This week is a kind of conglomeration of things, as it combines two of my biggest passions: music and comedy! I’ve been wanting to do a playlist for a little while, and I decided that I wanted it to be constructed thematically from a TV show that had a defined musical backdrop, one that had a cohesive voice and sound. The show ‘Maron’ was one of the first shows that came to mind, not only because I love the show and Marc Maron as a stand up/individual, but because the music he uses for the series is fantastic, and particularly reflective of Maron’s musical tastes. The bluesy, garage rock vibes inspired me to make a playlist of songs that either emulated the show’s sound with accurate precision, tracks that were reminiscent of the soundtrack or of themes explored in the show, and ones that he’s mentioned specifically on his podcast that I jam to on a regular basis. Basically the idea behind this playlist was, “If Maron had all the money in the world, didn’t have to deal with copyright issues, and could get any song he wanted, this is what I’d want him to play.”
I very recently found out that he will not be continuing the show after this season, which is sad to hear because I really enjoyed the show. However, it sounds like he is content with where the show leaves off and is proud of what he’s done, so I’m completely supportive of his decision. I’m glad he could end it on his own terms, and had complete creative freedom with this project, so I’m sincerely happy for him. This playlist is coming a little late in the game, but hopefully fans of Maron, TV show or otherwise, will feel and hear a little bit of him when listening to these tracks. I know I do.
1. “Pagan Baby” – Creedence Clearwater Revival
This songs opening is super emotive of the ‘Maron’ sound to me, especially the theme song. I’ve been a Creedence fan for a while, and this song was a gem I found out of the blue that just so happens to be a great fit for a Maron playlist! The solo electric guitar opening up the track perfectly introduces a simplistic, bluesy grass roots track reminiscent of the tunes on the show, plus it’s just a fun song to rock out to. Take a listen!
“Pagan baby, take me for a ride/ Roll me baby, roll your big, brown eyes”
“Don’t be savin’, spread your love on me”
2. “Rumble” – Link Wray
This song has no lyrics, just a guitar and some drumming, and it doesn’t need anything else. This is a jamming song that easily fits in with the instrumental stuff in the background scenes of the show; it also reminds me of some of the guitar playing that Maron does at the end of his podcast with the emphasis on the guitar and even more on its soul. I first heard this song while watching the documentary, “It Might Get Loud,” and Jimmy Page, a rock ‘n’ roll god in his old age, is listening to this song on vinyl, his face plastered with a huge, childlike smile. You can tell this song is close to his heart, so the song feels like it has some kind of indisputable, divine approval. This would have been a great one to hear on the show (if they had the budget haha), but instead it resides on this lowly playlist. Either way, it’s a quintessential rock song, and it reminds me of Maron and Page both whenever I listen to it.
3. “Brain Confusion” – The Pleasure Seekers
Some of my only criticisms of the show are that it didn’t feature enough female characters that weren’t love interests or eventually sexualized in some way, and that there were not as many female musicians featured on the soundtrack as I’d like. This song, for me, is a great way to counteract that frustration, because this song is not only performed by an all-female rock band, but was written by none other than Suzi Quatro, the rock legend, back when she was part of The Pleasure Seekers. The track is a cool mix of funk, jazz, and classic rock in a way that conjures up images of a long road trip in the midst of deserts and lonesome gas stations. I can definitely imagine this song being played in a ‘traveling solo’ episode, especially because the lyrics accurately express some of the anti-social, cynical feelings of isolation often explored in Maron’s character. But the song on its own is simply fucking awesome.
I said hey, hey, hey, people/ Won’t you please help me get away…from all the lonely people
All darkness, yeah seems, seems to be hopeless/ Brain confusion, yeah well I’m tired
Way down deep inside I see, the way my thoughts work on me/ Play two roles while I pretend, with all the lonely people
4. “The Devil Never Sleeps” – Iron & Wine
This song takes a musical turn from the usual rock sound of the show, but there’s something about this track that resonates with me as a ‘Maron’ track. It’s super funky, super groove-able, but incredibly dark lyrically, which is why I like it. I love juxtaposing elements of any piece of art, but I especially enjoy it in music. This song captures a sunny California day while also speaking to the darkness within people in general, so this track is a sonic trip. Sam Beam is also one of my favorite artists of all time, plus he’s very open to allowing his music to be used in other artistic content. In my opinion he’s one of the most prolific songwriters of my generation, so this track would have been cool to hear on the show. (Also, for anyone who’s ever seen the movie “Stand by Me,” the song’s lyrics are so goddamn similar to the happenings of that film… like creepily similar. It’s pretty much the modern day theme song to “Stand by Me”).
Here’s the whole song
Dreaming again of a train track ending at the edge of the sea
(Big black cloud was low and rolling our way)
Dog at the barbed wire barking at my buzz cut friends and me
(Sound of a switchblade shining in the summer rain)
No one on the corner had a quarter for the telephone
Everybody bitching, “There’s nothing on the radio”
Dreaming again of a city full of fathers in their army clothes
(Chattering boys and a chicken at the chopping block)
All of us lost at the crosswalk waiting for the other to go
(Didn’t find a friend but, boy, I really bought a lot)
Someone bet a dollar that my daddy wasn’t coming home
Everybody bitching, “There’s nothing on the radio”
Dreaming again that it’s freezing and my mother’s in her flowerbed
(Long dead rows of daffodils and marigolds)
Changing her face like a shadow on the gravel, this is what she said,
(Blood on my chin, still chewing on a red rose)
“No one lives forever and the devil never sleeps alone”
Everybody bitching, “There’s nothing on the radio”
5. “Don’t Owe You a Thang” – Gary Clark Jr.
This song is a fast paced, blues rock song that illuminates the foolhardy, cocky reassurance of a person who is completely comfortable not giving their all to someone. Maron’s romantic relationships throughout the show are usually affected by his hesitancy to commit fully to another person, and this song represents that feeling, albeit in a more careless, free-spirited way. This is another groovy track, and it creates a cognitive picture of someone in plaid with a jaunty hat, playing his guitar in the back of a pick up truck, singing about how he’s going to keep on carrying on with himself.
“Well I ain’t got no money/ No fancy car/ Ain’t got no excuses baby/ Hanging at the bar”
“Oh we ain’t getting married/ I ain’t buying you no diamond ring”
“Well ain’t got no apology, won’t be no fairy tale/ Ain’t got no excuses baby/ I’m doing my deal”
6. “Hear My Train a Comin'” (Live at the Fillmore East) – Jimi Hendrix
I can’t find a video of this specific version anywhere, unfortunately, but it’s my favorite live performance of “Hear My Train a Comin.'” It’s such a spectacular blues song (and you can always tell it’s a blues song when there’s a train involved). Hendrix seamlessly fuses blues with psychedelia with flawless execution as per usual, and the Fillmore version really captures that perfect hybridization of sounds. However, the live version in Berkeley, California is also phenomenal, and the footage is shot beautifully. This song is essential in blues listening, and is also strangely comparable to living out on the road as a comic where you go from city to city, living a nomadic life.
“Well, I wait around the train station/ Waiting for that train/ Take me, take me, take me away/ From this lonesome town”
“Gotta leave this town/ Gotta go on the road/ Gotta be a voodoo child/ Be a magic boy”
7. “I’m Shakin'” – Jack White
I found this song through Marc’s podcast, “WTF,” when he interview Jack White himself. He told White that he enjoyed the track, which is originally a Little Willie John song, and they continued to talk about the process of covering it. I have been a White Stripes fan for years, and although there’s a part of me that wishes Jack and Meg hadn’t split the band up, I’m always willing to give artists a second chance in listening to their solo work. This song is straight up funky, smooth retro-blues goodness, and I’m so glad Maron brought it up during the interview! It’s a perfect track to jam out to in your car, or if you’re musically inclined, to play along to with friends. Also, the band playing on this track is all women, which makes my feminist heart rejoice. The girls’ playing, their voices, Jack’s swagger, everything comes together on this song to make it a fun, kick ass listen. The music video is incredibly cool as well!
“Yeah, when you touch my hand and talk sweet talk/ I got a knockin’ in my knees and a wobblin’ in my walk/ And I’m tremblin’/ That’s right, you got me shakin'”
“When you take me in your arms and talk romance/ My heart starts doin’ that Saint Vitus dance/ And I’m pantin'”
8. “Cat Claw” – The Kills
This track is an alpha cat’s theme song for the ages. It’s gnarly and tough with it’s garage rock sound and Alison Mossheart’s gritty vocals. Maron’s long standing interest in taking in stray, feral cats has to be addressed in some way musically in my mind, and this song is certainly feral. It’s a badass track, and though the lyrics don’t make a ton of sense most of the time, the noise is full on rock ‘n’ roll in spirit. It’s a track that would serve as the perfect background to a wild animal stalking it’s prey, or getting in a fight with another equally unhinged creature.
“Won’t keep up with the law/ Such a long walk”
“Never know who’s comin’ might easy be me/ Give up for my love ’cause that’s too much/ Fuck”
9. “Worry, Worry, Worry” (Live at Cook County Jail) – B.B. King
What can I say, King is the King. He’s a master of the blues, and this long, mostly instrumental track represents the simple complexities and soul of the genre. I picture this song being played during a longer, drawn out scene of Maron just doing shit, as it fits with the music he seems to gravitate towards, and because it’s a fantastic B.B. King jam/emotional experience. The whole album is flawless in it’s entirety; it’s not as well known but it’s a specific example of what the blues is all about, as it’s one of the only albums I can think of that was performed at an actual jail. The title also emulates the internal, neurotic tendencies that Maron exhibits on the show and in real life, so I had to include this one.
“Baby, when the blood runs cold in my veins/ Well, you know you won’t be able to hurt me no more, baby/ ‘Cause my heart won’t feel no pain”
10. “300 M.P.H. Torrential Outpour Blues” – The White Stripes
Told you I was a White Stripes fan! This has been one of my favorite songs from them for a while. The internalization, the exploration of all the different kinds of emotional shit people deal with, the calm stream of the guitar that eventually breaks out into a loud, manic explosion of sound, it all contributes to its effectiveness as a song about mind madness and wandering. Wandering in the world, wandering within yourself. Trying to navigate the various parts of your inner psyche. It’s tough stuff, and The White Stripes created the perfect song to match that particular feeling of transformative introspection. This one, for me, is definitely a Maron song.
“Well, there’s three people in the mirror/ And I’m wonderin’ which one of them I should choose/ Well, I can’t keep from laughin’/ Spittin’ out these 300 mile per hour outpour blues”
“Everytime you get defensive/ You’re just looking for a fight”
“But I can’t help but wonder if after I’m gone will I still have these three hundred mile per hour, finger breaking, no answers makin’, battered dirty hands, bee stung and busted up, empty cup torrential outpour blues”
“One thing’s for sure: in that graveyard/ I’m gonna have the shiniest pair of shoes”
11. “Wanted You” – Twin Peaks
I wrote about this song two posts ago, and I explained how it’s one of the most lonesome tracks on Twin Peaks’ most recent record. It manages to be universally relatable even though it clearly mentions a breakup, because it essentially signifies the feelings of loneliness and isolation one feels during a time of hardship. You feel trapped, you feel alone in it, and it can make you feel like it’s going to last forever. But the song reminds the listener that nothing lasts forever, in more ways than one. It’s a little more modern, but it fits in well with the ‘Maron’ show’s vibe with its aura of reflection and its solemn old school garage-blues influences (it also arbitrarily mentions a cat, and it’s only fitting that cats be brought up more than once on a Maron themed playlist). It’s one of my favorites off the album, and in my world, it would have been on the show.
“Holding my own hand, walking all alone down a road”
“A bell rings as a ghost walks up beside me, with a face like mine/ And tells me that I won’t always be lonely, it just takes a little time”
“Good Lord, heaven knows I’m bad with love”
“A purple cat comes floating down the stairwell/ With his blue eyes shining bright, suddenly I feel alright”
“Good lord, heaven knows I’ve been beat up”
12. “Dunes” – Alabama Shakes
Alabama Shakes is one of the best bands that have come up in the last few years, and their album “Sound & Color” is hands down one of my favorite albums of 2015. “Dunes” also happens to be one of my personal favorites from this playlist for a multitude of reasons. The alternative blues track displays Brittany Howard’s superb vocal skills, it matches the ‘Maron’ shows’ forlorn, bluesy atmosphere, and it couldn’t be more perfect as an outro song for almost any episode where Maron’s character is left wondering, “Well, what the fuck do I do now?” It’s a song, to me, that feels like it’s being played from and for someone in transition, for someone not quite sure what their next move is in their life. It’s about life separation anxiety/loneliness. It’s about losing the sense of control and agency you once had in your life, because you don’t know what the right thing to do is. And that’s something a lot of people, including myself, can relate to. It’s something that is definitely touched on in the show, and this song beautifully explores that specific feeling with perfect blues rock sounds, and a powerful, helpless kind of sadness.
“Somewhere over the dunes, love/ I walk, I wept/ Enough/ I turn the desert into sea, babe/ I swam from the terrible depths/ I don’t know whose problem it is/ I don’t know whose love to give/ I’m losing it”
“Oh, I don’t know what to do about it/ When I’m not so sure about it”
“I don’t know whose problem it is/ I don’t know whose fuck to give”
13. “Shelter” – DOROTHY
“Shelter” is a song that I really wish could have been on the show, for it would’ve provided the perfect atmosphere in a last scene/end credits scenario. Musically it matches the wistful, bluesy sounds that are usually heard on the show, and lyrically it couldn’t be more Maron-esque. The speaker of the song is essentially telling someone that they are aware that they themselves are piece of work, but they really want to take a chance on the other person. They want safety, comfort. They want to belong. I imagine this playing during a night scene with someone walking away, leaving the other person thoughtful and alone. It’s the kind of song that reminds you that self destructive people need love too.
“I’m a hurricane/ I’m a freight train/ Ain’t the right way/ But it’s the only way I know”
“So when my bones come tumblin’ in/ I did it to myself/ Will you still let me in”
“I’m a world of pain/ And you’re a safe place”
“Will you give me shelter from myself?”
14. “Midnight Rambler” (Live) – The Rolling Stones
And now for the very grand finale! I discovered this song from Marc himself on an episode of his podcast, and it quickly became one of my favorite songs of all time. The live version from the “Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out!” album is without question the best version of the track, including the original. This song is basically a rock opera. It’s a sonic symphony of guitars, drums, and a harmonica. I had never heard a song that emulated the epicness and drama of a play before, and The Stones certainly make it difficult for anyone else to measure up to this type of artistry. The premise of the song is basically about a criminal, the “midnight rambler,” sneaking into people’s homes and robbing them blind. The song both pays homage and serves as a warning. It’s darkly sinister, violent, rapturous, intoxicating, and is maybe one of the most iconic rock songs of all time. So thanks Marc, this is a big one for me, and it’s so incredibly fucking glorious.
“He don’t give a hoot of warning/ Wrapped up in a black cat cloak/ He don’t go in the light of the morning/ He split the time the cock’rel crows”
“Sighin’ down the wind so sad/ Listen and you’ll hear him moan”
“Did you hear about the midnight rambler/ Well, honey, it’s no rock ‘n’ roll show”
Well, that’s my ‘Maron’ show themed playlist! Even though the show won’t be continuing, I’m incredibly proud of Marc for sticking to his gut and deciding to end it on his terms, in his way. I’m excited to see what he does next. I know that it will be very him, whatever it is.
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Playlist created by: Veronica Brevik
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @VeronicaBrevik (x)