This has been an INSANE year. I started it in China acting as the best man in my best friend’s wedding! From there, I went to Tokyo, which set upon a series of events that now have me moving to Japan in just a few short days! This Thursday I leave Pittsburgh to visit my family in Ohio, and then on Saturday I board a plane for Japan, where I begin my career as an English teacher/professional giant.
If you read this blog on a regular basis, you know that I am beyond stoked for this move. I can’t believe it took me just a little over a year (369 days, to be exact) to manage a way to not only return to the country, but get a job, apartment, and a whole new life over there! That’s not a lot of time to plan and orchestrate something that big. But waffling is for suckers, go big or go home. Jump in head first or don’t bother, that’s always been how I handle the big changes. It’s funny, when I remodeled my kitchen a few years back I spent two damn weeks going over color combinations. But I think I made the decision to sell my house, quit my job and uproot my entire existence to Japan in about two days. It’s amazing what a combination of personal malaise and disillusionment with the direction of one’s country can do for one’s drive and ability to commit.
This will definitely be the last post at Lost Turntable this year, and probably the last post for at least a week or two. I assume that adjusting to my move and starting my new job will probably keep me occupied for a bit. Don’t worry though, I’m not going anywhere. I’ll never be too busy to stop writing this blog.
I will, however, be too busy to record new music for a while. That, and my turntable won’t be with me in Tokyo for at least a month. Which is why I’m temporarily taking Lost Turntable into “greatest hits” mode, re-posting favorite tracks from the years gone by, both chosen by me and some readers who made requests (although to be honest, it’s mostly me).
Some of the tracks I’ll be posting in the coming month or so will be re-recordings. So keep an eye out, I’ll typically mention it if they are. As always, my re-recordings always sound better than my original rips, I’m always improving with this stuff after all.
A lot of these “best of” posts will be artist or genre based, but I thought I’d start things off with a showstopper, my most favorite tracks out of everything I’ve ever posted*
*Two caveats. Like I said, I’m planning a lot of genre/artist-specific posts, so some of my all-time favorite songs have been reserved for those posts. Secondly, a few of my favorite songs are now available legally (mostly Depeche Mode stuff) and since I never post stuff you can buy legally, I won’t be reposting those.
Fine Young Cannibals
Ever Fallen In Love (Extended Version)
I want to make one thing very clear. I fucking HATE Fine Young Cannibals. I hated them when I was 11. I hate them now. It’s nice to know that some things in life remain constant no matter what. And since I fucking HATE Fine Young Cannibals, I should really fucking hate this cover, as The Buzzcocks are one of my favorite bands of all time, and their original version of this song may very well be my favorite song of all time (although I could honestly never pick ONE song as a favorite. My songs are my children, except I really don’t have a favorite, unlike most parents who lie and say that don’t when they really do).
So I should fucking hate this cover. It’s a band I abhor covering a song I adore, but…I have to admit that they totally nail it. Roland Gift’s voice, which usually drives me to Geddy Lee levels of annoyance, is perfect for the track, and the fast-paced-yet-somber production fits the urgent-yet-depressed tone of the lyrics. What I probably like most about this version though is the very end, when Roland echoes “Did you ever” over and over again. To me, that delivery makes it sound like he’s no longer asking if you ever fell in love with someone you shouldn’t have, he’s telling you that you in fact have fallen in love with someone you shouldn’t have (like if someone asked you if they fucked up and you responded with “did you ever!”). It’s an interesting take on the song that I never heard anyone else attempt, and I have, like, 80 versions of this track on my computer, so I say that with at least some authority. This is a re-recording, and vastly superior to my original rip.
Love Kills (12″ Version)
If there is a more romantic and powerful song about how love (and heroin) can lead to a murder/suicide pact, then I don’t know what it is. Seriously though, this song is incredible, one of those songs that despite being about a horribly negative topic, leaves me with nothing but overpowering feelings of elation and happiness. I don’t even know why this is the case, but whenever I listen to this song I get goosebumps of happiness and forget about my real world problems for at least six minutes and forty seconds. Awesome stuff.
Bell & James
The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh (12″ Remix)
Make no mistake, while displeasure over my personal life/grand American problems drove me to flee my country, I will NEVER hate Pittsburgh. This city is the bomb. I love it. I’ve been to hundreds of big cities all across America, and Pittsburgh makes them all look like dogshit. Seriously. This place is dope.
I feel that more and more people are catching onto this fact as well. Well, at least Hollywood is. It seems that more and more movies are being filmed in this city every year. And while the chaos and madness that surrounds a movie shoot can be annoying at times, I’m always happy to see the city I love get the attention I feel it deserves.
But if you ask me, The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh will always be the greatest movie ever filmed in the Steel City. And it’s theme song will ALWAYS be the greatest track of all time to feature the city’s name. Go Pisces!
Through The Walls (Ric Ocasek Vocal Version)
There used to be an mp3 blog called Po77. Although I guess calling it an “MP3 blog” would be a bit of a misnomer. Because unlike blogs like mine, Pop77 posted complete mixes, amazing thematic mixes that sometimes incorporated audio bits from movies and other sources as well as complete songs. It was a fantastic site and I miss it.
I bring it up because I know that is where I first discovered this excellent track. At the time I had no idea who RJD2 was (which is funny considering that I ended up interviewing him just a few years later) but I sure as fuck knew who Ric Ocasek was – since he was the lead singer of The Cars, one of my favorite new wave bands of all time. I ended up finding this version of the track on a Def Jux sampler later that year, a sampler a stoner later stole from me. Yay for digital backups.
World Where You Live (Extended Version)
I think, although I’m not certain, that I discovered this song via an Eddie Vedder bootleg where he performed the track with Neil Finn of Crowded House. I’ll have to post that bootleg someday, it also has a great version of “History Never Repeats.”
Anyways, I was aware of Crowded House before hearing that bootleg, but my knowledge of them began and ended with their one US hit “Don’t Dream It’s Over,” a track that I only really grew to appreciate after hearing it in the opening of the second episode of the Stephen King mini-series The Stand (my musical memory can be oddly photographic at times). While my first takeaway from that bootleg was that version of “History Never Repeats,” after buying some Crowded House records I found that this song really grew on me. Its lyrics are oddly..evocative? I don’t know. I can’t entirely figure the song out, but they make me think of very specific moments in my life for some reason. To me, the song is about friends/significant others who live in some form of denial about the world (where they live), and I’ve sadly dealt with too many people like that, so I guess that’s why I identify with the track so much.
This extended remix isn’t as good as the album version, to be honest. It tries too hard to extend the track with meaningless instrumental sections, none of which really add anything to the song aside from length. But it was the only way I could justifiably share the track here. And besides, it’s a great song regardless. This is a re-recording.
Atomic Dog (Extended Version)
I once read Roger Ebert say that a terrible movie is always too long, and a great movie is never long enough. That theory, of course, has some holes in it. I love me some Shoot ‘Em Up, for example, but that flick couldn’t hold a four hour running time. However, as I’m writing this I just got done watching Jackie Brown for the second time in a week. That movie is two hours and thirty-four minutes long, and I honestly feel like there’s enough greatness buried within that running time that the movie could be twice as long and be just as good.
So, what I guess I’m saying is that “Atomic Dog” is the Jackie Brown of 80s synth-funk jams. (Why do I feel like Quentin Tarantino would approve of that comparison?) The standard single version is a fucking masterpiece, but the 10-minute extended remix is DOUBLE the masterpiece, even though it is literally the exact same song with just an extended breakdown and some added “bow wow wow yippie yo yippie yay.” I don’t care. I could listen to this track all day and all of the night. It brings all the funk. Woof.
As this was one of the first songs I ever recorded, this is a new re-recording that sounds hella better than my original one.
Party Hard (Live)
THIS IS NOT A SONG THIS IS A MISSION STATEMENT.
And I mean that. Don’t live life, party it. Find out what’s “party” for you and fucking party as much as you fucking can until you can’t do it anymore. Otherwise, what’s the point?
Runaway (Dun Difrunt)
This song has the secret best 80s saxophone solo. It’s pretty great. It’s also one of the best songs about not wanting to be in love (or not wanting to not want to be in love).
Fish Story (Silence Version)
I have written about this movie before, and I will write about it again. That is because FISH STORY IS THE GREATEST MOVIE ABOUT MUSIC EVER FUCKING MADE. I say that realizing that it’s a rather odd description. “Movie about music”? How many movies about music are there? Sure, there are tons of musicals, and movies about performers, but how many are really about music? Off the top of my head, the only movies about music that I can really think of are Fish Story, Footloose, Almost Famous, School of Rock and Purple Rain.
I just now realize that most of those movies would easily place on my list of my top 100 movies of all time, so I guess that says a lot about me. And Prince.
Fish Story sits atop that list easily. Mountains above the other movies, and considering how much I fucking love Purple Rain, trust me, that’s saying something.
Fish Story is a Japanese movie about how a little known punk rock song saves the world. Literally. A comet is going to smash into the Earth. Fish Story stops that from happening. The story of HOW is the story of the movie. It’s also the story of the power of music. How music moves us (often in ways that we do not understand or are even consciously aware of). How music is the guiding force of our lives, how it shapes us and makes us the people we are. And it’s about how comets can’t compare with power chords.
Seriously though, Fish Story. Top 10 movie of all time. One day the world will realize this.
Alien Ant Farm
Movies (Live Acoustic Version)
Ask me why I love this song. Go ahead. I dare you.
“Why do you like th-”
I HAVE NO IDEA. I JUST DO, OKAY?!?!
Sigh. I do not like Alien Ant Farm. I hate their cover of “Smooth Criminal,” and I pretty much despise every other song of their’s I’ve had the misfortune of hearing. But I…really love this song. I think it has to do with the whole “Movies as a metaphor for broken hearts” thing, as I’ve long established that my feelings for movies go beyond typical film buff bullshit and reach a realm of rose-tinted childhood nostalgia that cannot be easily explained nor justified – just like my love for this song (minus the stupid fart noise the singer does at the end).
Life In Tokyo (Extended Disco Mix)
I am taking one record with me to Japan, and it’s the 12″ single to this song. Sure, it’s a little nail on the head, but whatever, it’s Moroder-produced synthpop and there’s never anything wrong with that.
I hope you all enjoy the reposts and discover some music that’s new to you. That’s why I started this blog eight (holy crap!) years ago, to share little-known music with others, and as an excuse for me to seek out and discover little-known music for myself as well. In good times and bad, hectic and happy, bored and crazed, this blog has always served as a rock for me. I’ve used it as an medium to ramble about shit that pisses me off; rant about the music industry; and on multiple occasions just be a goofy idiot. But if no one read it, then I wouldn’t feel the need to keep going. So thanks to everyone who has kept with this dinky little site over the years. Y’all help me out more than you know.
See you in 2014 FROM MOTHERFUCKING JAPAN!!
And remember, Party Hard.