Song Of The Day 11/27/2015: Guided By Voices – “I Am a Tree”

A Sentimental Education – This is the last theme week of 2015. The last real one, anyway. December is completely devoted to songs that were cut at some point during the year and brought back because, frankly, it's the quickest way to fill up the editorial calendar and move on. Then there's Christmas Week, when we're all either drunk or shopping or going through self-discovery processes (sometimes brought on by drinking or shopping) to pay much attention to music blogs. Then there's December 26 when I throw darts at the wall, December 27 when I try to sum up the year with a single song of portent or closure, then finally four days in which we count down the Top 30 Songs Of The Day of the year. That's how the magic happens. So this theme week is, basically, the last week in which I have to come up with an honest concept until the first week in January.

And, of course, I have no idea whether this is a real honest concept or whether I'm just copping out to kill time. I think it's a little of both. I rarely get personal on this blog and have no desire to compromise its hijinx-inspired aloofness and start bleeding all over the place. But since we're heading into autoprogram mode in December and I don't really know when you and I are going to get the chance to be alone again, I thought I'd do something moderately personal. Just moderately. I'm not giving up my PIN number or anything.

There's this personal playlist I've been adding onto throughout the course of this year on my spacious but thoroughly annoying cloud music service. I don't know what it is. It's vaguely named "__P__." It currently has 123 songs on it. More will be added as needed. They're not necessarily "my favorite" songs; in fact there are two on there I've only heard once and I'm not sure why they're there. I don't have a description for this playlist because there's been no need for me to devise one, and the criteria for my putting a song on this playlist is cloudy at best.

Here's what I think it is: If I were to drop dead tomorrow and forensic experts wanted to figure out how I got to the point that I did, maybe this playlist would help. Not in a CSI way. This would only be of interest to the psychology interns in this crime procedural. But if I were to have no ability to deliver my "message" as I was clinging to consciousness and probably being blasted by any number of life-preserving electrodes, perhaps this playlist would.

Conversely, this might also just be a playlist of songs I want to cover someday, probably with Scott. And you, if you're interested. That might be all it is. You've guessed by now, of course, that I haven't really questioned why this playlist exists. It's a gut thing, like finding weapons of mass destruction.

So, for the last theme week of the year, I thought I'd throw five of the songs from this playlist up on the blog. What do they say about me? In the words of our most truth-retardant presidential candidate and my latest annoying fictional creation, "You tell me."

The first one -- well, now, if you've known me at all over the last 25 years or so, maybe this one won't be so hard to figure out. I've had to call upon this song several times in the past. It's one of the very few Guided By Voices songs that wasn't written by Bob Pollard (it's by Doug Gillard). This is the most obvious I'll get this week. And it may not even be that obvious. Christ, I sound like one of those deliberately mysterious hoarders, like David Bowie or Willie Wonka. I don't mean to be. Have a crack at this one.

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