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Friday, December 3, 2010

Hear This While High: The Walkmen's Cover of Fleetwood Mac's 'Holiday Road'

Posted By on Fri, Dec 3, 2010 at 11:20 AM

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Listen to this while high: "Holiday Road" by The Walkmen. Posted first as a video at the Onion's A.V. Club. Listen to it (and download it) here.

Behind the buzz: There's no need for recourse to the dread iconography of Fleetwood Mac to account for the nervous new wave charm of the Lindsey Buckingham original. Nor are there ironies worth pondering in lyrics like "Jack be nimble, Jack be quick/Take a ride on the west coast kick," and those are almost all of them anyway. That it's pointless as well to separate this tune from its context of the Griswolds' serial disasters in the 1983 movie National Lampoon's Vacation is cutely conceded by releasing this rockabilly-inflected cover at the start of holiday season at the end of an epically fucked-up year. This stratagem avoids any hint of debate like the one on how badly The Lemonheads' unfortunate cover of "Mrs. Robinson" sucked back in 1992. It's likely worth noting in the sociological aside department that there were about as many dysfunctional family movies back in the '80s as there were ones about guys going on missions and blowing shit up. And to think there are those who still argue Hollywood is disconnected from everyday American reality.

Today's weed: Romulan, a sportive little strain lending itself to fits of giggles and dancing, which is a handsome tribute to how well it works for lower back pain.

Psychoactive verdict: And not a moment too soon, either, since another underappreciated medicinal property of marijuana is that it kills earworms. Sometimes termed "earwigs" in honor of a memorably creepy "Night Gallery" episode in which one of the vicious little slugs chaws its way through some unfortunate's brain tissue, these are those scraps of rousing melody that can quickly turn oppressive, then maddening, after too long in a mental locked groove. My current malady was the opening dozen seconds of "Driver's Seat" by Sniff'n the Tears, and this brisk one-two punch knocked it right out. Stripped of backup singers and new wave impedimenta, the performance has to rely on frontman Hamilton Leithauser's ability to pull off a Sweet Gene Vincent swagger and, incredibly, he does it. Such a jolt of pure forty-rod from these kings of dejection is like getting a lump of hash in your stocking for Xmas.

The part where know you're high: You're fishing around on Youtube for the original video because you miss the moaning girlie chorus and the barking dog at the end.

The part where you wish you were higher: You find it.

Follow us on Twitter @SFAllShookDown and @RockyRedGlare

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Ron Garmon

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