Don’t Kill Yourself
January 15, 2010
In light of talking about songs that break your heart, I think I’ll try to do the opposite and talk about the positive side of music, though there shouldn’t be one. I present,
Don’t Kill Yourself – Three Songs to Give Your Bipolar Disorder an Upswing
1.)Sophisticated Sleaze: Any Major Dude by Steely Dan.
I always kind of dismissed ‘Pretzel Logic’. I know that its good, and its considered one of the top classics amongst Dan fans, but a lot of the songs just bore me. I took a second look at it, and the album as a whole isn’t great. but side one is somethin’ else. With a heavy 70s style song like ‘Night by Night’, Steely Dan show on their third record they still know how to rock the Al Bundy style (though this obviously pre-dates him, shut up). There’s an almost sweet called ‘Rikki Don’t Lose that Number’. Like all Dan songs, its all how you look at it. It can either be about a gay man leaving his lover, and the song is his lovers letter to him. OR you can look at it as drug addiction and the habit a man is trying to kick, and its the drug speaking to him. Either way, its as close as Steely Dan can come to being sentimental or writing a love song. “Barrytown”, a song about prejudice. Looking up Barrytown, I found out its a small town that was purchased by the unification church. So easily, we can draw the conclusion that this song is about the religious folks in this town, but on a grander scale, the Dan is reminding us about how racist everybody is. But moving on to what I wanted to talk about:
The Song “Any Major Dude Will Tell You”, is quite a shining moment within Steely Dan’s book, for me at least. The delivery is simple, the hooks are there and not overdone (for a song by them), and while the message is blurred, its a positive one in my eyes. Basically its about seeing someone dishelved, who might be feeling that weight of the world we all feel sometimes. The main lines from the song go as follows:
“Any major dude with half a heart surely will tell you my friend; Any minor world that breaks apart falls together again. When the demon is at your door, in the mornin’ it won’t be there no more. Any major dude will tell you.”
I think what Steely Dan are really talking about in this song is about drugs. Maybe I say that because most of their songs are about drugs, because they did drugs, a lot of drugs. But I’ve always enjoyed ignoring things involving drugs for similar meanings. I know that when I listened to this song the first time, it lifted my spirits a bit, and my spirits have permanantely sunk into the depths of the river of shit that is my existence.
2.) Only Human : An 80’s Pop Excercise against Suicide
When I was a kid, like 9 or 10 or 11, my stepdad gave me a 2-CD greatest hits of Billy Joel. I listened to it until the songs were etched in my head like scars. This copy included an 80’s single called “Only Human (Second Wind)”. I remember my stepdad telling me about the song, because he loved it, because he gets really excited on positive messages. He told me about the music video about a kid on a bridge, thinking about falling, and the ghost of Billy Joel shows up and shows him what would happen if he did it. The video is a laugh riot in the best way. Someone once told me they thought it was dumb and cheesy and it really pissed me off. The song reeks of the 80’s, and good. The 80’s is better than 2010, and everything you listen to. The idea of the song is “Hey, you’re fucking up now, but hang in there, because its always darkest before the dawn”. I wouldn’t see the video until I was a teenager and it was great. I still love it, I have the 45 w/picture sleeve on top of a window sill with some other of his 45’s because Billy Joel knows more about being on the brink of death than any of us, mainly because he tried to commit suicide by drinking some sort of drain cleaner. Something poisonous. The B-Side doesn’t live up to this side, so we don’t have to talk about it. Sometimes I wonder if Billy Joel has ever been happy. A lot of his songs are depressing or at least bittersweet, and just last year or sometime, he went back into rehab for drinking. I have a Rolling Stone interview with him from 1980 where he talks about top 40 hits from the 50s and 60s and 70s are great, and he just seems to jaded on rock and everything Rolling Stone wanted to talk to him about. I did learn though that he got the idea from “Vienna”, when he visited his Father there and realized there are places that are there for you when you’re old and you’re done everything and ready to settle down and die. I remember listening to that song when I was 18 and it reminded me of my first girlfriend which was sorta icky, and I’m not sure if I’d still apply the song to her. If her life is too busy, shes making up for all the things that I’m not doing. I mean, someone has to.
I don’t have much to say about this because it should just be heard for itself. I don’t like Hot Water Music like I used to. I only really care about 2 LP’s and an EP. I don’t like Chuck Ragan’s solo material. Its boring. Sorry. But, he wrote “Driving Home”, so it doesn’t really matter what he does, because he wrote “Driving Home”. Its one of those songs that gives many men with beards chills all over their overweight flesh. My friend Joe sent me No Division, and though I don’t listen to it hardly ever because I hate punk, and my roommates band is just a third rate HWM, its still amazing. There are people who read this blog who are too hip for beard rock, but it should be heard. But you won’t so just read this, dickhead:
“razor blades are hard to hold when we’re hit in the heart with problems that won’t shift it’s hard to admit that we’re afraid when we’re hit in the head with unanswered questions that repeat “how could i ever live after this day” we can take the hits and grow tougher collect ourselves to live longer and find there is no need to be afraid because we all have more to offer when we struggle to cope with whatever it takes to make the says we all have what it takes to make it home”