September '10 - February '11
As usual the tracks of music that got stuck in my head in the last six months, in order.
And only 3 months overdue wohoo!
* Click image to download a ZIP of the compilation:
Bee Gees - I've Gotta Get A Message To You
At the height of my disco obsession I acquired the entire Bee Gees discography. I have a rule with myself where I only allow an album into my library after listening to it uninterrupted at least two times through, then I decide if it's worth keeping or not. The Bee Gees discography was so expansive it took me over a week of pure Bee Gees listening to get through it all.
I was surprised that the earlier albums sounded so much like The Beatles. This song in particular infected me much the way a Beatles song might.
Bee Gees - Marley Purt Drive
Another early Bee Gees song. I don't know what it is, but something about this song is so uplifting and powerful, in this lazy smiling sort of way. The restrained banjo strumming, calmly impassioned singing, confusing lyrics, and plodding drums, slide guitar accents, and background strings are all perfectly combined.
Joanna Newsom - On a Good Day
I turned one of my friend on to Joanna Newsom after over exposing him with endless plays while he was visiting me. He told me later that this song got stuck in his head, and that he liked to wake up and start his days to it. I had previously overlooked this song, but started paying greater attention to it after he brought it up. And sure enough it became another in the seemingly endless list of Joanna Newsom songs to get stuck in my head.
Joanna Newsom - '81
This song got stuck in my head after I saw a video of her playing it live on some talk show. I love the conversation between the dark heavy strings and the bright light ones. I'm not going to link the video here because I don't want you to get your heart broken.
Briano Eno & David Byrne - Moonlight in Glory
After having this album for years and hardly listening to it, I suddenly couldn't get enough and was listening to it on repeat for about a week.
This song is an interesting mix of visceral percussion, staccato bass line, synthetic stings and augmented samples. So masterfully handled as only Brian Eno can. My favorite is at the end where the woman relates the anecdote about Jack knocking on the door of old-lady house. "Oh yes. Come on in."
Joanna Newsom - In California
I can count on one hand the number of times I've cried as an adult. And all but one of those times has been to music. I don't think I've ever been so effected by a song as I was with this song by Joanna Newsom. I had listened to it at least fifty times without effect, before suddenly, one day, something unlocked in it for me, and I was overcome by emotion listening to it. There are two parts in the song where I have trouble breathing:
Well, I have sown untidy furrows 'cross my soul
but I am still a coward
content to see my garden grow so sweet
and full of someone else's flowers
sometimes I can almost feel the power
sometimes I am so in love with you
I don't belong to anyone
my heart is heavy as an oil drum
and i don't want to be alone
my heart is yellow as an ear of corn
and I have torn my soul apart
from pulling artlessly with fool commands
some nights I just never go to sleep at all
and I stand
shaking in the doorway like a sentinel, all alone
bracing like the bow upon a ship
and fully abandoning
any thought of anywhere but home
sometimes I can almost feel the power
and I do love you
is it only timing that has made it such a dark hour
The Cranberries - Empty
I've been super into the Cranberries since I was in elementary school. And always wondered why no one ever agreed with me. Now that nineties music is becoming cool again to teenagers in much the same way 80's music was rediscovered as cool to my generation, bands like The Cranberries have been allowed to exist again. Unfortunately it's with a sense of irony or kitsch or something. But I maintain as I always have, that they are a rad band that makes rad music. What's the problem? Listen to how she controls the way her voice cracks and how un-apologetically she draws out the last syllable of "empty". PURE RADNESS.
Joni Mitchell - California
I'm so creepily obsessed with Joanna Newsom's music, and have heard her described so many times as "The new Joni Mitchell" that I figured I might as well cover at least one of my many embarrassing musical blind spots and finally check her out.
To be completely honest, after listening to her discography five times through, I wasn't as blown away as I expected to be. But I did think the Blue album is amazing on every level. This song is my favorite. "Oh the rouge! The red red rouge!"
If your heart can take it, find the video of her playing this song for the BBC in 1970.
Joni Mitchel - All I Want
I really like the way she paces her singing throughout.
I want to have fun, I want to shine like the sun
I want to be the one that you want to see
I want to knit you a sweater
Want to write you a love letter
I want to make you feel better
I want to make you feel free
I want to make you feel free
Jesu - Tired of Me, We All Faulter, Farewell
Jesu is another band I've been listening to for years, but that suddenly took center stage in my music listening.
Their music seems impassively dense and heavy at first, but once I acclimated to it I found it incredibly expressive.
I feel vaguely like I'm having a heart attack while being swept under water by large waves crashing above, as lights slowly blink and strobe deep within the dark waters.
Cat Power - Ramblin' (Wo)man
Well I love you
I love you baby
But you've got to understand
When the Lord made me
He made me
Cat Power - Metal Heart (Jukebox version)
Cat power is the master of covers. This cover of her own song is so shockingly different and beautiful it's almost bewildering. I love listening to both together and marveling at the breadth of her insight and artistic mastery.
Paul Simon - Obvious Child
Figured it was time to finally check out Paul Simone's other albums, after burning a hole listening to Graceland. This infectious, uplifting, abstractly poignant, sensitive, exhilarating song pretty neatly sums up why Paul is so completely fantastic.
Paul Simon - The Coast
I don't even know what to say about this. It would have only occurred to Paul Simon to make this. There are so many great ideas here, all astonishingly well conceived and executed throughout. A contemporary singer/songwriter would be lucky if he/she had even one of the thirty ideas packed into this song.
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