Multiple Enthusiasms

Infinite jest. Excellent fancy. Flashes of merriment.

Tag: bon jovi

What a difficult list to compile. Especially since, glancing down at my iTunes running, there are 33,773 songs in my library. According to iTunes, it will take me more than 100 days of continuous listening (with no sleep, now I realize) to listen to them all. It’s rather extensive, and it’s the sort of collection that makes my taste in music suspect at best, beginning as it does with A-Ha (because any collection without “Take On Me” is incomplete) and ending (before it reaches songs without proper ID3 tags and lumps them all) with “Skin Up Pin Up” by 808 State/Mansun from Spawn: The Album (iTunes is the first organization system I’ve seen that puts numbers after letters, rather than before; if it did, the first songs would be by 1 Giant Leap or 12 Rounds). In between those few, there’s everything from Rick Astley, Belinda Carlisle, and Bon Jovi to all of Clapton, the Beatles, and Sinatra.

So it’s pretty expansive.

But expansive as it is, I tend to stick to some favorites. Lately it’s been a lot of Wolfmother (and Jet; what is it about Australia that inspires such great rock music from its bands?), Vanessa Mae, and, as always, Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers. Also, Adam Lambert and Matt Wertz.

So there’s a lot. But I winnowed. I winnowed after I kept reading other lists that fawned over, like, Radiohead and such. I mean, has Radiohead ever managed to be as good as Pablo, Honey? They’re like Pearl Jam and Matchbox Twenty, with fantastic debut CDs but output that has gotten subsequently less terrific with each title. For me, anyway. Your listening may vary. Also, dear Rolling Stone: The Strokes and Wilco in number 2 and number 3 spots, respectively. No offense, but seriously? No wonder people debate the continued relevance of the magazine. I mean, how safe.

Why not stretch a bit? Why not reach for some choices few people would expect? Then again, this from a guy who doesn’t really enjoy any of those three bands. I know lots of reviewers fell over themselves to heap a lot of praise on Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, but there wasn’t a single song on it that made me want to listen to the CD again. I get the impression it’s all just, like, hey, everyone else likes it, so we should, too, but to cite one of the artists who earned a spot on my list by way of a great CD, “You don’t know what love is, you just do as you’re told.”

So, suspect taste noted, shall we? My top ten albums of the last ten years, in order:

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Just a little patience:

Is that not perhaps the greatest whistle of all time? Pretty rad.

That was mid-Guns ‘n Roses, wasn’t it? I have to admit I don’t remember; I was 2 in 1980, and my early childhood was spent loving Bon Jovi more than anyone else, ever. If Appetite for Destruction came out in 1987, I was all of 9 at the time, and I fear I was always more into books and reading than music, anyway. The first thing I remember about Guns ‘n Roses is dancing with Jennifer Harwood to “November Rain.” I was, like, 14, maybe?

Still, love them now. Chinese Democracy? I have to post a review of that one of these days; it immediately became one of my favorite CDs ever. “Madagascar” alone would have been worth two decades.

But I bring all this up because I found something yesterday. Just happened across it.

Now, you wouldn’t think something could be more awesome than Axl doing “Patience”. I mean, Guns became nearly as synonymous with his slithery-dance delivery as with his howl and Slash’s riffs. How often can you apply an adjective like “awesome” to a whistle? And even the lyrics are pretty good. I mean, they aren’t Roger Clyne-level good, but not everyone can be the poet laureate of peace, love, and Rock & Roll, can they be?

But say you wanted to improve on “Patience”. Say we wanted to make it cooler. Wouldn’t your first thought be to rock it harder? Mine would be. I mean, to make “Black Betty” cooler, Spiderbait had to race a vintage truck on a jet-powered drumkit.

Surprisingly, though, the answer, apparently, is to go backward. It makes sense if you think about it; “Patience” is all about yearning. It’s a sort of desperate song, and are strumming guitars and a band more known for hookers and blow than for its body of work really all that desperate?

(In some ways they are, actually. I’d venture few people are as familiar with desperation as Axl Rose. Which I don’t mean to deride him, mind. I think Axl’s a genius who’s had to work through a lot of shit)

I bring all this up, though, because yesterday, I saw this:

I mean, for real. Candles and a piano in what appears to be some kind of Beauty and the Beast-esque underground lair, with a pretty brunette singing “Patience” like she means it.

That’s Terra Naomi, of whom I’d never heard, sadly. Following to her website, seems she’s an independent musician building her audience and using really interesting ways to support herself (see the “Help Make My New Album” section of her website).