Archive | September, 2015

Certain Songs #327: Dogmatics – “Thayer Street”

dogmatics Album: Everybody Does It
Year: 1986

Possessed by the same rock ‘n’ roll spirit as The Replacements — not really hardcore, but fueled by punk rock — all that Boston’s Dogmatics lacked was a singer and songwriter as world-beating as Paul Westerberg. (Which, to be fair, was the same for 99% of every other band ever.)

Their two records — 1984’s Thayer Street and 1986’s Everybody Does It — were full of song titles like “MTV-O.D.,” “Pussy Whipped” “Hardcore Rules,” and “Shithouse.” And the one song you might remember — “Teenage Lament” — had the chorus “Why must I be a teenager on drugs?”

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Certain Songs #326: Dobie Gray – “Drift Away”

drift away Album: Drift Away
Year: 1973

I can’t even begin to tell you how much this song speaks to me. All I can tell you is this: it was one of those songs that was peaking on KYNO-AM just as I started listening like a fiend, meaning that I sometimes heard it several times a day as it rode its way to number 5.

But if this isn’t the greatest song ever written about the power of music, it’s way up there. And the first time 10-year-old Jim realized that people whose lives have been bettered by great songs could make great songs about how great songs made their lives better.

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Certain Songs #325: Dixie Chicks – “Sin Wagon”

dixie chicks fly Album: Fly
Year: 1999

This is all because of Rox. She’s always been a fan of country music — especially tough-chick country music — and in the years just after we got married, nobody was bigger or tougher than the Dixie Chicks.

Had they not been so popular, they would have slotted easily into the alt-country that I’d been a fan of since Rank and File, but their popularity was part of what made them great.

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Certain Songs #324: Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy – “Music And Politics”

hypocrisy Album: Hypocrisy is the Greatest Luxury
Year: 1992

Oh fuck this song. Fuck it for the goddamned jazz guitar, effortlessly played by Charlie Hunter. Fuck it for Michael Franti’s crooning on the chorus. Fuck it for pretty melody he’s crooning.

But most of all, fuck this song for capturing exactly who I was as I was living the 30th year of my life.

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Certain Songs #323: Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy – “Television, The Drug of The Nation”

hypocrisy Album: Hypocrisy is the Greatest Luxury
Year: 1992.

Look at all of the words! In the name of the artist. The name of the album. The name of the song. So many words!

In 1992, Michael Franti had a lot of words floating around in his head, and with the help of his partner-in-crime, Rono Tse, Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprosy put out an album where Franti said every single of those things over beats and sound collages that didn’t really sound a whole hell of a lot like anything else anybody was doing.

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