Editor's note: Jason Budjinski, AKA Billy Boloby, is a former New Times Broward-Palm Beach music editor and South Florida musician. His friends are joining musical forces at an upcoming concert to help raise funds for his liver transplant, which is necessary due to the effects of Crohn's disease and primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC). Read his full story on County Grind.
While medical science tries its best to keep this "bag of bones alive" (thank you, Flamin' Groovies), I often turn to music to get a quick shot of "soul relief." Here are some of my go-to songs for rejuvenating the spirit, in no particular order.
5. Screeching Weasel - "The Science of Myth"/"What We Hate"
My Brain Hurts is the greatest pop-punk album of all time. That much is indisputable. Now, regarding the best song on the album, that's a matter of personal taste, and I prefer "Guest List." However, it's only the third song, and because it's the first one that's really poppy, it really serves to set the tone of the rest of the album.
By the time you get to the end of side one, which closes with "The Science of Myth," not only does your brain not hurt but you'll be floating on Cloud 9, feeling that sense of euphoria that all good pop-punk aspires to. As the song fades, the silence that follows perfectly sets up the intro to "What We Hate," which begins with a single guitar strumming out the four chords that will carry you through the next two minutes and 26 seconds of elevated consciousness.
These songs work too well together to pick just one, and you have to hear them together to get the full effect. Because both songs have serious, philosophical lyrics (as opposed to, say, "Fathead"), the music and lyrics combine to make everything seem fresh and new with limitless possibilities. It also helps if you're 16 when you first listen to it.
4. The Jam - "Thick as Thieves"
This is the perfect example of how important an album's song order is. I never owned a proper copy of Setting Sons, on which this song appears. Rather, my friend Ryan made me a tape of it, ostensibly with the "shuffle" function on and excluding "Smithers-Jones" and the rushed cover version of "(Love Is Like a) Heat Wave." This means that "Thick as Thieves" was the sixth song, rather than the second. Similar to the situation with "The Science of Myth," "Thick as Thieves" benefits from following five other great songs. So by the time it starts, I'm already locked in to that feeling of musical bliss and still crave more.
On paper, it's not the most brilliant song. But that's why music is meant for listening. There's an intangible quality that escapes rational understanding, and whatever it is, this song has it in spades.