Writing Switch: Playlistboy Magazine | AspenTimes.com

Writing Switch: Playlistboy Magazine

Benjamin Welch and Sean Beckwith

All art is subjective, but nothing generates opinions like letting your friend control your stereo. We all know that person you trust to gauge the room and play appropriate/good music. But then there’s that guy who only plays jam bands during Wednesday night volleyball and literally has people willing to fight him if he puts on another 20-minute rendition of “Bouncing Around the Room.”

So this week we’re testing each other’s ability to pick bangerz for snowboard playlists. One of us treated this exercise like Tom Haverford, the other doesn’t know who that is. So prepare to throw away your Lumineers-infected hard drive as we take a deep dive into on-mountain music. Let he who is without taste cast the first song.

“Bury Us Alive” — STRFKR

Sean: If you asked 12-year-old Ben Welch, “What do you think sex is like?” this would be his answer. There’s some euphoria, a bubbly tempo, some guy sing-groaning and it eventually ends.

It has an apt chorus for powder fiends, with the almost whisper of “bury us alive.” I have many concerns, though, the biggest of which is why does this guy in a latex suit (Ben sent me the music video) want to die by one of the most horrifying methods possible? Because I don’t think he’s talking about being buried by snow.

I’m just assuming that this song is great after four or five Mio water and vodkas. I’d need something a little heavier to add it to my rotation — and by heavier, I’m talking about substances, not sound.

“Move Fast (ft. Mystikal & Mannie Fresh)” — Galactic

Ben: Oh good, DMX changed his name and is still putting out music. I normally judge people for still listening to the same artists they did in high school, but it’s totally forgivable when it’s their NEW stuff. Did you know The Rolling Stones have had like 40-some albums? And yet the only thing we know them for is “Gimme Shelter.” If I have to hear that damn thing one more time it truly will be just a shot away.

I have a lot of respect for grown-ups who used to be kids and decided they would put enough effort into the trumpet to one day become a professional. And then be like, “Yes I’m going to join a rap group where they scream ‘GO!’ at each other while I play the same two broken chords for three minutes.”

I don’t think there are any no-no words in this song. I’m anticipating more hip-hop-type jams so let’s see if Sean keeps this wholesome facade up for the rest of the playlist.

“Melted Rainbow” — mr. Gnome

Sean: Where do I begin? It’s like a high-pitched child trying to do an Arcade Fire impersonation over an organ and drums. I’m not entirely sure, though. I’ve only ever heard one Arcade Fire song. There might be a synthesizer in there. I don’t know what’s more difficult, trying to identify the instruments or the lyrics the Children of the North are signing.

You’d expect something a little more lively from a guy influenced by rainbows and gnomes. If this came on while I was snowboarding, I’d probably take a voluntary beer break. I’m not saying it’s bad. No, wait, that’s exactly what I’m saying.

With Ben, it’s important to know that if people like something — “The Office,” Ron Swanson, military veterans — he probably doesn’t like it, which may be why he’s left listening to mr. Gnome.

“I Wanna Be Your Dog” — The Stooges

Ben: A blind spot in my musical repertoire is indie hits of the ’60s. As a repressed child I was only allowed to listen to Beach Boys/Elvis radio and Beethoven. Maybe my parents didn’t want me conjuring the image of groveling at women’s feet like an animal, but still that’s less rapey than pretty much every “teenage queen” malt shop jukebox record on Oldies 100 WXFM.

Sleigh bells are a real nice touch. Gives a Christmasy feel when you’re cruising down the mountain, and I don’t really like Christmas. I bet nobody can name a Bing Crosby song other than “White Christmas” or “My Way,” and that’s for good reason: they all suck.

This is the second track 3:09 in length with zero no-no words in a row that Sean has recommended. What 4D chess are you playing?

“Rasputin” — Boney M

Sean: We’ve now entered “Ben is just pulling random shit off YouTube and making me watch it” territory. I don’t think this song is on Spotify, Apple Music, Pandora, etc. My guess is he happened upon it while looking up Russian porn.

There’s some guy with a long beard dancing while his backup singers belt out “Ra, ra, Rasputin.” I don’t even know what they’re playing. I think it’s one of those weird Indian guitar-type things that The Beatles experimented with.

All I know is if I can’t describe it, why would I want to listen to it while snowboarding? If this came on while I was snowboarding, I’d check my phone for Russian malware.

“Tha Bahamas” — Maffa Rico

Ben: What kind of traitor wants to think about the Caribbean when they’re surfing untouched inches in (REDACTED) and then dropping into the side of (REDACTED)? I’m not much for the heat; I hate sweating and sand in my socks and rum hangovers.

Talk about sending some random shit. I didn’t expect to hear the third-place “American Idol” season 11 finisher perform a sober version of “Escape (the Pina Colada Song).” At least there was some semblance of a plot in that one. Guy met his own wife in the classifieds … a real tear-jerker once you get past the shock of them both trying to cheat. What beautiful irony.

TBH I’m into songs with some crescendo, so I may actually hang onto this one. Hey thanks.

“Terryfold ft. Justin Roiland” — Chaos Chaos

Sean: I knew I would get at least one song in the vein of Weird Al Yanovich. It’s an R&B melody about terryfolds, which I would Google but I’m at work and that search is probably NSFW. I do appreciate the “Rick and Morty” connection, and the music is pretty pleasant.

If I wasn’t a fan of “Rick and Morty,” I’d almost enjoy it. But I have the sneaking suspicion that the song is about genitalia skin, which, gross.

The thing is, Ben actually listens to normal music. I know because he’s my guide to hipster genres. However, when given the opportunity to bring something to the spotlight, he comes onstage with a whoopee cushion, a rubber chicken and a fake arrow through his head.

“I Like It (Dirty)” — Grand Puba

Ben: Everyone’s favorite warthog from “Lion King” is back, but grander!

I was a little underwhelmed by the dirtiness of this song. “Athletic, with good credit”? OK, boomer. “Stinkbox” is the most offensive word here, and everyone has a butt so who cares?

I guess I can understand the appeal of smooth ’90s rap if, uh well that’s what you listened to in high school and are still clinging to it 20-some years later or whatever.

“Puba’s everything, and everything is Pu,” he warbles in a Stylistics parody. The latter part of that verse is my life chakra, so at least GP and I are in accordance here. I guess now that Thanksgiving has arrived, cuffing season has ended and Christmastime is officially underway, it’s not too early to say bah humbug.

Total no-no word count: 0. All of this content is safe for family red gondola consumption.

Happy one-year anniversary to Writing Switch. Sean and Ben have never hugged but this may be the occasion. sbeckwith@aspentimes.com bwelch@aspentimes.com


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