Anxious Anthems

Anxious Anthems & Opinions on Paul Simon

Nervy guitars and pounding drums can perfectly convey the restless sensation of being on the verge of breaking down. Jim and Greg share their favorite Anxious Anthems. Then, they review the new album from venerable songwriter Paul Simon.

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Anxious Anthems

Forget “keep calm and carry on.” This week, Jim and Greg play their favorite "Anxious Anthems." Then they chat with some listeners to hear what songs make them nervous.

reviewStranger to Stranger (Deluxe Edition)Stranger to Stranger available on iTunes

Paul Simon Stranger to Stranger

After his success with Simon & Garfunkel and as a solo artist, it would be easy for Paul Simon to rest on his laurels. But Simon has continued to push himself with new ideas and rhythms. His 13th solo album is Stranger to Stranger, and it finds Simon using some of the weird home-made instruments of legendary experimental composer Harry Partch, and collaborating with Italian electronic dance artist Clap! Clap!. Greg appreciates that Simon is an artist that continues to innovate. He likes both the humor and the references to mortality (without being morbid) that the now 74-year-old throws into the lyrics. Jim is less impressed, feeling that Simon's work radiates an annoying self-satisfaction. Jim admits that Simon works with rhythms well but believes he is giving the illusion of doing something new, rather than actually doing something new. It's a Buy It for Stranger to Stranger from Greg and a Try It for Jim.

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“Irma Jackson”Merle Haggard

When outlaw country legend Merle Haggard died in April of this year, many obituaries focused on his huge 1969 hit "Okie From Muskogee." It was a divisive song from a contentious time in U.S. history. Many took it as a flag-waving anthem that mocked the counterculture. Haggard himself changed his tune many times regarding whether he personally agreed with the lyrics or not. What Greg finds interesting is that the single Haggard wanted to put out following“Okie From Muskogee”was "Irma Jackson," a song in defense of interracial romance. The record company“suits”wouldn‘t release it, believing it would alienate his new fans. Three years later, Haggard finally got his way and the single was released. Greg believes Haggard was finally able to show that he was much more than the one-dimensional character in“Okie.”And that’s why he selected“Irma Jackson”to take to the Desert Island Jukebox today.

Featured Songs

  1. The Rolling Stones, 19th Nervous Breakdown, 19th Nervous Breakdown / As Tears Go By, Decca, 1966
  2. The Feelies, The Boy with the Perpetual Nervousness, Crazy Rhythms, Stiff, 1980
  3. Lupe Fiasco, Beautiful Lasers (2 Ways), Lasers, Atlantic, 2011
  4. Ida Maria, Oh My God, Fortress Round My Heart, Nightliner, 2008
  5. Eurythmics, Beethoven (I Love to Listen To), Savage, RCA, 1987
  6. Men at Work, Who Can It Be Now?, Business as Usual, CBS International, 1981
  7. Eddie Cochran, Nervous Breakdown, Cherished Memories, Liberty, 1962
  8. The Beatles, I'm So Tired, The Beatles, Apple, 1968
  9. The Boomtown Rats, Someone's Looking At You, The Fine Art of Surfacing, Mulligan, 1979
  10. Motion City Soundtrack, Delirium, My Dinosaur Life, Columbia, 2010
  11. Toots and the Maytals, Pressure Drop, Sweet and Dandy, Beverley's, 1968
  12. Pixies, Where Is My Mind?, Surfer Rosa, 4AD, 1988
  13. The Smiths, Panic, Rank, Sire, 1988
  14. Bauhaus, Nerves, In the Flat Field, 4AD, 1980
  15. Queen, Sheer Heart Attack, News of the World, EMI/Parlophone, 1977
  16. Brook Benton, Rainy Night in Georgia, Brook Benton Today, Cotillion, 1970
  17. Paul Simon, The Werewolf, Stranger to Stranger, Concord, 2016
  18. Paul Simon, Wristband, Stranger to Stranger, Concord, 2016
  19. Merle Haggard and The Strangers, Irma Jackson, Let Me Tell You About a Song, Capitol, 1972
  20. The Band, Stage Fright, Stage Fright, Capitol, 1970
  21. Grateful Dead, Operator, American Beauty, Warner Bros., 1970
  22. Eleanor Friedberger, He Didn't Mention His Mother, New View, Frenchkiss, 2016
  23. Bob Dylan, My Back Pages, Another Side of Bob Dylan, Columbia, 1964
  24. Bob Dylan, Highlands, Time Out of Mind, Columbia, 1997
  25. Chance the Rapper feat. Jeremih, Francis and the Lights, Summer Friends, Coloring Book, self-released, 2016

Footnotes

youtube.com Eurythmics“Beethoven”music video paulsimon.com Paul Simon chicagotribune.com Greg's Paul Simon review merlehaggard.com Merle Haggard soundopinions.org The Feelies on Sound Opinons soundopinions.org Lupe Fiasco on Sound Opinions soundopinions.org Pixies Classic Album Dissection