My iPod, My Self

Jonathan Bellman

So, as Phil pointed out here, Julian Sanchez lays the meme down for “one of the two guys at Dial M.” He gets both. My iPod is somewhat less interesting than Phil's because I don’t use it to teach, so such embarrassment as is to be found there has even less excuse.
1. Adam Sandler, “Werewolves of London.” I love Warren Zevon, though not this song particularly, and Sandler’s version is on the tribute CD Enjoy Every Sandwich. Actually, the whole CD, minus a track or two only, is superb.
2. The Sweet, “Ballroom Blitz.” Glam-rock poseur excess from long ago. So shriekingly over the top that I love it.
3. Rick Springfield, “Jessie’s Girl.” I’ll wait while you visit the vomitorium. The fact is that good pop Works, and nothing is more pop than a covetous, libidinous male teen, from whose perspective this song is sung. I also like “My Best Friend’s Girlfriend” (the Cars) and “The Breakup Song” (the Greg Kihn Band), but neither is half as embarrassing as this.
4. Mott the Hoople, “Ride on the Sun.” This is the demo track for “Sea Diver,” a bonus track off the reissue of All the Young Dudes. No, I am not partial to glam-rock, but I always liked Mott; the prominent piano and valedictory lyrics on top of the witting teen angst always seemed a felicitous mix. I never felt Ian Hunter was pandering or talking down, no matter how old he got, and I always liked the preachy ones, like “Hymn for the Dudes” off Mott. I like “Sea Diver” a lot; the demo version (keyboards added later) is also nice, but to my mind makes absolutely no sense lyrically at all. Encore!
5. Van Morrison, “These are the Days.” One of the songs from the Hugh Grant—uhh, “vehicle”—Nine Months. In Morrison’s Christian phase, though at times seems to toggle back to yang-yin stuff. I’ve always loved the sound of his country/gospel-tinged ballads (think “And It Stoned Me” or “Tupelo Honey”), and this is one.
I know. Too Much Information. It's summer, though . . .

About jonathanbellman

Professor of Music History and Literature and Head of Academic Studies in Music at the University of Northern Colorado. Author, *The _Style Hongrois_ in the Music of Western Europe* (Northeastern University Press, 1993), *A Short Guide to Writing About Music* (2e, Longman, 2008), *Chopin's Polish Ballade: Op. 38 as Narrative of National Martyrdom* (Oxford University Press, 2010), Editor, *The Exotic in Western Music* (Northeastern University Press, 1998), author of bunches of articles and reviews and so on. Likes to play the piano, the mandolin, and even guitar sometimes. A. M. and Jo Winchester Distinguished Scholar at UNC, 2011.
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6 Responses to My iPod, My Self

  1. Phil Ford says:

    Nine Months . . . noooooooo . . .
    I was stranded by a blizzard at a friend’s place in Duluth and his wife wanted to watch it. So many things wrong . . . starting with Robin Williams, all nakedly wanting us to love him, as per usual. *shudder*
    Just thinking about that piece of crap makes me realize that I’m much more prone to thinking about movies (specific movies) as “guilty pleasures” than music. I can rationalize almost any piece of music as interesting in some way, even if I don’t find it very entertaining, but a movie I thought was a turd stays a turd no matter what. I wouldn’t be embarrassed to have the soundtrack for Nine Months on my shelf, but I would be *mortified* to have the DVD.

  2. J-Rod says:

    OMG, I still recount the amazement when you began to riff, from memory, “POS Car” on the piano. “You know the song, it goes something like this…”

  3. Jonathan says:

    🙂 Don’t be impressed, J. “P.O.S. Car” has three chords!

  4. J-Rod says:

    I think it was more the dissonance of you and Adam Sandler existing in the same headspace that caused the amazement. I imagine Sandler’s works are slightly less virtuosic than you’re used to:)
    BTW, I seem to have the Smurfs theme, Leonard Nimoy doing “the Ballad of Bilbo Baggins” and 2 (yep 2) Kermit the Frog numbers on my iPod.
    Let he without sin cast the first song…

  5. MSL says:

    Re: POS car– for me it was the singing more than the piano playing that makes the experience stick in my mind.
    I think the most embarrassing thing on my iPod is all the empty space! I’ve got J’s hand-me-down first-generation iPod and it’s only half-full! (that’s right; it’s not half-empty) I just don’t feel the need to carry that much music around with me every day. And talking to other people with earbuds in their ears– people who seem to refuse to remove them! why engage me in conversation (on the bus, at the library, in the grocery store) if you can’t be bothered to pause your sound-track long enough to hear me say “fine, and you?”– is my most recently developed pet-peeve.

  6. ccarson says:

    Ok, two things…
    First: Jessie’s Girl is one of my favorite songs, albeit reluctantly. Growing up, my best friend was a guy named Jessie — and I had a thing for his girlfriend. Despite the fact that this is a pop-song-that-desperately-wants-to-be-a-rock-song, AND it is by a soap opera star, I still love it. My favorite part? “..and she’s lovin’ him with that body–I just know it…” Something about the way that the last phrase is just tagged on, like he breaks character for a little bit and shows just how jealous and angry he really is. A rare moment in pop: sincerity.
    Second: “Nine Months” is a *cute* (my wife’s word) movie…and “These Are the Days” is perfect here…great song. I would have to agree, though, that the otherwise amazing cast is kinda phoning it in. It is almost as if they all got together and agreed, “Hey, let’s ALL not act well on this one, ok…if we all suck, we can just coast through this and no one will get singled out.” Of course, to match the other actors’ versions of “coasting”, Tom Arnold had to kick it up by a factor of ten — this is the ONLY time I have ever found him even remotely funny.

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