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Pickled Priest Mixtape: Our Favorite Songs of 1982

You would not believe the list of songs left off of our 1982 mixtape. It's unfathomable. We agonized about our selections for some time, but we believe we have stayed loyal to the task: picking not what should be here from a credibility standpoint, but sticking with what our gut tells us belongs. To the 150 songs I cut, my apologies. Depending on the day, one of you might sneak onto this mix. You'll have to keep in mind that 1982 combines music from my youth and my music discoveries ever since. Hence, a bit of a hodgepodge, but a glorious one at that. If you want to try this yourself, the Pickled Priest Home Game is now available for purchase in our merch department for a special price of $ only.



26 "Suburban Home" | The Descendents

The 1982 mix could be all punk, post-punk, or punk-adjacent bands and I wouldn't complain. I've left off bands like The Birthday Party, Bad Brains, The Clash, Effigies, Hüsker Dü, Misfits, Mission of Burma, UK Subs, Meat Puppets, The Fall, and even the Angry Samoans because there just wasn't enough room. Interestingly, the Descendents' "Suburban Home" made my initial song list and then survived cut after cut including the final one. I think the reason is clear: I personally fell into the suburban home black hole railed about in the song and I've been uncomfortable with that decision ever since to varying degrees.

I wanna be stereotyped

I wanna be classified

I wanna be a clone

I want a suburban home

So, the song clearly includes me in its crosshairs. I remember being wary about making the move out of the city, but I let it happen nonetheless. I had my reasons which I will not bore you with. In fact, I rationalized it pretty quickly because I soon realized that getting a real job or buying a home in the suburbs doesn't mean you have to give in to everything associated with that cookie-cutter lifestyle. Where you live doesn't mean you are required to adopt the entire stereotype; you can do so without feeling classified, without being a clone. And I've read that the original subtext of the song was just that. In a way, they really wanted that suburban home for themselves. In the Descendents documentary, Filmage, we find none other than Milo Auckerman, the band's brainy vocalist/molecular biologist (hence the album title, Milo Goes to College), being interviewed—where else?—in his suburban home. Which only proves that your state of mind and an open mind are truly what dictates who you are, not where you live, what you drive, or where you work. I'm counting on that.

25 "She's Tight" | Cheap Trick

I hear this song as the final leg of a "horny boy trilogy" that started in 1979 with "Good Girls Don't" by the Knack and continued in 1981 with "867-5309 (Jenny)" by Tommy Tutone. In the former, a teen boy fantasizes about a girl who's home alone and presumably waiting for sex, and in the latter, a fantasy girl is conjured based on a phone number written on a bathroom wall. "She's Tight" basically combines elements of each song. This time, the girl's phone number is on the wall and she's ready, willing, and, of course, home alone. It's a vivid fantasy, with lyrics only a delusional teenage boy could write. Or, in this case, a 34-year-old Rick Nielson. Yes, it's a tad crass and a bit creepy, but it's a killer rock song with great riffs and a great Robin Zander vocal. Rock & roll is a euphemism for sex anyway, so get your shorts out of a bunch and get with the reality that boys think about sex constantly...and this just in, so do the girls.

24 "Picking Up After You" | Tom Waits & Crystal Gayle

Sneaking under the radar just before Tom Waits made the change from nightclub crooner to howling junkyard dog (Swordfishtrombones only a year away) is the underrated soundtrack to Francis Ford Coppola's One From the Heart, a rom-com nobody really expected or wanted from the same guy who gave us both Godfather movies, The Conversation, and Apocalypse Now in succession. I suppose he just needed something a little lighter to cleanse his palette. Waits was tapped to write songs for the movie and with Bette Midler not available for the female parts, Tom chose, oddly, Crystal Gayle to be his vocal foil. I imagine any number of singers could've worked, but Gayle's pure, clean vocals proved to be the antipode to Waits's gruff bohemian growl. Most would probably choose the title-track duet to represent, but I fell for "Picking Up After You," because it features an amusing push-and-pull between Waits and Gayle with some nasty put-downs thrown in to accentuate their festering relationship issues. I imagine nothing in Gayle's country music past prepared her for Waits hurling this line at her, "Looks like you spent the night in a trench / And tell me, how long have you been combin' your hair with a wrench?" Only Tom Waits could pull off such a line dripping with equal parts humor and venom. Gayle gets him back, of course, and both eventually agree that they're done "picking up" after each other. Waits gets the last laugh, likely because he wrote the song, by turning the song's title upside down in the final verse:

Take all your relatives and all of your shoes

Believe me, I'll really swing when you're gone

I'll be living on chicken and wine after we're through

With someone I pick up after you

23 "Cleaning Windows" | Van Morrison

At one point, even the most famous musicians were normal people with normal jobs. Even Van Morrison, who worked on a window washing crew at the very same time he was falling in love with American blues musicians and beat poets. He was not alone. The Rolling Stones, the Beatles, and countless others across the pond did exactly the same thing. "Cleaning Windows" isn't a rags-to-riches story; it celebrates the rags and the rags alone. And, to hear Van tell it, it was a magical, transformative time for him. The mindless ritual of cleaning window after window, identified only as numbers on a grid (even called out during the song), allowed his senses time to take in the smells from a nearby bakery, listen to the blues on his lunch break, or digest Kerouac's On the Road in his off time. This is a portrait of an artist as a young man. You can feel the joy he experienced at a much simpler time in his life and that comes through in the jubilant tone of the song. It reminds me of my life in general, doing hard work well but also making time for creative and intellectual pursuits along the way. I've always believed I am not my job and this song reinforces and celebrates that notion.

22 "Everywhere That I'm Not" | Translator

File under: Bands that deserved better. San Francisco band Translator, and their cult favorite, "Everywhere That I'm Not," is one of those lost killer singles the 80s were littered with, a never-ending stash of "shoulda been" hits that just needed the right push to get over the hump. This is one of those songs that takes you aback whenever it comes on a random mix mainly because it deserves to stand on similar footing with other ubiquitous 80's staples. I absolutely love the nightclub swing at the beginning which soon gives way to an edgy little pop song about estranged lovers. The chorus is sheer delight as it builds out the word "impossible" slowly over several lines...

'Cause that's impossible, that's im...

That's impossible, that's im...poss...

That's impossible, that's im...poss...i...ble.

I don't know quite how it works so well, but it makes me giddy every time I sing along with it.

21 "Caught Up in You" | .38 Special

Lyrics aren't the main discussion thread in the typical .38 Special chat room, but I do like the way "Caught Up in You" starts at a major turning point in a much longer relationship story and then backfills some pertinent details as it progresses. From moment one, Dan Barnes is in the unfamiliar position of having to plead on bended knees to keep his girl, who he has recently upgraded to "true love" status. You get the impression she's heard this before, so Plan B is implemented: vulnerability. He cops to his past as a wild-eyed southern boy, but now claims to be a changed man, and it's all thanks to her. She's warms slightly. After all, every relationship fails until one doesn’t—this might be the one to hang onto for dear life. Which flies in the face of the advice given one year earlier on the band's first radio smash, "Hold On Loosely," but why quibble as long as the songs sound this great. In fact, the concept here even resembles the plot of the band's other big hit, "Fantasy Girl," if you want to get deep into the weeds, which I don't. I’d like to say the drama in this song is what makes me love it so, but that would be a lie. It's a pretty basic 80's love song at its core, but its ripping guitars and giant hooks were the perfect antidote for some of the cheeseball pop for which the era is known.

20 "Don't Let Him Steal Your Heart Away" | Phil Collins

Warning: Listening to this song during or after a breakup, especially one where you are dumped for another person, can be soul crushing. My first "love" ended in such a way and this song was nearly impossible to stomach for a long time afterwards, but it eventually became a therapeutic device, with Phil's tender voice a commiserating lonely heart wide awake in the darkness just like me. Even now, it brings back that feeling of being rejected, replaced by someone else. Gulp. Sigh. Sniffle. Wheeze. So why do I do it to myself? Because I'm over it now, that's why. And because I am a closeted, now fully out, Phil Collins fan, and his 1992 album, Hello, I Must Be Going! is the main reason why. The record is loaded with songs that tear me apart in one way or another. Even the upbeat "You Can't Hurry Love" (which I rank blasphemously higher than the original) helped me recover. It gave me hope for the future. But "Don't Let Him Steal Your Heart Away" will always be the one that slays me, reducing me to a puddle every time.

19 "More Than This" | Roxy Music

When Roxy came out to play, presumably one last time, for their 50th Anniversary Tour in 2022, it was also the 40th anniversary of 1982's Avalon, so the concert had an intentional slant toward the songs on that record, although there was also the fact that the romantic, less arty material on that album was perfect for an aging band to execute, particularly suited to the crooning vocal stylings of Bryan Ferry. Aging or not, on the night I saw them, the Avalon material sounded positively glorious. The instantly transporting "More Than This," its intro a mood altering potion all by itself, became especially poignant on that night, as Ferry informed us that "More than this, there is nothing". You could sense in that moment how many different meanings that one lyric has had for its listeners over the years. I've always had a more drastic take on it—once this life is over, that's it—but for that one night, it seemed like he was singing about his band. And strangely, that made me even more melancholy than my own interpretation.

18 "Precious" | The Jam

Not buying the Jam-meets-Stax reference that is so common, but there's undoubtedly a more soulful influence on The Gift, Northern Soul if you must, which makes it a personal favorite of mine from the band even if it's generally not as beloved as some other albums from the Paul Weller-led outfit. That said, the itchy-chicken wah-wah guitar that's so prominent throughout "Precious" is hard for me to resist because it leans more psychedelic Motown, a la later-period Temptations ("Psychedelic Shack") even more than it does to Shaft-era Isaac Hayes. No worries, though, because whenever it pops up I'm always game for some Mod-styled funk, a hybrid I'd definitely drive off the lot after one test drive. Kudos to their label for not making this the B-side to the band's other 1982 classic, "A Town Called Malice," instead opting for the double-A-side route.

17 "Shabby Doll" | Elvis Costello

My affection for this song is twofold. One, I love a song that starts in black & white and then switches into living color at some point (about a minute into the song, in this case). The insistent piano and the repetition of the title in each verse (which I find fun to sing) keeps the song locked into a circulating rhythmic loop that's downright insidious. Two, even more importantly, this reminds me of my older sister, who was responsible for turning me on to Elvis Costello in the first place. I remember playing Monopoly in her room listening to Elvis's early records, in awe of his dexterity with words and phrases (i.e. "There's a girl in this dress, there's always a girl in distress"). Even then, I remember returning to "Shabby Doll" most often as I completed my independent-study of his lyrics. There are other songs on Imperial Bedroom with a higher stature in his catalog, but this one has a special place in my musical development. Partly elemental, partly sentimental, as I play it again 42-years later, it still captivates just as it did then.

16 "My Heart Hurts" | Nick Lowe

In 1980, Nick Lowe and Dave Edmunds teamed up with some ace musicians to form the supergroup Rockpile for the band's one-off (unfortunately), Seconds of Pleasure, a gem of a record that captured the spirit of early rock and roll and injected just the right amount of DNA from each performer's personal style to create something fresh and charming. Cue cult classic status. Personality conflicts split that band up prematurely, sending Edmunds and Lowe back to their already successful solo careers. Lowe was fresh off two phenomenal power-pop albums, 1978's Jesus Of Cool (aka Pure Pop For Now People) and 1979's Labour of Lust, but when he returned in 1982 with Nick the Knife, it was a bit of a disappointment. Thankfully, every Nick Lowe record will give you some killer tunes and this one is no different. There are actually two "heart" songs on the record. The first, a reggae-lite version of Rockpile's "Heart" (sung by Billy Bremner on that album) which doesn't quite capture the innocence of the original in its new setting, but is still unique enough to stand out. The song from Nick the Knife that does capture just the right combination of that Rockpile sound and the Nick Lowe power-pop magic is the sleeper "My Heart Hurts" (co-written by then-wife Carlene Carter), so much so it wouldn't have sounded out of place on Seconds of Pleasure. Maybe, had there been a follow-up, it would have.

15 "Goodbye to You" | Scandal

Scandal's self-titled 1982 EP is the stuff of legend. A new group, led by singer and future Mrs. Richard Hell and Mrs. John McEnroe (she had a type) Patty Smyth, puts out five songs, two of which become enduring New Wave classics, "Love's Got a Line on You" and "Goodbye to You." How's that for a batting average? The life and times of Patty Smyth would be a good read for sure, but we're not here for trivia and gossip, we're here for our favorite Scandal single ever, "Goodbye to You," which features Smyth's rough and sexy vocal, a stronger and more smoothed-out Bonnie Tyler if you will, that just rips up the song, creating a college dancefloor dynamo in the process. I remember vividly how any bar would light up instantly when this song pumped from the speakers.

14 "The Hungry Wolf" | X

The four albums X released in the early 80s stand up next to any similar run by any band from the era, with 1982's Under the Big Black Sun another loaded roots-punk classic. The year might've been dominated by Duran Duran's ubiquitous single "Hungry Like the Wolf," but for my money, I'll take X's "The Hungry Wolf" any day. It's one of the best opening songs on any record I own, period, with an immediate chugging beat that rips off the line like it's been idling with the wheels spinning. It has everything that made X great—a heavy bassline from John Doe, pounding drums from D.J. Bonebrake (including a thumping mid-song solo), ripping guitar runs from a split-legged Billy Zoom, and the signature tandem vocal interplay from Exene and John. Hungry? More like famished.


13 "Then She Remembers" | The Dream Syndicate

Without a doubt the most intense song on my 1982 mixtape, “Then She Remembers” is a tale of abuse with details so threadbare all you can discern is that something horrible happened that still reverberates through the victim’s life years later. How could it not? So how or why can this be a “favorite” song then? What kind of listener returns to such a song repeatedly? It's mainly because the unburdening of pent-up rage is therapeutic, even if it's on behalf of someone else. The song has a slow build and then erupts, relying on one single repeated lyric and some barbed-wire guitar licks with an increasing level of intensity until it exhaustedly walks away from itself, presumably drained of any remaining energy. The repetition of "Then she remembers what she said," in a slightly different way each time, captures that moment where you are so overwhelmed you get stuck perseverating on a single solitary thought for an unnatural amount of time. It’s also cathartic. The fact that we don’t know what she remembers or what she said is beside the point, it’s what’s implied that really matters.

12 "Slit Skirts" | Pete Townshend

I loved this song long before I came close to fully understanding or identifying with it. It just sounded profound and was eminently quotable (No one respects the flame quite like the fool who's badly burned / From all this you'd imagine that there must be something learned et al). This was long before marriage, children, career, the suburbs, a well-edged lawn, etc. I’ve been fascinated by Townshend’s lyric writing for years, not just here, and I’ve always chalked up the complexity of his words and ideas to intellect and ambition rather than pretentiousness (as some have claimed). At least he had the courtesy to ante up a killer hook in the chorus to make the horse pills go down a little easier. All this said, I love this song now even more, especially since I’ve lived through it to a degree, either personally or vicariously. I can relate to his words and I can tell you, it gets even rougher from this point forward, I may add, but don’t tell the 34-year-old who authored the songs on All the Best Cowboys Have Chinese Eyes that. He’s already at a crossroads in “Slit Skirts,” at once realizing his youth is behind him and his future is deteriorating before his very eyes. For a songwriter known for a line like “Hope I die before I get old,” that’s a lot to wrap one’s mind around. What has endured the most for me is how Townshend conveys a sense of melancholy throughout the song (and album, for that matter). You can feel his resignation permeating through every moment, even during its catchy chorus. It’s like he's trying to work through something even if he has to force it a little bit. If you’re going to get old, it’s best to confront it honestly, I suppose.

11 "Shoot Out the Lights" b/w "Walking On a Wire" | Richard & Linda Thompson

Richard and Linda Thompson went from I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight (1974) to Shoot Out the Lights (1982) in a little under a decade. So what went wrong? Not an easy answer. All we know is that things suddenly went dark for the couple. Richard's guitar playing throughout the album only confirms that suspicion. If you'll pardon the rock critic cliché, the guitar on "Shoot Out the Lights" is incendiary and menacing, with strangled heavy licks reflecting the desperation in the lyrics, which were reportedly about a soldier on a dangerous night mission. The opening lick sounds like two-thirds of Link Wray's "Rumble" and later twists and strains like a train struggling to stay on the rails. It's well documented that Richard and Linda Thompson’s final album is basically a live look-in at a deteriorating marriage (isn’t Side B of this mix a total hoot so far?), “Shoot Out the Lights” is a bit of an outlier. For one, it’s a Richard track, not a combo platter. No Linda to be found. Which is why I’ve offered you an alternate sidecar track that showcases the stark natural beauty of her voice, particularly on the haunting and heartbreaking ballad, “Walking On a Wire.” It would be unfair not to give her her props, so exception granted. Linda’s track is more indicative of the relationship theme of the record, so it’s fair to include it on those grounds as well. But, for my money, there are but a few dozen songs with better guitar* than “Shoot Out the Lights,” so it gets top billing here.


*If you need more convincing of Richard’s guitar prowess, check out Rhino’s expanded version of the album which includes a live version of “Shoot Out the Lights” that will blow your mind.

10 "Subdivisions" | Rush

I’d be lying if I told you that the synth-heavy Signals was the album I wanted from Rush right on the heels of their instant classic, Moving Pictures, from 1981. In retrospect, it was a ballsy yet brilliant countermove to keep those fans wanting more of that same magic a little off-balance. It took some adjustment, but I quickly warmed to the record’s first single, “New World Man,” and was then completely won over by “Subdivisions,” the opening track on the record. I wasn’t thrilled at the lack of Alex guitar heroics throughout the album, but there was no denying the immediate impact of the song, which did not paint suburban living as the idealistic fantasy some hoped it would be. (I didn’t intend it this way, but our 1982 mixtape is not kind to the suburbs in general, what with “Slit Skirts” and “Suburban Home” each painting a less than desirable portrait of the white-picket-fence lifestyle.) The tour for Signals only reinforced my love of the song, which worked because it sounded like nothing else in the band’s catalog at the time. Now I rank it with my all-time Rush favorites. And, as a sign of its influence, I often mimic Neil’s deep monotone voice when I cut anything into smaller pieces—pizza, cake, cheese—by adding a quick “subdivisions,” under my breath as I work. Nobody else in my house knows what I’m saying, but I do. That’s all that matters.

09 "To Hell With Poverty" | Gang of Four

Gang of Four would sound ahead of their time in 2024 so imagine what they sounded like in 1982. I wouldn't have been ready for it when it initially came out, being a young, misguided teen and all, but since then, few bands have captured the essence of what I look for in a new band like these guys. I love noise, clanging guitars, post-punk experimentalism, avant-garde minimalism, obscure lyrics, clipped vocals, pounding drums, and anything else that doesn't sound like anything before of after it. "To Hell With Poverty" is one of the band's greatest moments, a downright funky track featuring the killer rhythm section of Dave Allen and Hugo Burnham holding down the track, with shards of strings flying off of Andy Gill's (RIP) guitar, and impassioned vocals from Jon King, plus one of the greatest lyrical moments in the band's catalog, "To hell with poverty / We'll get drunk on cheap wine!"

08 "Carnival of Sorts (Boxcars)" | R.E.M.

One of the greatest EPs ever, it's impossible to go wrong picking a song from Chronic Town. I changed my choice a couple times, moving from "Gardening at Night" to "Wolves, Lower" and finally settling on "Carnival of Sorts (Boxcars)" mainly because I love the unexpected drive behind it, Michael's mumbled, occasionally discernible vocals, and the background vox, which later became a band trademark. Basically, it captures everything that made R.E.M. special all at once. One year later came Murmur, the first R.E.M. album I ever heard ("Catapult" the first song courtesy a friend with good taste), but when I heard this first blast after the fact, it only confirmed I had found a new favorite band.

07 "The Bulrushes" | The Bongos

R.E.M. included, there's not a "college rock" band from 1982 that sounded so instrumentally distinctive and lyrically inaccessible as Hoboken, NJ, band, the Bongos. The band's early EP and singles were released by a British label (Fetish), and were first released in the U.S. on Drums Along the Hudson, a record I rank with my all-time favorites from any year. Hence, song selection proves difficult. I default to the first single I fell in love with, "The Bulrushes," which percolates like a Feelies track, but aims for the dancefloor at the same time. It's just magnificent.

06 "Save It For Later" | The Beat (aka The English Beat)

One of those perfect pop singles you love from the first time you hear it up to the last time you hear it and, while I'm at it, every time in between. So many singles have come and gone for me, but there are a few that have been a staple of my life over the years and this is one of them.

05 "Heat of the Moment" | Asia

And now you find yourself in '82

The disco hot spots hold no charm for you

No lyrics with the album and no way to look them up, I decided back in '82 that the captioned lyrics were actually, "And now you find yourself an empty tomb / The disco hoopla on the chomp for you." I realize that's nonsensical, but it's the best I could do at the time. A year or so before Asia's debut became a giant worldwide smash, I was seriously getting into Emerson, Lake, and Palmer and other prog-leaning bands, so I was primed for a new band featuring my favorite drummer at the time, Carl Palmer. Yup, he was my OD, original drummer, before I moved on to Neil Peart. I remember going to the record store the day it came out and bought a copy blind, without ever hearing a song (I know the store, where I found the album, and even remember bringing it to the counter to purchase like it was yesterday). Even cooler was the super dope Roger Dean album cover, one of the coolest I'd ever seen to that point. Track one was the powerful "Heat of the Moment" and it blew me away. I fell in love with the song and the rest of the album immediately. I know every track like the back of my hand. Songs this high in the rankings never get skipped, not once, not ever. I won't allow it. Many years later, about thirty-five to be exact, I put this on in a mini-van full of adults and the sunroof almost blew off the top when the monster opening riff burst from the car's overwhelmed speakers. Everybody belted it out at the top of their lungs. It was a magical moment that reaffirmed my love of the song and made me so happy that I wasn't the only one who felt that way.

04 "Mary Anne" | Marshall Crenshaw

The 80's answer to Buddy Holly, with pure vocals and simple, innocent pop songs to match, there are few greater front-to-back delights on this planet than the debut album from Marshall Crenshaw. It remains a record one needs to play in its entirety. You can't listen to just one song—like a bag of audio potato chips. A sucker for a girl song, "Mary Anne" has been my pull-out song when mandated, but this record is among the most beloved in my collection. It makes me feel young and energetic again when I listen to it. To this day, seeing him in 1983 on the Field Day tour is one of the highlights of my life, a finalist for my favorite concerts of all-time list.

03 "Roll Me Away" | Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band

If there’s a more stirring song about finding your true self, I’d like to hear it. “Roll Me Away” is the motorcycle version of Bruce Springsteen’s “Born to Run” (it even features Springsteen’s piano player, Roy Bittan). It makes you want to set out on your own adventure, no matter the consequences, to see what’s out there waiting for you. When Bob Seger released The Distance, I was a little worried because side-one didn’t have any instant Seger classics on it in my opinion. “Even Now” was just average, “Boomtown Blues” a fairly decent rocker, and “Shame on the Moon” was a little mellow for my tastes at the time. Only “Makin’ Thunderbirds” had the potency to thrill in concert, although even it didn’t have that “Midwestern boy on his own” quality that defines many of Bob’s most enduring hits. Thankfully, “Roll Me Away,” tucked on side-two, was exactly the epic song I was waiting for and it elevated every other song on the record by its presence. It had the grand ambition of a “Night Moves,” the weary-traveler feel of “Turn the Page,” the sage life lessons of “Against the Wind,” the fleeting romance of “Hollywood Nights.” A little bit of everything that made Seger great, in other words. You almost felt as if you were on the journey with him, so believable was the storyline, so vivid were the details. Everything made sense, from his need to get away and find himself to the girl who momentarily feels she should do the same, only to waver in her conviction as her home disappeared into the rear view mirror. In the end, Bob doesn’t find exactly what he’s looking for, but he vows to ride on until he finds it, more convinced than ever that next time he’ll get it right.

02 "Athena" | The Who

Let’s get this out of the way right now. The name Pickled Priest comes from the following couplet from the Pete Townshend-written “Athena” from The Who's universally and correctly panned It's Hard record from 1982. The lyrics follow:

 There was a beautiful white horse I saw on a dream stage

He had a snake the size of a sewer pipe living in his rib cage

I felt like a pickled priest who was being flambéed


No, "Athena" isn't listed by many as one of the top Who songs of all time, but it also isn't unknown. Many, this writer included (who loves it like the baby girl he never had), have an unhealthy affection for the song—others just haven't come around yet. No joke, it's the Who song I've listened to the most in the last twenty-five years and I'm a lifelong Who fanatic. Why does it work, exactly? The secret weapon of "Athena" is that is doesn't sound like any other Who song—even for a group known for its instantly identifiable early singles from the 60s and a pile of epic rock classics from the 70s. "Athena" is an ebbing and flowing pop song with daft lyrics that require a little dexterity of tongue to sing. Take the couplet referenced above. Just try not to delight in the pitter-patter cadence of that classic Townshend burst of nonsense. Once you master it, it gets even more fun to trot it out in public. (To quote Harvard President Lawrence Summers in The Social Network: "And you memorized that instead of doing what?") Remember the self-satisfaction you got when you nailed "Walk This Way" for the first time? You felt like you accomplished something. Same here. Our girl "Athena" is simply fun to goof off with. And I make no apology for that whatsoever.

01 "Atlantic City" | Bruce Springsteen

As I've documented on this blog, I first came to Bruce Springsteen when The River came out in 1980 and I never looked back. From that point forward, he was my main man. But I have to admit that when Nebraska came out it took me a while to get it. It was a major adjustment for a young, brand-new fan who was fresh off a record full of rocking singles and epic ballads. I had since schooled myself on everything from Greetings through to Darkness, but what the fuck was he doing now? Why no epic songs? Why so raw? So poorly recorded? Why did different songs have the same lyrics in them? Why is one song about a state trooper and another about a highway patrolman? Aren't they the same thing? Why is he poking a dead dog with a stick? Over time, of course, everything came into a hazy focus, just like the photo on the cover. Soon, the album revealed itself to me as a masterpiece of a different variety. I spent countless hours with it, entranced by the stark tales within. "Atlantic City" may be the most "accessible" song on the album, and a crowd favorite at that, but that seems almost an insult considering the nature of the record, which requires total immersion to fully appreciate. It does have, without a doubt, some of the most powerful lyrics of Springsteen's career. Lyrics that are hard to shake because they strike a nerve.

Everything dies, baby, that's a fact

But maybe everything that dies some day comes back


I'm pleased that painful process is over even though I got a lot out of it personally. Got roll away to another year TBD. See you then.


The Priest


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