Jonathan Coulton first came to my attention probably at roughly the same time as everyone else on The Internet took note of him: many years ago during his Thing-A-Week series of podcasts. After hearing an interview with him on "Michael and Evo's Slice of SciFi", I immediately fell in love with Skullcrusher Mountain. But more recently, in attending PAX East, I've come to the realization that my favorite songs of his aren't necessarily the crowd favorites. I'll grant you that I loved Code Monkey when it first came out, being a code monkey myself, but I think it's more than hipsterism that's sapped its staying power in my own playlists. Likewise, I accept that RE: Your Brains is a great song, but despite its popularity, there are dozens of other Jonathan Coulton songs that I prefer.
I'd like to share with you five of my personal favorite JoCo tunes, in no particular order. Let me admit in advance that I'm totally geeking out here, feeling a bit of an inward "squee" as I describe each tune because they're all so good.
And in making my list, I've found that just five isn't enough. I absolutely love the rockin' My Beige Bear, in which JoCo sings about what sounds like his daughter's stuffed animal collection, and Dance, Soterios Johnson, Dance, about the NPR radio DJ who leads a double life, spending his nights at ecstasy and red bull infused raves. I absolutely love the music in Summer's Over and Big Bad World One, although I've never cared overmuch for the lyrics of either. Gambler's Prayer is a hilariously callous perspective on casual-but-not-really poker games with friends, and I Feel Fantastic is a hyperbolic song about the wonders of modern pharmaceuticals from the perspective of someone who chronically overmedicates. I love Screwed, especially the verse about Indiana Jones and Boba Fett. Octopus is violent and a bit frightening, but great music. Over There is a hilarious look at Europe's idiosyncrasies, capped with a childhood rhyme that may or may not be localized to Connecticut. ((JoCo and I grew up in the same state - nyah nyah)) And StrollerTown is the Beach Boys tune that never was: an infant singing about his tricked-out stroller.
Jonathan Coulton has a new song out entitled "Red Shirt", and I haven't yet listened to it. I think I'll go do that now.