Monday, October 19, 2009

Theme songs

First, a couple housekeeping notes:

  • Everybody say hi to Stephanie, a.k.a. @ihadtimetokill, our newest Panel member. You’re stuck with her. Deal.
  • Michelle’s taking a hiatus to celebrate her annual October tradition of, according to her, “spending all my time dancing in graveyards and spooking little children.” She then let out an evil laugh that scared the crap out of me.

Now, onto business.

Kristin pitched this idea to me, and I went with it. So, I asked The Panel:

If you had a theme song, what would it be?

It turned out to be a lot harder than I thought. Even Kristin was complaining about it. But me, being the cold-hearted bastard I am, simply replied “It’s your question.”

Answers after the jump.

• Stephanie (Who gets to go first because she’s the new kid): HELLO PANEL please be nice to me, I am new at this. I promise I will try to be cute and entertaining. And verbose. Mostly verbose.

So. Theme songs, eh? I am not sure how to deal with this; music and I have an interesting relationship, and I will freely and happily admit that I have terrible taste in it. Kind of. Sometimes.

I'm not sure, actually. I think it depends.

The crux of the matter is simply that, despite the fact that I tend to be elitist and opinionated and stubborn, I don't like picking favorites -- and that's what this question seems like it wants me to do (also, it may be worth noting that I tend to anthropomorphize EVERYTHING. I hope this won't be a problem). I can't have a favorite movie or a favorite song, because I am a raving rabid fangirl and I love everything.
Okay, that's a lie. But I guess it's safe to say that music does take up a disproportionate amount of aforementioned affection, so this shouldn't be that difficult. Theoretically.
But theme songs are not technically or necessarily "favorite" songs, correct? For the sake of explanation, let's assume I'm right...because if I'm not I can't answer this question, and that is what I am here to do (I think. There could be tangents. Did I mention I am new at this?) Theme songs shouldn't be dependent on what I love, and ought to have more to do with what I am, though it also needs to be pointed out that the two are not mutually exclusive. No, of course not.

And yet, there is a song that bridges both -- at least, I like to think it does. I want the sort of theme song that could play around me constantly and not make me want to kill myself, the sort of song that could signal my entrance into a scene in some horribly-directed movie I am unknowingly partaking in, the sort of song that can't be misinterpreted and won't seem to have changed meaning once I've aged five years and can't see the world the same way that I do now.

I'm choosing a song called "No Dice." It was released on a two-part EP earlier this year; one half is the Beirut record 'March of the Zapotec,' the other is a side project of sorts: Realpeople's 'Holland.' Both are the work of twenty-three year old Zach Condon, who is, in a word, amazing. Seriously. Beirut are one of my absolute favorites (one of many, yes), which may seem a bit strange since the Balkan, French, and Mexican influences of their three major releases don't really mesh with my usual alternative punky rocky stuff. But they are awesome. Zach Condon is awesome. His very first release, recorded when he was still a teenager, was under the Realpeople name, which only recently resurfaced with the release of 'March of the Zapotec/Holland EP.'

I also don't know how to describe this song. It's the last one on the EP, it's over five minutes long, and it's entirely instrumental (can one say that about electronic music? I'm not sure exactly how many instruments are even involved). It's quick and it's catchy, it's oddly uplifting. It sounds like quirkiness and reluctant optimism...but it's possible that's also probably just me projecting (I take back what I said about wanting a song that I'll still feel the same way about five years from now). It sounds like things that make me inexplicably and irrevocably happy; it sounds like success and giddiness and all sorts of cheerful, inspiring things that make me want to give Zach Condon a hug. Which might also be because he is adorable, and totally my age, which means it isn't entirely creepy. Hurray!

Anyway. You can hear "No Dice" here, and it also comes with my recommendation (read: insistence) that you look into the rest of Condon's Beirut recordings -- 'Gulag Orkestar' and 'The Flying Club Cup' are great albums too,

• Mollie Katie: The closest thing I have to a theme song is "The Girl Is Crying" by Chalk FarM.

• Houston: Wow, my own theme song? For little old me?

Well, I am kind of a big thing.

OK, with all the crap I have listened to throughout my life I have to roll it down to a few notable choices, but it has to come down to "MIllion Bucks" by "ALL."

Who you say? Yeah they weren't being blasted on VH1 Classic lately, sorry.  Tell you what, here's the video.

OK, so why such an obscure song?  Well, like everyone I had my share of confusion and depression in high school and the music of "ALL" and their previous incarnation "The Descendents" let me know there were other people in the world who felt like they were screw ups, nerds and all around losers.  It got me through a lot.

This song specifically means a lot to me because it reminds me how much I love THE WIFE.  Everything good that I have is through her and I would rather have her than a million bucks any day.

• Justin: I’m going Steve Miller Band’s The Joker… because I can.

• Kristin: Not that long ago I remember saying my life can be summed up in a Kelly Clarkson CD. I was then mocked for being so mainstream. So when it came to choosing a theme song for my life, I was determined to not be mainstream. Or trendy. Except...wait...that's right--I am both those things. I'm a girl, it's not my fault, if we're going strictly by appearances and a nonexistent love-life. Then yes, superficially, my life is a Kelly Clarkson album.

However, after a lot of thought and iPod listening (aka research), I've come to the conclusion that my life and being me is too complex for just one song. It's not so much a theme for my life, but a theme for me. I've narrowed it down to 6 different songs--the songs that I see myself (or parts of me) in the most. I'm indecisive when it comes to music. Maybe in another life, if I were taller, thinner, prettier, and more brave I would have taken a musical route for my life. I love music, especially when the lyrics and the meaning of the song far surpasses who or what it is and how mainstream or obscure it is becomes irrelevant. So, in no particular order.

  • "You Know How I Feel" -Bryan White
  • "Bent" -Matchbox Twenty (demo version)
  • "Why Ya Wanna Bring Me Down" -Kelly Clarkson
  • "Feed My Pain" –Demagogue
  • "Keeps Gettin' Better" -Christina Aguilera
  • "So Sad, So Lonely" -Matchbox Twenty

"You Know How I Feel" by Bryan White was the first song that I ever 'felt'. I was 12 years old. I was a country music girl at the time (and always will be at heart, I suppose). Despite it being connected to sad memories, it was the song that was there when I needed it the most.

I think that Cody, Rhys and I have been to almost every Matchbox Twenty concert in Vegas. I remember at one concert, Rob Thomas introing the song "Bent" with, "this is for all of us doomed to codependent relationships..." That's me. It's not that I'm not independent, I just have trouble sometimes.

"Why Ya Wanna Bring Me Down" applies to all aspects of my life, because even though I may not voice it to anyone, sometimes I feel like everything around me is bringing me down. Despite my best efforts to rise above.

Recently, thanks to Twitter, I've been introduced to some new music, and I am pleased to say that I love what I've found. "Feed My Pain" has been playing on repeat in my head since the first time I heard it. It's the part of me that no one see's and that very few ever will.

"So Sad, So Lonely" is a hidden track that is awesome live. It's my, 'I'm a Wanna Be Bad-Ass' song, except not really.


Jen’s opted out this week.

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