Yesterday we celebrated Memorial Day, a national holiday of reflection on those who served our country and didn’t make it back home. Since I’m not a veteran, I did what civilians should do on Memorial Day, I made fun of ultra-patriotic people on the Twitter and Book o Face, grilled steaks, and got in my car to run some family errands and paid tribute to something I lost when I became a husband and father – the ability to control the car radio/CD player.
I miss it. But it isn’t a deal breaker. My wife and 3 daughters love playing their favorites on radio or CDs in the car; singing, dancing, confusing lyrics, and arguing about who the better singer/musician/DJ/radio commercial, is. All the while, I plan. Actually, I plot and or scheme. Because when I get in the car by myself, I can revert back to yesteryear when the music in the car could be mine, all mine muwahahahaha. Yesterday, I had to help my mother-in-law move something, then pick up a couple of things from the store. I had thirty minutes alone in the car. I picked out five CDs, Counting Crows, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Stone Temple Pilots, The Verve, and Rage Against the Machine. Had you been in the car with me, you would have not wanted to be in the car with me, because I sing and dance like I play guitar, poorly but with a lot of enthusiasm.
Today’s Twisted Mixtape Tuesday over at my music freak sister pal Jen’s place http://www.jenkehl.com is Songs You Sing Your Heart Out To In The Car. You know how I know I follow and read the right people, because Jen picked this topic AFTER I was in the car with my tunes. For my top 5 list, I picked the 5 songs I sang along to yesterday. There are many more. I didn’t even touch on Radar Love by Golden Earring, the Paul’s Boutique album from Beastie Boys (always in my car) or anything Pearl Jam-ish.
5) Mr. Jones – Counting Crows. I like anything and everything Crows related but at the end of the day, even after worshiping Come Around (my kids’ favorite Crows tune) and Angels of the Silences, Mr. Jones and it’s “down at the new Amsterdam, staring at this yellow-haired girl”…opening lyric is a classic. If you haven’t listened to August and Everything After, the C Crows debut album, recently, do so. It still works. Mr. Jones at full volume while sitting at a red light next to a convenience store or Wal-Mart is a suburbanite’s right of passage. And the person next to you will not judge you, unless they have crappy musical taste, then it’s their problem. I wanna be Bob Dylan, Mr. Jones wishes he was someone different….
4) American Girl – Tom Petty. Here’s the deal, if you hear American Girl and either don’t think about the Senator’s daughter jamming in her car with the song before Buffalo Bill gets her OR just lose yourself in Tom Petty’s rhythm guitar riff and start tapping on your steering wheel, then we can’t be friends. Sorry, but that’s just the way it is. American Girl is the one of the greatest driving songs ever.
3) Lucky Man – The Verve. The entire Urban Hymns CD is as close to a perfect album as you’ll ever find. I’ve used Lucky Man on a couple of posts, here. It’s a personal theme song. “Happiness more or less it’s just a change in me
Something in my liberty”. You can see the awkwardness when I pull up next to someone singing “I stand here naked, with a smile on my face, I feel no disgrace”.
2) Interstate Love Song – Stone Temple Pilots. The best driving song ever? Yeah. It was written and produced in my hometown Atlanta. Scott Weiland, the band’s now former lead singer, has said it was written “doing 85 on 85″, that’s Interstate 85, which runs near my house. With it’s southern rock opening, driving rhythm section, and “leavin’ on a southern train, yesterday, you lied” lyric, it’s the song you have to hear when you’re headed on vacation.
1) Guerrilla Radio – Rage Against the Machine. If you own The Battle of Los Angeles, proud leftist band Rage Against the Machine’s seminal 1999 album, then I don’t care if you’ve killed a guy, we’re probably going to be best friends for ever and ever. I also don’t care what who or your politics are, if you can’t scream along to “lights out, Guerrilla Radio, turn that sh*t up!” Then you’re just not a fun person. Somewhere along the line, you’re singing “all you pen devils know that trial was vile, army of pigs try to silence my style”. If you live in a mostly quiet, conservative, Bible Belt place, like I do, then pulling up next to a police car with Guerrilla Radio blaring is a moment in time you live for. And I did it yesterday, like a boss. Here’s Rage
Go see Jen and pick you 5 Car Songs you blast and sing along to.
Don’t forget to do your post Memorial Day, soon to be Father’s Day gift buying by visiting Amazon.com, smashwords.com, and Good Reads to get a copy of my first book, a rock and roll underdog story, The Ballad of Helene Troy. It’s also available on Lulu.com in paperback version or you can order a signed copy straight from Pound Publishing headquarters, my kitchen table.