Monday, June 23, 2008

It's Good for What Ails Ya...

If you're the type of person who actually takes the old adage, "An apple a day keeps the doctor away," might I kindly suggest that next week you switch over to Mike Doughty's Golden Delicious? Yeah. This entry exists pretty much entirely because I'm pretty sure the above is the worst introductory sentence in history. It amused the hell out of me to come up with it, and I thought I should share. Either way, though, do go listen to Golden Delicious. It's great happy-making music for a fine summer day cruising about or just trying to keep awake at work. For those who don't know, which is probably most of the world, M. Doughty was the lyrical force behind Soul Coughing, a '90s band that could be best described as beat poetry set to a killer baseline. Soul Coughing was a collection of fairly brittle artistic personalities, however, and was doomed to last only so long. Then again, that could be said about pretty much any band in the world... Soul Coughing broke up and Doughty tried the solo thing, in the process returning the "ike" to his first name. I'm assuming it was some sort of homage to P. Diddy or something. I haven't heard his very first solo effort, but Haughty Melodic was pretty cool. It was a bit disjointed, as most Mike Doughty stuff is. Ironically enough, too, since it maintained his tendency towards beat poetry, it wasn't particularly melody driven. Golden Delicious starts off with "Fort Hood," "I Just Want the Girl in the Blue Dress to Keep on Dancing," and "Put it Down," giving it the enviable position of beginning with three songs that are catchy as hell. Other than that, there's "27 Jennifers," which has an awesome hook, "I Wrote a Song About Your Car," and "Like a Luminous Girl," to keep the masses entertained. It ends with "Navigating By the Stars at Night," which is a fantastic album ender. The only real problem with Golden Delicious is that it's relatively short. However, you'll keep listening to it over and over again if you're anything like me and probably won't notice...

6 comments:

Fiat Lex said...

:D I've adored Soul Coughing ever since 1998, when I heard Bus to Beelzebub on the store speakers while shopping at the Alley. And when I say shopping, I mean weighing the two bucks in my pocket against my ability to steal from a store that undoubtedly gets more attempted shoplifters than any in Wrigleyville.

Fortunately for me I kicked the shoplifting habit after high school. And continued to listen to Soul Coughing, which deepened my love of both bass and beat poetry. Yet another example of how my most favorite music sounds the least like the songs I write.

I've only heard "Girl in the blue dress" and "27 Jennifers" so far, but it makes me pine for the rest of the album. Doughty still brings his "A" game, even without the inimitable bass stylings of Sebastian Steinberg.

Big A said...

One of the things I enjoy (but that also perplexes me the bost) about Mike Doughty is my difficulty to accurately categorize him.
Without a doubt, MD's music sounds like it should be heard and enjoy live in a coffee shop or jazz club - in fact it has the commendable quality of "feeling live" even when you know full well it's a studio recording on CD. Perhaps it is this quality, the vibrance and naturalism with which he presents his music that makes me struggle to drop him into my "Rock" category, with all the other prescripted-feeling refined muzak.

Still if he doesn't fit in Rock, and he certainly doesn't fit in Country, or Rap, or Comedy Music, or Pop (my definition of Pop mostly contains bands that have never written a song, or picked up an instrument in their lives). I have a very small category in my library I call "Storytellers" containing the old Soul Coughing and the late, great Harry Chapin basically for music assembled with the intent of telling some compelling tale or truth, with the music wrapped around it almost as a secondary consideration. You'd think with Soul Coughing already there, Mike Doughty would be a shoe-in - but it just doesn't fit.

Should I just make a bizarre category unto itself called "Coffeehouse/Jazz Club Beat Rock Live But Not" or be content to let the Doughtmeister remain in my Rock category where at least he's easily accessible.

Somehow, I think if I asked him, he wouldn't give a shit.

Fiat Lex said...

:D Right on, big A.

Sometimes I think most of the best music out there fits into one or another of the insterstices between the categories. Every now and then you get an awesome band that redefines a genre from within, but they are rare. (And I can't think of an example.)

But Soul Coughing isn't storytelling, really. With the lyric influences coming from the beat style, the emphasis is almost always on the sound the words make. Meaning and image, while present take a back seat.

This is inspiring me to want to post about music categorization, myself. I love categorizing things. Truly, I have the soul of an accountant, and not merely the day job of one...

Big A said...

"Truly, I have the soul of an accountant, and not merely the day job of one..."

Hey, it's always good to do what you love :)

Geds said...

Fiat:

Technically speaking, you introduced me to Soul Coughing in the first place. "Circles" got a crapload of radio play on Q101 and whatnot, but I didn't really pay much attention to them until I ended up hearing Ruby Vroom because of you. Although I recall being the first to become aware of M Doughty's solo stuff, as I happened to hear "Busting Up a Starbucks" on the way to school and thought, "Hey, I recognize that voice..."

Believe you me, though, the new one has some good stuff, although "...Blue Dress..." and "27 Jennifers" are kind of my favorites right now.

A:

I just put it all in the Rock Goodness folder. I know Soul Coughing and I think Doughty's solo predated my Doesn't Fit Anywhere Else folder...

The Everlasting Dave said...

Soul Coughing (and Mike Doughty) go in rock. Only a rock band or someplace in Vegas starts off a show by saying "Are you ready for the most intensely erotic 35 minutes of your life?"