In a good mood? What to do?
By NICK TAVARES
STATIC and FEEDBACK Editor
Saturday night, I saw myself looking at a drive down to the east end of Cape Cod that Google told me would take one hour and 18 minutes. The necessities were thrown into my record bag, wallet and phone in my pocket, iPod ready.
Lately, I’ve been in a good mood. And why not exist in a good mood? But it hadn’t struck me until I drew a momentary blank, good for about 30 seconds: I don't want to hear something sad. What was I going to listen to?
It wasn’t until this point that I realized how much I depend on my down, dour tunes to get me through the day. Do I really live for misery? The complete masterworks of Ryan Adams are in constant rotation. The low moments of the Rolling Stones (side two of Sticky Fingers, “Winter,” “Let it Loose,” etc.) are great for the soul. Last weekend, Otis Redding sang me home. In extreme cases, out come Beck’s Sea Change or Bob Dylan’s Blood on the Tracks. Maybe I do thrive on this.
But damn it if I wasn’t feeling good at this moment. I have music for all seasons, but a cool night in October, breeze nipping at about 50 degrees, about to head off on I-195? I guess I don’t have a pre-prescribed album for just that occasion.
So, with that challenge came time for experimentation. Thumb on the iPod, I did my best to find the right set of tunes on my little trek to the Cape.
First attempt: Pixies — Doolittle
This has been on my radar for the past few days anyway, with Surfer Rosa, Come on Pilgrim and Doolittle in constant rotation since Thursday. The ride began with “Debaser” and ran through “I Bleed” before I decided to mix it up. The beauty of the Pixies is that they’re loud, intense and fun. Their lyrics are usually about deformities, sex, aliens, sea creatures and what have you.
But, good mood aside, I wasn’t quite in the mood for Frank Black’s delightful howls about deformities, sex, aliens and sea creatures. Among my favorite bands ever, they weren’t quite right for this moment.
Second attempt: Led Zeppelin — BBC Sessions
Well, it’s obvious that when I’m feeling good, I skew to the loud. Starting with “Immigrant Song” (which begins disc two if anyone still listened to CDs), I let the railroad thump of John Paul Jones and John Bonham pound their way down the road, through “Heartbreaker,” “Since I’ve Been Loving You” and “Black Dog.”
But, again, somethng wasn’t quite right. I was having fun, tapping along on the steering wheel to the Hammer of the Gods, but, I thought it was time to look a little more current.
Third attempt: The Dead Weather — Horehound
Oh, my saviors of summer, Alison Mosshart, Jack White and company. While Sea of Cowards has been in near-constant rotation and is still my pick for record of the year, I reached back to last year’s debut, with “I Cut Like a Buffalo” and “Treat Me Like Your Mother” leading the way.
By this point, I was pretty close to my destination, but I still felt as though I was just filling the time, not maximizing my air space. I did the little trick of spinning up and down the wheel quickly, landed on the B’s, thought momentarily about throwing on the Beatles’ Rubber Soul, but noticed the artist listed next.
Fourth attempt: Beck — Odelay
Jackpot! A quick look at all the ways this works for me:
- I know every word to every song here.
- Even the non-upbeat songs (“Jackass,” “Lord Only Knows”) are up-beat.
- It is terribly hard to keep from smiling while singing “I have a chicklet in my brain” in Spanish.
- Odelay is impossibly fun.
“Devil’s Haircut” ran through “The New Pollution,” with the rest of the record playing me home on my way back.
So, there’s my answer. When in doubt, play Odelay when happy. That’ll be useful information for the future.
Oct. 17, 2010