Inspired by yesterday's inaugural PMP (Pop Music Project) "listening lunch" at Trojanland (a project at the Lear Center spearheaded by the incomparable P(i)MP of public intellectualism, Josh Kun) I thought it was high time the Emperor offered another quick and dirty update. Apparently, one of the PMP's future projects may involve an interactive mapping of Southern Cali's soundscapes--something I've been mulling over in my Ernie-shaped head for quite awhile.
Recently, for a different kind of listening party called "Sir Mix-Alot" hosted by Jennifer Doyle, diva of Scrappy Soccer and curator of the art that makes us cry, I put together a playlist inspired by commutes, micro-migrations and the 60 FWY. None of it is especially obscure or collector-driven like the playlists of other mixed-cd clubs I belong to. But it definitely captures some of the middle-brow precociousness of an adolescent, Anglophilic I.E. popslut...all growed up. It also captures some of the acccents and the ensuing "accent elimination" of spaces prior and unforseen.
I was always fascinated by the opening scene in My Fair Lady (the movie, even though I'm a big Julie Andrews-as-'Liza Doo' loyalist). Henry Higgins busts out his imperialist ivory tower skillz and taxonomizes the accents of passersby in Covent Garden, including his future gay lover Col. Pickering's, before taking on the project that is his fair lady. Higgins reads "Cheltenham, Harrow, Cambridge and India" in Pickering's intonation, and a flaccid scholarly friendship is formed. What I'm trying to get at by way of a big detour through my own high-faggotry and Broadway jazz-hands, is that I feel like the playlist I'm about to share with you also has an accent with a spatial genealogy.
"Manila, Honolulu, Riverside, Berkeley, Los Angeles." Or maybe it's "St. Paul's, Maemae Elementary, RHS, RCC, Cal and $C." INLAND EMPEROR'S EAR CANDY has a sprinkle of immigrant lovesong (Olivia Newton John and Cliff Richard's "Suddenly"), a hearty dose of the Columbia House Cassette Club Catalogue (General Public's "Never You Done That," Wham's "Ray of Sunshine" from their 1982 "Fantastic" album), and a lifetime of menses and muppetry (Sarah McLachlan's rendition of "Rainbow Connection," the Indigo Girls covering Jesus Christ Superstar). All of this is leavened with a little indie muzak (Moldy Peaches, Beta Band, Broken Social Scene) and newer stuff by relative unknowns (like Melange LaVonne, the German pop band Wir Sind Helden--actually quite popular...in Germany) just to prove I went to grad school and learned how to pretend to be "cosmopolitan," a term I'm not sure I'm totally down to recuperate just yet.
1. "Ray of Sunshine" - Wham U.K.
2. "Never You Done That" - General Public
3. "Alleged" - The Beta Band
4. "Denkmal" - Wir Sind Helden
5. "Jorge Regula" - The Moldy Peaches
6. "Van Nuys (Es Very Nice)" - Los Abandoned
7. "The Bus" - Melange LaVonne
8. "Photobooth" - Death Cab for Cutie
9. "Major Label Debut" - Broken Social Scene
10. "Rainbow Connection" - Sarah McLachlan
11. "Cemet'ry Gates" - The Smiths
12. "Rhythm of the Night" (Remix) - El Debarge
13. "I Confess" - The English Beat
14. "Everything's Alright" - The Indigo Girls in "Jesus Christ Superstar-A Resurrection"
15. "Picture Postcard" - The Promise Ring
16. "Suddenly" - Olivia Newton John and Cliff Richard
17. "Yo (Excuse Me Miss)" - Chris Brown
18. "Somebody" - Depeche Mode
I've much more to say about the idioms in which each song speaks, but to invoke Hall and Oates, "I'm Out of Time."
Let me leave you with an "honorable mention" in video format. This latter-day Heart hit inspired my title, and DEMANDS a special shout out for its post-Aids hetero-bodied gay cruising motif (picking up the swarthy stranger in a leather jacket...in the rain) crossed with a sneaky insemination narrative that can only be rivaled by Bette and Tina's "it takes three to make baby" tango in the pilot episode of The L-Word. Just watch what I mean...
Rollin' deep in the heart of the I.E. through the gnarled concrete arteries of 60+10+91 east to neon sunsets and Naugles, Taco Tia, the Mad/Friendly/Happy or Lucky Greek,The Menagerie, Spanky's, Butch's Grinders, The Denny's Cocktail Lounge at Hardman Center (in pace requiescat). We spell Paris P-E-R-R-I-S, bitches!