Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Three Maudlin Songs To Improve Your DJ Game

Ever since I saw the scene in Penelope Spheeris' classic LA punk cult film Suburbia where the management clears the room by playing some old time jazz, I've been convinced of the absolute necessity of playing a spectacular and fitting song at the end of a DJ gig. Something that speaks as much to the one night standers as it does to the sad and lonely single people nursing warm bottles of soapy ale. So, here goes, a couple of sure-fire that will elevate your from simple bar-room clearing to emotional catharsis.

I have a very distinct memory of playing Blue Rodeo's Lost Together as a closing song one night and watching a couple enact a theatrical slow-dance to it that would be best titled, "." A real snapshot of how the common people live and love." Our was a moody big lug of a guy, with a big mess of hair, a quiet demeanor, and a matching jean jacket and jeans. He looked like he could be in Blue Rodeo. His partner was a younger woman, dressed a little too trashy for her own good, and looking too aged for her age. Together, they moved, hands held, pushing apart and pulling back together, in a pantomime tinged with prairie pathos. It was a real moment of human feeling, made possible by Cancon regulations and the diminished expectations of the hardscrabble Canadian working class. (Authenticity's hard to come by in this post-modern era, so it's important to notice it and laugh silently at it when you can.)

Doesn't Jim Cuddy of Blue Rodeo sound like Neil Diamond? Blue Rodeo even has an album called Diamond Mine, which any close-reader worth his or her salt knows cleverly refers to Neil Diamond. And Neil Diamond has a song called Forever in Blue Jeans, which is about as close to a Blue Rodeo mission statement as I've ever read.

Mr. Bojangles. I bet when Sammy Davis Jr. performed Mr. Bojangles on German television, the audience wept and wept and wept. They wept because here it was, wasn't it? Proof of the victory of the American ideal over the hard-headed Teutonism that had driven them to wage war like the world had never seen before. And a sparky, petite, soft-shoed black Jew with one eye (just like Claus Shenk Graf von Stauffenberg!) was singing to them about a tap-dancing guy and his dead pet that he met in a jail in a formerly French city in the south of the United States! Man, that must have really let loose the floodgates. War guilt and silent shame and pet death.

As a parting shot, Fleetwood Mac's Hold Me is three minutes and forty-nine seconds of . If the other too suggestions are a touch too morose, Hold Me will let your revelers depart on a high note.

HONOURABLE MENTIONS: Berlin's Take My Breath Away, The Cars' Drive, and Leonard Cohen's Closing Time.

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