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SOUNDTRACK: PHISH-“In the Aeroplane Over the Sea” (2010).

My friend Jay sent me this clip of Phish covering Neutral Milk Hotel’s wonderful song.  He was at the show and sent me a link  to the YouTube video.

The original of this song is wonderful–always sounding like it’s going to collapse in on itself but never actually doing so.  It is full of angst and emotion and after the first listen, where you say, “is he really going to sing the whole thing like this?” you are totally hooked.

The Phish version evens a lot of that angst out.  It’s a strange thing to say about Phish, but they make this song far more commercial.  They turn it into a pretty ballad.  And that’s kind of a shame since the original is so iconic.

In Phish’s defense, this is part of one of their sets (they unveiled a new cover on every day of the tour), and it’s not like they are trying to record a definitive version of it or anything.  So they make it into a Phish song–with a long solo and everything.  And the solo sounds like a total Trey solo.  I’m not sure what songs surrounded this one, but it sounds like it fit perfectly into their set.

As the folks at Stereogum say, “If you’ve always felt “Aeroplane” needed more guitar solo, this is your lucky day.”  For me what it did was make me want to listen to the original–and that’s never a bad thing.

[READ: June 5, 2012] “Quests”

This essay opens up with a history lesson.  In the early nineties, Pizza Hut sponsored the Book It! program to promote reading.  For every ten books you read you got a free pizza.  Well, it turns out that they either still do this or they do it in a modified form because my son has been getting these free pizza coupons all year.  Of course, we live in New Jersey, where the pizza is plentiful and delicious (there are at least 4 excellent pizza places within ten minutes of our house).  And you’d be a fool to eat Pizza Hut, even if it is free.  My son is pretty bummed about this, because of course he wants to redeem his prize.  And I suppose one day we’ll let him do it, but it would painful.  I actually don’t even know where a Pizza Hut is by us.

But that’s got nothing to do with Russell’s essay.  She realizes the truism that there is no greater pleasure than reading for pizza.  Because it’s not just reading for escape and fantasy, now you’re a breadwinner. Literally.  Russell’s genre of choice was fantasy (Terry Brooks in particular–I love that she realizes later in life that he took his ideas from Dresden and Hiroshima and how it blew her mind). (more…)

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