Friday, May 22, 2009

Aimee Mann, X and fireworks

Two of my favorite songs are about the 4th of July. For all the rah-rah, grillin' up wieners, pyrotechnic aspects of the 4th of July, both songs are melancholy mood pieces.
John Doe and Exene of X sing about a couple, living in a "dark apartment" in downtown L.A in their song "4th of July". They've had some kind of argument or are in a general state of unraveling. I always liked these lines:
On the stairs I smoke a cigarette alone
Mexican kids are shootin' fireworks below
Hey baby it's the Fourth of July

It feels like L.A. You can see the apartment and feel the hot, summer air. You can identify with the pensive guy sitting there while loud festivities go on around him.

Aimee Mann's song "4th of July" has one of the best-written first stanzas ever:
Today's the fourth of July
another June has gone by
and when they light up our town
I just think what a waste of gunpowder and sky

I love the clever economy that says so much. "Another June has gone by..." And then that sharp finish, "what a waste of gunpowder and sky". That's so good. Gives me goosebumps.

Oh blond, angular, depressed Aimee. So talented. I hope she picks up some sparklers and potato salad this year on the 4th. There's usually a Twilight Zone marathon on if she prefers to stay indoors.


  1. Julie, this blog is great, so far! I hope that you stick with it because your writing is so expressive. It's a joy to read! And music is a wonderful topic.
    For me, it's hit 'n miss with Aimee. I WOULD like to hear '4th of July', though. You make it sound worth a listen!

  2. Should we try to take sparklers and tater salad to Aimee? She'd probably shrug, take the offered gifts, and offer a small quirk of a smile. "Thanks."
    Now I totally have to hear that song, and I don't have it on CD!

  3. I do love me some "Whatever". You will be completely unsurprised to learn that Eric turned me on to Aimee Mann with a random single sampler tape that had "I Should've Known" on it. I was freshly broken-up with, in high school and feelin' my angsty-pain oats. C'mon Aim, maybe a bratwurst and a can of PBR would help ease your pain...?

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