Top Ten Songs About Dust

Categories: Lists
phxhaboob.jpeg
July 5, 2011: The day everyone's cars were rendered absolutely filthy
I was going to say that unless you were living under a rock the past few days, you probably heard about Tuesday night's massive dust storm -- known as a haboob in some parts of the world (parts that aren't home to Republican presidential candidates). However, chances are that rock you call home probably got blasted with dust just like the rest of us in the Metro Phoenix area. What happened last night was something out of a post-apocalyptic tableau -- a 1,000 foot tall, 50 mile wide dust cloud engulfing the Valley, carrying with it winds upwards of 70 mph. Some people claimed that god wasn't happy with the results of the Casey Anthony trial, yet that all took place in Florida, not Arizona.

This is not the first time the Valley has met with an unruly haboob, nor will it be the last. In my infinite wisdom, I figured why not ride the dust wave and make a list of the top ten songs about dust. You can even make a nice little playlist of the songs so you have something to listen to while you clean all that fucking dust off your car.

"Shimmy Shimmy Ya" -- Ol' Dirty Bastard

When one thinks of the correlation between music and dirt, it's impossible to not start with the ODB himself. The Wu-Tang's most infamous member, Russell "Ol' Dirty Bastard" Jones passed away from a drug overdose in 2004. His legacy, however, lives on, and there's no better song to celebrate the ODB than 1995's "Shimmy Shimmy Ya," taken from his solo debut Return to the 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version.

"Dusty" -- Soundgarden

Taken from their 1996 album Down on the Upside, Soundgarden's "Dusty" is a perfect ode to the morning after the storm. The song even features the titular lyric, "I think it's turning back on me / I'm down on the upside," as well as the all-too-appropriate lyric, "I think it's coming in the wind / And I'm gonna let it."

Fight Club: Original Motion Picture Score -- The Dust Brothers

It's hard to pick just one song from the film score, so I figured I'd just include the whole thing. The Dust Brothers are known for their film scores as well as their work as producers, not necessarily making albums under The Dust Brothers name. There's no way in hell I could make a list about dust-inspired music and not include The Dust Brothers.

"Talk Dirty To Me" -- Poison

I'll tell you what, my goddamn car was talking dirty to me Wednesday morning. That damn haboob wreaked havoc on a multitude of Phoenix-area cars that were parked on the street last night, my own included. Bret Michaels ain't exactly singing about dust in this 1987 classic (from which seminal El Paso rockers At The Drive-In got their name), yet the sentiment -- and sediment, for that matter -- remains.

"Shutterbug" -- Big Boi

You're right, you're right -- this song has nothing to do with dust or dirt. It is, however, from Big Boi's 2010 album Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty. Yeah, it's a bit of a reach, but it still works.

"In Dust We Trust" -- The Chemical Brothers

The second set of brothers to make the list, the Chemicals released their debut album, Exit Planet Dust, in 1995. Featured on that stellar debut is the track "In Dust We Trust," helping solidify Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons utter fascination with dust.

"Cities In Dust" -- Siouxsie & The Banshees

This 1985 song from the venerable Siouxsie & The Banshees describes the scene in the city of Pompeii after the 79 AD eruption of Mount Vesuvius. While Phoenix hardly resembled Pompeii the last few days, it could definitely be described as a city in dust.

"The Great Dust Storm (Dust Storm Disaster)" -- Woody Guthrie

The lead track from an album about the Dust Bowl of the 1930s -- an era Guthrie himself lived through in Oklahoma -- tells the tale of that dark period in American history when 2.5 million people were forced to move out of the unlivable Plains states. While last night's storm will never compare to something as massive as the Dust Bowl, it definitely makes you think what it must have been like to encounter such an unrelentingly dusty force of nature.

"Son of a Preacher Man" -- Dusty Springfield

Come on -- you knew Dusty Springfield was a mere formality once you started reading this list. I'd be remiss to not include Ms. Springfield. Her 1968 top ten hit "Son of a Preacher Man" is easily one of her more recognizable songs, one amongst many hits Springfield had throughout her storied career. 

"Dust In The Wind" -- Kansas

"You're my boy, Blue!" If you were keen to Dusty Springfield being on the list, then you probably assumed that "Dust In The Wind" had to take the top spot. Kansas' 1977 classic has to easily be the most recognizable song about dust and/or wind ever recorded. All we are -- especially considering last night -- is dust in the wind, you guys.

Honorable Mentions:

Dirt -- Alice in Chains
"Dust Storm On The Horizon" -- Sammy Butcher
"Dry and Dusty" -- Fever Ray
"Dirty Boots" -- Sonic Youth
"My Name Is Mud" -- Primus

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3 comments
The Sweep
The Sweep

Really another one bites the dust didn't make the list?

Stone
Stone

Do the music writers at New Times have anything in the think tank besides these tired top ten lists?  Any other ideas guys? Anything?

Avlisk
Avlisk

Dust: Fleetwood Mac, Bare Trees is my personal favourite. Stevie Winwood had one also called Dust on Arc of a Diver which is OK.

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