whose name I’m not sure of, blooming and blushing in the moonset, dropping her petals like a stripper and shaking butterflies out of her efflorescent ass.
P.S. In that dorky musical genealogy tree that traces everyone back to the Beatles, this is the Spandex-wearing cousin of It’s All Too Much.
Here’s the video for Glam Slam--I don’t know how to embed this one, ping me if you do!
Saturday, March 19, 2016
“Jesus Children of America,” Stevie Wonder
I’ve listened to this a gajillion times, and I’m embarrassed to say I thought he was doing a call-and-response type thing with some back-up gospel singers. Turns out he did all the vocals and played all the instruments on this song, and most of the album it came from, himself. Genius stuff going on, and I hear something different every time.
At 18, I stole my grandmother’s crucifix, pink-purple stones blushing like sunrise, and wore it to a club I lied to get into and hitchhiked home from. Alas, a fool and her crucifix soon parted…if only I’d heard the delicate tingle-jangle when it fell from my neck.
This song is that loss,
the loss of a hundred mumbled Hail Marys,
the loss that I can’t ever go home and see my mom and dad…
and the mystery that a different iteration of them will always be there.
More in my lil' series here:
"Songs I Love in 88 Words or Less: All the Children Sing"
"Songs I Love in 88 Words or Less: "Rock And Roll"