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Friday, August 11, 2006

100 Doses: A Long-Term Cure for American Idol, Part 3

The purpose.

I don’t know what ingredients build a great song, but I do have my opinions about some songs that I consider to be great. And, one by one, I’m going to share 100 of those songs. They won’t be in any particular order (and Mark Lanegan might be a little over-represented), but they will be accompanied by MP3s and the reasons that I think the songs are so brilliant.

Some of the songs will be familiar, although popularity is no quick gauge of virtue.

Think of this as a cure for American Idol. A group of songs that make up a hell of a playlist with songs that you’ll hate and songs that you’ll love and a little bit of musical exploration for the class. The only two rules are that the songs have to have a prominent vocal, can’t be a cover of another artist’s music, and that I think that they are so damned good that they are worth sharing.

The song.

Chris Whitley - “Scrapyard Lullaby”

“Scrapyard Lullaby” is an intimate song filled with warm tones and quiet beauty. It’s the opening of Dirt Floor, a 28 minute album that was famously recorded in a shack in Vermont over the course of a single day and it has an earthy feel of rural America. A taste of country blues that isn’t entirely representative of Whitley’s wildly varied musical career, it is nonetheless a perfect song from a near-perfect album.

Whitley died last year and left behind an uneven catalog of powerful music and career risks. Choosing a song to share from this album was tremendously difficult; between “Balpeen Hammer”, “Indian Summer”, and “Scrapyard Lullaby” I had three songs that were all worthy. “Scrapyard” won me over because of the poetry of the lyrics.

Somehow, it seems fitting that he would sing a song about sifting through the refuse and ruin to find life’s treasures.

Cause the chrome do rust and the dust do shine
Broken could be golden in it’s very own time

Enjoy Chris Whitley’s “Scrapyard Lullaby. (The file is gone, baby. Gone.)

The Previous Posts

100 - Mark Lanegan - “Judas Touch”
99 - Dean Carter - “Jailhouse Rock”

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