Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Great Deku Tree


Written with Katie Jahner.

Top 10 Dan Bern Songs (Videos)

Songwriter Dan Bern released a new album, Drifter, featuring the musical talents of Common RotationDrifter is Dan's first studio album since 2006’s Breathe. In the meantime, there have been live records, children’s records, books, and even feature films. To celebrate the new stuff, and introduce any first timers to his material, here is a “best of” Dan Bern, complete with videos.

Jerusalem


Jerusalem is Dan’s biggest crowd pleaser and probably most requested song. Even casual listeners appreciate its hopeful message of olives and messianic prophecy fulfillment. Even though he officially renounced the title a few years back, word is that the man still gets nervous around Roman carpenters. Like all of Dan’s great songs, there are laughs, love on the brink, and inter-stellar travel.

Chelsea Hotel



Every folk singer has to have a song about the Chelsea Hotel. The nicest thing about this one is no messy divorce weeping and classier sex than a sad blowjob. Dan’s Chelsea Hotel is a momentary respite between one heartbreak and the next. There ’ s sadness on the horizon, but the moment is perfect in its ephemerality.

Tiger Woods



Dan’s biggest hit and a novelty song that defies novelty. It became relevant again when Tiger was all over the news for his philandering. However, as a track one, side one of a debut record it really shows a lot of... well, balls.

Mexican Vacation



Many of Dan’s songs tell intricate and science-fiction-y stories. Set far into the future, Mexican Vacation has mutants, slavery, love on the run, and West Virginia.

Beautiful Ride



Dan has a decent amount of soundtrack work, especially with filmmaker Jake Kasdan. From their collaboration Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, a Dan Bern song plays as the curation closes. There is no better way to end a movie.

President



During the runup to the 2004 presidential election, Dan came out hard against Bush. As a matter of fact, Dan protested Bush before it was cool to protest Bush. In addition, he lays out an agenda that would still be ambitious today considering how far America has regressed culturally. In a shameless bit of self promotion, here is the music video I made for that great song, replete with all the things people who supported Bush hate the most: nudity, drugs, and vulgarity.

Thanksgiving Day Parade



The best folk songs deal in metaphor so thick it takes Sean Wilentz to deconstruct them. Or you can take them at face value and relive someone’s Manhattan Thanksgiving. What good is a metaphor anyway when our imaginations are limited by our environments.

Party by Myself



Another song from the new record and a Dan Bern classic that has previously not appeared on any official album. Recommended beverage accompaniment: whiskey and despair.

Hen Party



Dan recently celebrated the birth of a child, Lulu Bern, and recorded an album of children’s songs. Each one as weird as they are unforgettable.

A Day at the Ballgame


A story about every major league game anyone has ever attended. Baseball features minimally.

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