Saturday, February 09, 2008

MUSIC: My Favorite Song of the Day (That I Haven't Mentioned Already) - Feb 8, 2007 - “Common People” by William Shatner feat. Joe Jackson

This is from me, not some reprinted article. - OlderMusicGeek

This is so embarrassing. I'm already on Day 2, and I have to list William Shatner! At least, if I'm going to be honest.... And it's not like I didn't hear any good songs – there was “Ghost Riders in the Sky” by Johnny Cash, “The Leaving of Liverpool” by the wonderful Irish band Gaelic Storm, among others.

But I can't deny it, I love this song!

It originally started as a new wave-y type hit in Europe by a band called Pulp. I have the Pulp version, and it's good, but it really doesn't do that much for me. It's a bit of a ponderous, organ-driven piece. And I must admit that been a huge fan of the organ.

But Ben Folds, producing William Shatner with the assistance of Joe Jackson, turns this song into quite the rocker. In fact, Adrian Belew is listed as a guitar player! And corny as it is, William Shatner's vocals, along with Joe Jackson growling out the chorus, captured the anger and aggressiveness of the song better than Pulp's lead singer's lackadaisical approach.

And I guess the song speaks to me because I come a fairly well off middle class background and even went to college. Now, I live in a one bed-room apartment with my daughter. Just finally digging out the emotional and financial hole that my divorce caused.

She just smiled and held my hand.

Rent a flat above a shop.
Cut your hair and get a job.
Smoke some fags and play some pool.
Pretend you never went to school.

But still, you'll never get it right.
When you're lying in bed at night
watching roaches climb the wall,
if you called your Dad he could stop it all.

You'll never live like common people
You'll never do whatever common people do.
You'll never fail like common people.
You'll never watch your life slide out of view,
and dance and drink and screw

[Jackson and Shatner]
because there's nothing else to do.

Unfortunately even when my dad was alive, there was nothing he could have done to help me. He was didn't have a lot of extra money. I mean he loaned me and my ex some money to buy a car when she was pregnant with our daughter, but we had to pay him back because he needed the money!

And my mom has helped me out occasionally with loans and buying some things after the divorce, but it's not she has the money to come in and rescue me.

This song would also be good one for Peace Corps volunteers to hear...

[Shatner and Chorus]
Sing along with the common people.
Sing along, and it might just get you through.

Laugh along with the common people.

[Shatner and Chorus]
Laugh along, even though they're laughing at you

and the stupid things that you do
'cause you think that poor is cool.

Like a dog lying in a corner,
they'll bite you and never warn you.
Look out.

They'll tear your insides out
'cause everybody hates a tourist.

'Cause Everybody hates a tourist,
especially one who thinks
it's all such a laugh.

Yeah, and the chip stains' grease
will come out in the bath.

[Shatner and Jackson]
You will never understand
how it feels to live your life
with no meaning or control
and with nowhere left to go.

You're amazed that they exist
and they burn so bright,
while you can only wonder why.

I'm not saying that the locals – or “host country nationals” in Peace Corps jargon – resent the Peace Corps volunteers. Most seem to be grateful to have us there to help them. At least, they did to me.

But some volunteers did bring out resentments, acting better than the locals and telling them what they needed to do, instead of suggesting.

And some used their status as exotic and strange foreigners to make use of some of the woman there. In fact there was apparently a joke in Botswana...

How do you know when the last Peace Corps volunteer was there?
By how old the mixed race kids are.

And some Peace Corps volunteers did try go a little native. And were laughed at by the volunteers and locals both. :)

But in the end, I have to take pity on people like that, because don't we all...

...want to sing with common people, like you.
I want to sing with common people, like you.
I want to sing with common people, like you.

A link to the William Shatner web site

A link to My Favorite Song of the Day posts

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This is a fairly good sampling of some of the music I listen to. It's missing a few genres I like - such as cajun. I'll work on that later. But it does contain most of my favorite artists. I tried to steer away from the better known songs to give you a better idea of what kind of music the artists play, but I was limited by the songs the website - Project Playlist - had available. But if you want to get an idea of what I listen to, just hit the play or arrow button. - OlderMusicGeek

The internet station that does the best of playing my music is Last.fm. Here's my station if you're interested.

This website, OlderMusicGeek Radio on Pandora.com, does a fairly decent job of playing what I like, although they do occasionally play stuff I don't care for, but overall they're pretty good.