If your life were a movie, what would the soundtrack be?
1. Open your music library (iTunes, Winamp, Media Player, iPod, etc).
2. Put it on shuffle.
3. Press play.
4. For every question, type the song that's playing.
5 . When you go to a new question, press the next button.
6. Don't lie and try to pretend you're cool.
Opening credits: The Decemberists, "Clementine"I’m not sure I’ve actually listened to this song before, but it’s pretty slow and mellow and a little bitter. The kind of song that should be playing over a cold, late-fall panning shot of mostly-bare trees shedding dead brown leaves over a deserted suburban street. Like "what if American Beauty’s opening shot was filmed in November." It does not bode well for the tone of the film.
Incidentally, Colin Meloy (the lead singer, who I love dearly) says at one point "I’ll play the clarinet," which is the instrument that I ruefully played for my three years of band. Score one for the Windows Media Player shuffle.
Waking up: Pinky & The Brain, "The Parts of the Brain" Wouldn’t this be better for the first day of school? Brain and Pinky are singing the various parts of the brain to the tune of “Camptown Ladies.” As fun as this song is, I am certainly not this cheery in the morning.
First day of school: Mojo Nixon, "Disney is the Enemy" Another song I’ve never heard (there’s a large component of music on my hard drive stolen from various roommates, people on networks, and blindly downloaded from artists I like). Mojo’s railing against corporate, capitalist, hegemonic McSociety. I guess this could work for a first day of school.
Falling in love: The Killers, “Sam’s Town” I actually haven’t listened to either of the Killers’ full albums, just the singles on the radio. I really like those songs, and I’m digging this one too. I really should take some time to listen to these all the way through. Lyrics like "I've got this energy beneath my feet / Like something underground's gonna come up and carry me / I've got this sentimental heart that beats, / But I don't really mind that it's starting to get to me now" and "Oh, have you ever seen the lights?" are nicely relevant for falling in love, and it’s a nice, upbeat, optimistic song. Score two for the playlist.
First love song: Phish, with a live cover of "I Think We’re Alone Now I think that speaks for itself. Three points for the shuffle.
Breaking up: They Might Be Giants, "Cowtown" While this is a neat, upbeat song, it’s one of my least favorite tracks on TMBG’s second album. That’s whatever the opposite of "damning with faint praise" is, because "Lincoln" might be my favorite out of TMBG’s albums, and all the tracks are fantastic. I could see this as a break-up that has left our hero so lonely and upset that he retreats into a fantasy world. Like Homer Simpson, he feels that all his problems would be left behind if he just "lived beneath the ocean." Of course, he has to come to the realization that "our only home is bone"—is the real world—and so he returns to sanity.
I would totally stage this as a crazy, classic, “Incredible Mr. Limpet”-style animation-plus-live action sequence.
Prom: Oh Jesus, why? Okay, so there’s this Christian band, ApologetiX, and they do musically inept conservative Christian parodies of secular songs. They’re never funny, they’re never interesting, they’re usually plagued with really, really poor musicianship, and they’re great fodder for ridicule on slow days. Needless to say, I’ve got quite a few of them rotting on my hard drive, and the one which came up here is "Corinthians", a slowed-down, scansion-impaired send-up of some Linkin Park garbage (I tried so hard and got so far, etc.) rewritten to lament the fallen state of lewd, godless modern culture. It is thus doubly awful, and is like a microcosm of how much the music sucked at the five proms I’ve been to. And now, I’m turning it off.
Mental Breakdown: Presidents of the United States of America, "We Are Not Going to Make It" That’s a mouthful, but it’s a damn good song. It’s self-deprecating, while also being fun and upbeat. The band claims that they don’t have the talent or skills to make it in the industry, and I could see that being a nice mental breakdown message. Plus, songs for breakdowns should always be entertaining and upbeat.
Driving: Frankie Valli, "Grease" Because you know, there aren’t any better songs from that musical for driving. Oh well, I can’t argue with this; it is the word, after all.
Flashback: Jill Sobule, "Soldiers of Christ" A bitter send-up of right-wing Christianity and their quest to get back to "the way it used to be / The way it ought to be," a golden age "Before emancipation / Before Roe and Wade / Before they taught the little children / That they evolved from apes." Great for an anrgy flashback.
Getting back together: The Stingers, "Destiny" I can’t imagine more than one or two readers will see how pathetic this is without me explaining it, but someone’s out there laughing his or her ass off. This is a song from the third band on the ‘80s cartoon "Jem." Making this, so far, the most embarrassing song on the list.
But with lyrics like "you and me, it’s destiny / fate is on my side," at least it’s fitting.
Wedding: Jackson Browne, “Lawyers in Love” Well, it’s got the love part right, but lawyers? This is a weird song, and reminds me more of a Moxy Früvous song than anything I know by Jackson Browne. I guess it’s somewhat fitting, what with all the paperwork that goes along with marriage.
One of the lines in this goes "God sends his spaceships to America, the beautiful." I really have to wonder, what does God need with a starship?
Birth of Child: Black Crowes, “She Talks to Angels” Ugh, I very dislike this song. That doesn’t seem like it’d be a good attitude to have toward my children.
Interlude: Red Dwarf, "Potato King," An audio clip of the following scene from the episode "Quarantine," where holographic crewman Rimmer gets a virus and goes just a little bit insane.
It’s not much of a backdrop for a final battle, and it’s a spoken-word thing, so I figured I’d mention it and skip ahead to the next song.
Final Battle: James, "Tomorrow" Hm, I haven’t heard this in a long time. It seems more like a training montage or “rushing through the airport to catch the lost love before she catches the plane and flies out of your life forever” song. Maybe this battle would be more figurative, a struggle to overcome insurmountable odds and let love triumph...at least until tomorrow. Damn, I’ve got to start listening to James again.
Death Scene: Oh, perfect. The Rolling Stones, "Paint it Black" Man, I couldn’t have done that any better if it were intentional. Score 4, playlist.
Funeral song: Save Ferris, "Christmas Wrapping" The punk band’s tongue-in-cheek fatigued Jewish parody of the Waitresses’ vaguely monotone pop-Christmas song. While I want my funeral to be happy and upbeat, I don’t think this is quite what I’d choose. In fact, 5 or 6 songs later into this listening, Media Player hit up one song I know will be played at my funeral, "Baby Got Back."
End Credits: Goo Goo Dolls, "Acoustic #3" Another downbeat song, kind of returning the film to the note it began on. I’d hope “they’re not listening anyway” isn’t really a coda on my life, though.
So, it seems my life would make a strange, up-and-down movie, ending on the “down.” But I think the animated sequence in the middle would kind of balance out the depressing bits. And I like the idea of my climax being a cliché race through the airport.
"Lawyers in Love" presents a lot of stylized imagry as an indictment of the 1980s conservatism and culture. The lawyers in love part is kind of a metaphor, I suppose and references to TV dinners, Communism vs. Capitalism, patriotism and designer jeans are all capped off by one of my favorite Jackson Browne lines: "Waiting for World War III while Jesus slaves," which seems fitting for a story about the Reagan era.
My other favorite Jackson Browne lyrics are a touching love song sung to his apparent girlfriend Rosie, and his song about how he'd like to introduce a girl to his "Redneck Friend" which I can only assume is someone he knows in Mississippi.
Oh, Tom. Don't be ashamed of your secret love for ApologetiX.
Also, Narrow Way to Heaven. That speaks for itself, I think.
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