Thursday, March 22, 2012

Play It Again, Sam. I Dare Ya!

Maybe I'm strange, maybe I'm old, and probably I'm a combination of both, but when I hear a song I like, I buy the album that includes the song. Millennials think nothing of buying a single. It's easy: just log onto Amazon or iTunes and download it. It's instant too, but I can't bring myself to buy a single song. I must to support the artist and buy the whole, goshdarn album.

Even worse, once I own the album, I need to listen to it sequentially. Starting with song one, I'll listen to the songs in order until the album is over or I run out of time. I will hear my favorite song only as many times as I listen to the album.

This is true most of the time. About the only time it isn't true is when I am trying to learn a song on guitar. In that case, I'll play the song repeatedly as I try to learn the lyrics and chord sequence.

A college roommate of mine suffered from the exact opposite affliction. When he heard a song he liked, he played it over and over.

Sometimes I'd hear the opening chords of the song following the oft-repeated song and think, "Finally. He's finally going to play the next song! Yes!!" only to be duped as he rolled his waterbed embedded butt over  to press the repeat button again.

This drove me nuts.

Do you know what song he would play ad nauseam? Guns and Roses "Patience" from their G N' R Lies album. You remember this song, don't you? It's the one where Axl Rose's whine is particularly annoying, but he whistles respectably to make up for it. The best part of the song for me was Slash's acoustic guitar solo. When hearing this song through paper-thin apartment walls for the 19th time, Slash's solo was the part to which I would most look forward.

"Patience" is 4 seconds short of 6 minutes long. I found myself longing to hear the next song: the Izzy Stradlin penned "She Used to Love Me" -- a song that I prefer by to "Patience" by a 2-to-1 margin.

One night I had enough. It was going on 2:30 in the morning and roomie hit the "Patience" repeat button for the 12th time.  I lost it. I kicked the wall and yelled "Dammit!! Let the next song play! You're driving me nuts over here!!" He relented and I finally got to hear "She Used to Love Me." Somewhere within the song's 3 minute and 13 second length, I fell asleep.

Fast forward 18 years and finally there's a song that I find repeat worthy. I'll be driving to and from work and catch myself instinctively pressing the repeat button as soon as the song is over. I haven't listened to it as many times as my old roomie listened to Axl's ballad, but I've replayed it as many as 4 times. Definitely a record for me!

The song?

The Tallest Man on Earth's "King of Spain."

This 2010 song has fretwork, lyrics, melody, and a right-hand rhythm that I find particularly appealing. Much of the Tallest Man on Earth's work is similar, and good, but nothing has hooked me like "King of Spain."

It may also have to do with the fact that I love Spain. I have visited twice: the Andalusia region about 10 years ago and Barcelona recently. In Barcelona, the line "Still I am not from Barcelona!" would bounce around in my head, but my favorite single line in the song is "And I'll provoke the bulls with words." I love that line and I love that thought! Provoking a bull with words. Great stuff. (Complete lyrics below.)

The studio version of "King of Spain" can be heard if you click here, but I  prefer the live version below from "Later with Jools Holland." Maybe you won't listen to this song repeatedly as I have, but if you give it a listen and like it, my job here is done. Enjoy!

Lyrics to King of Spain:

I never knew I was a lover,
Just cause I steal the things you hide,
Just cause I focus while we're dancing,
Just cause I offered you a ride.

Still I am not from Barcelona,
I am not even from Madrid.
I am a native of the North Pole
And that can mess up any kid.

Well if you could reinvent my name,
well if you could redirect my day,
I wanna be the King of Spain.

And I will settle in Pamplona
And I'll provoke the bulls with words
And then I'll send a man to meet them all
But he's fake, so I have heard.

And all the senoritas sighing,
Will be the fountain of my lies.
But while we're floating in siestas
You search for bottles and for knives.

Well if you could reinvent my name,
Well if you could redirect my day,
I wanna be the King of Spain.

And I wear my boots of Spanish leather
Oh while I'm tightening my crown.
I'll disappear in some flamenco
Perhaps I'll reach the other side.

Why are you stamping my illusion?
Just cause I stole some eagle's wings
Because you named me as your lover
Well, I thought I could be anything.

Well if you could reinvent my name,
well if you could redirect my day,
I wanna be the King of Spain.

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