Real life is for March

According to 30 Rock, nothing that happens on Leap Day counts, so I like to think this means Davy Jones never actually died (how come none of the other conspiracy theorists are onto this one with me?!). And in that case, we really don’t have anything to be sad about today.

This also marks the anniversary of that time I participated in trivia with a bunch of Googlers in Mountain View, and an entire round was dedicated to the Monkees. Needless to say, I crushed it, although the experience really skewed my perception of pub trivia (I’ve since learned that there’s not always a round that is tailored specifically to my interests).

In honor of our dear—but not dearly departed—Davy, here are two of his songs from the Monkees catalog, a.k.a. “really catchy pop songs with atrocious lyrics.” Also featuring: Peter’s overly enthusiastic clapping, Micky’s fake drumming, and Mike’s total indifference.

Confession: I’m guilty of really liking this song, even though the lyrics are so, so dumb (thanks Neil Diamond!). Basically, Davy is encountering “all kinds of sorrow” because he can’t choose between two girls who like him. #davyproblems

A second season Rainbow Room gem. I just can’t get over the line “how old d’you say your sister was?” Somehow, Davy can get away with it.

Thanks, buddy. 60s bubblegum pop wouldn’t be the same without you.

The Natch’l Blues

Interesting/relevant thing of the day: “natch” as a slang word has been around since at least the 40s (apparently if I read more comics I would know this). All this time I’ve been associating it with annoying modern abbreviations like “obvi” and “hilar”…I guess on some level that means there’s not much difference between awful internet slang and Harlem jive talk.


Anyway, here’s a supremely cool record I bought this past week: Taj Mahal’s 1968 album The Natch’l Blues.

(Actually, I got it for my dad’s birthday, but in between the purchase and the gift-exchange, I happened to get really attached to it. Oops.)

In fact, this album is so cool I decided to revive my short-lived ‘Album of the Week’ tag, because I’ve definitely been listening to it nonstop since Sunday.

The album cover is what first caught my eye, Taj’s moonish mask of a face staring back at me from the records section at Green Apple Books. It looks like it was meant to be framed (unlike the CD version, which scraps the border in favor of a darker cover, probably because the original layout didn’t look as good in a 5×5 inch plastic case). In any case, it’s super intriguing. As soon as I saw it, I immediately snatched it up…although I don’t think many people come to Green Apple with the intention of scouring the bottom-row blues music stack. Even if my dad already had this one, I would totally buy it for myself based on the album art alone.

I came home and put it on the record player to make sure it played ok, and proceeded to melt into a puddle of sweet, sweet blues. If you only listen to one (ok, make that two) songs from this album, let them be “Corinna” and the closing number “Ain’t That a Lot of Love.” While definitely rooted in blues, I love that the songs are infused with a healthy dose of soul and 60s pop, too. A lot of Taj Mahal’s stuff crosses over into various other genres (see Kulanjan), and this album is proof that he was doing it from the start.

Anyway, after listening to the whole thing, I was secretly kind of hoping my dad already had the album so I could keep it. Turns out he didn’t (shucks), and actually he’d been looking for it for a long time! So now he has one of his faves, and I have another record to keep an eye out for.


In other news, Happy George Day! Here’s a collection of photos from when George had a perm, because why not??

Top Fives, Bowie Edition

First of all, can we just take a second to appreciate 1960s Bowie?
(The original YouTube video got taken down; I was referring to the first two and a half minutes of this film:)

Besides the whole “actual name being David Jones” thing…there’s something very Davy-esque about Bowie’s performance in this video. Or am I just mistaking it for 60s camp? (Note: I reeeeaaaally want to see the rest of this promotional film, but Google’s telling me the only options for buying it are on VHS, video CD, or Laserdisc. I’m still considering it, though.)

Anyway, here are some Top Fives:

Top 5 Bowiesongs (one for each decade):
1960s: Space Oddity. More 60s glory
1970s: Rock ‘n Roll Suicide. Picking one song from the 70s is near impossible, but here’s one of my absolute favorites. So glam!
1980s: Ashes to Ashes. Appropriately, the sequel to Space Oddity
1990s: Strangers When We Meet. From The Buddha of Suburbia. I wish I could find a better quality video, because this one looks very intriguing.
2000s: Girl Loves Me. I kinda cheated and combined the 00s and 10s. This is my favorite song from Blackstar. It’s just so edgy and cool. Here are the lyrics if you’re curious.

Top 5 Out of Context Pictures
This is hard because even out of context, most ridiculous Bowie pictures look totally natural. For example, David playing ping pong in a dingy basement while wearing a shiny kimono…I mean…yeah, seems right to me. This is the best I could do:

1. Too bad this tumblr never really took off
2. Creeper Trent Reznor in background
4. Hi.
5. I do not know the actual context of this. Someone fill me in.

Top 5 Versions of Dancing in the Street:
Has it been long enough that I can post this again?
1. Music-less music video. Check out this guy’s other stuff, it’s hilarious.
2. Slow. Great for in-depth analysis.
3. Metal. Today I learned what Djent is!
4. Cotton Eye Joe. Fits perfectly.
5. Backstage version…even though it ruins my hypothesis of Mick and David recording this with one camera and a boombox

Top 5 Videos That Make Me Miss David Bowie. :'(
1. Ashes to Ashes, requested by 5-year-old George (the kid’s got good taste)
2. Everyone Says Hi. Here’s your 2000s song, btw. This one is so sad/sweet. Also, David looks impossibly gorgeous at this show.
3. Dick Cavett Interview. Favorite hair era, right here. This interview is awkward and wonderful and just so 70s.
4. Imagine. <3
5. Labyrinth Ballroom Scene. Best scene of the whole movie. Fun fact: this scene was choreographed by Cheryl/Gates McFadden of Dr. Crusher fame.

Speaking of Labyrinth, we recently saw it at the Castro, a.k.a. the best place to watch classic and/or cult movies in San Francisco. People came dressed up in full Jareth costume, and one girl wore an elaborate ballgown just like Jennifer Connelly’s in the ballroom scene above. The crowd erupted into cheers as soon as David Bowie’s name appeared in the credits, and proceeded to clap and whistle whenever Jareth and his tight pants graced the screen. It was a great way to rediscover the movie, which I’d seen bits and pieces of but never fully appreciated until now. Up next: The Man Who Fell to Earth, although with plot keywords like these, I can only imagine how the crowd at the Castro will react.