The Music of Karen and Laci
How do I know I have the best readers out there? Well for starters, without being asked, a reader tracked down all the YouTube links to the various songs I mentioned in a blog post, and sent them to me. I’ve expanded on that a bit over time, but the the original list compiled by my awesome reader makes up the huge majority of this "Playlist."
Letoria’s Basic Writing Pop/Rock Playlist
This is one of those songs from my teen years. Readers around my age will probably remember the MTV video of this song, and the singer with the bizarre hairdo. It's actually not a bad song, with lyrics that are actually fairly intelligent.
What can I say? A guilty pleasure.
I love the imagery of this song's lyrics – they create such a vivid picture in my head. The opening few lines, "On a morning from a Bogart movie/In a country where they turn back time/You go strolling through the crowd/Like Peter Lorre contemplating a crime," draws a crystal clear mental image. I absolutely love the similie in the lines "She comes out of the sun in silk dress/Running like a water color in the rain" That, too me, is nothing short of brilliant. I can only dream of having the skill to come up with such a wonderful bit of imagery. I was so impressed, I used it in Chapter 13. I think Al Stewart is a much better lyricist and singer than he's given credit for.
This was popular when I was in high school, but I'd forgotten all about it until I stumbled across it looking for YouTube music. Good New Wave rock.
This hit the airwaves during my senior year in high school. It was the anthem
This is Joel's homage to the form Johnny Cash made famous in "I've Been Everywhere", and it really has meaning if you're a Baby Boomer
BOC were still popular when I was in HS, but they were definitely passed their heyday. This is my favorite song of theirs
Classic Dylan metaphorical imagery. People can spend ages trying to figure out what his lyrics "mean". He's a master at creating bizarre, incongruous images in our head and daring us to make sense of them. This song is nothing but bizarre, incongruous images, and I love plumbing its depths. My favorite line: "Now, he looked so immaculately frightful
As he bummed a cigarette,
Then he went off sniffing drainpipes And reciting the alphabet." Mad but brilliant
Lily, Rosemary, and the Jack of Hearts
More bizarre imagery, but this one has a clear and fascinating story. At times, Dylan seems fascinated by the old Wild West as portrayed by Hollywood, and here's an example in classic Dylan metaphoric obscurity.
Shelter From The Storm
Another one with great personal meaning. Those of you who email me will notice my signature is a line from this song. It's a tribute to my wife and how she rescued me.
More great storytelling rich with imagery. Dylan forces you to use your imagination to see what he's trying to show you. He's rarely straightforward.
I love the image of "Mom and Dad rolling on the couch".
Commander Cody and the Lost Planet Airmen
What a cool song! Simple – an old Stratocaster, bass, drums, and simple sound effects. The deadpan delivery of the story make the song. You can just see the "singer" with a slicked back DA, pack of smokes rolled up in his t-shirt sleeve, one dangling from his lips, a cool character right out of the early years of rock.
I've been a fan of Def Leppard since I first heard them. This was party music for me in high school. Your humble authoress was known to toss back her share of red Solo cups filled with adult beverages, and smoke both legal and extralegal substances. Those were the days when, for better or worse, keg parties were just a normal part of the teenage experience. As long as we showed up in school sober on Monday, no harm, no foul.
A great song for assertive foreplay
Weird but oddly compelling
This came out when I was in HS, and it's been a favorite ever since. I'm always a bit puzzled over the controversy around the song's use of the term "faggot" – PC run amok. I'm smart enough to understand the song, written in the first person, is about a guy who quite naturally speaks that way. Like it or not, he's out there, and this is how he talks.
Wonderful melding of lyrics and music harmonizing to create a story that's not only interesting, but alive.
Given my love of Beethoven, how could I not like this song? I'm not an especially big fan of ELO except for this song. The opening is actually a pretty creditable take on the first few bars of Beethoven's 5th Symphony. I like the Chuck Berry and Beatles versions, but not as much as this one.
Bernie Taupin was one of the best pop rock lyricists of the 70s and 80s. This song was a hit long before I even entered elementary school, but I've liked it ever since I first heard it. Elton John was still at the top of his game when I came of age. If you want to have a taste of one of the alternate life-options Laci may have followed, listen to "All The Young Girls Love Alice." It's a gritty, incredibly sad song.
A good old-timey French reel. This one doesn't have any special significance as such – it's a wonderfully catchy tune, unabashedly cheery and danceable – but the video itself is special. The woman playing keyboard looks so much like my mother, it's like I'm seeing a ghost! I remember my grandfather playing similar songs on the same type of accordion. And I remember our annual springtime trips to a Cabane a sucre in Quebec, where this type of music was a central part of the visit. It's a video that gives me the warm ‘n' fuzzies.
Very bizarre song built around yodelling. It was a big party song in my HS years.
A Zappa Classic about raising dental floss on – what else? – a dental floss farm.
A very bizarre song about a lesbian prostitute who bets a guy he can't make her cum. I once named a cat after this song
I think The Hollies are a very underrated band. They're seen as poppier than some of the other British heavyweights, but Pop doesn't always equal Pap. Their harmonies are exquisite – Graham Nash of Crosby, Stills, and Nash, well-known for their harmonies, was an original member of the group. This is nice, slow love song – great for slow dances in high school dances.
I love this song! The sharp opening chords grab you, and then the heavy bass line draws you in. The lyrics – who in hell can say they understood what he was singing? I couldn't, but it sure sounded wicked cool. Later, in the Age of Google, I was able to track down the lyrics, and they clarified my mistaken lyrical beliefs. A 5'9" beauty in a black dress? Sign me up!
This is unquestionably one of my ten all-time favourite albums. I play it at least once a month. Ian Anderson intended it to be an over-the-top, Python-esque parody of the Prog Rock albums of Yes, ELP, The Moody Blues, et.al. Even as a satire, it succeeded brilliantly at being what it was needling. Like DOFP, it has a short and a long version. The link is to the long version (about an hour)
Classic cover of the Dylan song, a masterful rendition. Everything Hendrix touched turned to gold.
I remember this song from my younger days. It was the product of a local band. I was a bit young when it was at peak popularity, but it was still around as I hit my teens
A cute little novelty song based on Bach's "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring"
Another local band from my teen years. Pretty good song for a small-town rock band.
I'm not much of a Zep fan. I do like the dark feel of this song.
I'm on an all-things-Ozian of late, including this song. One of my Australian readers has turned me into a Tim-Tam fanatic, and she even got me to order some Vegemite online and give it a try. The Ozians love the stuff, but Vegemite is the definition of "Acquired Taste." It's made from the yeast slag left over after beer is brewed. It tastes about like you'd expect it to. Ozians like to think of themselves as a few degrees off true north, and this stuff goes a long way to proving it.
I love the Moody Blues in general. There sound is so rich and filled with harmonies, and lyrics that, while a bit cheesy at times, tell wonderful stories. A lot of the melodies and lyrics often fit so cleanly withwhat I'm writing, or the atmosphere I'm trying to create, that I can listen to them over and over. Indispensible
There's a truncated version of this song meant for Top 40 radio airplay that I despise. It slices out the heart of the song when it disposes of the Graeme Edge/Mike Pinder poem at the end. The poem has a fairly significant, if symbolic role in Karen and Laci.
This is an amazing album. It was the one that sparked my interest in 60s and 70s Prog Rock. The genre had already faded from mainstream relevance by the time I discovered it in the 80s – a group of friends were hanging out at my boyfriend's (later to be husband) house. His older brother was all about 60s and 70s rock, which greatly influenced my tastes (those were the days I still smoked). He played the long, double-album version, and it just captured me. I eventually sweet-talked my ex-brother-in-law into giving me the album. The link is to the long version, but a shorter version is available in the side bar.
Cool California pop from the 60s.
Ozzy being Ozzy. I am a huge fan of the old B&W "Perry Mason" TV series. Ozzy's take on the opening and closing music is cool.
Simon does pop as well as anyone from back in the day.
I am a Pink Floyd nut. I love all of their music. My two all-time favorite albums are "Welcome to the Machine" and "The Wall," and "Dark Side" ain't bad either. Given its focus on the Moon, it's no wonder I used a brief line from that album to head a chapter.
Certainly one of the top 5 best rock albums of all time, and absolutely in my top 10, but it's not my favorite Pink Floyd album. I hate it when I'm listening to the radio in my car and I hear excerpts from this album played as singles. It works for Money, but none of the others makes sense taken out of the context of the full album. Yes, I know I'm weird. My wife calls me a "frigging flake".
(Sorry about the iffy sound quality, but it's a hard to find link.)
Another one of the all-time greatest rock albums – probably top 20. It's also one of my top ten all-time favorites. As a story, it's brilliant. The writing is so incredibly vivid – "The inevitable pin-hole burns/All down the front of my favorite satin shirt" What a perfect image – you probably have to be of a certain age to get the pin-hole burns reference. Everything about this album is amazing. Rock at its finest.
This is my all-time favorite Pink Floyd album – it might even be my number one all-time favorite – and I can't explain why. I simply find it utterly compelling on every level. The story is so sad, about the band watching helplessly as original front man Syd Barret descended into schizophrenic madness. I just listen.
Unskinny Bop is a term one of the band members made up because it fit a lyrical need. It unquestionably means "fucking". This song is all about getting laid, nothing more or less. I think it's a great song. My wife will come up behind me and sing, "Unskinny Bop," and I know just what she means ;p
Another of my top 10 all-time favorite albums. To the crowd I hung with, this album was as important as it was to Garth and Wayne. I doubt many people actually listened to anything but Bohemian Rhapsody. When I actually listened to the whole thing with my soon-to-be BIL, I fell in love with it. The musical and emotional range is amazing. I think my favorite song is "'39". I love the beautiful harmonies and lush melodies, plus the story in the lyrics is interesting and deeply poignant. Listen to it and see if I'm not right.
This album preceded ANATO, and as a whole it's almost as good. Like its successor, it show amazing musical range. It has an overall ominous feel to it. Killer Queen, about a high-end European transgender/transvestite prostitute with exquisite tastes, puts me in the mind of the wealthy 60s Jet-Set. She Makes Me (see below) has a dark and dirgey sexual vibe I find compelling.
There's a certain reader who will understand when I say this song is "Jaehla-lite". Love ya girl!
I really like Styx, and this is my favourite album of theirs. I was about 13 or so when I bought this album, a few years after its release. I still have it somewhere. I love the pipe organ solo – nicely Bach-ish.
I didn't know until a few years ago that Alan Parsons actually engineered "Dark Side of the Moon." His own stuff isn't half bad.
There's something lyrical I like about this song. The Hollies are another of those 60s-70s bands that don't get the credit they deserve for their music.
I'm a fan of most of the Moody Blues' music. I love the melodies and harmonies of their poppier stuff. There prog rock stuff, like "Nights In White Satin", is something I like when I'm in the mood to listen to an entire album.
What an incredible cast of musicians! Tom Petty, Roy Orbison, George Harrison, Bob Dylan, and Jeff Lynne! Just incredible, and it shows in their music. They were together for only two albums, but I'm thankful they got together at all. The music world is a much better place because they did.
A fine example of hard 60s rock. It holds up well nearly 50 years on.
Another of those wonderfully whacked-out, slightly twisted Warren Zevon offerings I just like for some reason. It was a sad day when he died.
This is just amazing! This girl is Laci's age. It validates my premise that, yes indeed, a fourteen-year-old girl can indeed be as beautiful, mature, and artistically gifted as Laci is.
A professional songwriter friend explained the technical details of how it's done. It's (to me) very complicated. However it is that the techies put it together, this girl flawlessly covers some very complex drum lines. Her preferred genre is the music I grew up listening to, Classic Rock. In many cases, she's covering a song I know well enough that I can watch and judge how well she's performing her part. "Jump" was one of those songs I really liked from the start, so I know how it's supposed to sound. By my reckoning, she made zero mistakes here. Just amazing.
This song is a favorite (it's already on the list, the long version -- this one is truncated) so I know how it's supposed to sound. Her drums are "tuned" differently, so the sound is different, but her execution is spot on.
This Sina's most amazing cover. Ever since I went to a Rush concert as a 17-year-old in the mid-1980s, I’ve thought Neil Peart is the best rock drummer of my generation. As of one of the designated drivers, I was totally clear-headed for the show. I remember being astonished when I first saw Peart's drum setup. I swore it had a 12 foot spread, maybe more. I thought surely, there was no way he could possibly use all of it. He did. I’d never heard real power drumming until I experienced Peart’s at this concert. Anyone who can play one of his classic drum lines as flawlessly as Sina does here is an extremely gifted artist. But a 14-year-old girl? Really?
She's so much more than a Classic rock cover artist.