Writing Switch: Hook, line and speaker | AspenTimes.com

Writing Switch: Hook, line and speaker

Benjamin Welch and Sean Beckwith
Writing Switch
Young man listening to music on his smart phone and singing while woman sitting on the same park bench trying to use her phone

Talking about emotions can be tough for a couple very traditionally masculine gentlemen like ourselves, especially when you’ve only come equipped with two factory settings: ¡ANGRY and HORNY!

Luckily, music helps us bridge this divide, and watching Sean waltz around the room with himself to Ol’ Blue Eyes demonstrates that maybe we’re more vulnerable than we expect.

This week, as we sunset further development of our ski-season playlists, we discuss a sampling of songs that evoke certain feelings, memories or accidents.

Makes you sad and provides catharsis

SB: “I’m A Fool To Want You” by Frank Sinatra

First off, a song with a story always plays. Frank being so dismayed by his troubles with Ava Gardner that he one-take’d this classic makes too much sense. Regardless of what you’re going through in a relationship, this song just speaks to it.

If you’re Benjamin, half the catharsis comes in just belting out “Take me back, I love you, pity me, I need you, I know it’s wrong, it must be wrong, it must be wrong but right or wrong I can’t get along without you.” I also put this on here because I have no idea what Ben associates with these feelings — assuming he has them.

BW: “Love’s Not An Obstacle” by Metronomy

Oh boohoo, you dated Ava Gardner. It’s very apparent there was only one take because Sinatra rhymes “wrong” and “you” with itself the entire song, and he was probably drunk. Not judging, of course; so am I.

I was in love once. But then I moved out of the only state with Runza and never felt anything again other than rage and a phylactic shock to sauerkraut.

Instead of crying (in public) about failed amorous relations, I like to focus on the good times. Even I need an upbeat song about love sometimes.

Makes you want to melt your face with speed

SB: “Start a Riot” by Duckwrth

Every season this song varies because I try to have zero repeats on my snowboarding mixes. (Der Steez Vol. 1-6 on Spotify, because people always abbreviate the other part of pow-der.) One year it was “Dance Yrself Clean” by LCD Soundsystem. It’s that song that comes in on your earbuds that makes you want to send everything. The best aspect of this feeling is the spontaneity of not knowing when it will pop up makes it go that much harder when it does. (Unless you’re on the lift, which elicits an almost depressed, “This is being wasted” feeling.)

BW: “115” by Elena Siegman

Nothing assuages angst like playing “Call of Duty: Black Ops” zombies mode until 4 a.m. hyped up on Mountain Dew and Doritos. The goal was to unlock three artifacts within the map to activate this in-game track, which sounded like Amy Lee singing over heavy-metal demons. “No more forgiveness, no / I’ll bring you death and pestilence / I’ll bring you down on my own” while slaughtering scores of undead Nazis with a space cannon? That’s how manly I am.

Always sucked, though, when you didn’t get the timing right and the song started at the end of a level, like when you get shuffled to a Ween cover band 20 seconds into a T2B run.

Makes you want tacos

SB: Samba Radio on Pandora

As a fat kid at heart, of course I associate certain music with food. If I’m really deep-diving into Mexican food — making pico, cutting garnishes, trying to get whatever body part I touched with jalapeno hands to stop burning — I like to have a little samba in the background. I don’t understand a lick of what they’re saying, but I assume it’s all about tacos (even though it’s samba, which technically isn’t from Mexico). I’m sure when non-English-speakers make pasta, they put on Dean Martin and assume his entire catalog in an ode to red sauce. I don’t have a taco dance, that’s too fat, but I would be lying if I said I never shimmied at the cutting board.

BW: “Pongamonos De Acuerdo” by Julión Alvarez

I’m pretty sure I have to tip-toe around this theme, but on second thought, tacos are basically universal, right? It still counts as “cooking” dinner even if it’s just me getting inspired while passing the tortilla rack and thinking “now all I need is beef and tomatoes,” yes? To my credit, at least, I still haven’t bought Hamburger Helper in many, many years.

My neighborhood has been under round-the-clock construction pretty much ever since I moved in, and now that racket has metastasized to my building in what I suspect is a thinly-veiled effort to evict me. Along with the hammering, slamming, banging, screeching and putrid water flying out of your faucets that accompany a “simple renovation project” also comes an obligatory concert of whatever the workers are listening to on the radio. It’s not often I’m sticking my phone out the window to Shazam some música norteña, but “Pongamonos De Acuerdo,” which I think translates to “Let’s All Agree,” is fire, and we should.

What to listen to while road-tripping

BW: “Donnie Darko” by Let’s Eat Grandma

I’ve been privileged to have lived in Colorado, and especially Aspen, long enough to take nature’s beauty for granted. At this point, it’s like, I just miss squalor and a Runza on every corner. I enjoy a song with a good crescendo that happens naturally, like when you crest a butte and all you see are geolographical features so magnificent they’re almost blurry from extra ozone layers.

The lyrical content of this odyssey isn’t actually about the most impactful indie movie of the Contemplative Millenial’s teenage years, but let’s be frank; at one time, everyone has related to the giant rabbit.

SB: Podcasts

I not-so-secretly hate road trips. There’s no way to avoid feeling gross after a few hours in a car and a bag of whatever the off-ramp sign is serving. I’ve never been on a sing-along road trip but that sounds like a Sean-specific level of hell. The best way to pass a few hours on a highway is via podcast. “The Rewatchables,” a podcast about rewatchable movies, has plenty of fan favorites that aren’t a bunch of guys talking about sports. If I had to pick one song, in spirit of the exercise, it would be “Push It Along” by A Tribe Called Quest, because that’s all I’m trying to do — push it along so I can get out of this sweat box.

How to introduce your dad to hip-hop

BW: “Pursuit of Happiness” by Kid Cudi (feat. MGMT and Ratatat)

I’m pretty sure my pop’s impression of rap is just like, “guys with pants around their knees,” or whatever. He’s been binging on classic rock for 45 years; cut him some slack. I’ve actually gifted my dad MGMT’s catalog, which he secretly enjoys but brings up awkwardly on Requests Night, like Sean asking for Quarantine Mescaline Drip and trying to pitch column ideas about “emotions” like I’m supposed to relate. And that’s when I noticed I got another playlist subscriber from some corner of the ether, which made my day and night. I was over (the man on) the moon.

SB: “We’ve Got the Jazz” by A Tribe Called Quest

The key to introducing your dad to hip-hop is to appeal to his interests. (I would say find a song with an Eagles sample, but that “is not creative. It’s illegal.”) Instead of the music that admittedly didn’t age well — looking at you Limp Bizkit and Eminem — I should’ve given him something with a Jimmy McGriff sample. However, at that moment in time, all he had to go off of was my CD case full of Parental Advisory Explicit Content. That said, if they had NPR Music Tiny Desk Concerts in 2001, that would’ve probably been the ideal vessel to introduce hip-hop to your dad. (The Mac Miller one is objectively beautiful.)

By someone you have a man crush on

BW: “Phonograph” by Vlad Holiday

Personally, my sexuality drifts from “definitely straight” to “oh god maybe asexual?” to “bi in very rare circumstances,” and Vlad definitely puts the “sir” in “circumstance” (bet you didn’t think I was going to pick that part of the word). Does that put me on a spectrum again? Whatever.

Julian Casablancas is trying to win me back with the rockstar mullet — which I will eventually attempt to emulate and end up looking more like Macgruber — but at this point, Holiday is my second-favorite of that namesake behind Doc, of course. I’m your Huckleberry, daddy.

SB: “One For My Baby (and One More For The Road)” by Frank Sinatra

What better song than a man singing to his barkeep about a broken heart and all the things he should’ve said, something only reserved for the best of friends or a stranger you’ll never see again. If you couldn’t tell by my Sinatra pick earlier in the column, there’s a bit of bromance there. He can chair my board, if you know what I mean. I’d like to meet the person who wouldn’t accept an invite to be in the Rat Pack. Also, this topic may only lead to more confusion, Ben. Though judging by your comments, you seem a little confused.

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