I remember once reading a letter to the editor from a little old lady about “kids nowadays” and the way they “drive up and down the streets blasting their music at the top of their lungs.” Or their stereos’ lungs, old lady, whatever. But what really got to her, I mean, just choked her chickens (or is that a euphemism for masturbation? Eh, whatever), was “And it’s not Mozart they’re playing, either!”
Well, duh, you stupid old lady. Mozart is definitely not one of the great classical composers whose music is conducive to being blasted out of car steroes. Which is why he and Bach suck.
But here, for your reading (and listening!) pleasure, is a list of 10 songs that you should play at full blast, just to show your neighborhood gangstas (are they even called that anymore?) that you too know how to get down.
(I don’t think they say “get down” anymore. Gods, I’m old.)
1. “O Fortuna” from Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana. It’s a slow burn, building and building until BAMM!!! In comes that bass drum and holy shit, does that song take off! (PS: Carmina Burana is one of the bawdiest, awesomest pieces of music out there. Please listen to it.)
2. “Dies Irae” by Giuseppe Verdi. No slow burn here. This piece takes off running and doesn’t stop until the end (of the world, because that’s what Dies Irae means).
3. “Mars” from Gustav Holst’s The Planets Suite. This movement isn’t called “The Bringer of War” for nothing, and has inspired hundreds of modern musicians, including (I think) a guy from Led Zeppelin. (What? I’m not researching that. Go to hell.)
4. “Infernal Dance” from Igor Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite. This is the dance of the great Russian ogre/god Koschei the Deathless. You know if your last name is “the Deathless,” you’re not going to be doing any pussy pirouetting. So! Awesome!
5. “Night on Bald Mountain” by Modest Mussorgsky. It’s pronounced Moh-dest, not Mah-dest, becase there is nothing modest about this composer’s music. This song is the scariest and best bit in Fantasia.
6. “Queequeg” from Francis McBeth’s Of Sailors and Whales. Not to neglect modern composers here, this is one of the best bits of music written for concert bands in years. I love the syncopated bits!
7. “Gandalf” from Johan de Meij’s Lord of the Rings Symphony. This is the other great piece of music written for concert band. I prefer the final movement, “Hobbits,” but “Gandalf” is definitely worth rolling your window down to annoy the redneck beside you.
8. “In the Hall of the Mountain King” from Edvard Grieg’s Peer Gynt. This is another slow burner. You’ll be tempted to turn up the volume at the beginning, but you will blow your speakers by the end. Why? Because it’s just that awesome, that’s why.
9. “Montagues and Capulets” from Sergei Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet. Did you know they used this song in a sneaker commercial? They did! They did use this song in a sneaker commercial. It gets real quiet at parts, but the loud bits? Holy powerful, Batman!!
10. “1812 Overture Finale” by Piotr/Pyotr/Peter Tchaikovsky. Hey, do you know what they use for percussion in this song? Godsdamned cannons, that’s what they use. Try to see any rock band nowadays using cannons in their compositions. Tchaikovsky kicked all your asses.