Category: The Daily Loper

Certain Songs #1047: Luna – “23 Minutes in Brussels”

Album: Penthouse
Year: 1995

Dean Wareham has always been upfront about his love for both The Velvet Underground and Television, and indeed, the influences of each band run deep in Luna’s songs, so it’s no surprise one of their very greatest songs combines an easy rolling Lou Reed-type rhythm guitar with a typically exploratory Tom Verlaine-type guitar solo.

But this time, that guitar solo is played by Tom Verlaine himself.

At first, “23 Minutes in Brussels” isn’t much more than a fuzzy, repeating guitar riff, and a lyric vaguely reminiscent of “Proud Mary,” but then it slowly builds into a lovely chorus asking a question that he probably knows the answer to.

Say a prayer
For you and me
Say a prayer
Tell me do you miss me?

Slowly, Tom Verlaine works himself into the song — a little stab after the first verse, some stings before the second chorus, but it’s after the second chorus where he — well, “takes off” doesn’t really describe it — launches into his solo, taking all the time in the world, and leaving huge amounts of space between each little run until he suddenly isn’t.

It goes on for a good long time, until Wareham starts singing the chorus over and over and over with Verlaine providing commentary and Stanley Demenski’s drums are now crashing on nearly ever beat, and by the time you realize that “23 Minutes in Brussels” has worked itself into almost a frenzy, it falls apart, and quietly meanders to its end.

“23 Minutes in Brussels”

Every Certain Song Ever
A filterable, searchable & sortable somewhat up to date database with links to every “Certain Song” post I’ve ever written.

Check it out!

Certain Songs Spotify playlist
(It’s recommended that you listen to this on Spotify as their embed only has 200 songs.)

Support “Certain Songs” with a donation on Patreon
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Certain Songs #1036: Tom Petty – “Flirting With Time”

Album: Highway Companion
Year: 2006

Finally, in the last third of his recording career, Tom Petty began to slow down a bit, releasing only five studio albums (if you count the two Mudcrutch records, and you should) between 2002’s The Last DJ and his death.

Compare that with eight albums (if you count the Traveling Wilburys, and you should) between 1976-1988, and seven (again, counting the Wilburys) between 1989-2002, and it was clear the Tom Petty was going into a more relaxed phase of his life. And why not? He’d already had a nearly unprecedented run of success, and was as beloved as any musician of his era could possibly be.

So that meant records like Highway Companion, which happened to be the third record in two separate trilogies: Tom Petty solo albums and Tom Petty albums produced by Jeff Lynne. However, unlike the fraught band politics surrounding Full Moon Fever, Into The Great Wide Open and Wildflowers, Highway Companion was just Petty, Lynn and Mike Campbell, period.

Hell, Petty even played the drums on the record and given the usual straightforward, simple songs, acquits himself quite well, especially on my favorite track, the slightly melancholy and possibly at least somewhat autobiographical “Flirting With Time.”

In 2006, of course, Petty was working with Peter Bogdanovich on the Runnin’ Down a Dream film and probably thinking about being in the music business for 30 years, which no doubt inspired verses like this:

This could well be your last stand
Hold the sunlight in your hand
Spread your fingers
Feel the sand fall through

I’ve done all I can do, now it’s up to you…

With a typically straightfoward acoustic/electric guitar mix — Campbell tossing in a lovely 12-string solo — and Lynne singing low-key harmonies, “Flirting With Time” has yet another indelible chorus in a career made on them.

You’re flirting with time baby
Flirting with time, and maybe
Time, baby, is catching up with you

With Petty’s slightly different elongation of “tiiiiiiiiimmmme” in each line providing the hooks, it’s so catchy that you might not even notice Petty double-timing on his snare to give that chorus an extra bit of oomph as they repeat it over and over at the fade.

And then you also realize that Tom Petty did much more than flirt with time, he pretty much got to fuck it.

“Flirting With Time”

Every Certain Song Ever
A filterable, searchable & sortable somewhat up to date database with links to every “Certain Song” post I’ve ever written.

Check it out!

Certain Songs Spotify playlist
(It’s recommended that you listen to this on Spotify as their embed only has 200 songs.)

Support “Certain Songs” with a donation on Patreon
Go to my Patreon page

Certain Songs #1036: Tom Petty – “Flirting With Time”

Album: Highway Companion
Year: 2006

Finally, in the last third of his recording career, Tom Petty began to slow down a bit, releasing only five studio albums (if you count the two Mudcrutch records, and you should) between 2002’s The Last DJ and his death.

Compare that with eight albums (if you count the Traveling Wilburys, and you should) between 1976-1988, and seven (again, counting the Wilburys) between 1989-2002, and it was clear the Tom Petty was going into a more relaxed phase of his life. And why not? He’d already had a nearly unprecedented run of success, and was as beloved as any musician of his era could possibly be.

So that meant records like Highway Companion, which happened to be the third record in two separate trilogies: Tom Petty solo albums and Tom Petty albums produced by Jeff Lynne. However, unlike the fraught band politics surrounding Full Moon Fever, Into The Great Wide Open and Wildflowers, Highway Companion was just Petty, Lynn and Mike Campbell, period.

Hell, Petty even played the drums on the record and given the usual straightforward, simple songs, acquits himself quite well, especially on my favorite track, the slightly melancholy and possibly at least somewhat autobiographical “Flirting With Time.”

In 2006, of course, Petty was working with Peter Bogdanovich on the Runnin’ Down a Dream film and probably thinking about being in the music business for 30 years, which no doubt inspired verses like this:

This could well be your last stand
Hold the sunlight in your hand
Spread your fingers
Feel the sand fall through

I’ve done all I can do, now it’s up to you…

With a typically straightfoward acoustic/electric guitar mix — Campbell tossing in a lovely 12-string solo — and Lynne singing low-key harmonies, “Flirting With Time” has yet another indelible chorus in a career made on them.

You’re flirting with time baby
Flirting with time, and maybe
Time, baby, is catching up with you

With Petty’s slightly different elongation of “tiiiiiiiiimmmme” in each line providing the hooks, it’s so catchy that you might not even notice Petty double-timing on his snare to give that chorus an extra bit of oomph as they repeat it over and over at the fade.

And then you also realize that Tom Petty did much more than flirt with time, he pretty much got to fuck it.

“Flirting With Time”

Every Certain Song Ever
A filterable, searchable & sortable somewhat up to date database with links to every “Certain Song” post I’ve ever written.

Check it out!

Certain Songs Spotify playlist
(It’s recommended that you listen to this on Spotify as their embed only has 200 songs.)

Support “Certain Songs” with a donation on Patreon
Go to my Patreon page

Certain Songs #495: Geto Boys – “Mind Playing Tricks on Me”

geto boys mind
Album: We Can’t Be Stopped
Year: 1991

The key to Gangsta rap’s massive popularity was, of course, larger-than-life celebrations of the dangers and rewards of the gang-banging lifestyle, as millions of teenagers who would freeze from fear from actually having live any of these scenarios got off pretending they were as hard as the guys in the songs.

Kinda like superhero comics. In fact, somebody should chart the rise of the popularity of superhero comics vs. the popularity of gangsta rap. No black superheros? Have you ever heard “Midnight” by Ice-T? That’s some Batman-level shit right there.

Anyways, my problem was that I was slightly older, so while I appreciated the reportage, the violence and misogyny always made me uneasy. So I mostly gravitated to songs that looked at the life from different angles — the devastating “Dead Homiez;” the exhilarating “Gotta Lotta Love” and the paranoiac “Mind Playing Tricks on Me.”

Rapping over a icy cool Isaac Hayes sample, the Geto Boys spin verse after verse filled with same themes that powered six seasons of The Sopranos — that a life where you fuck people over on a regular basis, a life where you could be killed at any moment — “Mind Playing Tricks on Me” tells stories that could come right out of a session with Dr. Melfi:

Day by day it’s more impossible to cope
I feel like I’m the one that’s doing dope
Can’t keep a steady hand because I’m nervous
Every Sunday morning I’m in service
Playing for forgiveness
And trying to find an exit out of the business
I know the Lord is looking at me
But yet and still it’s hard for me to feel happy
I often drift while I drive
Havin fatal thoughts of suicide
BANG and get it over with
And then I’m worry-free, but that’s bullshit

In the end, Bushwick Bill is down on his knees pounding the concrete while hallucinating a beatdown, and the song just fades to black, with no relief in sight.

And man, what if David Chase thought to score that last scene of The Sopranos to “Mind Playing Tricks on Me” instead of that fucking Journey song? Maybe it would have been too on the nose — as we see all of those folks at the diner who might or might not be ready to kill him — but it would be kind of cool to see how that scene would play.

That said, Tony Soprano wouldn’t be caught dead listening to this song,

Every Certain Song Ever
A filterable, searchable & sortable database with links to every “Certain Song” post I’ve ever written.

Check it out!

Certain Songs Spotify playlist
(It’s recommended that you listen to this on Spotify as their embed only has 200 songs.)

Support “Certain Songs” with a donation on Patreon
Go to my Patreon page

Certain Songs #495: Geto Boys – “Mind Playing Tricks on Me”

geto boys mind
Album: We Can’t Be Stopped
Year: 1991

The key to Gangsta rap’s massive popularity was, of course, larger-than-life celebrations of the dangers and rewards of the gang-banging lifestyle, as millions of teenagers who would freeze from fear from actually having live any of these scenarios got off pretending they were as hard as the guys in the songs.

Kinda like superhero comics. In fact, somebody should chart the rise of the popularity of superhero comics vs. the popularity of gangsta rap. No black superheros? Have you ever heard “Midnight” by Ice-T? That’s some Batman-level shit right there.

Anyways, my problem was that I was slightly older, so while I appreciated the reportage, the violence and misogyny always made me uneasy. So I mostly gravitated to songs that looked at the life from different angles — the devastating “Dead Homiez;” the exhilarating “Gotta Lotta Love” and the paranoiac “Mind Playing Tricks on Me.”

Rapping over a icy cool Isaac Hayes sample, the Geto Boys spin verse after verse filled with same themes that powered six seasons of The Sopranos — that a life where you fuck people over on a regular basis, a life where you could be killed at any moment — “Mind Playing Tricks on Me” tells stories that could come right out of a session with Dr. Melfi:

Day by day it’s more impossible to cope
I feel like I’m the one that’s doing dope
Can’t keep a steady hand because I’m nervous
Every Sunday morning I’m in service
Playing for forgiveness
And trying to find an exit out of the business
I know the Lord is looking at me
But yet and still it’s hard for me to feel happy
I often drift while I drive
Havin fatal thoughts of suicide
BANG and get it over with
And then I’m worry-free, but that’s bullshit

In the end, Bushwick Bill is down on his knees pounding the concrete while hallucinating a beatdown, and the song just fades to black, with no relief in sight.

And man, what if David Chase thought to score that last scene of The Sopranos to “Mind Playing Tricks on Me” instead of that fucking Journey song? Maybe it would have been too on the nose — as we see all of those folks at the diner who might or might not be ready to kill him — but it would be kind of cool to see how that scene would play.

That said, Tony Soprano wouldn’t be caught dead listening to this song,

Every Certain Song Ever
A filterable, searchable & sortable database with links to every “Certain Song” post I’ve ever written.

Check it out!

Certain Songs Spotify playlist
(It’s recommended that you listen to this on Spotify as their embed only has 200 songs.)

Support “Certain Songs” with a donation on Patreon
Go to my Patreon page