It’s been another one of those weeks, the kind where more things go wrong than right, the kind that brings extreme relief when it finally comes to an end. And like the conclusion of all weeks, good and bad, this one deserves a fitting soundtrack. Sad songs say so much, but despite the grey skies, rainy days, and lack of sunshine on my shoulders (the Bangkok forecast calls for steady downpours until October comes), I’m in no mood for more doom and gloom today. Instead of wallowing in misery and gin (or Johnnie Walker), I think I’ll turn up the volume and let it rip. Catharsis through music is so good for the soul. Today’s get-over-it-and-then-get-on-with-it soundtrack….
“Kashmir” Led Zeppelin The song most likely to pull me out of a funk? It would probably be a toss up between “Black Dog,” “Dancin’ Days,” this, or something else kick ass by Led Zeppelin. Whatever it ended up being, it’d have to be something by rock’s all-time greatest masters of funks.
“Black Star” Radiohead The best song on one of my Top 3 Britpop albums of the ’90s (along with Ride’s Going Blank Again and Suede’s Coming Up). It starts low and increases in volume like it’s creeping toward you, which is how I’ve always imagined a mental/emotional comeback must sound.
“Cish Cash” Basement Jaxx featuring Siouxsie Sioux The former high priestess of punk gets fierce again.
“Way Out” Yeah Yeah Yeahs Karen O’s feral yelping from 2:32 on gets me every time. Last year I got into a debate with a 21-year-old guy at Prince of Wales in Melbourne over whether Yeah Yeah Yeahs qualify as rock & roll. He insisted not in the AC/DC sense of the term. I still beg to differ.
“Back in Black” AC/DC There’s no denying AC/DC’s rock & roll might, though. The title cut from the Aussie band’s 1980 album is all kinds of dark (possibly because the specter of the group’s late lead singer Bon Scott hangs over it like a black cloud in Bangkok filled with rain), but its sheer brute musical force still manages to brighten my soul.
“Interstate Love Song” Stone Temple Pilots Walking home from Prince of Wales that night, I listened to this and STP’s “Down” on repeat on my iPod. Catharsis through the musical equivalent of mind-blowing sex. Ooh, Scott Weiland! Every time I listen to STP all I can think about is sitting across from Weiland in a Burbank recording studio circa 1999’s No. 4, trying to interview him and wondering if he was ever going to button up his shirt so that I could stop staring at his treasure trail. He didn’t, and I didnt.
“Dance” Ratt You sort of can’t go wrong with a song called “Dance.” It was a toss up between this, Cinderella’s “Shake Me” and something by Motley Crue, all my guiltiest pleasures in the history of ’80s hair metal.
“The Phoenix” The Cult In college, nothing picked me up out of a blue bender quite like the holy triumvirate of ’80s albums by the Cult — 1985’s Love, 1987’s Electric, 1989’s Sonic Temple — and nothing on any of them did the trick as forcefully as this standout from the former. I’m on fire indeed!
“Mind Riot” Soundgarden One I missed when I was singing Soundgarden‘s praises back in February, from one of the most cathartic albums of the ’90s — hell, ever!
“New Generation” Suede Oh, to be 25 and invincible (if only in my mind) again.