One day I put my mp3 playlist in alphabetical order by track and amused myself scrolling through and looking at the themes that show up in the music I listen to. Because I like to inflict things I find amusing on everyone around me, every week(ish) I’m gonna pick one salient theme and post links to the track with commentary about the song/my taste. Honorable mentions are tracks that don’t QUITE fit the theme, but could if you tilted your head to the right and squinted.
If you have any suggestions to add, post ‘em in the comments section.
This week’s theme….
Songs that start with NO.
It’s “no surprise” (ugh) that so many of the songs beginning with this simple, two-letter expression of defiance are filed under punk or riot grrl. From disaffected youth to wimmin and queers pissed off at their exclusion from full participation in the punk scene that purports to understand their alienation–these folks have articulation of shit that just isn’t acceptable on lock.
I wonder what this would look like if I listened to more hiphop: I imagine the list of not-okay stuff would expand from working-class drudgery and sexual assault to include the prison industrial complex, war, police brutality, and crappy rhymes. Feel free to make some recs.
No Backrub - Bikini Kill. Perfect for those evenings I feel like hunkering down at home but have tons of energy: this is the music that makes me grab my mop and throw on some shades and bound around scream-mouthing the lyrics of white housewife discontent. The mop as mic is So Meaningful, to boot.
No Drums - Tim Hecker Markedly different from the above track! This track shows up in the “sleepy sleep” ambient playlist I put on when I want to have blissful dreams where I wake up thinking about things like love and how temporary life is and other Totes Heavy Shit.
No fun – Vitalic - I admit, this track verges on the fist-pumpy Jersey Shore dude-bro house music that I avoid. That music is the soundtrack to too much freaky hate-fucking without a condom and gives me the willies. Vitalic has just enough darkness to him that I’m sure he gives that music as much side-eye as me, so I let it slide.
No God - The Germs If Darby doesn’t feel like matching his vocal track to the melody/time signature, he’s not going to be fucking bothered, mmkay?
No More – Black Flag ”Pay check to pay check, living for what?/Every night I get drunk to get sunk.” Recently a family member stopped speaking to me because I argued that poor people are allowed to have discretionary income, AND are allowed to spend that on (some) vices to deal with poverty. I don’t advocate addiction, no, but it’s not acceptable for the middle- and owning-classes to dictate through shame what poor people do with their money and their bodies. This song, for me, speaks to that.
No More Sages – Maserati This song is all rolling drums and epic post-rock guitar shenanigans. I picked the live version of this track because 1] the distortion is so wonderfully consuming and why I love live music and 2] it really focuses on Jerry, the powerhouse on the toms, et al. RIP Jerry.
No No No - Yeah Yeah Yeahs When Pitchfork was So Damn Sure that the YYYs would be a flash in the pan, they dismissed this song title as some cutesy shit (of course, if this was an all-male band I’m sure this track woulda been embraced as cheeky and ironic and fap fap fap, #justsaying #pitchforkimontoyou). But the rolling bass is great, and all the more so considering the YYYs don’t actually have a bass, while the jam at the end is a sweet little nod to 70s arena rock that serves as a not-too-subtle reminder that yea, women can rock the fuck out, thanks.
No Release – Lindstrom So Lindstrom is one of the most adorable musicians under the electronic music umbrella, and there is a very real possibility that whilst watching him do his thing at Mezzanine in SF I drunkenly hollered “I want to pinch your cheeeeeeeeeks!” in a totally sincere and non-sexual way. Also the name of this song is pretty spot-on: it just rises and rises and you keep thinking the fat four-on-the-floor beat is going to kick in and Take You There any second now and nope! You’re just gonna have to lock yrself in the bathroom and dig into your wildest fantasies and get yr damn self off, lazybones.
No Sleep - Huggy Bear Sometimes I listen to anarcho-punk and the singers are SO ANGRY that it actually kinda scares me in this really exciting cut off yr hair live in a squat smash the state kinda way, and Nikki and Karen growl-yelping THERE IS A CHOICE at the end of this (too-short) track totally ignites that desire in my heart.
No Surprises – Radiohead Wind-up sleepytime music box melodies and dark lyrics. I get it. Also, holy fuck this video and Thom’s perfectly-timed grin of victory when the water drains and the music hits its apex.
No You Don’t - Bratmobile ”I’m talking into my pillow and you’re not really there/Just waiting for the fuck, waiting, wanting for the fuck/And you don’t need it, you just want it, you don’t need it like I need it/Like I think I need it.” Right?
Saturday Night Special – Vice Squad. This song just sounds like ripped fishnets, spiky collars, and too much eyeliner (yeah right: there’s never enough eyeliner). In other words, it sounds like my teen years. From the album No Cause for Concern (get it?).
Not What You Want - Sleater-Kinney Sigh, I saw this gig. And yes, I cried my face off. This is best with the volume to eleven.
A fitting end to the first entry in this series. Or is it? Did I just put this series on indefinite hiatus? Check in next week to find out!