5 Songs is a weekly series where we point out the strange, the grand, and the unique connections between our favorite songs. Let’s get weird.
Words by Chris
The king of the garage bands. It’s almost like they’re too drunk to realize they might be the greatest songwriters of the last 25 years. Oh, wait.
“A Salty Salute” / Alien Lanes
If Guided by Voices was a club where all the sour-hearted working class romantics could go when they feel fucked-up, this is the undeniable theme song. “Proud brothers, do not fret. The bus will get you there yet to carry us to the lake. The club is open.” God, I wish it was true.
“Motor Away” / Alien Lanes
This song is every moment of blind strength you’ve ever had, with the perfect mixture of jilted love and courage in the face of fear or naysayers. It’s about making the tough decision for the kid, whatever that might be. The song is not afraid to urge you to make that choice: “You can belittle every little voice that told you so, and then the time will come when you add up the numbers. And then the time will come when you motor away. So why don’t you just drive away?” I can assure you that this is good advice.
“The Official Ironman Rally Song” / Under the Bushes Under the Stars
“To dine alone. To build a private zone, or trigger a synapse and free us from our traps.” Phew. If you’re from a working class town, you are this song. The rest of you can piss off.
“The Finest Joke Is Upon Us” / Mag Earwhig!
This methodical little number is a little vague, but like all great GBV songs, the power comes from the idea of coming-to-grips with mortality or the hardship of simply being born into hardship, “Paradise is open but I choke. One of these days, when I see through the smoke, that’ll be the day I get the joke.”
“I Am a Scientist” / Bee Thousand
I’d be a crook not to include this song, which somehow includes every conceivable situation in life. If I could explain what this song means, then I would not be writing anymore, I would just go off and raise cattle or some shit. “Everything is right. Everything works out right. Everything fades from sight. Because that’s all right with me.” Amen.
What GBV songs have changed your life? Aw shucks, just tell us us some of your favorite GBV songs and what they mean to you and that’ll be close enough.