Bulletproof Recording Company, Rykodisc, 2005
If you haven’t seen
Weeds, a series on Showtime, you wouldn’t know to buy this. I’m here to
tell you: this is a fan-freaking-good album.
Some of the music is
political and speaks of a darkness, at least a mystery, hidden behind
cheery exteriors — particularly the show’s opening song, “Little Boxes,”
by 1960s protest singer Malvina Reynolds; it’s a
can’t-get-it-out-of-my-head number satirizing cookie-cutter people in
cookie-cutter houses just like the one from which suburban mom Nancy
Botwin, the show’s central character, deals marijuana in her spare time.
And some of the music
is simple laid-back accompaniment for mellow moments, like “Wacky
Tobacky” by NRBQ. Many of the tunes have a spacy, dreamy quality (go
figure — although most of the characters in Weeds are, at least so far,
usually stone sober). Sufjan Stevens’ “All the Trees of the Field Will
Clap Their Hands” is four minutes of spacy banjo and quiet mulling
overtaken by hypnotic la-da-das. Michael Franti & Spearhead’s “Ganja
Babe” is a spacy rap/reggae vibe; “More Than a Friend” by the band All
Too Much is spacy rock akin to Magical Mystery Tour-era Beatles. The Be
Good Tanyas’ “The Littlest Birds” is spacy bluegrass/folk.
The album closes with
the apt “Satan Lend Me a Dollar,” a rollicking pirate song — OK, it was
written by college kids in 1990, but it sounds like a pirate song.
The whole package is
wildly eclectic but wonderfully coherent.
It’s highly likely you
haven’t heard all the artists on this disc. And I’m wagering you’ll like
at least one of them. So, besides being a good soundtrack for doing your
homework (or paying bills or scrubbing floors), it might be your
introduction to some musicians you’ll be glad you met.