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friday random ten, sleater-kinney edition

1. "I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone."

push to the front so i can see
it's what i thought
it's rock'n'roll

2. "Combat Rock."

Where is the questioning
where is the protest song?

3. "Jumpers."

Don't push me
I am not OK

4. "Youth Decay."

I'm all about
a forked tongue and a dirty house

5. "Words and Guitar"

i dream of quiet songs
i hear the silky sounds
hush hush and rock
oh give me pretty song
oh let me have that sound
tonight

6. "Little Babies."

dum dum dee dee dee dum dum dee dum do
all the little babies go oh oh i want to
dum dum dee dee dee dum dum dee dum yeah
rock the little babies with one two three

7. "Dig Me Out."

dig me out
dig me in
outta this mess baby outta my head
dig me out
dig me in
outta my body outta my skin

8. "I'm Not Waiting."

i'm not waiting
till i grow up
to be a woman

9. "Not What You Want."

got my foot on the floor
we'll go 80 95 maybe more
oh tell me baby what's wrong
oh tell me baby what's wrong
it's not what you want
it's everything

10. "Call the Doctor."

this is love and you can't break it
in a formula or make me
i'm no monster i'm just like you
all my life is right before me

11 (yes, that's more than ten ... cut me some slack). "Sympathy."

When the moment strikes
it takes you by surprise and
leaves you naked in the face of death and life
there is no righteousness in your darkest moment
We’re all equal in the face of what we’re most afraid of
And I’m so sorry
for those who didn’t make it
and for the mommies who are left with their heart breaking

12. "Modern Girl."

My baby loves me
I'm so angry
Anger makes me a modern girl
Took my money
I couldn't buy nothin'
I'm sick of this
Brave new world

13. "You're No Rock 'n' Roll Fun."

You wanna party with the lights on
Come on I like it dark!
You always wanna hear the same old song
Come on play another song!

14. "Entertain."

If you're here 'cause you want to be entertained
Go away, please go away

15. "Don't Think You Wanna."

i don't think you wanna
mess around up there

16. "Turn It On."

it's too warm
inside your hands
it's too hard
it's too good
it's just that when you touched me
i could not stand up
i fell into
i fell down

17. "Stay Where You Are."

you can't find me
you're in the dark
i'm right here
stay where you are

18. "Let's Call It Love."

A woman is not a girl.
I could show you a thing or two.
I've got a long time for love.
Come on let's go to the mat.
Hit the floor honey, let's battle it out.
I've got a long time for love.

19. "One More Hour."

i know i know i know
it's so hard for you to let it go
i know i know i know
it's so hard for you to let it go
i know i know i know
it's so hard for you to say goodbye
i know i know i know
you need a little bit
just a little more time

20. "The Promised Land."

There's a dark cloud rising from the desert floor
I packed my bags and I'm heading straight into the storm
Gonna be a twister to blow everything down
That ain't got the faith to stand its ground
Blow away the dreams that tear you apart
Blow away the dreams that break your heart
Blow away the lies that leave you nothing but lost and brokenhearted
The dogs on Main Street howl
'cause they understand
If I could take one moment into my hands
Mister I ain't a boy, no I'm a man
And I believe in a promised land

21. "Good Things."

the hardest part is things already said
getting better worse i cannot tell
why do good things never wanna stay
some things you lose some things you give away


today's interesting stats

I know you've missed the old stat updates :-).

A lot of my recent visitors are clearly inspired by stuff that has happened of late. For instance, someone from Houston Googled "Eric Wynalda Bruce Arena Steve Sampson Alexi Lalas commentary U.S. National soccer team future blame loss defeat" and ended up at my blog. And then there are the Rescue Me fans ... here comes a spoiler, but the episode in question is now more than a week in the past, so it should be safe ... the search string "rescue me rape" got twice as many search hits as any other string, and some version of that search was also #3, #4, and #6 (#2 and #5 were about Huff). (There are also several other versions of the Rescue Me search that had a couple of hits.)

Visitor of the Day: the person, not my sister-in-law, who searched MSN for "hi steven this is katie I miss you. text back please."

The World Wide Web: got visitors from Macau, Tangerang, and Limerick (looking for L Word sex scenes).

Face It, the Internet Is For Sex Dept.: among the search strings leading to my page are "first time jerking off" (I didn't realize my blog was that old), "susan sarandon's tits" (sorry, no pix of those on my site), "download polly walker romes sex scenes" (again, it's not that I don't appreciate the sentiment, but I don't have the bandwidth for these things), and "peggy lipton nude" (gotta be a baby-boomer).


.sig file

So, which one of these Al Swearengen quotes makes a better .sig file?

Choice #1: "Pain or damage don't end the world. Or despair or fucking beatings. The world ends when you're dead. Until then, you got more punishment in store. Stand it like a man... and give some back."

Choice #2: "In life you have to do a lot of things you don't fucking want to do. Many times, that's what the fuck life is... one vile fucking task after another."


matt nathanson

I would be remiss if I didn't mention last night's opening act, Matt Nathanson. I had heard a few of his songs, recorded with a full band, but for this tour, it's just him and a 12-string guitar. He played half a dozen songs, and considering the entire auditorium was waiting for Pink, he was remarkable, getting the audience to eat out of his proverbial hand. His songs are biting tales of love woes, his stage patter very funny, ironic commentary on those tales. Perhaps the highlight, since it was a night of singalongs, was when he introduced one song as being inspired by "Jessie's Girl." First he explained who Rick Springfield was, to all the youngsters in the audience. Then he played the first couple of chords of "Jessie's Girl" on his 12-string, which of course prompted instant recognition, even, I suspect, from people who weren't born when that song was a hit. He said he wasn't going to play "Jessie's Girl" ... the crowd booed in mock anger ... he barked back in mock dismay ... and then he said he'd play "Jessie's Girl" as long as we promised to pay attention to the rest of his songs.

And then, damn if he didn't start playing "Jessie's Girl," and just like when Pink did "What's Up," the whole audience knew the words and started singing at the top of their lungs. It was hilarious and delightful.

Nathanson seemed quite the professional ... you don't get that good at interacting with an audience without a lot of practice ... but while it was hard to tell when he was being sincere (his entire act being drenched in irony), he seemed honestly surprised and thankful at the huge response he got from the crowd. He was one of the best opening acts I've ever seen, and he made me want to go to one of his own shows, which is the idea.


entertain

This song appeared on Sleater-Kinney's last album:

So you want to be entertained?
Please look away (Don't look away)
We're not here 'cause we want to entertain
Go away (Don't go away)
Reality is the new fiction they say
Truth is truer these days, truth is man-made
If you're here 'cause you want to be entertained
Please go away

If your art is done, Johnny get your gun
Join the rank and file, on your TV dial

You come around looking 1984
You're such a bore, 1984
Nostalgia, you're using it like a whore
It's better than before
You come around sounding 1972
You did nothing new with 1972
Where's the "fuck you"?
Where's the black and blue

If your art is done, Johnny get your gun
Join the rank and file, on your TV dial

Hey! Look around they are lying to you
Can't you see it's just a silly ruse?
They are lying, and I am lying too.
All you want is entertainment,
Rip me open it's free

If your art is done, Johnny get your gun
Join the rank and file, on your TV dial

(Don't drag me down,
I'm not falling down)

1,2,3! If you want to take
a shot at me get in line
1,2,3! I've had all my
shots and I'm fine

1,2,3! If you haven't had
enough of me, get in line
1,2,3! You deserve
it now, it's all right

1,2,3! We can drown in
mediocrity, it feels sublime
1,2,3! It feels like someone
pushed rewind

1,2,3! Give it to me easily,
my feeble mind needs time
1,2,3! Make it sweet and
syrupy with rhyme

(Don't drag me down,
I'm not falling down)

If your art is done, Johnny get your gun
Join the rank and file, on your TV dial

The grip of fear is already here
The lines are drawn,
whose side are you on?


the stats

I most certainly have not yet processed the news that Sleater-Kinney are breaking up. So for now, I'll fall back on the numbers ... just how good were they, according to the critics?

Rating their seven albums on a scale of 0-5 stars, the All-Music Guide had the following: 3, 4.5, 4.5, 4, 4, 4, 4.5.

Robert Christgau (he uses letter grades): A-, A, A, A, A-, A, A.

Village Voice Pazz & Jop Critics Poll: #3 album of 1996,  #4 album of 1997, #23 of 1999, #10 of 2000, #5 of 2002, #4 of 2005.

Spin Magazine's Best Album Lists: #18 in 1996, #3 in 1997, #18 in 1999, #11 in 2002, #35 in 2005.

In 2001, Time Magazine named them America's Best Rock Band.

They rank at #244 on the Acclaimed Music list of the Top 1000 Artists of All Time.

They have been listed in Rolling Stone's Essential Recordings of the 90's, The Rough Guide to Rock's 100 Essential CDs, Blender's 500 CDs You Must Own Before You Die, and many others, too numerous to get carpal tunneled over.

They somehow managed to stay together long enough to make albums over an eleven-year period (1995-2005).

We saw them 12 times, which is more than I've seen anyone other than Bruce. I posted this awhile back ... I thought it was a list in progress, but I guess not. Our 12 shows:

1. August 7, 1998, Great American Music Hall
2. March 3, 1999, Great American Music Hall
3. July 2, 1999, Greek Theatre
4. June 8, 2000, Fillmore Auditorium
5. November 2, 2000, Great American Music Hall
6. January 14, 2002, Great American Music Hall
7. January 16, 2002, Great American Music Hall
8. September 23, 2002, Fillmore Auditorium
9. February 3, 2003, Great American Music Hall
10. May 23, 2004, Fillmore Auditorium
11. June 4, 2005, Warfield
12. May 3, 2006, Great American Music Hall


good things

got this feeling
when i heard your name the other day
couldn't say it
couldn't make it go away
it's a hard place
can't be friends
we can't be enemies
it's just too much
feel the weight crushing down on my face

the hardest part is things already said
getting better worse i cannot tell
why do good things never wanna stay
some things you lose
some things you give away

broken pieces
try to make it good again
is it worth it
will it make me sick today
it's a dumb song
but i'll write it anyway
it's an old mistake
but we always make it
why do we

the hardest part is things already said
getting better worse i cannot tell
why do good things never wanna stay
some things you lose
some things you give away

this time it'll be all right
this time it'll be okay
this time it'll be all right
this time it'll be okay

the hardest part is things already said
getting better worse i cannot tell
why do good things never wanna stay
some things you lose
some things you give away

some things you lose
some things you give away


pink, and goodbye to the greatest

This was going to be a quick review of tonight's Pink concert before I went to bed, but then I saw this news:

After eleven years as a band, Sleater-Kinney have decided to go on indefinite hiatus. The upcoming summer shows will be our last. As of now, there are no plans for future tours or recordings.

We feel lucky to have had the support of many wonderful people over the years. We want to thank everyone who has worked with us, written kind words about us, performed with us, and inspired us.

But mostly we want to extend our gratitude to our amazing fans. You have been a part of our story from the beginning. We could not have made our music without your enthusiasm, passion, and loyalty. It is you who have made the entire journey worthwhile.

With love and thanks,
Sleater-Kinney

It's funny, as we were driving home from the concert, I said that one thing I'd wondered is what would Sleater-Kinney make of Pink. Pink is reaching a much younger audience than S-K at this point ... I don't know what that means, exactly, except that when Pink sings "Dear Mr. President," more people are listening than are listening to The Woods.

Well, to come home to the news about my favorite band takes some of the luster off of the fine show I saw tonight. Pink at the Fillmore ... seems kinda odd, doesn't it? As we entered the old auditorium, the ushers were giving out basic information. I stopped and asked one if there were a lot of first-timers tonight, and he smiled and said yes, it seemed that way.

Pink fit right in at the Fillmore, of course, no matter how weird it sounds on paper. Her hip-hop days are completely in her past now ... this was a rock show. (The same was true when we first saw her, almost four years ago to the day, but she was still playing some of her earlier hits so the move to rock wasn't quite as obvious.) She only sang one song from her first album, which was the closest thing she ever did to hip-hop, focusing mostly on the new album (from which she sang most of the songs) and her biggest hit, M!ssundaztood (she only did one song from her "flop," Try This). The band was solid enough, but especially given Pink's love of power ballads, at times it felt like we were watching Journey if they'd replaced Steve Perry with a 21st century mutant offspring of Janis Joplin and Cyndi Lauper.

Pink herself was very winning, showing off her vocal chops, kidding with the audience, promoting gay rights and dissing George Bush, and just having a good time. Her audience was completely in love with her ... there were a lot of young girls there, young women as well, as is appropriate, and it was their show, they knew every song and sang every lyric. They even knew every word to 4 Non Blonde's "What's Up," which Pink claims as her own. No matter how corny the song, or Pink's delivery of the same, it's quite a moment when all those youngsters throw the peace sign in the air and sing "hey hey hey hey, what's going on?" In fact, it's this element of pop community that I like best about Pink concerts, it would seem, since I wrote about a singalong in my blog post about that earlier show four years ago.

What's odd is that Pink hooked up with Linda Perry for M!ssundaztood, and Perry wrote a lot of the songs for that album, when in fact Linda Perry had written the ultimate Pink song eight years before the two even met. So now Pink sings that song as if she's known it all her life, and based on the voices in the Fillmore who sang every word, her audience has known it all their lives as well, and it's a great pop moment that reflects the optimism of the young just as other Pink songs reflect their sadness. The song indeed no longer belongs to Linda Perry, it belongs to Pink and the fans who know and sing all the words:

And I try, oh my god do I try
I try all the time, in this institution
And I pray, oh my god do I pray
I pray every single day
For a revolution
And so I cry sometimes
When I'm lying in bed
Just to get it all out
What's in my head
And I am feeling a little peculiar
And so I wake in the morning
And I step outside
And I take a deep breath and I get real high
And I scream at the top of my lungs
What's going on?
And I say, hey hey hey hey
I said hey, what's going on?
Twenty-five years and my life is still
Trying to get up that great big hill of hope
For a destination


pink is tonight

And so I give you "U + Ur Hand":

Check it out
Going out
On the late night
Looking tight
Feeling nice
It's a cock fight
I can tell
I just know
That it's going down
Tonight

At the door
We don't wait
'Cause we know them
At the bar
Six shots
Just beginnin'
That's when
Dickhead
Put his hands on me
But you see

I'm not here for your entertainment
You don't really want to mess with me tonight
Just stop and take a second
I was fine before you walked into my life
'Cause you know it's over
Before it began
Keep your drink just give me the money
It's just you and your hand tonight

Midnight
I'm drunk
I don't give a fuck
Wanna dance
By myself
Guess you're outta luck
Don't touch
Back up
I'm not the one

Listen up
It's just not happening
You can say
What you want
To your boyfriends
Just let me
Have my fun
Tonight

I'm not here for your entertainment
You don't really want to mess with me tonight
Just stop and take a second
I was fine before you walked into my life
'Cause you know it's over
Before it began
Keep your drink just give me the money
It's just you and your hand tonight

In the corner
With your boys
You bet up five bucks
To get the girl
That just walked in
But she thinks you suck
We didn't get
All dressed up
Just for you to see
So quit spilling
Your drinks on me

You know who you are
High fivin', talkin' shit,
But you're going home alone aren'tcha?

'Cause I'm not here for your entertainment
You don't really want to mess with me tonight
Just stop and take a second
I was fine before you walked into my life
'Cause you know it's over
Before it began
Keep your drink just give me the money
It's just you and your hand tonight


huff series finale

Well, the show that brings Googlers to my blog on a regular basis is gone. And as with all shows, there are fans who are distraught, and some are saying “I’m never watching Showtime again,” and others are saying “maybe HBO will pick it up,” and some of them will show up here as they always seem to do, and yell at me because in my opinion, Huff never got beyond being a B– kind of show. After Season One, I wrote:

[I]t's a typical Showtime series: promising but erratic, better than the average network show but worse than the average HBO show…. By the final scene of the season, the plot shenanigans were piling up by the second, leaving half a dozen cliffhangers for Season Two. Pretty silly, to be honest.

The biggest problem with Huff, though, is reflected in the two most interesting characters (and the actors who portrayed them). Oliver Platt as Huff's best friend, and especially Blythe Danner as Huff's mother, were exceptional ... Danner's performance was a good as teevee got this year, which is no surprise, I suppose, given that Blythe Danner always rules. The problem is, Platt and Danner weren't the main characters. Huff and his wife were much less interesting, their escapades less involving, and Hank Azaria and Paget Brewster were OK but they didn't carry the show. And so each week you found yourself looking forward not to the primary plot threads but to the scenes with Danner and Platt. And that's the recipe for a seriously skewed show.

And the above pretty much describes Season Two, as well. Sharon Stone showed up for a few episodes, for no particular reason although she looked great, and then she was gone. Huff’s dad showed up for a few episodes (played by Tom Skerritt, after Robert Forster played him last season), and then he was gone. Bird, a sensitive teen in Season One, was so traumatized by the events of Season Two that he turned into a psychotic, in one episode tying an old nemesis to a chair and threatening to burn his face. Teddy was schizo, then he seemed to be getting better, then he tried to kill his girlfriend. Russell continued on the road to ruin, until finally he got arrested when a hooker overdosed at his house. And the title character and his wife were miserable. Again.

Meanwhile, Oliver Platt was probably just as good this season, but the second time around it’s not a surprise. Blythe Danner, who happily had a role which was written to be played in a more subtle fashion (I’m not saying Platt couldn’t do subtle, but he wasn’t asked to on this show), Blythe Danner was once again the best thing about the show. She deserves every award she gets.

So, have at me, Huff fans. I gave this show a B- after the first season, and I’m sticking to my story now. I’m not sorry I watched Huff … it’s better than L Word, at least … but, as Robin said while the closing credits scrolled by for the last time, I’m not gonna miss it now that it’s gone.