Weekly Obsessions: Week of December 27, 2015

steelydanI hope everyone had a Merry Christmas. If you don’t celebrate Christmas, then may I ask why you voluntarily live in this Christian nation? That’s gotta be rough for you!

As a Jew, I tolerate the festivities so long as everyone is mildly drunk and I get all the cookies. This year, I have no complaints. You know, aside from the usual existential ones.

Though seemingly every business of any kind either shuts down outright or “takes a knee” this week, my rock-addled mind is still very much hard at work. Some of us continue to do our jobs, magic baby or not.

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Here’s some songs/albums!

1. Steely Dan- “Show Biz Kids” 

First of all, what the fuck are they saying throughout the song? I used to think it was “Who’s in Las Vegas,” which makes at least a modicum of sense. But if you really listen to the lyrics, it becomes clear that they’re issuing more of a command than an interrogatory. “Go to lost wages,” sings the chorus. This, at least ostensibly, appears to be a pun on “Las Vegas,” as most people who go there tend to lose all their money. Anyway, it’s a good song, whether they  are issuing orders or describing something that has already occurred.

2. They Might Be Giants – Glean

This uniformly solid 2015 release by one of the most unique groups working in music today just barely missed out on my “Best Albums of the Year” list. This is less because the album wasn’t worthy than because They Might Be Giants have their fingerprints all over my musical education  and I wanted to give someone else a chance.

That being said, Glean is a great record. It may not stand with TMBG’s all-time best, but it’s a damn good showing for a group that’s 30 years into their career.

Check out the mini-song suite “Music Jail.”

3. New Radicals – “You Get What You Give”

Those of you who were hip to  the MTV Buzz Bin circa 1997 may remember this gem. Catchy, impeccably produced, and not without an anti-establishment message, they don’t make ’em like this anymore.

Or  maybe they do. How would I know?

Photo: Steely Dan; Credit – “Becker & Fagen of Steely Dan at Pori Jazz 2007” by Kotivalo – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 via Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Becker_%26_Fagen_of_Steely_Dan_at_Pori_Jazz_2007.jpg#/media/File:Becker_%26_Fagen_of_Steely_Dan_at_Pori_Jazz_2007.jpg

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