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Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Boys Don't Cry

Only a few songs have had the power to make me cry or at least tear up. These are not songs that I was listening to after I had been broken up with, or songs that I was listening to after my favorite goldfish died, or even songs I was listening to when I hit my thumb with a hammer. These are songs that I listened to and was reduced to tears by simply because they are so powerful.

Bruce Springsteen, "Born To Run" (from Born To Run)

I only cried once to this song, but I've always found it to be unbelievably good. The idea of going out on the open road, being young and wanting to know what life is about--just good, good stuff.

Neil Young, "Ambulance Blues" (from On The Beach)

I must admit that I was feeling a little lonely when I was originally affected by this one. If the line "An ambulance can only go so fast," doesn't make you wince, then you aren't listening.

The Beach Boys, "God Only Knows" (from Pet Sounds)

In 2001, I finally got wise and purchased Pet Sounds, as I had heard all the hubbub and wanted to see how good it really was. Turns out, it's a fucking masterpiece. This song is so full, so lush, the harmonies so delicious, that I couldn't help but shed a tear. Brian Wilson has the spirit of a heartbroken teenage boy, but is trapped in the body of a drug-addled fat man.

Beach Boys Trivia: This is the first pop song to ever use the word "God" in its lyrics.

The Beatles, "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" (from The Beatles)

This is one of my favorite Beatles songs ever. Somehow a love song to a guitar hits me harder than most love songs do.

Bob Dylan, "Tell Me Momma" (from The Bootleg Series, Volume 4, Live 1966, The Royal Albert Hall Concert)

I couldn't have been in a less opportune place to get choked up when this song got to me. I was running around downtown Nelson (NZ), listening to my iPod, when Dylan's wailing and the sounds from his commanding Band forced shortness of breath, dizziness, and extreme aural pleasure. I swallowed, took some deep breaths, and continued running, but people still looked at me. Fuck those people.

SOUNDteam, "Back In Town"

Most of SOUNDteam's music is an absurdly joyous experience, and induces freak-out dance sessions and intense jubilance among their listeners. "Back In Town" is a very, very good song, but not necessarily head-and-shoulders above the rest of their recent work. Which leads to the question, "Then why did you cry about it, you pussy?" Well, I'll tell you, but don't call me a pussy. If listening to them is like having Christmas morning in music form, watching them perform is like having Santa Claus as your dad. Being surrounded by writhing, sweaty people who are filled with mirth, and accompanied by Austin's best band (and yes, that includes ...Trail of the Dead and Spoon) is more than enough to be overwhelmed by emotions. Go to a SOUNDteam show, and leave a better person.

Broken Social Scene, "KC Accidental" (from You Forgot It In People)

This was another chink in the armor of my otherwise very manly exterior that occured at a live performance. Broken Social scene is made up of ten different people, but they play as one amazing band. Their live performances are particularly wonderful; they elicit good vibes, amazing instrumental sounds, and an infectious charisma that wants you to know that you, yes you are the coolest person they've met all week. "KC Accidental" is a particularly positive piece of pop pleasure.

Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash, "Girl From The North County" (from Nashville Skyline)

Nashville Skyline is the only album I've ever heard Dylan attempt to harmonize on, and that includes his work with The Traveling Wilburys. His voice on this song is so wistful, so lonely, that I've had to go forward to the next track on more than one occasion because I had company around. Of course, Johnny Cash asking us to remember him to his former true love doesn't help me from needing a tissue, either.