Since "Best of" lists seem to be popular this time of year, I thought I'd do my best imitation of best lists the next few day. Or Top Ten of various and sundry things used for inspiration, or that just made me giggle. If there were ten I liked, I'm flexible. Could be a Top 14 or Top 2 list. Bear with me.
Speechless - Bruce Cockburn
Incredible instrumental guitar playing by the Canadian folk/rock/activist/singer/songwriter. I've listened to Bruce Cockburn for over 20 years and he just gets better and better. His guitar playing on previous albums was inspired, but Speechless is nothing short of phenomenal. You feel every song. You can get lost in the music. It also is great to write to – for certain passages.
I alternate between Speechless and regular Cockburn albums. As a poet I appreciate the lyrics the man composes. How could I not love a man who uses $.25+ words in his songs rather than teeny-bopper Orc grunts??
"Sinister cynical instrument
Who makes the gun into a sacrament --
The only response to the deification
Of tyranny by so-called "developed" nations'
Idolatry of ideology"
from Call It Democracy
Music + Music Video
Straight Outta Lynwood– Weird Al Yankovic
White and Nerdy
I like sarcasm, I really like well done sarcasm. The White and Nerdy video pokes fun at the rap song "Ridin'" by Chamillionaire and Krayzie Bone by making fun of nerds everywhere. For me, seeing Donny Osmond nerd dancing in the background was hysterical. You can find White and Nerdy on YouTube and Google Video, as well as iTune$.
Also included on the album are the songs "Canadian Idiot", a riff on American Idiot by Green Day. In Weird Al's version, it becomes a commentary on the inability of Americans to see their neighbors to the north as anything but stereotypes.
"Well maple syrup and snow's what they export
they treat curling just like it's a real sport
they think their silly accent is so cute
can't understand a thing they're talking aboot"
Then there is "Weasel Stomping Day", where you learn it's okay to do horrid things as long as it's traditional.
"Faces filled with joy and cheer
What a magical time of year
Howdy ho, it's Weasel Stomping Day"
"Don't Download This Song" which is a parody of those artist fundraising songs that were popular in the 1980's. The video for the song was cartooned by Bill Plympton and can be found on YouTube and Google Video. Download it, it's visual sarcasm at its best.
"Once in a while
Maybe you will feel the urge.
To break international copyright law
By downloading mp3s
From file sharing sites
Like morphous or grokster or limewire or kazza.
But deep in your Heart.
You know the guilt would drive you mad
And the shame would leave a permanent scar
Cause you start out stealing songs
Then you’re robbing liquor stores
And selling Crack
And running over school kids with your car..."
NOT included on the album, thanks to Atlantic Records balking, (although the artist gave his okay), is "You're Pitiful", a parody of James Blunt's song "You're Beautiful". Strangely, the song was released into the wilds of the 'Net, where I found a copy HERE. I'm always amazed how Weird Al can get not only the lyrics and tone of a piece to match, but his voice too. Scary.
"Your homemade Star Trek uniform
Really ain't impressin' me
You're sufferin' from delusions of
You're Pitiful, it's true."
Time to go check my shelves for more "Best of 2006". Stay tuned.