OK, follow my train of thought here…

The other day, for reasons I’d best not get into, I was listening to the Steven Wright tracks from the Reservoir Dogs soundtrack. If you’ve seen the movie, you know that the soundtrack is interspersed with segments of deadpan comic Steven Wright‘s voice as a DJ on “KBILLY’s Super Sounds of the ’70s Weekend.” Listening to those tracks in sequence with absolutely no music in between them is a surreal experience.

In addition to the long-buried ’70s gems that made it onto the soundtrack, a slew of other songs did not appear, but did however get a mention from Steven Wright, tantalizingly conjuring a world beyond the details of the film, where a radio station that actually plays all of this crazy stuff exists! (Granted, this film predates the Jack FM phenomenon by a solid decade, but Jack rarely plays stuff this obscure.)

One of the titles Steven Wright mentions caught my attention: “Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes)” by Edison Lighthouse. (Anyone who knows me personally will know why that got my attention.) So I listened to a bit of it on iTunes, and it jogged a vague memory of this one-hit wonder from 1970. Then I headed over to YouTube, where I was delighted to find the music video:

Now many people of my generation or younger — or older for that matter — may not realize that they made music videos back in 1970 (and even earlier). I still have no idea where these things actually got played in a pre-MTV world. Of course, I don’t know where today’s music videos get played either, given that they sure as hell aren’t on MTV anymore.

Groovy.

Top 5 Albums of 2004

Another year is almost over (and considering where we’ve come, I can only hope the next four go as quickly… but I digress; besides, I’m still on political vacation). Time to review the sounds that made their way into my ears (or at least onto my iPod) this year…

5. BenoƮt Charest: The Triplets of Belleville (Soundtrack)
This brilliant soundtrack lifts from such diverse influences as Django Reinhardt and Curtis Mayfield, and works as perfectly as the animated feature itself. Everyone owes it to themselves to experience both the film and its music.
4. Wilco: A Ghost Is Born
I’ve only just begun to delve into this album but it seems to hold great potential. (Plus, Jeff Tweedy lives in my sister-in-law’s neighborhood in Chicago.)
3. Beastie Boys: To the 5 Boroughs
Dripping with ’80s pop culture references, the only question that remains is best spoken in the words of George McFly: “Do you really think I ought to swear?” The occasional expletives don’t detract, however, from such delights as “Think twice before you start flossin’ / I’ve been in your bathroom often,” or “Ad-Rock, a.k.a. sharp cheddar / my rhymes are better / What the Helen of Troy is that? / Did I hear you say my rhymes is whack?” (More on that here…)
2. U2: How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb
I was groovin’ on “Vertigo” for a couple of months (yes, cranked up to 14), and when the full album “dropped” (pardon the pun) I wasn’t the only one grabbing it from the rack at Target 10 minutes after they opened. This would easily win my best album of the year, were it not for…
1. Brian Wilson: Smile
Wow. Friggin’ holy crap, WOW. Perhaps not only the best album of the year, but of the past 37, since that’s when the former Beach Boy started working on it. No one (least of all Wilson himself) ever expected to see (and hear!) it finished, but here it is. And worth the wait.

Addendum: February 26, 2005

When I wrote this, I hadn’t yet checked out Green Day’s American Idiot. Having pretty much loathed the band before, I didn’t expect much, but this album really is quite amazing! If I were to revise the list above, I would probably put it at #2.