Cocaine Blunts: Best Rap, 2010

This is the Best Rap list. There is no Drake. Other notable omissions include, but are not limited to: aging New Yorkers who have had more major deals than major hits; teenagers from Dallas or LA who keep giving different names to the same goddamn dances and won’t get off my lawn; autistic youtube sensations; dead men whose voices live on in the name of dollars; white people who aren’t wolves or bugs; bloggers turned rappers; child actors turned rappers; children of rappers turned rappers; 40 year old rappers who talk about Gucci; children who act like 40 year old rappers who talk about Gucci; 40 year old rappers who hate both children and Gucci; children who act like 40 year old rappers who hate children and Gucci; Juggalos; Canadians; South Africans and J. Cole.

Adding to my “to listen” list. (via putthison)

Cocaine Blunts: Best Rap, 2010

I read an interview with Tom Waits, around the time of his album “Rain Dogs,” in which he talked about how you come to a point on an instrument where you have to stop playing it and find another instrument that you don’t know what you’re doing with. Part of songwriting is having that naïve excitement about not quite realizing why you’re getting off on it, because you haven’t had time to pull it apart yet. Songwriting relies on not pulling things apart: the best ideas are the simple ideas.

Thom Yorke in an interview with Alex Ross.


The story behind James Carr’s “At The Dark End Of The Street”:


It amazes me that THIS is the story behind one of the best soul songs ever recorded:

It was the Summer of ‘66, and Memphis was chock full of DJs in town for a convention.  Songwriter Dan Penn and session guitarist Chip Moman were taking advantage of the situation, cheating Florida DJ Don Schroeder out of his money in a card game.

They wrote the song about two lovers in an illicit affair while on break from the game.  ”We were always wanting to come up with the best cheatin’ song ever,” Penn explained.

They went to Quentin Claunch, partner in Goldwax Records and a fellow alumnus of the Muscle Shoals music scene, and asked to borrow his hotel room for a half hour.  He agreed, on the condition that whatever song they wrote, they give it to Claunch for his singer, James Carr.  A deal was struck and the rest is history.

Terrific song. A Youtube search will show you all the cover versions out there.

One of my favorite new-to-me songs from earlier this summer.


“Have you ever wondered what Dark Side of the Moon would sound like if Pink Floyd had written it for NES, instead of for a rock band?” (via) Interesting to hear which songs remain affecting, and which ones don’t translate so well.


“The Greatest Love Story of the 20th Century”


Sarah Vowell on June Carter’s “Ring of Fire,”

In this song, to compare love to fire isn’t just the music sexy/heat cliche like you give me fever, or, hunka-hunka burnin’ love, or, it’s gettin’ hot in here. This is fire as in brimstone. Old time religion. Written by the daughter of a people who believe in the eternal flames of hell. June Carter was coveting her neighbor’s spouse, which meant she was breaking one of the Ten Commandments. Loving Johnny Cash was a sin. And for her, the wages of sin were death. A death in which the sinner spent all eternity as nothing more than kindling. When June Carter admitted to herself that she loved Johnny Cash, it is, in a small country and western love song way, not unlike the moment Huck Finn resolves to help the slave Jim escape, even though he’s been told that doing so would be wrong. Alright then, he says, I’ll go to hell.

Act Three of This American Life #247, about 47 minutes into the show.

“The Greatest Love Story of the 20th Century”

It’s the lyric that makes a song a hit, although the tune, of course, is what makes it last.

Irving Berlin. This applies to many things besides songwriting.