Podcast #8: List Songs

Here at YuppiePunk World HQ we love to group things, be it literary tattoos, rock stars that died at age 27 or rejected movie posters. It’s one of our favorite things to do. We even do it in our podcasts, focusing them on a theme: trios, bands named after cities, actors who sing, etc. Which leads us to our current podcast: A list of songs that list things. As per usual, the songs are available ala carte until they expire, or you can grab them all in the podcast itself, which you can subscribe to here.

REM – “It’s the End of the World As We Know It and (I Feel Fine)
This song lists seemingly random things in a stream of consciousness rant, but listen closely and you’ll notice several names with the initials L.B., inspired by a dream of Michael Stipe’s. According to Peter Buck, the song was also inspired by Dylan’s “Subterranean Homesick Blues,” so where better to start the podcast than with those two tracks.

Bob Dylan – “Subterranean Homesick Blues”
Zimmerman’s free association mashes up Kerouac and the Beat poets in four verses tackling the government, counter-culture, civil rights and war. Oh, is that all?

Jim Carroll – “People Who Died”
A laundry list of the author/musician’s friends that died, died. And how: Eddie got slit in the jugular vein.

Johnny Cash – “I’ve Been Everywhere”
Written by Geoff Mack in 1959 with a list of places in Australia, the song was later adapted with the names of American locales and was a hit for a variety of artists including The Man in Black. Just where the hell is Ombabika (fourth place, third verse) anyway?

Mary Lou Lord – “His Indie World”
A tour of mid-90s indie rock bands from a singer/songwriter who had her heyday in the mid-90s.

Dan Bern – “Year by Year Home Run Totals of the Great Barry Bonds (live)”
We didn’t say the lists had to be interesting.

Billy Joel – “We Didn’t Start the Fire”
Even amongst Billy Joel fans, this isn’t considered one of his finest works, though high school social studies teachers were no doubt appreciative of its lyrical crash course in modern history. The song was supposedly inspired by a conversation with Sean Lennon, but we’re guessing he’s bummed he didn’t inspire “The Stranger” or something cooler instead.

The Nails – “88 Lines About 44 Women”
Just as the title says, singer Mark Campbell reads through his little black book, detailing his sex life circa late ’70s New York City.

Queens of the Stone Age – “Feel Good Hit of the Summer”
Nicotine, valium, vicodine, marijuana, ecstasy and alcohol. Cocaine.

Bouncing Souls – “These Are the Quotes from our Favorite 80s Movies”
Don’t mess with the bull, you’ll get the horns. Or at least these famous movie quotes.

Paul Simon – “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover”
Written after his divorce from his first wife, the song hit #1 in 1976 and has remained the biggest song of Simon’s solo career.

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RELATED: Triumph! A Podcast | Podcast #6 | Podcast #5 | Podcast #4



  1. Janet says:

    wow, Jim Carroll and The Nails in the same post…both great songs, both on my iPod :-)

  2. celebrian says:

    Sick grouping here; really enjoyed stumbling upon billy joel. the only problem was i got totally excited there for a moment that you had the aussie version of ‘i’ve been everywhere.’ its so bogan, but you’ve gotta love it. the american version is good; it’d be cooler if it mentioned my town :P
    i’ve always admired how people can just sing these mega lists without mucking up or getting confused.

  3. DAve says:

    Hmmmm… songs that consist of lists. One -you may have missed (although it’s not really Indie Pop, I feel for its cultural aspect it shouldn’t be passed over) would be “The Message” by Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five. If you don’t believe me, check it out.

  4. ElectroDFW says:

    A couple worth mentioning: Sheryl Crow’s “The Na-Na Song” and Kimya Dawson’s “Everything’s Alright” (a mini-tour of 80s/90s TV culture: ‘Marla Gibbs, 227; Barry Watson, 7th Heaven” “Ricky Schroder, Ricky Stratton; Soliel Moon Frye, Dick Van Patton” – all in all a fabulous low-fi indie artist/song) I know i’m leaving out a couple others, but thanks for what you did include.