Thrift Store Haul

I stopped at the Moiliili Community Center’s thrift store a couple of Saturdays ago to look for some steals. I don’t hit the thrift shops as much as I once did, since I’m in a decluttering phase right now, but good deals on CDs I am always on the lookout for. Also a working Pentax K-1000 or Olympus OM-1 to replace my old gear, both cameras of which I somehow busted the light meters on. And good vintage video game stuff if I can get a good price. That’s not as easy nowadays as it once was.

Nothing in electronics or photography, but I picked up a cookbook (about which I may write later), one of those fundraising cookbooks where people affiliated with an organization contribute some favorite family recipe, and sales of the collection raise funds for the organization.

Four good scores in CDs, though. Each of these for a buck, and each in excellent condition, including CD inserts.

U2. All That You Can’t Leave Behind (2000, Island). I’m very familiar with this album, of course, but I didn’t have any of the songs, so a buck, less than the price of one digital track, for the whole album is a steal, especially with the CD and insert in such great shape. This was the first of my purchases to be imported into my iTunes, and I gave it a good two or three listens immediately. It’s such a beautiful album. Although I think The Joshua Tree will always be their masterpiece, the band is at its utter best on this album. And the end of “Walk On” is still among my top five U2 moments ever. That would be a good post in the near future. Spoiler: number one is Bono climbing the scaffolding at the US festival during the extended interlude on “New Years Day.” Or was it “Sunday Bloody Sunday?”

The Pogues. Peace and Love (1989, Island). One of the best things about a one-dollar price on CDs is that you can take flyers on bands you’re vaguely familiar with but have never really paid much attention to. Of course I know who the Pogues are and of course I have friends who are rabid fans, but the band has only been in my peripheral awareness for ever and ever. I totally dig the whole Irish folk-punk sound, of course, and have admired the Mighty Mighty Bosstones and the Dropkick Murphys for quite a while. Not to mention Hothouse Flowers, the Waterboys (actually Scottish, I know), and Celtic metal bands like Cruachan and Skyclad. I even suspect most of them either influenced or were influenced by the Pogues. The Pogues just never fell into my earbuds or into my lap until a few weekends ago, so here was my chance. And it’s quite good! My research tells me they got a little bit away from their traditional sound and moved more into a contemporary punkish rock sound with this album, but it’s got a great sound and I do recommend it. One dollar was a steal.

Exodus. Force of Habit (1992, Capitol). As you know, I love me some early thrash. Exodus was among the pioneers of the form, contemporaries of Metallica, Anthrax, Megadeth, and Slayer (the “big four” of thrash). In fact, Kirk Hammett was the founder of Exodus, although he never recorded with them before Metallica recruited him to be their first lead guitarist. So Exodus has always been the sorta sidenote in thrash history, probably nobody’s favorite but liked well enough. I have the first album, Bonded by Blood, but wasn’t going out of my way to get the rest unless, as it did a couple of weekends ago, the occasional CD fell into my lap for a good price. Force of Habit is everyone’s (including guitarist Gary Holt’s) least favorite Exodus album, but you know? It’s actually pretty good. It’s a leeeeetle slower than the work the band is famous for, and it has a couple of strangely conceived covers (the Rolling Stones “Bitch” and Elvis Costello’s “Pump it Up”), but it has some tasty thrash drumming by John Tempesta, some snarly vocals by Steve “Zetro” Souza, and great riffing by Holt. And of course, always that lovely, fat, bottom end. It feel optimistic but sinister at the same time, like a lot of good thrash. I can’t tell you how pleased I am that I got this for a buck; it’s actually much better than Bonded by Blood. And now I really wanna see Exodus in concert.

Twelve Girls Band. Eastern Energy (2004, Platia Entertainment). I’m least familiar with this band, who has performed in Honolulu to the delight of everyone I know who went to the show. Twelve young Chinese women playing traditional Chinese instruments, in a mostly folk-contemporary style. It’s got to be at least interesting, at least worth a buck to give it a spin, right? I haven’t gotten to it yet, so I can’t say. I’ll probably spin it sometime this week. It’s taken me this long, nearly three weeks, just to get to the Exodus album, which I’m spinning right now for the second time. This CD, in terrific shape, comes with a concert DVD as well, so although I can’t comment on the music just yet, I’m greatly looking forward to the exploration, as soon as it comes up in my queue of my too-much-media-to-consume stack. There’s a cover of Coldplay’s “Clocks” here, which could be interesting, and a cover of Enya’s “Only Time,” which seems like a natural choice.

There’s actually a thrift store on campus where I work, but it’s as far away from my office as it could possibly get and still be on campus. I walk by it all the time when I do post-work evening walks. It’s only open four hours in the middle of the day, three days a week or something like that. So it’s been tough to get to, although I may make another effort at the end of September.

Review: I See You by The xx

I See You by The xx
2017 (Young Turks)

I was watching football with my dad when a promo came on for the episode of SNL with Kristin Wiig as the host and The xx as the musical guest.  My dad has always liked Wiig, so he made a comment about being sure to see that one, and followed with a comment about how half the time he has no idea who the hosts are anymore.

“You probably don’t know who the musical guest is either, but stay awake for this one.  That’s a great band,” I said.

When the show aired six nights later and I watched it alone in my house, I left the TV on mute for everything except the Kristin Wiig sketches and the musical performance, for reasons I don’t want to get into right now.  Honestly, I didn’t want to watch SNL but I was eager for the first new music from The xx in four years.

Midway through the first song, I thought, “My dad’s not going to trust my recommendations anymore.”  It was a fine performance, but who was this band and what were they playing?  This wasn’t The xx I knew, and I didn’t know how to hear it.

But that was two months ago.  The new album, I See You, has been out two weeks, and I’ve given it six spins so far, and it’s as good as the critics say.  Somehow, it’s completely an xx album while being almost completely unlike the band’s first two albums.

“More expansive” and “less insular” were the early pre-release buzzes, and all I could think was, why would I want a less insular xx?  If anything, I want more insular.  Where the first two albums were perfect driving-at-night music for remembering everything you’ve ever regretted and every stupid thing you’ve ever said to the women you’ve loved, this new collection of songs feels more like it’s meant for tearing yourself open and letting everybody take a look at what those stupid things are.

And it feels pretty dang good.  Most of the defining elements of the xx sound are still there: the one-note-at-a-time, droning guitar riffs; the super-clean production; the breathy vocals by Romy Madley Croft that remind you of those Everything but the Girl albums you haven’t listened to in far too long.

The “more expansive” part of the new sound is in some of those wide-open spaces in the band’s composition.  The playing on the first two albums is blessedly sparse, leaving room for memories of long talks over coffee where you wondered how someone so easy to communicate with for so many years could now be a total mystery to you.  It doesn’t leave that kind of time, driving you forward so that while you don’t go quite as deep, you cover a lot more ground.

The vocals are less whispered, less eavesdropped-on, and more insistent.  The drums sound less like the slow-motion ticking of a clock in the other room and more like proper drum-playing on a good dance record.  There are strange sounds (synthesized horns, distorted tin whistles, muted humpback whale shrieks, excited walruses) all over the place, coloring in those spaces that used to make you stare into the void.  The songs are songier, with easily discernable verses and choruses.  The melodies are more varied from one song to the next, as with the almost Japanese-inflected notes in “Tell Me,” and with “A Violent Noise,” which sounds like it could have been an Of Monsters and Men song.

If I See You were the first album by The xx, and if xx and Coexist came out later, I (and you) would probably like this album best, which feels like a weird thing to say.  But it’s not, and they didn’t, and I don’t.  I like it very much.  It just doesn’t take me where I long for an xx album to take me.  8/10


  • Most unlike what you’ve heard from this band: “Dangerous,” the opening track.
  • Most xx-like: “Performance.”
  • Best song: Probably “Replica,” which is one of those you kinda don’t really hear until you hear it, and then it’s all you want to hear.
  • Second-best song: “I Dare You.”
  • Song that reminds you of Tracey Thorn: “Brave for You.”
  • Most unexpected moment: Sampled and looped vocals from Darryl Hall and John Oates’s “I Can’t Go for That (No Can Do)” on “On Hold.”
  • Best lyric (from “On Hold”):
    Now you’ve found a new star to orbit
    It could be love
    I think you’re too soon to call us old
    When and where did we go cold?
    I thought I had you on hold 

    And every time I let you leave
    I always saw you coming back to me
    When and where did we go cold?
    I thought I had you on hold


Tuesday Tunes (flashback): December 8, 2009

Another one from the archives of Music Memoirs, this one from December 8, 2009.

Let’s do a winter word association, music style: I give you some words and you tell me the artist, song etc that you first think of.

snowflake:  This is going to sound weird, but the first thing I think of is that my friend Donna (one of my inspirations for starting this online journaling thing before it was called blogging; another reason this is not a blog) chronicled her very long struggle to conceive.  When she went through IVF, the little fertilized eggs they implanted in her were her “snowflakes,” and for the early stages of her pregnancy, she referred to her soon-to-be daughter as her snowflake.  And when I think of Donna and music, I always think of Stryper.

bitter:  The bitterest song I know is Janis Ian’s “At Seventeen.”

cold:  “Cold Gin” by Kiss. Ace Frehley wrote this, but in the early days of Kiss, Ace wasn’t very confident in his singing, so Gene Simmons sang it, even though Gene doesn’t drink. Ace re-recorded it for this year’s covers album, Origins, Vol. 1, maybe the last album I bought in 2016 before I had to switch into austerity mode. It’s a pretty dang good album, and Ace’s cover of his own song is a highlight. What an infectious riff.

snuggle: “We’ll snuggle close together like two birds of a feather would be.”

kind:  “Cruel to be Kind” by Nick Lowe.  A very very good song.

tree:  Wayne and Wanda, of course.

dark:  One of the greatest albums of all time, The Dark Side of the Moon.  I’ve waxed poetic about it in this space before.  Its greatness really cannot be overstated.

long:  Huh.  I wouldn’t have predicted this, but the first thing that pops into my mind is Crosby, Stills, and Nash’s “Long Time Gone.”  I can think of twenty songs with this word in the title, but this is the one I think of first.  Not really going to complain about that.  David Crosby’s lead vocals on this are some of his best.

candy:  I can’t think of anything once I think of Bow Wow Wow’s “I Want Candy.”

special:  I have this 80s playlist in Spotify, and I spent some time adding stuff to it last night (it’s up to about 160 excellent songs).  Somehow, when I first created the playlist three years ago, I’d forgotten to include .38 Special, a band I totally loved when I was in ninth grade.  So I added some of my favorite songs by them while riding home on the bus last night.

I may have written about this before, but I got my first paying job in ninth grade, so I thought I might be able to go to my first rock concert, now that I’d be able to pay for it myself.  .38 Special was going to play, with Golden Earring opening, and I wanted so much to go!  I presented my case to my father, but I knew I was going to get a no.  It was on a school night.  My dad said he respected that I was trying to pay for my own entertainment, and all the details were in order except that he couldn’t let me go on a school night.  My parents had been consistent my whole life about school nights, so this wasn’t a shock, and I actually kind of understood.  I was prepared for no and no is what I got.  It was fine.  I saw Rush in concert a year and a half later, and I’m still proud to say that was my first show.  I think of .38 Special as almost my first concert.

Tuesday Tunes (flashback): March 2, 2010

Can’t think of anything to write, and I have to get to bed at a decent hour, so I’m doing a music meme.  The old Top 5 on Friday shut down several years ago, taking with it its midweek brother, the Tuesday Tunes.  I went here for questions from March 2, 2010.

Tell us your favorite music related:
tv show
…and why you like them.

Website:  I like a few of them, but my favorite is Metal Sucks.  Of the good music websites, it’s the least reverent (I mean, look at the title) and has some decent writing once in a while.  Mostly, I like its community of readers who (usually) leave great comments.  In 2008, it asked its readers to chime in on the practice of wearing the t-shirt of the band you’re seeing in concert, and the comments were a great mix of idiotic and hilarious.  I only visit once every few months, but I always get caught up on the weekly list of new music that comes out each Tuesday, and its annual year-end poll, first of its own writers, then of people in the music industry, and then of its readers.  It’s good stuff, and I’ve discovered a lot of my favorite music there.

Magazine:  My favorite is probably Rolling Stone, but it might be Blender, one of the first magazines I can remember that looked like a website.  It was aimed a bit younger than me, and its covers tended to feature sexy women dressed sexily (it was published by the company that also published Maxim), but its substance and writing were terrific.  For a music geek like me, who likes to get deep into the tracks and liner notes, Blender was a monthly deep-dive into music old and new, with recommendations for immediate downloads and (my favorite) a detailed look at one artist’s complete discography, with advice for where to start and where to go next if you were interested in exploring the artist.  I want to write like that someday.  I was a subscriber, and its going under was a sad day I haven’t yet gotten over.

TV Show:  I’m sure I’m forgetting something huge.  I’m going to have to go with Austin City Limits because I tend to prefer its offerings, but man.  It frustrates me that they’ll split a one-hour block of television between two great musicians sometimes, when they have enough material to go two hours on each musician.  Drives me crazy.  I haven’t seen enough of VH1 Storytellers, but I love what I’ve seen of that, too.  Is that even on anymore?  Wikipedia uses the present tense in describing it, but its listings only show one episode since 2012.

Top Ten 1980s Mainstream Songs Unexpectedly About War

I wrote this to mark Veterans Day. I (mostly) avoided songs by musicians who characteristically wrote songs about war, such as U2 and any metal band, and tried to stick to pop or mainstream rock. I ranked them by a combination of how good the song is and how unexpectedly about war it is.

Top Ten 1980s Mainstream Songs Unexpectedly About War

  1. “Walking on a Thin Line” by Huey Lewis and the News.
    1984.  Peaked at #18 on the Billboard Hot 100.
  2. “It’s a Mistake” by Men at Work.
    1983.  Peaked at #6 on the Billboard Hot 100.
  3. “Goodnight Saigon” by Billy Joel.
    1983.  Peaked at #56 on the Billboard Hot 100.
  4. “19” by Paul Hardcastle.
    1985.  Peaked at #15 on the Billboard Hot 100.
  5. “Orange Crush” by R.E.M.
    1985.  Peaked at #1 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock chart.
  6. “Russians” by Sting.
    1985.  Peaked at #15 on the Billboard Hot 100.
  7. “Born in the U.S.A.” by Bruce Springsteen.
    1984.  Peaked at #9 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock chart.

    I like this song better than almost everything on this list, but it’s down here because you kinda expect Springsteen to sing songs about war. I still call it unexpected because the “Dancing in the Dark” single was a huge hit in advance of this album’s release, and it made some of us a little nervous that Bruce had forgotten who he was. He hadn’t.

  8. “Land of Confusion” by Genesis.
    1986.  Peaked at #4 on the Billboard Hot 100.
  9. “Wildest Dreams” by Asia.
    1982.  Peaked at #28 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock chart.

    Yeah.  I know it’s not unexpected.  But I was 13 and I wasn’t expecting it, plus this is my favorite guitarist of all time, Steve Howe, and one of my top five drummers, Carl Palmer.

  10. “Out of Touch” by Daryl Hall and John Oates.
    1984.  Peaked at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

    Okay, yeah.  Almost surely not a song at all about war, but when I was fifteen , I think I played it ten times through and convinced myself that it is.  The case could be made.

Found You Could Dance and Still Look Tough

I stole this image from Yelp.  The orignal barcode cards were green with white lettering.  I still have mine.
I stole this image from Yelp. The orignal barcode cards were green with white lettering. I still have mine.

In 1984, the state libraries converted from the old card checkout system to the barcode-scanning system they still use. You used to show your library card at the circ desk with a little form you filled out with the titles, authors, and call numbers of the books you were borrowing. The barcode system made things super easy and super fast for borrowers and for the libraries, but of course the conversion couldn’t happen all at once. Each community library had to close for a few weeks, which meant that nearby community libraries had to be open. It was a library-by-library rollout.

I was working at the Aiea library when it was that library’s turn to do the conversion. It was March 1984, and as I’ve written in this space before, I was a high-school frosh, and this was my first paying job. I made $3.35 per hour, except when I worked after six, when I got a fifteen cent “night differential.”

Each book on the shelves had to be given a barcode sticker, which was then scanned so the computers could assign that barcode number to that book. Meanwhile, books were still being returned, and they had to be processed and then shelved. We took advantage of the quiet time to do other time-consuming maintenance. I mostly did grunt-level work; no computer inputs or barcode-sticking for me. It was a lot of shelf work, and I didn’t mind it. I’d applied for the job because I loved books.

One of the nice things about doing all this work with the library closed was that we got to dress comfortably in shorts and t-shirts. I got to see all my grownup library bosses dressed like normal people, which was kind of surprising and mildly unsettling. I was in a jeans-only period of my life when I almost never wore shorts except at home, so I just kept wearing what I always wore to work. Another nice thing was that since I was working alone and with no customer service, they let me listen to my Walkman while I worked the shelves.

I love many of Billy Joel's albums.  This is probably my third- or fourth-favorite.
I love many of Billy Joel’s albums. This is probably my third- or fourth-favorite.

Billy Joel’s An Innocent Man had been released the summer before, and it was still on endless repeat in my Walkman. I listened to that album a hundred times as I moved slowly through the stacks. It’s a great album with seven (!) hit singles out of ten tracks. I can still sing every word to every song in order as it plays.

Some albums remind you of a specific time and place. An Innocent Man, still one of my favorite albums of all time, always takes me back to Aiea Library in March of 1984.

It’s another reason 1984 is the greatest year for music, ever.

There is more to this story.

If Love Was so Transcendent

Rush’s Counterparts album (1993) is one of their underappreciated efforts.  Spent a bit of time this evening reminding myself of how good (and how, uh, less good) the songs are.  So for your enlightenment and for my future reference, here are the eleven songs on the album, ranked from worst to best.

11. Nobody’s Hero
10. Double Agent
9. Everyday Glory
8. Alien Shore
7. Speed of Love
6. Cut to the Chase
5. Stick it Out
4. Between Sun and Moon
3. Animate
2. Leave that Thing Alone
1. Cold Fire

The phosphorescent wave on a tropical sea
Is a cold fire
The pattern of moonlight on the bedroom floor
Is a cold fire
The flame at the heart of a pawnbroker’s diamond
Is a cold fire
The look in your eyes as you head for the door
Is a cold fire

Man, I love this band.

Candy Shop for Metalheads

November 24, 1984. I was fifteen. It was the night of my first real rock concert.  A bunch of classmates and I piled into a few cars and found parking in the neighborhood, behind the Jack in the Box.  We had some time to kill before the doors opened, so Jeff said, “Let’s check out the Cavern.”

One of the albums I’d read about but never got to listen to.

I didn’t know what the Cavern was, but as we turned a corner, Jeff pointed up to the second floor of what is now the Gary Galiher building (that two-story building right behind the Jack in the Box).

It was a record store.  When we stood on the lanai right in front of its door, we could hear the quiet thumping of music, but when we opened the door, a massively loud noise washed over us like the ripples of a nuclear explosion.  It was loud.  It was so loud that, once we were in the store (with the door closed behind us) and had looked around a little, I stood directly in front of the cashier, only the counter separating us, and had to yell my question to him.

The Cavern only had heavy metal, and I think it only had vinyl.  I didn’t see a single cassette in there, but then the details of my memory are slightly hazy.

Heavy metal is not my favorite music, despite what some may think.  My favorite is still the stuff we call classic rock.  I’m not sure it’s even my second favorite music, but it’s definitely up there.  I love it for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is its outsider status, and the outsider status its listeners identify with.

gary galiher
That’s the Jack in the Box (Kapiolani and Ward) on the right. The liquor store was on the first floor, all the way to the left. The Cavern was behind that upstairs second door from the left.

Man, it was difficult to get ahold of.  Local radio stations only played the pop stuff that was on MTV, and while I loved that, I knew there was a gigantic world of metal out there that I had access to but couldn’t try out.  I bought every issue of Hit Parader and occasional issues of Circus, whose articles focused mostly on the glammy, hair metal that was popular at the time: Def Leppard, Motley Crue, Quiet Riot.  There was always an article or two about some old-school metal band who had put out a new album (Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, Dio).  It was all great, more music than I could afford to keep up with except whatever got played on MTV and on the radio.

Tangent: There was a local AM station that had Filipino and Korean programming all week, but reserved late Saturday nights for an English-language metal show, but I didn’t discover it until after college.  Also, the college station had a few metal shows, but I didn’t discover them until I was in college.

In those magazines would be articles about (and advertisements for) bands I never got to hear: Saxon, Diamond Head, Raven, Anthax, W.A.S.P., Kix, Keel, and Armored Saint, for example.  I even saw the albums at Tower Records, but Tower wouldn’t spin anything it didn’t already have open.  If I was going to hear any of it, I was going to have to pay for something before getting to hear it.  That was too big a gamble with my paltry resources, and there was enough music I knew I wanted anyway, other forms I could hear on the radio and purchase with confidence.

But there I was, standing in a far-too-narrow aisle between rows of LPs with the names of those bands on the covers.  I carried a Diamond Head album to the counter and yelled, “IS THIS BAND FROM HERE?”

The long-haired guy yelled back, “NO!  BUT THEY’RE REALLY GOOD!  YOU SHOULD GET THAT!”



But we had a Rush concert to get to, so I never got to hear that album until much later.  Thank God for the Internet.

My friends had pretty open minds about rock music’s many genres, but I was the only one who really liked metal, who pursued it with geeky fervor, so as we walked to the arena for what is still one of the best concerts I’ve ever seen, I looked over my shoulder, longingly, swearing that when I got a job someday (I’d already had a paying job in my ninth-grade year and was waiting for things to calm down in my sophomore year to look for a new one) I would spend all my free time in that store and all my hard-earned cash.

It was gone within a few months.  I never made it back.  But I think of it almost every time I go past, that super-loud record store with nothing but heavy metal music at an age where just about everything was delayed gratification.  I swear, if I had ten million dollars right now, I’d open something just like it and never worry about customers or making money, just have it there for people like fifteen-year-old me who needed to find it.

Well I Said I Wanted to Be a Writer

I’m still struggling to keep up with the paid writing.  I know I sound like I’m on endless repeat about this, but I do think I’m getting slowly better at it.  It’s just not showing up in my productivity.  I have two hard dealines, and I have been pretty much ahead of them (Monday and Thursday mornings), but those are my longest-continuing assignments, going on three years, so they’re sorta built into my consciousness.  I’m kind of always thinking about them, the way I always thought about lesson plans while I was a teacher.  They’re just always there at the edges of my mind, and they move in for attention when a good opportunity presents itself.  If I don’t have at least a mental outline of my content within a day of the deadline, I have to sit down and sketch something out, but that almost never happens now.  By the time I sit down to write, I almost always know what I’m going to write.

The second gig is different.  I tried reading fifty articles’ worth of content so I could sit down and bang out the fifty artciles, but that was far too big a bite.  I found myself having to re-read everything before I wrote, which adds to my time and lowers my per-hour take.  My current pace puts my hourly pay at like $3.50 an hour.  I knew I was going to be underpaid when I took the gig because I needed the work.  I was hoping to make it iron out to seven bucks an hours, which is still doable.  I’m just not there yet.

The quality of the work is at least something I’m fairly proud of.  I’m wondering if I need to sacrifice some of that quality for the sake of speed.  My primary gig says no.  We want it to be as good as it can be.  My secondary gig says maybe.  I feel horrible for not being faster with this work.  I am going to decide by the end of this week if I want to spend $200 for a month of time at a co-working space.  I do so much better when I have a place to go, and if I don’t have to worry about spending (additional) money, it will be a stress-lessener.  I can bring a lunch, my water flask, and a snack, and not worry about taking up a table at the cafe without putting enough in its registers.  It might be worth a trial run.

In my downtime, which I have already admitted is generally tainted with the awareness of my stealing it from time I should be getting caught up with the work, I’ve squeezed in a few movies, including (finally) Mean Girls, which I know has been a must-see for a person of my tastes.  It was about as good as I expected (review soon), and in many ways not as good as it could have been.  One of my biggest takeaways was how easy it has been to forget what a talented, magnetic screen presence Lindsay Lohan was before she became more known for her antics.  I’m going to include that in my review.  I probably won’t include my also being impressed by how Amanda Seyfried manages to be the most beautiful thing in a movie loaded with beautiful women.

I mentioned some time ago that I’ve had to rebuild my iTunes library (the songs are still in the folders, but they don’t show up in my library until I re-add them).  I took a break from it and then went back where I left off (somewhere in the Es), and then went back to the very beginning, to hit every album from every artist to make sure the years, genres, song titles, and album artwork were exactly right.  One of the worst things about the internet has been how easy it is for bad info to become canonical.  With digital music, it seems that whoever gets to the database first gets to decide things like captial letters, genres, and other stuff in the ID3 tags, and most of it’s just wrong.  I can have this kind of sloppiness in lots of areas of my life, but I can’t have it in my music.

So it’s been a long, slow process, especially since I’m determined not only to get the metainfo correct, but also to make sure everything’s been listened to once since its re-addition to the library.  I’ll take a few detours as my craving dictates (as with the Pink Floyd list I made this week), so I’m not a slave to the process.  As of this morning, I’m on Blink-182.  Got through my Blind Guardian collection yesterday; taking a detour right now with Devin Townsend’s <i>Epicloud</i> stuff (including the bonus <i>Epiclouder</i> material), and then it’ll be the Royal Hunt album I crowdfunded a year ago but for some reason never claimed the download of until yesterday.

Enough procrastinating.  Back to the grind.

The Ten Best Pink Floyd Songs

Ten Best Pink Floyd Songs
I like this list because unlike similar bands with large discographies, Pink Floyd can say that their best work is the stuff that gets played on the radio. I like a lot of their deeper cuts, but I have to admit that their very best work is familiar even to casual listeners of FM radio.

1. “Comfortably Numb” — from The Wall (1979)
Some of my favorite slow guitar soloing (especially in the fadeout), and probably Pink Floyd’s best lyrics, which certainly plays a part in my liking this song.

2. “Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2)” — From The Wall (1979)
Anyone who knows only one Pink Floyd song knows this one. I used to dislike the slow disco beat, but now I love it. When I got my first cell phone ten years ago (or however long ago it was), the first ringtone I got, back when you had to purchase ringtones, was a tinny, electronic sound of the riff from this song. This is my favorite Pink Floyd guitar solo, too.

3. “Wish You Were Here” — From Wish You Were Here (1975)
Almost surely Pink Floyd’s most-covered song. Several years ago, Rodrigo y Gabriela started playing this in their concerts. Since they don’t sing, audience participation can be tricky for them to pull off, but the opening notes of this song always get their audiences excited and the audiences just sing the song while Rodrigo y Gabriela play the instruments. I’ve seen the same thing happen at late-night campfires on the beach.

4. “Welcome to the Machine” — From Wish You Were Here (1975)
“It’s all right; we know where you’ve been!” I have no idea what this song is about, but that adds to my fondness for it. I love the eeriness of this song.

5. “Brain Damage” / “Eclipse” — From The Dark Side of the Moon (1973)
It’s two songs, but they’re connected on the album, and radio stations never play them separately, so it’s no foul to count them as one song. This was my favorite song of theirs all through my high school years. I even took my senior yearbook quote from it: “You lock the door and throw away the key; there’s someone in my head, but it’s not me.” As the conclusion to one of the greatest albums of all time, it’ll always have a special place in my heart.

6. “Sheep” — from Animals (1977)
This album is kind of recent discovery for me, and this is the only song on my list that never gets played on the radio (the others get played pretty regularly). Like most Pink Floyd songs, it’s much better in context, but it does stand out on a great album as an especially mind-blowing track.

7. “Learning to Fly” — from A Momentary Lapse of Reason (1987)
I didn’t care much for this song at all when it was an MTV hit after my high school graduation — I didn’t care for the video, and still don’t. It’s grown on me in recent years, enough to move it ahead of the other really good song from this album. I really dig the rhymes at the end of the chorus: “Tongue-tied and twisted: just an earthbound misfit, I.” I also like “Ice is forming on the tips of my wings / unheeded warnings, I thought I’d thought of everything.”

8. “Hey You” — From The Wall (1979)
My love for this song comes mostly from the lyric “Hey you / don’t let them bury the light / don’t give in without a fight,” and I love the way it’s sung. End of the first verse.

9. “On the Turning Away” — From A Momentary Lapse of Reason (1987)
Probably their preachiest, most positive song. I like it anyway.

10. “Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Parts VI – IX)” — from Wish You Were Here (1973)
This whole album is just so sad.


I was sorry to leave out “Time,” which includes my favorite Pink Floyd lyrics ever (“Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way” got me through my final two weeks of undergraduate study), “Have a Cigar,” and “Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun,” which is their best song title. I limited myself to ten, though, so of course certain favorites were going to have to be left off the list.