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Sunday, May 20, 2012

100 Songs I Love: 123-126

Wow, there's been a whole lot of negativity popping up on GEP lately. That review of Zendik's We the Poet was harsh. Deserved and funny, but mean. And it seems like I'm always going on and on about songs I hate and movies I think look stupid so much that I feel like I've lost the original vision I had for Giant Electric Penguin, or, rather, the second original vision, as the original original vision was a horror movie review blog. The second original vision I had for this blog was that it would be a place of celebration; a celebration of the awful things in life, yes, but also the enjoyable, the tuneful, and the competently constructed. So, without further blah-blah-blah, I give you the latest, and the weirdest, installment of 100 Songs I Love

123. "Cocktails for Two" (Spike Jones and The City Slickers)  

"Cocktails for Two" is one of my favorite songs from my youth, particularly middle school, when a friend, Chris, introduced me to the wacky world of Spike Jones. Before my family moved to North Carolina, this friend was nice enough to record for me probably the best mixtape I've ever been given. The A-Side featured the songs of Tom Lehrer and a collection of Beatles parodies written and recorded by Chris himself, who was and is an accomplished pianist. The B-Side was wall-to-wall Spike Jones. I listened to this tape endlessly during my first summer and freshman year in Charlotte. Then everybody got into ska or whatever (ugh) and that lasted pretty much until college, where you learn on the first day, no matter what university, community college or online institution you get into, that ska is basically the worst thing ever.

I love Spike Jones. Who doesn't? People who hate life, I guess. The above film, a raucous tribute to drinking, smoking and causal transvestism, just makes "Cocktails for Two" that much better. No matter where I go or what I do in life, I will never stop being thankful to Chris for bringing Spike Jones and his wacky, wacky kids into my life.

124. "Stay With You" (capsule)

I love pop music, and if that love pop music includes a plethora of beeps, boops, auto-tuned weirdness, and Japanese lyrics, well, I'm even more in. And I don't think it gets any more poppy or Japanese than capsule's "Stay With You." This song makes my brain feel good. It makes me want to dance, and I have a strict "only-dance-at-weddings" policy. Toshiko Koshijima could be singing about animal torture, and I'd still feel like dancing. That's how infectious this song's groove is. I'm quite aware that many of my readers will choose to resist "Stay With You." To you sad-sacks I say, too bad.

125. "Still Alive" (GLaDOS & Jonathan Coulton)  

Here's what I know about the video game Portal: it involves portals and I would be terrible at it. There's also something about cake. 

"Still Alive" is the song that plays over Portal's end credits, written by Jonathan Coulton and sung by a robot that apparently gives you non-stop shit during the game. 

Funny story: I don't know how this song got onto my iTunes. I don't remember buying it, but there it was, languishing in obscurity, until one chore-filled afternoon (my life seems, and is, chock full of these right now), I went into song shuffle mode and about ten songs in, this perfect little pop gem appeared. It's got everything I love: killer hooks, lyrics about death and science experiments and a singing female robot. It's like Jonathan Coulton climbed into my dreams and wrote a song about what he encountered there. "Still Alive" is so good, thought I am still perplexed about where it came from.

126. "Whatever You Like" (Anya Marina)  

Yes, this yet another white girl with a child's voice covering a rap song--in this case T.I.'s "Whatever You Like"-- featuring lyrics about wet, late night sex sessions and masterful blowjobs, while strumming an acoustic guitar. I know, it's all be done before, but, dammit, I like this. A lot. It's tons better than the original. For real. "Whatever You Like" kinda sucks.

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