Like everyone else in America, I remember the morning of September 11th, 2001 vividly. Waking up, turning on the television and seeing a gaping hole in the World Trade Center, then watching in horror as another plane flew into the second tower, eliminating any chance that it was an accident. I remember the sadness, the feeling of community that came in the days and weeks following the attack. But what I remember most is the way our then-President used the feelings of hatred and revenge seething through American veins to invade a country needlessly and pass legislation that continues to divide our country.
Because I relate everything to music, I also remember the benefits for the victims families and firefighters. There have been some really great songs written about the event and the aftermath, and some truly awful. Here is my top 5 and bottom 5 of those songs.
1. My City Of Ruin-Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band: Actually, the entirety of The Rising could be included here. One of my favorite Springsteen albums ever.
2. Let’s Roll-Neil Young: I couldn’t get the video to load for this one, but Young has been so politically active over the years that his writing a song about the heroes of Flight 93 shouldn’t be a surprise.
I actually prefer Young’s later tune, “Let’s Impeach The President,” but this one was great as well.
3. Words I Never Said-Lupe Fiasco: Lupe’s views may not mesh entirely with mine, but this is a great song. His conspiracy theory mindset is a bit off to me, but I wasn’t there, so I don’t know. Maybe it was a conspiracy. The opening line to his first verse is one of my favorites in a rap song: “I really think the war on terror is a bunch of bullshit, just a poor excuse for you to use up all your bullets”
4. Exodus Damage-John Vanderslice: 9/11 plays a minor role in this song, but when it’s Vanderslice everything matters. It would be a good song without the references, but having them makes it a great one.
5. If This Is Goodbye-Mark Knopfler and Emmylou Harris: Heartbreaking ballad with some nice guitar work to boot. In a way, this song echoes how the attacks on 9/11 effected everyone around the globe, hence a Brit rock god and a southern songstress come together for this tremendous song.
1. Where Were You-Alan Jackson: Emotionally manipulative garbage. I liked it better when it was about a ladder to Heaven.
2. Courtesy Of The Red White And Blue-Toby Keith: Keith sure does love America…especially all the money he makes from writing songs cashing in on American xenophobia and outrage.
3. Raise Up (USA Remix)-Petey Pablo: And speaking of cashing in…after doing the song, and a remix featuring every state in the US, Petey Pablo tried to make his stacks a little larger by putting out an additional remix just after the attacks.
4. Have You Forgotten-Darryl Worley: “Some say this country’s just out looking for a fight
Well, after 9/11 man I’d have to say that’s right” That lyric kind of perfectly encapsulates the GOP’s mindset for the last decade.
5. Jihad-Slayer: I’ll actually say something nice about Slayer here. It may be a horrendous song, but at least the angle is interesting and it isn’t by Toby Keith.
Yesterday was a great celebration for music fans and record enthusiasts around the world. Special limited-edition vinyl releases, in-store performances, and free swag from the stores themselves. A joyous day that I wish never had to end.
I had to get to the record store early because I had to be at work by 11. I rode the bus over to Saki and walked in five minutes after opening only to be greeted by a nice long line. I was happy to see that so many vinyl appreciators were able to make it out so early. But, when the guys started scratching releases off the list as inventory ran out, I got a little sad. Just a couple minutes after I got there the White Stripes releases were gone. By the time I made it to the head of the line, only one item from my original list remained.
That didn’t bother me, though. For my own, personal Record Store Day celebration, I ended up with the following: Mates of State‘s re-release of the 2003 LP Team Boo, a 7″ single of Yeasayer‘s “End Blood” and the 12″ single re-release “The Past is a Grotesque Animal” by Of Montreal.
And that’s ok. Record Store Day is a bit of a crapshoot. Sometimes you win, sometimes you don’t quite win as much as you could have. The funny thing about Record Store Day is that the only way to actually lose is to not participate. I urge everyone out there who didn’t join in this year to make a point of at least stopping by a local record store when the time comes next year. Or just go to one now.
On top of all the great music they had for sale yesterday, Saki also had a great lineup of in-store performances. I didn’t get to see much because I had to work. I missed Chaperone (dammit!), but I hear there were no cookies or kettle corn, so that eases the blow a bit. I also missed The 1900′s. I really wanted to see them, but I guess I’ll have to catch them next time.
I did get to see one band I’ve been trying to see for a while, In Tall Buildings. I’ve been told many times to listen to them by friends, but hadn’t got around to it just yet. They were stripped down at Saki, just Erik Hall and a drummer performing Black Keys-style (except I like these guys way more than Black Keys).
They played the A-side and B-side of the single they released for Record Store Day, and did a few more songs off of their self-titled record that came out on Whistler last year. I was quite taken with Erik Hall’s voice and ability on the guitar. The soundsystem at Saki isn’t mind-blowingly great, but In Tall Buildings made it sound like it could be.
They finished their set with this cover of Neil Young’s “For The Turnstiles.” I couldn’t think of a more fitting end:
Keep that performance in mind next time you’re trying to think of a reason not to trudge out to a record store. Supporting local music keeps bands like In Tall Buildings, Chaperone, The 1900′s, and This Is Cinema going. It’s up to us to decide whether or not these bands make it. Instead of acting as some sort of “death panel” for these bands, why not chip in five bucks and see them perform or buy a copy of their cd?
So I’ll see you next year, when I assume the ambassador for RSD 12 will be Tyler, the Creator and Odd Future and Rebecca Black will be playing all the in-stores via hologram.