Green Monkey Music Project: Battle of the Sexes

Splotchy posted the last Green Monkey Music Project on Friday and I am way behind in posting my commentary on my song picks. I could say that I was in such a state of mourning that I could not bear to write anything, but that would be a lie. Anyway, better late than never.

Mustang Sally – The Commitments
My first exposure to this song was in the Irish film The Commitments. This soundtrack is a great compilation of R&B and soul as interpreted by an Irish cover band that is sadly destined to fall apart. After seeing that movie it’s hard for me not to listen to this song and recall Jimmy the band manager’s directions to the backup singers on how to sing “Ride Sally Ride” without sounding Irish.

Pandora’s Box – Aerosmith
Not necessarily one of my favorite songs by Aerosmith, but certainly one of their most amusing. Steven Tyler is a master of innuendo, but not of rhyming, as evidenced by the chorus of this song: “Sweet Pandora/Godlike aura/Smell like a flora/Open up your door-a for me”.

Meet Virginia – Train
I picked a Train song for my first GMMP contribution, so it might seem that I am a huge Train fan. That isn’t necessarily the case, though I do enjoy their music. One of the things I like about this song is the quirks that Virginia has, such as exercising in high heels. Sounds like a fun drinking buddy to me.

Jolene – Dolly Parton
Another song where I heard the cover first and not the original. The cover I heard was on Olivia Newton-John’s Come on Over album. When it comes to covers, I tend to prefer whatever version I heard first, but this is one song where the original is so good I have to concede the point.

Amanda – Boston
When I told Joe what I was doing for this edition of the GMMP, he started spitting out song titles and insulted some of my choices. To get him to shut up I took this title. It was very popular when I was in high school and I still sing along to it when it’s piped over the sound system in Walmart.

Green Monkey Music Project: Geography Pop Quiz

Through that southern music doyenne Beth, I found out about Splotchy’s Green Monkey Music Project. Splotchy recruits fellow bloggers to participate in a weekly mix of songs all focused on a certain topic. This week’s topic was suggested by guest monkey Chris: list 5-7 songs that have a geographic location (street, city, state, country) in the title. For the first time, I threw my blog in the ring, and I got picked to participate! Yee haw! I feel as if I’ve been allowed to sit at the lunch table with the popular kids.

Anyway, you can find a zip file of my song picks here, as well as zip files for the other participants. Some commentary on my song choices follows:

Manhattan Avenue – Nellie McKay
About a year or so ago, another blogger turned me on to Nellie McKay’s delicious voice and witty songs. When you first listen to this song, it sounds like a sweet simple jazz song paying tribute to her neighborhood. Listen to it again, and you discover that she is actually singing about a rundown street in a shitty neighborhood. It just goes to show that you can make anything sound good if you sing it nicely.

Mercy Street – Peter Gabriel
I had to include this eerie song dedicated to American poet Anne Sexton. The title refers to her play as well as a collection of poetry. Whether or not there’s an actual Mercy Street, I don’t know. This is one of my favorite songs by Peter Gabriel.

Lubbock or Leave It – Dixie Chicks
T-Wizzle sent me a copy of Taking the Long Way when I was really having a hard time at my last job. Many of the songs on the album are centered around doing things your own way, even if other people don’t quite understand your motivation. I sang a lot of these songs at the top of my lungs while driving down the freeway. “Lubbock or Leave It” is about the hypocrisy of the Southern towns that “got more churches than trees.”

Going to California – Led Zeppelin
Pops and I have taken several cross-country road trips, and I really cherish the memories of seeing the United States by car. On one of our trips from MD to CA, we visited Inyo National Forest, a huge forest in the eastern Sierra of California. As we were driving through the forest at sunset, I made him play this song in the car. It was such a beautiful accompaniment, I had to pinch myself to keep from crying. Whenever I start taking California’s beauty for granted, I listen to this song.

Blue Savannah – Erasure
When this song came out, my friend Jeannie* was obsessed with it. I had just gotten The Innocents and she kept asking me “Is Blue Savannah on that album?” It drove me nuts. Finally I got the Pop! CD, which did have the song on it, but by that time she’d moved on to some other song.

Lonely Night in Georgia – Marc Broussard
I got into Marc Broussard after his song “Home” was featured on a bonus CD that came in a music issue of Vanity Fair. Most of the other songs on the album are not very notable, but this tune is really lovely and melancholy.

Mississippi – Train
Another slow, melancholy tune from the guys that brought you “Drops of Jupiter” and “Something More”. This song is actually about a girl: “I call her Mississippi/but she don’t flow to me.”