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.

Happy Byrneday


In celebration, 5 of David Byrne’s Weirdest/Best Moments:

1. Interviewing himself. In case you ever wanted to see DB in drag. Or blackface. (Also features the Big Suit.)

2. “Once in a Lifetime” music video. Classic.

3. Space Ghost Coast to Coast interview. Long hair don’t care! This clip just gets funnier and funnier each time I watch it. “NOT A CROUTON MAN!”

4. Singing “Miss America” while playing maracas and dancing in a kilt. Song starts at 1:24, spastic DB dance party starts at 3:00. This clip is tied in weirdness with the music video for the same song.

5. “Psycho Killer” in a skinless body suit. This makes me so uncomfortable but I CAN’T STOP WATCHING.

And to not end on such a creepy note, here is a somewhat recent video featuring more top-notch Byrne moves (side note: St. Vincent is the bomb and I can’t wait to see her at Outside Lands this year. I’m holding out hope that she might bring out a special guest at some point….):

Happy bday, DB. Never stop being weird.

Top Fives: Monkees Edition

Friday! Finally!

Here’s a #FBF to the first post on this blog (or “online journal,” as I called it back in 2008). In true ethno-major style, it was a celebration of the jawbone as an instrument and also, of course, the Monkees (yes! those two things actually are related). A couple notes about this: A) The number of donkey jaw videos on YouTube has increased probably tenfold since then, and I just spent a good 15 minutes watching a bunch of them, and B) 7 years later, I still have the exact same feels for the Monkees.

The fact that this blog was born out of a Monkees obsession means it’s only logical that I dedicate at least one Top 5 post to these guys. Here’s to my favorite not-so-guilty pleasure, those four long-haired weirdos!

Top Five Monkees Clothing Accessories

…because the 60s.

1. Micky’s “tablecloth” poncho:
tablecloth2 tablecloth3

2. Mike’s “too cool for school” sunglasses:
sunglasses1 sunglasses3

3. Colorful Nehru shirts…
nehru nehru2

4. …and the fact that Mike was the only one who didn’t start dressing like a hippie halfway through the series. The closest he got was his somewhat-groovy ties:
tie tietie

5. Wool hat. Duh.
hat hat3

Ok, already this is a Mike-dominated post. Sorry never sorry.

Top Five Anti-Bubblegum Monkees Songs

…As in, after the band started rebelling against the whole bubblegum pop image thing and started writing their own songs (this was mostly Mike and Micky…I’m pretty sure Davy still liked singing songs about teenage girls)…

1. Circle Sky. The song is apparently about sights and sounds from the Monkees 1968 tour, but it always makes me think of the movie scene with images from Vietnam. Definitely has a dark vibe to me.
2. Daily Nightly. One of the first songs to feature a Moog!
3. Tapioca Tundra. Those Nesmith lyrics…also, there’s a guitar riff here taken straight from “I’ll Feel A Whole Lot Better.”
4. Listen to the Band. Because let’s be real, Mike’s voice was made for country music. I also love that this stripped-down live version exists. Davy + tambourine = :)
5. Randy Scouse Git. A prime example of “everyone knows we’re not playing this live so let’s goof around.”
Bonus: Ditty Diego – War Chant. Not written by any of the Monkees, but in fact written by Jack Nicholson for the reputation-destroying movie Head.

Top Five Most Ridiculous Scenes

…In, get this, REVERSE ORDER. (Subject to change as I binge-watch more episodes:)

5. In which Peter gets stuck in a trap bed and Davy is chased by a giant gorilla:

4. In which Davy gets captured in Mexico and the other three pretend to be bandits:

3. In which Mike plays a princess:

2. In which Micky’s pants get stolen by aliens:

1. And then there’s Mijacogeo – The Frodis Caper. THE ENTIRE EPISODE.

And that about sums up this week’s laugh riot. Special thanks to this website and this YouTube user for making this post possible.

5 Reasons

Why Brian May is currently my favorite rock guitarist:

  1. The ‘Dixieland jazz band’ in “Good Company” is actually Brian recreating each instrument—clarinet, trombone, trumpet, etc.—on the guitar.
  2. He hand-made his Red Special guitar with his dad, using pieces of a fireplace, table, and bike, and measured the fret placement in the nerdiest possible way:Guitar Player interview, April 16, 2012.
  3. Adorable tweets about astrophysicsScreen Shot 2014-12-11 at 10.35.09 PM.
  4. Two words: Star Fleet
  5. This pic:


Bonus: The quote at the end of this instructional video (which I may or may not have watched all of): “Best of luck, do good things.” For some reason, the universality of it makes me so happy.


Happy Spocktober!

Ok, so I know it’s already a few days into the month…and I only just discovered that Spocktober was an actual thing (me: “Ha! Spocktober! That’s clever, I wonder if anyone else has thought of that. *google search* …Yes. Yes, everyone has thought of that.”), but I thought in celebration I would do some more Top 5’s (are you sick of these yet?):

Top 5 Vulcans (and half-Vulcans) – from TOS
1. Surak – the Vulcan equivalent of Abraham Lincoln, apparently
2. T’Pau – pretty baller, I mean just look at her
3. Sarek – Vulcan ambassador and Spock’s dad
4. Saavik – she saved Spock’s life (in a very awkward way)

Top 5 Spock Quotes
1. “What does it mean, exact change?” – mostly I like this quote because it’s referring to Muni
2. “Sir, there’s a multi-legged creature crawling on your shoulder.” *nerve pinch*
3. “I have been and always shall be….” – y’all know the rest
4. “I am preparing to toast…a marshmelon.”
5. “Fascinating.”

Top 5 Spock Moments
1. Spock + cat
2. That look
3. Italian
4. Accidental excitement

Just realized that all my favorite Spock moments are actually Kirk+Spock moments. What can I say, they’re my OTP. :P


spock out.

George Harrison Week is my favorite week

A hearty salute to Conan for introducing George Harrison Week to the people (how wasn’t this a thing before?). It’s basically been a whole week of musical tributes to George, in celebration of the new Apple Years box set. I can’t believe that this is one of the few times I’ve had access to cable and I didn’t watch any of these shows live. I’m awful. But…good thing for the Internet! Last night I enjoyed watching Dhani & Friends playing “Let It Down” (side note: a song originally produced by Phil Spector who is looking horrifying these days).

Watching Dhani play is like watching a modern day George
Watching Dhani play is like watching/hearing a modern day George!

Also, Paul Simon performed a lovely version of “Here Comes the Sun“, although I’ll always prefer the version he and George did together (how can you not love that 70s glow?). I’m not exaggerating when I say these are my two FAVORITE musicians singing what could quite possibly be my favorite song of all time. Epic.

As for the newly released box set, I’ll have to get back to you on that. One of the big selling points for the set was that George’s lesser-known albums after All Things Must Pass are finally being remastered and released, but lucky for me, I already have them on vinyl! So I might not be dropping $100 on the new box set anytime soon. But I am appreciative for the tracks I’ve discovered/rediscovered in the process of listening through these albums again (in fact, here’s a Top 5):

Top 5 George Harrison Tracks, 1968-1975:
1. Instrumental take of “The Inner Light
2. “Miss O’Dell” – George’s LAUGH!
3. “Be Here Now
4. “If Not For You” – sorry Bob, I like George’s version better :\
5. “What Is Life” – one of the very first solo George songs I heard and fell in love with

Top Fives: Queen Edition

I’ve been watching entirely too many Queen videos on YouTube this past week, and as a result I’ve had a pretty fun time putting this post together. It also means I’ve made no progress updating the rest of my old posts, but oh well.

Among my YouTube finds was an interview where Freddie was talking about Queen’s music videos, and how he didn’t want a video to alter the listener’s own impression of the song too much, so the band purposely made their videos kind of vague and bizarre—without any clear message—so as not to impose on anyone’s personal image of the song. Inspired by this, I put together a Top 5 Random Queen Music Videos that fit the bill pretty well:

1. It’s A Hard Life – just a really good excuse to dress up
2. We Will Rock You – snowy backyard music video…they look so cold!
3. I Want to Break Free – already mentioned this one in an earlier post but it’s just so perfect
4. I’m Going Slightly Mad – I guess this one actually fits the song, but I like the video regardless
5. The Miracle – kids as Queen = cute, but also weird

Top 5 Roger Taylor Falsettos
Because in addition to being super adorable, his upper vocal range is CRAZY!
1. In the Lap of the Gods
2. ’39 – I am in love with this song btw
3. Bohemian Rhapsody – a cappella version for maximum clarity
4. Somebody to Love – the whole song, sooo good
5. My Fairy King

Top 5 Queen + Sombreros Pictures







Man, I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to go through a Queen phase. They are such a great band. I’m sure I’ll be back with more soon.

Top Fives: John Entwistle Edition

Top 5 Who Songs Sung by John:
Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde (I love this one so much, don’t judge)
Boris the Spider (obvi)
The Quiet One
Trick of the Light
-I know it’s kind of a stretch, but A Quick One because John’s falsetto at the end is too. much.

Nikki’s Top 5 Favorite Johnfacts:
-He had a thing for Irish wolfhounds (bonus pics).
-He played the trumpet & french horn – all of the brass parts you hear in The Who’s songs were arranged/played by John.
-He was blonde but dyed his hair black throughout the 60s-70s.
-He and Keith were BFFs (more bonus pics).
-He did the cover art for The Who By Numbers. More of his drawings are here, along with a funny autobio that he wrote just days before he died. :(

Top 5 “John DGAF” Moments:

– The skeleton suit, an excellent example of “John does whatever the f@*& he wants”:


– The entire Smothers Brothers performance, but especially around this part:


– His bass-playing on The Real Me (UNREAL):


– The rogue lick at 0:23, and also the 2:40 mark of this video, when the rest of the band has finished and John just thunders away:


– And finally, this little montage:

Conclusion: John Entwistle is my favorite.


Top Fives

A long time ago I attempted to make a thing out of Music Listography, but unfortunately failed after the first entry (I don’t even know where that notebook went, bummer). It’s a shame because it’s a cool idea, and although Alex and I have made similar lists as a way to pass the time on road trips, writing them down and backing them up with YouTube videos is a fun/shameless way to plug some of your favorite stuff, which of course is the point of this whole blog.

So basically, I revisited that old post and decided I wanted to try again, refashioning the listography part into Top 5 lists à la High Fidelity.

Speaking of the Beatles and being obvious, I’m not going to pretend that my top Side 1 Track 1s would be anything other than mainstream (Highway 61 Revisited, “Like a Rolling Stone,” I mean come on…). Actually, I’m sure all of my Top 5 things are pretty mainstream, at least in terms of Stuff That Baby Boomers Like. But hey, I’m not claiming that these are THE Top 5s, just MY Top 5s.

That said, here’s my second attempt at listography…with somewhat Nikki-specific categories, complete with (hopefully not broken) YouTube links!

Top 5 Beatles songs I tend to forget about but then get SO HAPPY when I remember them:
It’s All Too Much
You Know My Name (Look Up The Number)
This version of Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da
This version of No Reply (your FACE)
Bonus: the cover of Besame Mucho (from both 1962 and 1969)

Top 5 Favorite Lyricists (i.e. People Who Make Me Want To Write Songs):
Paul Simon
John Darnielle
Tom Waits
Ezra Koenig
Kishi Bashi
Can I just say that choosing a Paul Simon song is what kept me from posting this for like a week? I think a Top 5 Paul Simon Lyrics list would be nearly impossible. 

Top 5 Favorite Guitar Hero II Songs
Ahhhh, college…
YYZ – Rush
Free Bird – Lynyrd Skynyrd
Sweet Child O’ Mine – Guns ‘N Roses (first song I ever beat on expert, those were the days…)
Jordan – Buckethead (for the pure insanity)
Jessica – Allman Brothers Band

And because I don’t mean for this to be limited to just music,

Top 5 Favorite Jack Nicholson Movie Scenes
Going crazy in The Shining
“Hold it between your knees”
Watching the ball game
Go To The Mirror – Tommy (such a great crossover of my favorite things)

I’ve got lots of material for a follow-up post (Top 5 TOS Episodes, Top 5 Who Songs Sung by John Entwistle, Top 5 Cat Videos on YouTube, etc.). Do you have any? I feel like this blog is very un-interactive (which is probably mostly due to its readership being like 4 people at max), so I welcome any contributions or ideas!

Happy weekend.