Music Selection 11/11/04
Posted on November 11, 2004 Posted by John Scalzi 19 Comments
Another reader suggestion: “Plea From a Cat Named Virtue” from The Weakerthans. Told from the point of view of a cat who is surprisingly positive about the hidden qualities of his slacker owner.
The rest of the album (Reconstruction Site) is also excellent. Their previous record (Left and Leaving) is a little more mopey, but the title track is fantastic.
His owner’s not a slacker, he’s clinically depressed.
It’s a great song, but I like “Our Retired Explorer” more–penguins make everything better.
Kate Nepveu says:
“His owner’s not a slacker, he’s clinically depressed.”
I don’t know if I’d trust a cat to diagnose that.
“Our Retired Explorer (Dines With Michel Foucault In Paris, 1961)” is indeed slightly better. But Reconstruction Site as a whole is merely good; Left And Leaving is one of the best Canadian records (and yes, a little mopey) of the past few decades. Total classic.
Ah, this is the first time I’ve actually listened to them. Are they Canadian? I thought I’d already been exposed to all the good Canadians (and quite a few of the bad ones) while I was in Canada.
Thanks for the recommendation….it’s already been passed onto at least two friends whose taste runs right along these lines.
I must hear the penguin song. Penguins do make everything better.
I had the opposite reaction from Ian — Reconstruction Site is a great album, and I think it’s somewhat better than Left And Leaving. Depends on what you like I guess. Reconstruction Site is more produced, which may or may not be your thing.
But all three of their discs are just fantastic. I’m planning to make the 2-hr drive to Louisville on Saturday to see them live. Not my usual deal — I don’t go to that many shows here, let alone out of town — but these guys have been my soundtrack for the summer and fall, and I can’t bear to miss them.
The cat’s name is actually “Virtute.” And I believe the owner is female. Still, the cat is remarkably insightful.
And yes, “Our Retired Explorer” is my favorite off the album, as well.
You’re right about the cat name–I am surprised, thank you. I see nothing necessarily gender-specific in the lyrics, and was using “he” just in response to our host, though.
Well, it’s certainly not definitively gender-specific. I just always felt that the party the cat plans has a feminine feel to it. It may also have to do with the fact that my female friends seem to “get” this song a whole lot better (and more enthusiastically) than my male friends.
I assume the cat is male, being a guy is singing and all. But that’s just my biases.
Also, I didn’t get the impression that the owner was clinically depressed, but rather going through a more normal post-breakup depression. But that could again just be because that’s what I’m more familiar with myself.
As for the gender of the cat, it damn well better have been neutered, or we’ll have to sic the Humane Society on the owner.
Their album “Fallow” is also fabulous. Check out the song “Greatest Hits Collection,” for example.
Why is it Americans can buy their stuff off of iTunes but Canadians can’t?
(Just a bitter rhetorical question, I know the anwer)
“Fallow” mostly left me cold (except for “Diagnosis” and “Wellington’s Wednesdays”, both grat songs). But they’re _great_ live – Dave, you’re in for a treat.
I think Fallow is good, but maybe a bit more uneven than the later two discs. Sounds like they were still trying to find their voice.
Two bands are opening for them on Saturday — The High Strung and Despistado. Don’t know much about either, but the stuff I’ve dl’d online sounds pretty good. Anyone know them?
Oh, and for those who want to hear “Our Retired Explorer” (aka the penguin song) it’s also online, as a music video and a live version. You can find it at http://www.theweakerthans.org/media_load.html along with several other tracks.
Whoops! I accidentally deleted a comment here, along with some comment spam. My apologies to the poster.
Your evil censorship shall not keep me down Scalzi!
To repeat: One Great City! is a disturbingly accurate take on Winnipeg. If you live there (and don’t wear any Jets clothing), you can’t help but agree.
Here’s a quote from John Sampson on the CBC site, about One Great City: “The song is about how difficult it can be to live in Winnipeg, and how you love it, but sometimes you hate it.” I think a lot of people take it as a slam on the city, but it’s more complex than that.
BTW, the show was fantastic. I’m going to have to look into The High Strung some more, too. Not the most complex songs, but man! they had energy.
i think that u should all wok on a speach and think of a song to put on a song for people to listen to while they ae reading the stuff u peole typed so that is my oppion