I was invited to contribute to the Shuffled series on Boston Progress Radio this week. Shuffled features an API individual and his or her playlist along with some comments on the songs. I wrote something vaguely festive for the new year.
Here's the song commentary portion of the post. [Read more: Wendy Hsu's Shuffled] Peace in, 2009!
“Swimming Pools” by Thao with The Get Down, Stay Down
I had a hard time selecting a song from Thao Nguyen’s 2008 well-produced, integrated album We Brave Bee Stings and All. I eventually picked “Swimming Pools” for its feminist message embedded. Thao explains that this song advocates for strength and audacity for women living in a male-dominated world. Every time I hear it, I feel like I’m riding full-fledged, chugging along the banjo-playing, bee-sting-braving Thao wagon. Thao’s syncopated vocals will toss you around – look out!
When I first heard this song performed by Japanese sludge metal band Boris with guest guitarist Michio Kurihara, I knew that I could die with contentment knowing that I had witnessed one of the most extraordinary guitar solos of our time. A fuzzy and grainy treat for the New Year!
“Highway Movie” by The Nipples
The second album Sorry by The Nipples, a mid-2000s Taiwanese shoegaze band, has rocked my world for a couple months at time ever since I got it on my trip to Taiwan in 2006. Despite that I could never figure out the significance of the repeated four-line lyric, I treasure the dramatic contours and textures of the song. The song starts big and then implodes into a non-verbal, noisy, delay-washed sonic ecology. It ends with a lingering trace of life. Boldness and dystopia, this song is tour de force.
“Tracing Paths” by Kite Operations
This song by the New-York-based experimental indie quartet is highly addictive. Its circular motion tangles me in a web of stasis where the past collides with the future. This temporal ambivalence pushes and pulls until distance and denial drown out. On my blog, I interpreted the meaning of circularity inflected by this song: “What I enjoy is connection, the grey area, dialecticism, the Middle Way. Feelings of disconnection or the binary, either/or logic often alienate me. If there were one affect that I fall, fight, scream, and contend for, it would be that of connectedness.”
“Rising II” by Yoko Ono
Yoko Ono is my inspiration. Her persevering creation of peace and love through art is astounding. This song always gets me. Ono’s powerful vocalizations radiate like the sun, generously and immensely, riding through the gusts, rising above the rumbling clouds. I imagine that her visceral voice envelopes my acoustic-mental being. It touches you, if you let it.
“Pull Up the People” by M.I.A.
Sometimes I love to EQ up the bass on my stereo and let the lo-fi bass sounds work out my kidneys. M.I.A.’s audacity combined with playfulness will lead us into a momentous era driven by our own anthems and protest tracks. It’s time for change!
I selected 6 tracks but only 4 of the 6 tracks are listed on the Shuffled playlist. Enjoy.