The One Song That Defines Life, for a Week

Masters of the musical universe who put songs in singers’ mouths, I am just sick about this track—thank you for this artist, this song! My window is open and the neighbors are torturing their cats just to have something else to listen to. As of this scribbling, iTunes reports I’ve listened to this song 24 times since it was added to my library at 4:17 p.m. on January 22, which doesn’t include the number of times (probably 12) that I’ve listened to it on my iPod, where it’s been designated as the “I’m Going to Knock You Out” track in my Nike-sneakers-chat-up-my-music set-up.

Children, I’m a loser for this song, a giant one in a coat of many lame colors, and I’m singing along to my loser anthem right now.

» Listen to “Apply Some Pressure” at The Music Slut

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But where did the track come from? Gods of the internets. Friend John turned me on to, where Mark Ronson has a show (he’s remade “Apply Some Pressure” for his new album, Versions), and now I’ve gone through Ronson’s archives and dorked out on the show until I picked up all the lingo and jokes, never mind song recommendations. I’m reminded of my college self, staying up until three in the morning to listen to various web-broadcast jungle shows.

I’d heard Amy Winehouse from less famous song-pickers, but it wasn’t until I heard her on Ronson’s show last Friday that I got it. A few days later, I had a lunch meeting in midtown with a newly single editor friend. He mentioned he needed new sex music for all “the womens” he’s meeting. Winehouse was my second pick; my first pick, for which I couldn’t remember the title in the heat of the moment, was Steve Spacek’s “Dollar.”

» Listen to “You Know I'm No Good” at My Old Kentucky Home
» Listen to “Dollar” at Lil Mike's Last Known Thoughts & Random Revelations

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But what will be the single of the week once I’ve exhausted that Maximo Park song? There’s a tune by Little Barrie that I love but can’t find online to share, and I’m also going through a Ray Price period, but that’s nothing to pump about.

But there’s always Herman Dune. Dune’s “I Wish I Could See You Soon” takes Lou Reed’s “And the colored girls say…” imperative and scores a first down on the beach: airy, sunny, southern France. So, it’s probably not great for the nighttime sexing of womens, but it’s very appropriate when the girl is gone in the morning and you’re left holding your Wii.

» Listen to “I Wish I Could See You Soon” at Burning World

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Speaking of which, I have a Wii date to play tennis next Saturday with a reporter friend. A few weeks ago, he called up some PR flaks and had every new-generation gaming system shipped over to his house “for review.” (Sony was nice enough to throw in a loaner 40-inch flat-screen HD television.) Our plan is to play some Wii tennis, maybe Wii bowl a little, then go grab lunch. My friend says he’s made several such dates with people to come over and play with his Wii.

But we’re not alone. Last night over drinks in the Village, another friend confessed she’d also made a date recently with a Wii-owning-friend to play virtual tennis. Have social video games finally penetrated the cosmos of the gameless? I haven’t owned a video-game system since I was 16—will I want one now, now that it’s genteel, appropriate with finger sandwiches? Have they released the Wii Book Club game yet, or Wii Trunk Show?

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Last week I started listening to Jamie T’s “Operation” around the same time as beginning to read Rabelais’s Gargantua, the 1534 novel that foresaw the modern novel from a several-centuries-long telescope and has more high-spirited dick, pussy, and fart jokes than Michel Houellebecq can shake his misery at.

“Operation” is a good song, but not a great one, partially because it’s so affected: wearing cold and trashy, punk and erotic like they’re all part of this season’s brand new coat. But the coat’s old and it’s missing parts, like warmth and hope, which explains why that Maximo Park song, having both in spades, has had four times as many listens as “Operation” in my iTunes, and why I’m not excited by the new Arcade Fire album. What fun is fast-moving misery without some hope for eventually reaching happiness? This also accounts for why Children of Men scored so few Oscar nominations.

Warmth, hope, and humor could be part of the cutting-edge coat since they always have been—they’re patched into an older and bigger coat that would seem very new right now since no one’s big enough to wear it. The coat that Rabelais wore very well.

» Listen to “Operation” at I Was There


Rosecrans Baldwin co-founded TMN with publisher Andrew Womack in 1999. His latest book is Everything Now: Lessons From the City-State of Los Angeles. More information can be found at More by Rosecrans Baldwin

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