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soundtracking with Jordan Zivitz september 2009: Amanda Bleeping Palmer, Nick Cave (wha?) and Ben Folds Five

September 10, 2009

Well wouldja lookit that. Jordan Zivitz, 11th ave’s resident DJ, picking another Nick Cave song. Well it is a very special day, after all. Take it away, JZ.

This month: Invasion of the piano people.

Amanda Palmer: Delilah

Amanda Palmer is affectionately known to her fans as Amanda F—ing Palmer, which says more than I can about her uncompromising, passionate and slightly demented performances, both solo and as one-half of the self-described “Brechtian punk cabaret” duo Dresden Dolls. Palmer is one of the rare singers who could write a tough-love song that includes the lyric “you’re an unrescuable schizo / or else you’re on the rag” and still make you cry with it. And if you’re wondering why she’s singing in her underwear here, that’s just Amanda
F—ing Palmer for you. (This was filmed for an auction where the top bidder won a dedication. Less than three minutes after picking the clip, I got a phone call from my vet’s office and found out by amazing synchronicity that the lucky dedication recipient works there.)

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds: Into My Arms

I promise Nick Cave won’t become a monthly presence in soundtracking. Bimonthly, maybe. Anyway, he plays piano, so he’s fair game here. Along with There She Goes, My Beautiful World (see July’s edition of 11th Ave.), this is one of Nick’s songs that I often use to indoctrinate people: It’s lovely, it’s heartfelt, and nobody dies by getting an ashtray hurled at their head. I love the opening stanza, in which Nick claims, “I don’t believe in an interventionist god,” but then back-pedals a bit and says he would ask the aforementioned deity “not to intervene when it came to you” if he actually did believe. Ah, true love. Look for more Nick Cave in future instalments of soundtracking, including Guys With Black Hair, Singers With Two Hands, and People Who Have Taken Out Restraining Orders Against Me.

Ben Folds Five: Mess

Sure, Ben Folds can be an incorrigible wiseass. One of my favourite lyrics ever is in Song for the Dumped, where he sings: “So you wanted to take a break / Slow it down some and have some space / Well, f— you too.” But he’s also written some impossibly beautiful piano ballads. None more beautiful than this uncharacteristically ornate one, which manages to be thoroughly self-pitying without actually sounding self-pitying. This clip comes from a one-off Ben Folds Five reunion show last year.

Jordan Zivitz was born on this day so please, Nick Cave, wish him a happy birthday.

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