J Ship’s A – Z (with Jonathan Shipley)


 “CAN’T GET YOU OUT OF MY HEAD,” by Kylie Minogue

You’re right, Kylie, I can’t get that horrific song of yours out of my head. “Won’t you stay/Won’t you lay/Stay forever and ever and ever/La la la/La la la la la.” The song is atrocious and I’m at wit’s end. I write this in my car, in the garage, engine running, garage door closed. Farewell, cruel world.


They sound terrible when played but who cares, you’re playing a conch shell! How often can you play a sea-dwelling mollusk anyway? It’s a crude bugle – it’s a marine gastropod! It’s in the 1939 symphony “La Noche de Los Mayas” – it’s in the sea grass in warm tropical waters!


Dude, I was a total bad ass in high school. While my peers were in the nearby Capitaol Forest on the gravel roads getting drunk or stoned, listening to Skid Row and Guns N’ Roses over the cheap speakers of their pickup trucks, not even thinking about their homework or the civics project due the following week, I was getting some band members together to play Aaron Copland’s “Fanfare for the Common Man.” Copland, one of America’s most influential composers (his tune backs “Beef: It’s What’s for Dinner!”), was a hero of mine in high school. Yeah, total bad ass – me. What makes me even more of a rebel? I bought the whole score even when my band teacher told me not to because it was too technically advanced for us. I played it anyway on my trombone. Oh yeah, I sure did, I blasted the song out in the band room (when, you know, the teach wasn’t around). Did I tell you that I was single most of my time in high school and spent Saturday nights pining for a girl to recognize my existence? Whatever. Copland rules!


I can’t think of the Cranberries without thinking of my ex-fiance and, sadly, that’s not a very good thing. Too bad, otherwise I would like the band. For one thing their original name was “The Cranberry Saw Us” and I like a good cranberry sauce. For another, Dolores O’Riordan is pretty damn sexy. For a third, their songs (“Zombie,” “Ode to My Family”) aren’t half bad. But “Linger,” the song that made them famous, makes me think of that trip home for Thanksgiving Break from college. In the front seats, my ex-fiance insisting the Cranberries are musical geniuses, feet up on the dashboard (she wasn’t driving). In the driver’s seat, her brother, Adam, who was gay but refused to admit it, debating with Olivia, my ex, about how the Cranberries sucked because they were, strangely enough, “too gay.” In the backseat, me, rammed up against the window with all their belongings crushing my internal organs. Something “Linger”-ed all right, the crack in my pelvis.


Thank you, Colin Meloy. Thank you, Decemberists, all of you, for making this beautiful, haunting, odd, majestic album about a crane, a woman, and other stuff. It’s the best album this year.


They had that awesome song in ’93. “Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm,” was the name of it, from their God Shuffled His Feet album. Thank you for that, you folk-tinged Canadians! The lyrics were weird, Brad Roberts’ baritone voice was striking, and the melody was simple, but odd. It’s the song I sing at bowling alleys during karaoke night. I’m fairly well-known in bowling karaoke night circles in Seattle for my spot-on interpretation of it. Oftentimes people at the bar laugh at me. Sometimes they whisper to one another, “Wow, he’s good. I wonder if he’s Canadian!” Afterwards, Cherry Coke in hand, I say to them, “No, I’m not Canadian but I have a thing for Canadian Governor General Michaelle Jean.


It’s not everyone who can claim to be history’s best selling Latin rap group. They don’t rap in Latin though, Cypress Hill. It might prove interesting however for Sen Dog to translate “Trigga Happy Nigga” into Latin, or B-Real Latin-izing “I Ain’t Goin’ Out Like That.” Cypress Hill doesn’t have time for studying Latin, or grammar, when wrestling songs need to be written! Their single, “Just Another Victim,” was World Wrestling Entertainment wrestler Tazz’s theme song. Because of the popularity of that wrestling song other musicians are recording tunes for wrestling as well including Rage Against the Machine’s “Scissor Kick Samurai,” Kayne West’s “Folding Chair Across the Back,” and 50 Cent’s “Meatheads Doing Fake Wrestling for the Enjoyment of Socially Retarded Men.”

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