Friday, August 15, 2008

Hang Around With The People We Used to Be

I've had the song "Inn Town," the first track off of Whiskeytown's Strangers Almanac in my head for three days. It plays over and over, and I even find myself singing it out loud in my office at work without really realizing it. I've always liked the song, but it's never been my favorite. In fact for the longest time I skipped over it when I put in the CD to get right to "Excuse Me While I Break My Own Heart" (track #2). But nonetheless it's been in the corner of my ear for 72 hours and I can't seem to hear it enough. I've listen to it countless times, played it and sung it myself hoping to at least allow me to hear something new, but there it stays. Don't get me wrong, this is not a problem really, and I'm grateful to have a song that I actually like stuck in my head for once. (I once carried Montell Jordan's "This is How We Do It" around with me for an entire summer. Misery.) But I also know that hearing a song too much can sometimes ruin it. It gets annoying, you dissect it a little too much, and it can just get played out.

So in order to try not to ruin the song, I figured I'd listen to the album and write a little about the songs I like and perhaps I'll get it out of my head that way. Really, this is just an excuse to listen to a badass album, but we're just going to go with it here.

Track 1: Inn Town

The reason for this whole exercise. I'm not sure what it is about this song I like so much. I'm not really certain what the point or story of this song is other than perhaps talking about coming home after being away and finding nothing's really changed, but somehow everything's changed. It's subtle in both it's words and music, and I'm realizing that the harmonies sound just slightly off to me, which makes them that much more effective and perfect.

Favorite Lyric: Fifty cents or a dollar three, I don't owe you anything.

Track 2: Excuse Me While I Break My Own Heart Tonight

Great use of the word "goddamn." I know a lot of people don't like hearing that one, and that you aren't really supposed to cuss in country music, but a really good "goddamn" can go a long way in taking a song from really good to fucking awesome. This one and 16 Days were the two songs that initially got me into Whiskeytown, and it never disappoints. I still don't know who the guy is that sings the last verse. Doesn't sound at all like Ryan Adams. Actually sounds like Bob Dylan, but I can't imagine that being the case. I'd look it up but I'm really just too lazy, and that sort of defeats the purpose of just enjoying the song for what it is.

Favorite Lyric: Situation's got me drinkin' every goddamn day and night.

Track 4: 16 Days

I have to admit until this read I always thought that the line in the second verse of this song said "got a bottle and a rosary," but I'm realizing he might be saying "got a Bible and a rosary." I like the first one better, so I'm gonna go with that. I also must admit that I broke down and looked up some lyrics, and the very last one I always interpreted as "just like the whore I am," which I thought was brilliant. According to Lyrics Freak he's saying "it's like before I hang." Again, I like my way better.

Favorite Lyric: Can't sleep when the bedsheet fights it's way back to your side.

Track 6: Houses on the Hill

I didn't discover this song until just recently, but I think it may be the most well written song on the album. It's really the only one out of all of these that actually tells a story, and it's just beautifully done. It could've been a really sappy song about a guy leaving the woman he loves to go off to war and ends up dying, but somehow it brushes just up against that idea without being corny. It doesn't take an anti-war or pro-war stance really, it just tells a story through the eyes of a kind of different narrator, which is pretty cool.

Favorite Lyric: The envelope folds smelled of her ancient perfume.

Track 10: Avenues

I don't really have any idea what this song is talking about, and I don't really think I want to take the time to figure it out. I like the melody and I love the way the words sound as they're being sung. I think that's enough for me.

Favorite Lyric: All the sweethearts of the world are out littering the bars, and I am still avenues from any place you are.

Now that this is all over Ive got "Houses on the Hill" stuck in my head. Guess I'll have to give it another listen in a couple of day. What a cruel fate.

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