volume, volume, turn up the volume




MP3 Tom Waits - "Step Right Up"
It's Wednesday, and Tom Waits wants to sell you something. And he's quite a salesman. I'm not sure what he's selling, but according to the lyrics of this song, which appears on his 1976 Small Change album:
That's right, it filets, it chops
It dices, slices, never stops
lasts a lifetime, mows your lawn
And it mows your lawn
and it picks up the kids from school
It gets rid of unwanted facial hair
it gets rid of embarrassing age spots
It delivers a pizza
and it lengthens, and it strengthens
And it finds that slipper that's been at large
under the chaise longe for several weeks
And it plays a mean Rhythm Master
It makes excuses for unwanted lipstick on your collar

And it's "only a dollar." Sounds like a good deal to me.

For those of you who can't wait for Tom's new album Real Gone to drop October 5 (or whenever it leaks), the first single "Metropolitan Glide" is now available for download through the iTunes music store.

MP3 Ted Leo & The Pharmacists - "The One Who Got Us Out"
One week ago, I posted this track from the upcoming Shake The Sheets album by Ted Leo & The Pharmacists (in stores 10/19/04). After listening to the album (which should compete for "album of the year" honors in a few months, btw), and this song in particular, constantly over the last several days, I simply had to write about again. I was so excited to simply be listening to it the first time around that I didn't do the song justice in my shallow attempt at a write-up. Yes, I'm repeating myself. Don't sue me, ok?

Ted Leo has infused his songs with politics in the past (see "The Ballad of the Sin Eater" re: anti-americanism), and he does so again throughout Shake The Sheets. He writes an "open letter to a president" in "The Angels' Share", recounts his own reactions to the Iraq prison abuse scandal in "Counting Down The Hours", and calls for political activism while respecting "the process" in the album's title track. On this track, Leo criticizes our American leaders' push for war with, "they say it's the only way" and "they play like it's a game," and "they would fight if they had time." Leo also echoes Kerry's "Let America Be America Again" catchphrase:

What can you say that'll take the weight away?
I look into the endless battle, & all I want is what should be.
And I'm damn ashamed to feel this rotten.
Can we reclaim what's been forgotten?

He later states, "All they want is one who'll lead, & I'll put it to you plain & bluntly - I'm worried for my tired country." I'm not entirely sure who he's referring to when he asks us to "tell it to the one who got us out," but then again I haven't been able to decipher all of the lyrics (corrections are welcomed, btw). Anyway, Ted obviously feels pretty strongly about all of this, as do I. I don't think his politics get in the way of his songwriting, as Shake The Sheets is still a kick ass rock record with plenty of fist-pumping tunes, no matter what you believe. But upon closer listening, there is a lot of interesting & topical stuff going on as well. What do you think, America?

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