It makes for a good day for some serious reflection, a massive rationalization for contemplating the future of the future and the last of the past.

April 20, 2011

Picking right up from where we left yesterday, here are the next 3 tracks for your consideration. Remember, on Friday there will be a poll at The Heavy Petting Zoo’s Facebook Page where you can decide which of the tracks featured this week deserve future airtime alongside classics from the 1930s-1950s. Today we offer arguably the most inescapable band for college students, a Beatle and Julia Roberts’ ex. Do they deserve a shot alongside Clooney, Sinatra and Miller? Here are our thoughts. You give us yours.

Which modern songs deserve placement alongside the classics?

U2 – Two Shots of Happy, One Shot of Sad (from 1997’s “If God Will Send His Angels” EP)
Paul: 1.5 olives
Grandma Cyd: 1 olive

Paul: Speaking of Sinatra and the Only the Lonely vibe…
Grandma Cyd: First of all, can I just say I don’t know how I’d ever get away with back announcing a song on HPZ and saying, “And next, we heard U2…”
Paul: Haha, well, they wrote this for Frank. They intended for him to record it. But as my friend Umaar—who’s a U2 diehard fan—pointed out, “Frank had to go and die.” People can be selfish pricks like that.
Grandma Cyd: Really? This was for Sinatra? And, what, it just sat untouched until Bono was like, “Hey, I’m kinda like that Sinatra guy”?!
Paul: This performance is actually from a 1992 special, I think, the one for Frank’s 80th birthday. That’s why you hear Bono say, “Happy Birthday, Frank” at the end.
Grandma Cyd: Ah.
Paul: Yeah. And Umaar also told me (because if you get Umaar talking about U2 he won’t shut up), that this is the only U2 song to be entirely credited to Bono and The Edge as opposed to the whole band. And only Bono and the Edge play on it. BUT! Interestingly, the other 2 out of U2 played on a version of this song that Nancy Sinatra recorded on her 2004 album.
Grandma Cyd: The Edge? There’s a gent named “The Edge”? Am I an embarrassment to you when I ask you these questions?
Paul: Not to me. Umaar might be cringing.
Grandma Cyd: Sorry, Umaar. Then again, I’m used to the confusion and sound of crickets once I bring up certain artists myself. But again, I ask the question: What makes this arrangement “old-timey” or a throwback, other than that it was meant for Frank? If I played it among the other songs that usually make the rotation on HPZ, it would sound out of place. And probably more modern than it should on a show like mine. Because tossing an orchestra behind a singer doesn’t necessarily make it classic.
Paul: That might be enough. To be fair, it does sound like a song that could be on Only the Lonely. It’s a little tarted up with 1990s production, but I could see Frank doing this. Even in his heyday as opposed to the last few years of his life.
Grandma Cyd: Yeah, I could too.
Paul: I just don’t like U2 really. And I think it’s pretty pompous to go with something like this even for an 80th birthday show. “F*ck Frank’s songs! We’ll do one that we wrote that we think Frank should do! Happy Birthday, ya old bastard.”
Grandma Cyd: But wait, I can’t remember. Was Frank alive at 80? Or was this recorded posthumously? Your set-up/backstory here indicates it was recorded after he died.
Paul: Yeah, he was alive at 80.
Grandma Cyd: But then when you mention it was recorded for his birthday, I go and assume he was alive for it.
Paul: It was recorded before he died, released after he died.
Grandma Cyd: I see. I hate to be such a hater, but again: 1 olive. It’s just not reflective enough of the style of the time to pass muster. Wait, is that the right term? Or cut the mustard? Or whatever? Will I brood over this decision for a while?
Paul: You might. I’m gonna go 1.5. For Umaar’s sake.
Grandma Cyd: He might beat you up if not for that .5
Paul: Right. He’s nice like that.

George Harrison – Zig Zag (from 1987’s “When We Was Fab” EP)
Paul: 4 olives
Grandma Cyd: 2.5 olives

Paul: Now, “Zig Zag” was written for a 1986 movie called “Shangai Surprise” thatHarrison’s company produced. Actually starred Madonna and Sean Penn. Sucked pretty bad, but Harrison did a few old-timey songs for it, which were pretty cool. This is one of them and it was good enough to end up on the B-side of one of his singles. What I really like about it is that it was produced by Jeff Lynne of Electric Light Orchestra fame. Lynne was a close buddy of George’s and he plays on this as well. But on the sleeve of the “When We Was Fab” single,Harrison said this song was performed by the “Gas Light Orchestra.” Ha!
Grandma Cyd: Huh. I don’t know why that movie title rings a bell. But I didn’t know Madonna was in anything besides “Evita” and what’s that detective movie from the late 80s? Or early 90s?
Paul: “Dick Tracy.”
Grandma Cyd: It just hit me: We’re talking GEORGE Harrison. Leads me to shake my head a little bit. This is a song I’d imagine Ringo Starr writing/performing.
Paul: One of the Beatles makes you shake your head? Now you gotta be careful, Grandma Cyd. Remember who you’re blogging with.
Grandma Cyd: The steady and constant pounding on the quarter beat. The same two notes in what I guess we’d call the melody by default. And—it’s official—there are only three words in this entire song, and they are “[Oh,] Zig Zag.” Somewhere in the world, there is a struggling bona fide songwriter ready to end him/herself because George Harrison made big bucks off of this song simply for being George Harrison [to illustrate what I mean]. OK, maybe not END him/herself. But something like that. They’re “brooding.” Let’s put it that way.
Paul: Well now, I think it was meant to be an instrumental for a movie. He didn’t put this song out as a single itself. Just a B-side.
Grandma Cyd: That’s almost worse, as the music (sans lyrics) is no better.
Paul: I’d be interested to see if this song made him big bucks. The movie certainly didn’t. And I can’t immediately remember how well the “When We Was Fab” single did.
Grandma Cyd: Well, despite the fact that it’s an earworm that I’d loathe to have stuck in my head, I could see it working as background music during a voice break or filler (just as I’m sure it was intended for use during that movie). So I’d be willing to offer it 2.5 olives. I’m being generous. Partly out of guilt.
Paul: I’d go 4. Four olives. Fun tune. Not classic. But good sounding and fun.

Lyle Lovett – Good Intentions (from 1989’s Lyle Lovett and His Large Band)
Paul: 5 olives
Grandma Cyd: 3.5 olives

Grandma Cyd: Okey dokey.
Paul: My old buddy Lyle.
Grandma Cyd: Don’t you mean your old buddy “Lovett, Lyle”? “If I could forget the temporary weight gain due to excess water retention”?! Ha!
Paul: I see Lyle doing what Elvis Costello wants to do. And that’s different styles of music, but really well. Because Lyle isn’t super prolific. He ventures into different musical territories, but he does it well. Because he doesn’t go in unless he knows he can do it well. That’s my opinion at least. There’s a real refinement in his delivery.
Grandma Cyd: Why does all his music sound the same to me?
Paul: How much of it have you heard? But actually, if you think that this sounds the same as other stuff you’ve heard, I’d rather hear that than “Isn’t he just country?”
Grandma Cyd: I’ve heard whatever you’ve ever posted on your blog. So, limited.
Paul: Ah. So the good stuff.
Grandma Cyd: Must be.
Paul: I think this is a great lounge lizard delivery. I think the backing track has a nice understated feel to it. It’s a moody song, but he injects his humor into it.
Grandma Cyd: I could sip a martini to this.
Paul: It wouldn’t surprise me at all if (had he lived or known this song in his prime) Dean Martin did it.
Grandma Cyd: A rosemary infused gin martini, perchaps. Not that I’ve been craving one of those since joining friends at Praha Lounge inSoHo, NYC last June. * sigh *
Paul: So this is martini sippable. I ask you this: Does it sound like it could fit in on HPZ?
Grandma Cyd: I’d let it fly here or there. I’d say on a 5-olive scale, I’d give it a 3.5. I also know that if I didn’t give it the affirmative, you’d call Mr. Lovett (comma) Lyle up on his cell phone and inform him of my shenanigans.
Paul: Ridiculous! 5-olive all the way. Cos he’s such a dude. And the lyric about excess water retention. And Dean could do it with the exact same backing track and sound perfect.
Grandma Cyd: Oh, I didn’t know I was supposed to rate people on their “Dude” factor!
Paul: Well you don’t have to. But he gets dude points in my book. “If I forget the ‘Honey, I swear it didn’t mean a thing to me’ attempt at abstention…” This is a dynamite lyric. God bless Lyle.
Grandma Cyd: Takes one to know one, I guess. But as a lady, I’m sensitive to the water retention remark. (Actually, that’s a pretty kickass lyric.)
Paul: Oh, fair enough.

Check back tomorrow for Part 4…

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