10 "BART Moment" songs

23 Jan

NPR uses the phrase “driveway moment” for radio pieces that are so good that you stay in your car even after you’re home so you don’t miss anything. I don’t own a car, but I’ve had moments like this with City Car Share, sitting in a Scion on the roof of the Hoff Street Garage, waiting for Terry Gross to finish an interview.

I spend much more time on BART or my bike than drving a car. Mostly I read, but sometimes I take my iPod. I try to use the time between 16th Street and North Berkeley or Ashby or Rockridge to experience music I just downloaded (Neco Case) or don’t often listen to (Jason Moran). However, time and time again I find steering away from the new and going back to the nuggets, the songs that I just can’t get out of my head – the extent to which I’ll leave my headphones on as I leave the train and walk (or dance) around the station and up the stairs. If it’s a really long song (Possum) I might even eschew a bike helmet in favor of my headphones, putting my life in grave danger for the sake of music.

These songs aren’t always brilliant, but god damn are they catchy.

Ten “BART Moment” songs

White Punks On Dope by Leland Stanford Junior Marching Band
The title of this album is “Starting Sallary $22,275” which will give you an idea of the year it was recorded (’79) I can’t remember where I bought this album, but it couldn’t have cost more than a dollar. I had always heard the phrase “White Punks on Dope,” but never the song. The thought of hundreds of 70’s Stanford students shouting the chorus cracks me up each time.

[Play]Pump It by The Black Eyed Peas
I hated the Black Eyed Peas before I even heard a single song one of their songs. They seemed like more of a marketing concept than a hip hop group. Then I heard them play at Genentech’s 30th anniversary party. They threw down. At a corporate party nonetheless. “Pump it” is infectious.

trippertrouble by dj BC
Ah, mashups. Most are good in concept, but fall flat when trying to overdo it. This is especially true when mashing entire albums (Beatles’ White Album + Jay Z’s Black Album = Danger Mouse’s Grey Album). Not every tune can be good. This is true of dj BC’s The Beastles. Not every song hits it. Trippertrouble, however, smacks it completely out of the park … and into another.

Without Me by Eminem
The kid sure can rap.

Give It to Me Baby by Rick James
I don’t care what you say about Ani Difranco, Superbowl losses or chicken wings – Rick James is, by far, Buffalo New York’s greatest export. This live version of “Give it to Me Baby” proves it. Mix together Rick James at his prime, a few concert cliches (“somebody scream”) at least a kilo of blow, and you have one of the greatest funk performances ever.
The Littlest Birds by The Be Good Tanyas
Everybody loves insider knowledge. I felt that when my good friend Shauna played this track for me in her Cambridge apartment a couple years back. Shauna has great taste and we’ve traded music and mixes for at least a decade. Then I heard on the closing credits of Weeds. I just hope it isn’t used in a car commercial. Ever.
Possum [Play]by Phish
My friend Hal and I were driving a back from the Devil’s Bathtub in the Sierras when this song came on. Like Dark Side of Oz, everything matched perfectly, but we weren’t stoned. Every uphill matched a rise in the song, every turn was accompanied by guitar riff, for 10 full minutes. This is the song I now play when I ski black diamonds, waiting at the top of the run for the song to really get rolling.

Ne’er Do Well by Young People
Each June The Believer Magazine reaffirms it’s own hipness by putting out a music issue that includes a CD filled with precious little songs by precious little bands. 2004 was a particularly good year. I can’t describe how Katie Eastburn sings, you’ll have to hear for yourself. Don’t worry, the song is only a minute and 45 seconds long.

We Will Become Silhouettes [Play]by The Shins
This was another song from the Believer CD. It’s actually a cover of Postal Service tune. Who are The Postal Service? If you know, its likely that take your coffee at Ritual Roasters, and your bike only has one gear.
Ten Commandments by Prince Buster
Thou shall not shout my name in the streets
If I am walking with another woman
But wait intelligently until I come home
Then we can both have it out decently
For I am your man, a funny man
And detest a scandal in public places

3 Responses to “10 "BART Moment" songs”

  1. sparkle February 2, 2007 at 6:24 pm #

    heh. phish always remind me of when i was in university and sharing a suite with one of my best friends. her roommate and i could NEVER recognize phish as something we’d heard before, but we loved them every time they came on.a few weeks into us asking, ‘who is this? it’s great!’ she’d just glare, sigh, roll her eyes, and say, ‘PHISH,’ rather firmly.

  2. emily February 2, 2007 at 8:50 pm #

    The kids with fixies may be too cool for helmets, but many of us regular folk bike with helmets AND headphones. Sure makes the hills go easier.Thanks for the tunes!

  3. Anonymous January 24, 2008 at 4:31 pm #

    I had White Punks on Dope on tape from CFNY in high school. Should’ve just asked. 🙂

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