Monday, April 18, 2011

30 Songs, 30 Days (2009 Edition) Day One: Army by Ben Fold Five

Note: to keep the consistency of the '30 Songs, 30 Days' concept, I'm going to post all the previous ones in order, only posting new ones once everything's been migrated over here.  There might be some out of place or obsolete comments (especially the references to LiveJournal), but I will endeavor to keep everything the way it was when I first wrote it.  That being said, I will do some minor tweaking, updating and elaborating when the mood hits onto the show...

A little preamble:

I don't know if you'd call this a meme or not, but it is something I am going to do over the next thirty days, and it's something I am challenging others to do along with me. I hope it will help keep my writing instincts wet, and hopefully will be fun. So feel free to join me, and feel free to post this challenge on your own LiveJournal. Let's see what sort of conversations we can get started.

The concept: once a day I will turn on my MP3 player, set it to random, and press play. I am then obligated to write something about the first song that comes up.

So, for day one..."Army" by The Ben Folds Five, from the insanely titled album The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner.

You know, even though I was aware of Ben Folds before this song--how could you not the way "Brick" was being played by every alternative music and Top 40 station who aspired to be adult until you wanted to scream?--it was hearing this ditty on a CMJ free CD that made me realize this was an artist I could like. And I wasn't wrong; in the ensuing years, Folds has become one of my favorite singer/songwriters, a sort of southern-fried Billy Joel only with less douchebaggery.

I've always suspected that this song, especially the last stanza with the singer looking into a mirror and worrying his 'redneck past is nipping at my heels', was about then-President Bill Clinton. There's something charming about one of the most powerful men in the world looking in the mirror and still seeing some lazy asswipe who decided to form a band than join the army after eating a microwave apple pie. Of course, the truth is probably a lot more mundane, especially given the album's theme of coalescing your past with your present....but I'll always picture Bill, just before addressing the world, looking in the mirror, adjusting his tie and gulping, the taste of apples still in his mouth....

See you tomorrow.

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