When it comes to writing this blog, I benefit from the assistance of a woman as brilliant as she is long-suffering. If you look in the comments section, she goes by the handle of “The Producer” and I rarely post a word without having her look at it first. The result is the stuff you see here is infinitely stronger than if I’d simply posted it on my own. I am a simian.
One of her greatest skills is that she is a phenomenal nag. Not content to simply offer sage advice, she usually follows it up with persistent questions as to how I’ve applied it, which she delivers in a did-you-wash-behind-your-ears tone that is as endearing as it is infuriating. If I actually end up becoming a Better Man this year, it will be in no small part because of her. I have had a lot of dark and bitter moments these past few months, and many times the only reason I don’t do a cannonball into a pool of self-loathing is because I remember that The Producer believes in me enough to ride my ass like Secretariat.
Lately, The Producer has been bugging me to post more lists (“readers love them”). So, in her honor, this next list is dedicated to her. I believe everyone’s misery should come with a soundtrack, and this one is mine. I’m essentially using other people’s music to express how I feel, something angst-ridden males have been doing since the invention of the cassette. Strangely, It gave me perverse joy to come up with a playlist that tries to capture how truly terrible I feel about myself, no doubt a leftover emotion from when I used to make mixtapes for girls on whom I had crushes.
Making this list was an excellent way to avoid writing some posts I’ve been struggling with (and ironically, I spent twice as long making it as I would if I’d simply knuckled down and finished those posts), so if there’s some odious task you’re trying to shirk, then I suggest you take the time to read this list and add a few miserable songs of your own.
SAD BASTARD MUSIC (AKA “The Metaphysical Journey I Take Everyday From The Time I Wake Up to Pee to when I Pass Out”)
1) John Lennon – Nobody Told Me (Wherein I’m surprised to find myself in a wretched state, and am mildly bemused by it.)
2) Talking Heads – Once in a Lifetime (Bemusement turns to confusion.)
3) Pixies – Where Is My Mind? (A little more confusion)
4) Joy Division – Digital (Confusion segues to panic)
5) Warren Zevon – My Shit’s Fucked Up (Ah! The Better Man theme song)
6) Nick Cave – Moonland (Okay, trying to feel good about feeling so bad)
7) Rolling Stones – Miss You (Nick only took me so far, maybe the Stones can finish the job.)
8) Jimmy Cliff – Many Rivers to Cross (Nope, those didn’t work. I start to toy with the idea of suicide, and I want this played at my funeral.)
9) Bob Dylan – Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright (The other song I want played at my funeral, which makes me think of the Ex)
10) George Harrison – Isn’t it a Pity (Wow, REALLY thinking about the Ex)
11) Solomon Burke – Fast Train (Okay, Zevon was just funny, but seriously, I feel bad)
12) Johnny Cash – Hurt (Nope. Nothing funny about this at all.)
13) Gnarls Barkley – Who’s Gonna Save My Soul Now? (I feel so bleak, I must have groove)
14) K-os – Man I Used to Be (I don’t really want to be the man I used to be, but I don’t want to be the man I am, either.)
15) Ryan Adams – Two (Okay, a little less desperate, but still wistful)
16) Patrick Watson – The Great Escape (Sure, things suck, but at least I don’t feel as shitty as I did when I was listening to Hurt.)
17) The Dears – I Fell Deep (Sure, I’ve fallen in the well, but I don’t think I need Lassie’s help. Okay, maybe I do…)
18) The Killers – All The Things I Have Done (People can change. I can change.)
19) Elvis Costello – (What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding (Wait! Why the FUCK do I have to change? Why can’t the world change instead?)
20) Sam Cooke – A Change is Gonna Come (Oh well, I have to manifest my own destiny and believe things will change for the better, even if they don’t. Thanks Sam.)