I miss Ludo. A lot. And I was sad that Rhapsody almost somehow got rid of my “Best of Ludo” playlist that I have fine-tuned, but it is back. Anyway, Ludo (named after Ludo from the “Labyrinth,” which is enough of a reason to love them) is a lovely sarcastic, fantastical, irreverent band from St. Louis. They’re just lovely, especially if you’re a slightly sarcastic fantasy writer, and each album just got wilder. I had to resist putting all of “Broken Bride,” their rock opera on this, but they have charming albums. I love you, Ludo. May you return to us one day. I’ve seen them in concert twice, once specifically their “Broken Bride” tour, and once at “Ludo Takes Manhattan.”
- “Pt. 1: Broken Bride” – the start of their rock opera, loosely based on “The Time Machine”/”The Book of Revelations”. I pterodactyl Ludo so freaking much.
- “Battle Cry” – their answer to Queen-style stadium rock, it is brilliant and completely vague at the same time (“we will defeat the other guys”). It’s on my list of songs I like particularly because of its Romanitas: “we’ll curse their gods and drink up all their wine.”
- “Go-Getter Greg” – one of the songs in the persona of totally sketchy guy, and I appreciate it because it points out how creepy and possessive men are–“You could use a guy like me in your life”. Ugh, what logic.
- “Love Me Dead” – the first Ludo song I heard, on the radio, and I immediately fell in love because (again) it’s so Roman. I immediately told all my friends “It’s like a song from Catullus:D”. I actually…still use this song to explain Catullus in my classes, too. A+. “You’ve got the mark of the beast, you’re born of a jackal, you’re beautiful.”
- “Good Will Hunting By Myself” – One of the reasons, admittedly, that I love Ludo so much is that I happened to hear them at a time of emotional turmoil, and this is one of the best break up songs ever. “I’m happy now, well, happy in a crying sort of way, you know, curled-up-in-the-shower-biting-your-knees-wishing-you-were-dead kind of happy.” So honest.
- “Drunken Lament” – They also have many creepy love songs, so this case, a girl breaking up with a guy who would do anything to change, but that just doesn’t work, does it?
- “Hum Along” – And speaking of creepy love songs, lol. But I like that the songs really own their creepiness. This is one of the two that I picked from their first album (#5), and it really does a good job of painting the creative songs of the later albums–“Maybe you’ll be kidnapped by pirates” and so forth.
- “Anything for You” – For all those time that love demands you to give up those leprechauns you caught. Did I mention how weird and fun this band is?
- “Topeka” – But seriously starting with 8, we’re moving to some songs that have more serious tones, and I really adore the message of this song, no sarcasm. “You’ve been known to obsess over the future, did you think you’ll get away from the past” etc. It’s a song about revelation is unexpected places.
- “All the Stars in Texas” – This swinging Bonnie-and-Clyde inspired song is just fun–the outlaw who wants to settle down but his lady just loves robbing banks 🙂
- “Lake Pontchartrain” – ghosts or murder, you decide. And another excellent example of why I love this band: this isn’t a pop song, this is a story.
- “Rotten Town” – There are two main reasons I put this song on the “Best Of”. 1) the introduction to this song during one of the concerts was essentially: “it’s the hard story of loss, uncertainty, trying to come to terms with your life, etc….when you’re a pirate.” 2) the limerick that fails at the last moment.
- “Skeletons on Parade” – The title is quite apt. Skeletons are on parade, and they are singing. It’s fun for so many reasons, but primarily? Proper pluralizing of mausoleum and sarcophagus. The vocabulary in this song is very pleasing, and the tone is pleasantly jazzy.
- “Safe in the Dark”- This really fits better with 9 as an actual serious song, but it also fits before 15 on its original album, and so it fits the darkness/night aspect of the previous song, and makes a nice trajectory towards the saddest song (as this is the second saddest song on the album). “Just don’t worry about me, I’ll be fine” / “Everyone wants to feel safe in the dark.”
- “Skeleton’s Lullaby” – a sweet little reprise for #13 of a parental skeleton wishing good…morning to baby skeleton. Because of course there’s a song about this. Does every bad have a song about that? I’m sorry, but this is so great. The point of singing in a band is to express different stories, and Ludo goes all out. Who wants to just sing a love song when you could sing a skeleton love song? etc. etc.
- “Pt. 4: Morning in May” – ;___; I admit it, I cry every time I hear this song. It’s the last song on the rock opera “Broken Bride,” and I guess I won’t spoil it. Go listen to it. It’s only about 30 minutes, 5 songs, and just. Such a nicely done story.
So in conclusion, Ludo is one of my favorite bands, because they are alternate rock musicians who actually sing about alternate topics and not just the expected themes. Oh, it’s still above love and growing up and struggles, but it’s for a generation of 30-something introvert fiction-lovers. AMAZING.