Seven 9s and 10s

Showing 11 posts tagged songs

My picks for the Top-5 songs played by WBER in 2012 , as whittled down from this pool of songs. If interested, you can view my selection process at this Google Doc. (131 songs down to 22, down to 11, down to 6, down to 5.)
Not a great year overall - far too many synthesizers and drum machines and whiny boys trying to sing like girls. There’s a place for all of that, but now that it’s become mainstream I no longer wish to hear any of it. It’s everywhere and it’s killing me. Thankfully there were some old faithfuls to fall back on.
The Shins - Simple Song (listen on spotify)#1 with a bullet. Never a doubt in my mind about this one. The album as a whole was slightly disappointing, but this song is perfect - particularly the melodies. 
Ben Folds Five - Do It Anyway (listen on spotify) Strip away everything other than Ben’s piano performance and this would still be good enough for #2. Add everything else back in and there was no competition. The 10+ year hiatus didn’t diminish the incredible chemistry that these three guys share. 
Soulsavers - Take Me Back Home (listen on spotify) Wow. Well, this one sorta snuck up on me. That’s about all I can say. Beautiful song. 
The Tragically Hip - At Transformation (listen on spotify) I’d be remiss if I didn’t include at least one song in my top 5 that truly rocks… and it came from a somewhat unlikely source. Thanks, Canada! 
Feist - The Bad In Each Other (listen on spotify) Her voice just hits me right where it counts, and the production on this song is mesmerizing. 

My picks for the Top-5 songs played by WBER in 2012 , as whittled down from this pool of songs. If interested, you can view my selection process at this Google Doc. (131 songs down to 22, down to 11, down to 6, down to 5.)

Not a great year overall - far too many synthesizers and drum machines and whiny boys trying to sing like girls. There’s a place for all of that, but now that it’s become mainstream I no longer wish to hear any of it. It’s everywhere and it’s killing me. Thankfully there were some old faithfuls to fall back on.

  1. The Shins - Simple Song (listen on spotify)
    #1 with a bullet. Never a doubt in my mind about this one. The album as a whole was slightly disappointing, but this song is perfect - particularly the melodies. 
  2. Ben Folds Five - Do It Anyway (listen on spotify)
    Strip away everything other than Ben’s piano performance and this would still be good enough for #2. Add everything else back in and there was no competition. The 10+ year hiatus didn’t diminish the incredible chemistry that these three guys share. 
  3. Soulsavers - Take Me Back Home (listen on spotify)
    Wow. Well, this one sorta snuck up on me. That’s about all I can say. Beautiful song. 
  4. The Tragically Hip - At Transformation (listen on spotify)
    I’d be remiss if I didn’t include at least one song in my top 5 that truly rocks… and it came from a somewhat unlikely source. Thanks, Canada! 
  5. Feist - The Bad In Each Other (listen on spotify)
    Her voice just hits me right where it counts, and the production on this song is mesmerizing. 

They Might Be Giants - Snail Shell

TMBG’s mid-90’s albums John Henry and Factory Showroom were generally overlooked by anything other than diehard fans and college radio.  That’s a shame, because these records contain some of my favorite songs, as it was the peak of their “we’re a rock band!" phase.

Was it something you would do for anybody?
Was it what you’d only do for me?
Or was it something where you acted when you saw the need
And knew that there would be a way the act could be repaid?
And so it may, but for today, I want to thank you for putting me back in my snail shell

Blur - Tracy Jacks

(Tracy Jacks) works in civil service
(Tracy Jacks) it’s steady employment
(Tracy Jacks) it’s a golfing fanatic
(Tracy Jacks) but his putt is erratic
(Tracy Jacks) saw a Harley Street doctor
(Tracy Jacks) who prescribed healthy living
(Tracy Jacks) but he’s getting past forty
(Tracy Jacks) and all the seams are splitting

everyday he got closer
he knew in his heart he was over
i’d love to stay here and be normal
but it’s just so over rated

(Tracy Jacks) left home without warning
(Tracy Jacks) at five in the morning
(Tracy Jacks) got on the first train to Walton
(Tracy Jacks) and stood on the seafront
(Tracy Jacks) threw his clothes in the water
(Tracy Jacks) and ran around naked
(Tracy Jacks) got stopped by the police
(Tracy Jacks) and escorted back home

everyday he got closer
he knew in his heart he was over
i’d love to stay here and be normal
but then it’s just so over rated

and then it happened on a Tuesday morning
Tracy Jacks bulldozed down the house he lived in
saying it’s just so overrated

everyday he got closer
he knew in his heart he was over
i’d love to stay here and be normal
but it was alway over rated

Presidents of the United States of America - Stranger

This song… oh god this song.  It’s so good.  Kitty, Lump, and Peaches got all the attention, but this is the best song on their eponymous debut.  That album is 38 minutes of three-string, dropped-D brilliance.

Here we have everything that I loved about that album, all rolled up into 3 succinct minutes.  It’s got gentle harmonic interplay between the bass and guitars, a singable and memorable melody, razor sharp vocal harmonies (the Open-4ths during the “ma ma ma ma” section are so great), punishing power chords in the chorus, and the kind of quirky, splash-cymbal infused drumming that glued the band’s entire sound together.

But what this song has, above all else, is absolutely perfect lyrics.  Any geeky guy can relate to the last verse; those “ma ma ma ma’s” aren’t there because he couldn’t come up with any words, they are there because that’s precisely what many of us stutter out when we’re attempting to talk to an attractive stranger, and when we finally compose ourselves enough to spit out a few actual words, the best we can do is ask what time it is, when what we really intended to say was “You’re absolutely beautiful, let’s get together sometime.”

You Lynyrd Skynyrd hat
and me little kitty
Sat across with a velvet jacket
wild orange hair and dark dark eyes
I gawked like a 12 year old smitten
Carla the stripper straight from LA
"you seem cool for a naked chick in a booth
Let’s be pals someday
(in other words) put some clothes on and call me”

I saw you it was incredible

Slim relaxed buyin’ wine at the QFC
on a snowy Saturday night
Black pearls and I swear you were drinking beer
you were the redhead behind the counter there
I’m the one who fell out of his chair there
you had your dry cleaning and I think you’re dreamy

I saw you it was incredible
mumbled these words at you
unintelligible
ma ma ma ma ma ma ma ma ma ma
ma ma ma ma ma ma ma ma ma ma
ma ma ma ma ma ma ma ma ma ma
ma ma ma ma ma ma ma ma ma ma
ma ma ma ma ma ma hey you there what time is it

Doves - There Goes The Fear

This is another of the thousands of bands I’ve discovered through WBER.  There’s just something about this song… it’s just so beautiful.  The production is incredible; every listen reveals new layers.  Sounds you never noticed before jump to the forefront to remind you why you love the song.

Like the piano breakdown at the end of Layla, this is one of those songs that makes me feel like everything in life is moving in slow motion, like a scene from some indie movie where two friends finally realize they’re in love and they come together in a tender embrace.

I’m sharing specific songs from my life that hold a permanent place in my heart.  If I were to present a mixtape to everyone that would attend my funeral, it would likely contain these songs.  These won’t come in any particular order; I’ve got an ever-expanding playlist that I’ll be pulling from.

Gethsemane (I Only Want To Say) : Jesus Christ Superstar (Original Cast Recording) - Jesus, sung by Ian Gillian (of Deep Purple).

My love for Jesus Christ Superstar originated when my friends and I discovered the movie in high school.  There was the time in 1995 when my friends mom drove us to see it performed live on stage with Ted Neeley reprising his role as Jesus.  That night my friends and I chased down the tour bus and snagged some autographs.  Check it out, Jesus gave me “Best Wishes!”

It wasn’t until college that I discovered, and aurally devoured, the original cast recording of JCS.  As good as the film versions of these songs are, the versions on this original album are, for me, superior in almost every way, not the least of which is Ian Gillian singing as Jesus.  Now, don’t get me wrong here: movie and stage Jesus - Ted Neeley - is a god; he can do things with his voice that makes mere mortals fall to their knees and bow before his greatness, but Ian’s performance is so heartfelt and intense that I feel like weeping every time he belts out a moan or a scream.  I get chills every time I hear him belt out “Whyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy should I diiiiiiiiiiie?” at 2:27 of this recording (just short of halfway through).  From my experience listening to Deep Purple, I’d say that I’ve heard no point in his career that Ian sounded better than he does on this album.  He thoroughly owned this recording.

Picking a favorite song from JCS is an impossible task for me.  I had 5 songs queued in my playlist trying to decide which I would use for this post (This one + Pilate’s Dream, What’s The Buzz/Strange Thing Mystifying, Dammed For All Time/Blood Money, The Last Supper), each with different characteristics that make this album so meaningful to me.  I settled on Gethsemane because of Ian’s performance, the impressive orchestration and arrangement of the song, and because it’s often the song that I find myself singing hours after listening to the whole album.

Aside from the brilliance of Ian Gillian, this rest of the players on this album are superb, especially the instrumentalists.  In particular, Alan Spenner’s bass playing is downright awe inspiring in it’s loose structure and unwavering groove.  As far as I can tell, he improvised his way through the entire album, following along with the written chord changes.  Any aspiring bass player should study these recordings inside and out.  Put the albums under your pillow and hope that you’ll pick up some technique through osmosis.

Tuesday night I’ll be heading to Buffalo to see JCS live on stage for the third time (each with Ted Neeley).  I can think of no more appropriate week of the year to enjoy a live performance of the final week of Jesus’ life.

(reposted after a bit of an edit)

I’m going to start sharing specific songs from my life that hold a permanent place in my heart.  If I were to present a mixtape to everyone that will attend my funeral, it would likely contain these songs.  These won’t come in any particular order; I’ve got an ever-expanding playlist that I’ll be pulling from.

The first song that I’d like to share is: Golden Earring : Radar Love

I was 11 when my brother first shoved a guitar into my reluctant hands.  The first thing he taught me was the bass line from the verses of this song.  That simple bass line was the seed from which has sprung my undying love for making music and my lifelong goal of being a professional musician.

Beyond the fact that this song is what led me to the guitar, my love for it rests in the fact that it is just so damn good.  Most people can agree that there are few better songs to drive to.  The horn-breakdown in the middle comes out of nowhere - the blaring trumpets hit you like a thousand tiny needles piercing your skull - and just as quickly as it starts it’s over and the song returns to the thumping bass line.  Soon enough you’re rocking out through the big finish and then the song ends and you wonder why your hands hurt, so you look down and notice that your fingers and palms are red and you realize that you’ve just beat the living shit out of your steering wheel.  But was it not worth it?

Strangely, this isn’t the only Dutch band I’ve got on my list.  Stay tuned for more.