In which The A.V. Club asks its favorite rockers, writers, comics, or whatevers to set their MP3 players to shuffle and comment on the first few tracks that come up—no cheating or skipping embarrassing tracks allowed.
The shuffler: Larry Clark, the photographer and director best known for the controversial 1995 film Kids. Since then, he's helmed Another Day In Paradise, the perverse Showtime B-movie update Teenage Caveman, the masterful Bully, and the largely unseen Ken Park. Clark's latest, Wassup Rockers, is in theater now
The Langley Schools Music Project, "Desperado"
Oh man, this is great. It's the greatest version of "Desperado" ever. [Recorded in 1976 and 1977, The Langley Schools Music Project collects the recordings of a Canadian school's children's choir singing arrangements of popular songs from the period. —ed.] I love that tune. I wrote a screenplay once—it was never done—in which I die and this little girl sings this at my funeral. That would be the best thing of all time. It's just so pure and innocent and a wonderful experience to hear it.
Dinah Washington, "Darn That Dream"
There's a very, very long saxophone intro, and I forget the saxophone player's name, but it's from a live album called Dinah Jams, and it's almost a five-minute tune. It starts with an incredible solo, then she kills it. She was one of our greatest singers. In fact, that's where Nancy Wilson comes from.
Sublime was one of the greatest bands ever. [Hums.] "Santeria," yeah, this is a great one. I get goosebumps when I listen to Sublime. I saw them once, just a great band. It's terrible, but it seems like some of the best singers die. Kurt Cobain was the best, and this guy was the best, and on and on. I don't think it's the heroin that makes them good. It's a tragedy.
Bob Dylan & The Rolling Thunder Revue, "One More Cup of Coffee (Valley Below)"
This is just Dylan at his best, really great Dylan. The Rolling Thunder Revue was when he was really at his best voice. I mean, he kills those songs, and that might be from the movie Renaldo And Clara. I'm not sure. Which I think everybody should see if just to see Dylan at his wildest and his best, and his best voice. Dylan was very, very important to me. Probably my biggest influences when I was 18 years old were Bob Dylan and Lenny Bruce. Dylan said you could be whoever you wanted to be. You could do what you wanted to do, just do it. And Bruce was all about telling the truth and cutting through all the bullshit.
John Coltrane, "What's New?"
If I was on a desert island and could only have one CD, it would probably be Ballads. I probably listened to that record thousands of times. When I was in my studio in New York, where I haven't been in about three years, I would listen to it every day. I could really work with that. It's just one of the greatest records of all time, and they did a digital remaster a couple of years ago, and you can hear stuff you never heard before.
Fiona Apple, "Across the Universe"
I saw Pleasantville one afternoon in New York with my daughter, whenever that came out. My daughter is 20 now, so she was a young teenager, I guess. We watched the movie, and then during the credits after the film, there was "Across The Universe" by Fiona Apple and I fell out of my chair. I mean, it just completely knocked me out, and I ran out that day and bought the soundtrack. And also put a picture of Fiona Apple on my refrigerator. I actually just met her a couple of years ago and I told her how much I liked that.