June 2, 2004

Die, Music Club, Die!

I am very excited about next month's music club theme... but first, let's have a quick with the results of our last session, songs you want played at your funeral. I complained about this theme, as you may recall. As Kevin pointed out, pretty much any song, no matter how sappy or cheesy, when played at an actual funeral becomes sanctified by its context. And yet, this being not an actual funeral but merely a gathering of music geeks, I found it hard, as I said, to think of a song that wouldn't be trite.

As it happens, in Jewish tradition, we don't play music at funerals. While I'm not down with every Jewish law (I'll be drinking the tap water, thanks), this one makes sense to me. Which led me to the only possible choice I could make, a recording of Kaddish being chanted.

What did other people come up with? Well, Eve had a touching story about Emmylou Harris's Born to Run, certainly a fine reminiscence of a life well lived. Gina chose the song whose sentiment comes closest to the one I'd want at my funeral if I had to have music -- What A Wonderful World as performed by Victoria Williams. Tracy, knowing it's hard to go wrong with either gospel or Dylan, brought the Chicago Mass Choir's rendition of Pressing On. Francis and Rose both went for the joke, he with You'll Miss Me (They Might Be Giants), she with Too Darn Hot (Ella Fitzgerald). Emily will be laid to rest to Dobie Gray's Drift Away.

Next month: superheroes. Some say best theme ever. I've got some swell ideas already, but I'm always open to more. Remember, it doesn't have to be "songs about superheroes" (though there are enough of those). Interpret how you will. Up, up, and away!

Posted by Daniel Radosh


My backup song probably would have been my first choice if I had thought of it before we had actually started playing our songs ("Being Boring" by the Pet Shop Boys, a song that is like the distilled essence of nostalgia).

Sean, who was out of town, says, "You're probably happy you missed my song -- it's Champagne Supernova from those lovely Brit brats Oasis. Don't ask me why -- it's been my funeral song for a long time. Probably precisely because of its brattiness. And its paper thin grandiosity. I love it."

How about Bonnie Tyler's "Holding Out For a Hero"?
Or "Rescue Me," "Fight the Power," "Juke Box Hero," or "Emotional Rescue"?

Mmmm. The theme is superheroes, not just heroes. I think there has to be some superpower involved. When I said it was broader than "songs about superheroes," I meant that one could bring, say, a song from a superhero movie, or performed by an actor who played a superhero, or that used superhero metaphors without actually referencing individual superheroes (or, conversely, that name-checks superheroes while being not being about them, e.g., Sunshine Superman).

Ah yes, tapping the deep well that is songs performed by an actor who played a superhero...I have a recording of Christopher Reeve covering Elvis Costello's "I Can't Stand Up For Falling Down."

Superhero songs, more or less: Superwoman [Where Were You When I Needed You]--Stevie Wonder; Jesus Walks--Kanye West (if you can have Jesus Christ, Superstar, then...); Sunshine Superman--Donovan; SuperSoulFigter--Lenny Kravitz; Phenomenon--LL Cool J; Time the Avenger--The Pretenders. And what better superhero (-sounding) song--hey, he's a superhero to me--than "My Name is Prince"?

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