February 1, 2011

Best Albums to Do Stuff To

All music has a time and a place and a purpose. No one wants to hear Celine Dion on the jukebox when they’re trying to play pool in their favorite dive bar. You don't invite people over for a party and play Cat Power. You can’t do it while Tony Basil is playing. It’s physically impossible. The following are operating instructions for a few albums that I enjoy.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Fever to Tell: Listen to this when you are getting ready. Imagine that Karen O is your best friend. No, better yet, imagine that you are Karen O. Dance awkwardly throughout your entire bedroom, jump on the bed, leap to the floor and then gyrate in front of the mirror. Put on lipstick in an exaggerated way and imagine this scene is the opening montage to the movie of your best day ever.

Gayngs, Relayted: Listen to this on vinyl when you guys are breaking up. With all the fading guitar and soft vocal stylings it sounds sad but beautiful, which will justify your feelings and make it feel like the whole thing is meant to be. People were never meant to be happy anyway. The best artists never are. It is the perfect background album for your harsh words and divisions of furniture, custody of the cat, and your joint record collection. Smile wistfully when the saxophones start playing all echoey. Brush away single tears.When the record stops and there's just that thump, thump, thump, it's time to move on.

Iron and Wine, The Shepherd's Dog: Take this with you when you move to Japan to teach English. Listen to this on subways and trains and stare out the window at all the piles of concrete blocks, the rice paddies, the exotic curve of temple roofs. Wander alleyways and parks like the alienated Caucasian wraith that you are. Decide that you want to move back to the states and build like, a farm or a bookcase or something.

Pink Floyd, Meddle: Take this with you on long drives. Make sure you are somewhere really good when the last song plays. Preferably rushing down a windy road high in moonlit mountains, or precariously threading your way along a craggy coastline. Get all introspective and feel insignificant. It’s better when no one else is in the car with you, but if they are, make sure that they don’t sing along, or hum, or even worse, talk when this album is playing. If you are going on a long drive, make sure you don’t end up with Fergie’s The Duchess with you. No one can completely recover from that.

The Knife, Heartbeats: When you are at the bar and then it closes and you and all your friends still want to be awake doing fun things, you should take them home with you and play this album really loud. The entire thing. Invent some sort of stomping line dance that threatens to break the floorboards and the patience of your non-slumbering roommates. Sing along. Drink whatever is in the fridge, even if it’s not yours. Spill something. Feel good about the direction your life has taken.


Caitlin said...

Karen O WAS my best friend for several months. No, YEARS. She even convinced me to get a bowl cut in 2005. Fever to Tell is one of my top 10 albums of all time. Genius all the way through, I tell you! Why can't a good thing last? WHY?

Tim said...

Try Dylan's Oh Mercy album driving into the sunrise on the high plains. Or was it just high?