And now, presenting in order of appearance, five songs that will come on shuffle on your iPod when you can’t sleep at 2 in the morning, making you say, “Oh, man. This song effing rules.” Even if it doesn’t. You may just be delirious from exhaustion. MAYBE.
1) “Arthur’s Theme (The Moon And New York City)” by Christopher Cross – From the movie Arthur, about which the less discussion the better. Possibly the flightiest, fruitiest, flat-out weirdest metaphor (“When you get caught between the moon and New York City / The best that you can do is fall in love”) ever to gay up pop music, this song is otherwise anchored down by some of the most literal lyrics ever (“Living his life one day at a time / He’s showing himself a pretty good time / He’s laughing about the way / They want him to be”). It’s as if Christopher Cross thought himself some kind of Greek Chorus for the movie, and if not for him, we wouldn’t understand this deeply impenetrable tale of Dudley Moore drinking and then falling. It would be like if someone had written a theme song for Pretty Woman just called, “(The Character Julia Roberts Plays In This Movie) Spreads Her Legs For Cash, Y’all.” On the plus side, the music is written by Burt Bacharach — which is how this song found its way onto my iPod in the first place — and the man REALLY knows how to write a pop song. When it comes time for a wailing instrumental and Burt goes with the wailing sax instead of his standard trumpet because he knew what 80s audiences wanted? Damn, that’s good theme song.
2) “Good Stuff” by the B-52s – So, a bit of history: this band had five people in it. And then one died, and then they made “Cosmic Thing” and it ruled against all odds, and everyone thought they could do anything, no matter who was in the band. And then Cindy “Chihuahuas And Chinese Noodles” Wilson left, Kate Pierson was the only woman, the B-52s and REM briefly became the same band for six days in 1991, and all hell broke loose. This single off the album of the same name is actually pretty bad, but if you wait forty minutes to get to the chorus, you will be rewarded with eight of the best, most transcendent measures in the entirety of the B-52’s collection. Then you will return to wishing you could listen to “Dirty Back Road” instead.
3) “London Calling” by The Clash – Gah! I’m trying to sleep! Shut up, Brit-angst! Gaaaaaaah!
4) “Vanishing Girl” by The Dukes Of Stratosphear – What? Exactly. I won’t go into what this song is or who wrote it, but it’s available at the iTunes store, and…oh, never mind. I shall love it by myself.
5) “Dance This Mess Around” by the B-52s – I know. My iPod absolutely loves the B-52s. I wanted to go to bed, and my iPod wanted me to party like Athens was burning. In other news: WHY DON’T YOU DANCE WITH ME? I’M NOT NO LIMBURGER! WHY DON’T YOU DANCE WITH ME? I’M NOT NO LIMBURGER!