“Because it’s Leonard Cohen (mostly forgotten about at the time) laying out a pretty much perfect summation of late 1980s resignation (and resilience). Because everybody with a half a brain (or perhaps soul) over the age of twenty-one had to know that the dice were loaded, the fights were fixed, the good guys had lost the war, the rich were richer, the poor were getting eaten. Didn’t they? And yet, well, here’s where I drop one of my all time fave quotes (also from Mr. Cohen) as to the nature of life, reality, everything. ‘We do live in several worlds. We live in a world that’s mundane, a world that’s apocalyptic, a world of order and a world that knows no order. We’re continually juggling these worlds, entering and leaving them. I’ve always had the sense that this apocalyptic reality is with us. It’s not something that’s coming.’ Everybody knows this, right?” (Philip Random)
The Final Countdown* is Randophonic’s longest and, if we’re doing it right, most relevant countdown yet – the end of result of a rather convoluted process that’s still evolving such is the existential nature of the project question: the 1297 Greatest Records of All Time right now right here. Whatever that means. What it means is dozens of radio programs if all goes to plan, and when has that ever happened?
Installment #22 went like this.
877. Brian Eno + David Byrne – help me somebody
876. Nico – I’m not saying
875. Wilco – heavy metal drummer
874. Severed Heads – advertisement + power circles
873. Sunroof – Hero
872. Monkees – porpoise song
871. Add N To X – plug me in
870. Brian Eno – The Lion Sleeps Tonight
869. Miriam Makeba – Mbube (The Lion Sleeps)
868. Osamu Kitajima – benzaiten [reprise]
867. Assembly – never never
866. Sonic Youth – Providence
865. Flying Burrito Brothers – sing me back home
864. Julie London – yummy yummy yummy
863. Madonna – justify my love [the beast within]
862. Bim Sherman & Dub Syndicate – Can I be free from crying?
861. Johnny Cash – don’t think twice, it’s alright
860. Lindstrom & Prins Thomas – Horseback
859. Arto Lindsay – light moves away
858. Leonard Cohen – there is a war
Tracks available on this Youtube playlist (not exactly accurate).
“I was just a little kid in 1969 when Nina Simone‘s take on Suzanne arrived, but even ten years later, I wasn’t near cool enough to get it. Hell, I barely got Leonard Cohen. No, the awe inspiring talents of Ms. Simone would take another decade and a half to penetrate my white, suburban thickness. The mid-90s by now. Grunge had gone horribly wrong. We were slipping into pseudo-sophistication, sipping cocktails, realizing our parents had been right all along. Amy’s parents anyway, who had this album tucked way away in the dusty far reaches of their collection … just waiting for us, some enchanted evening.” (Philip Random)
In which Leonard Cohen weighs in on the stuff of love and confusion and the avalanches that sometimes cover one’s soul. We’ve all known them. In Philip Random’s case, there was some LSD-25 involved and yes, it eventually occurred to him that he hadn’t completely annihilated his ego, and that it wasn’t God Himself singing to him from the far side of the room with a face as big as a fireplace, it was in fact a fireplace and a scratchy side of Leonard Cohen vinyl that someone had thoughtfully put on. And it was good.
One of those Leonard Cohen songs you just never seem to hear. Possibly because it’s too long, though more likely because it’s thus far eluded the grasp of half-baked MOR interpreters. “Some people seem to hate this song. Probably because it is so long and relentless in its truth, as simple as a man with his hand out on the winter street, bitterly cold, barely hanging on, and all he asks is that you not ignore him, that you not just pass him by one more time.” (Philip Random)