Saturday, March 30, 2024

Paul McCartney - hope of deliverance, 1993

"A soft, acoustic-anchored arrangement clips along at a breezy pace. Spanish cultural influences and handclappin' rhythms gives the track a unique and refreshing vibe that will please programmers at pop, AC, and album-rock levels. Like a visit from a dear old friend."

Muzz - red western sky, 2020

"‘Red Western Sky‘ is a track taken from Muzz’ debut, self-titled album that was released back in June. It’s a dark track with a forlorn, yearning edge to it. ‘Red Western Sky’ is expansive with various intricate, even delicate brass parts which add a more tender side to it. Something sounds familiar about the track, you say? Muzz are a a “supergroup” comprised of Paul Banks (Interpol), Matt Barrick (The Walkmen) and Josh Kaufman!"

Club 8 - kill kill kill, 2013

“We stole the song title from McCarthy,” says songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Johan Angergård. “As much as I love them the topic of “kill kill kill kill” (yes, we settled with one “kill” less…) felt really wrong. They were offended by animal right activists caring more about animals than people. Which, of course, is not true. I believe most would be happy if animals were treated as animals in opposite to dead, manufactured products.”

Friday, March 29, 2024

The Project - romero, 2012

"The Project is an extraordinary musical endeavor born out of love - love for the Church, love for music and, perhaps most importantly, love for friends."

Sufjan Stevens - mercury live, 2017

"Planetarium is a collaborative album featuring Bryce Dessner of the indie rock band The National, drummer James McAlister, contemporary classical music composer and arranger Nico Muhly, and singer-songwriter Sufjan Stevens."

REM - the one i love, 1987

"I've always left myself pretty open to interpretation. It's probably better that they just think it's a love song at this point."

Neil Young - powderfinger live, 2016

"Powderfinger" opens the second side of Neil Young's classic Rust Never Sleeps album, heralding the record's shift from the delicate and elegiac acoustic approach of the first half to the desperate, corrosive sound of Crazy Horse in full electric stride; it's a sudden, almost blindsiding metamorphosis, which is entirely the point -- it's the shot you never saw coming. As the centerpiece of Young's epic meditation on history, mortality, and violence, "Powderfinger" is, like so many of the album's songs, an epitaph. Set in the Old West, it tells the story of a young man left virtually alone to defend his family and frontier settlement against attack, sacrificing his life not in a blaze of glory but in the paralyzed grip of indecision and fear. Although "Powderfinger"'s vividly poetic first-person narrative evokes traditional folk storytelling, Crazy Horse's performance is pure, incendiary rock & roll, with Young's riveting guitar solos expanding to mythic proportions as the song builds toward its harrowing climax. "Just think of me as one you never figured/Would fade away so young/With so much left undone," the fallen hero sings from beyond the grave, echoing Rust Never Sleeps' central and oft-quoted maxim that "It's better to burn out than to fade away"; of course, for better or worse, rock & roll guarantees your immortality either way."

The Cure - friday i'm in love, 1992

"Robert Smith, the song's primary writer, described it in 1992 as both "a throw your hands in the air, let's get happy kind of record" and "a very naïve, happy type of pop song."

James - moving on, 2014

"Booth directly addressed his mother's death in "Moving On", though the chorus had been written before that event. It opens with a loop section done by Davies and Dingel, which Booth likened to funeral bells. The track was compared to British Sea Power, while during the chorus Booth channelled James Dean Bradfield of Manic Street Preachers."

Thursday, March 28, 2024

The New Pornographers - champions of red wine, 2014

“Champions of Red Wine” is uptempo and brilliantly played and produced, with a powerful, anchoring vocal chorus that builds up to the entry of the song’s lead singer, American singer-songwriter Neko Case, and fills spaces between her early lines then revisits later as a kind of tagline for the piece. The song starts with an electric guitar and arpeggiated synthesizer (plus a tambourine), and the melody kicks into gear once the drummer comes in. (Interesting sidebar: in a 2014 interview with the American non-profit National Public Radio, Case and songwriter Newman talk about the album Brill Bruisers and how, during the recording of the song, he was singing lead and Case was backup; in production, he removed his vocal from the mix and felt her singing was much better for the piece). The meaning of “Champions of Red Wine” is unclear."

REM - so central rain, 1984

"i don't think it's about anything so specific...just about feeling guilty for things that were never in your hands to begin with...or not having the foresight to see an opportunity pass until there's no turning back..."

Beirut - at once live, 2015

"This is gonna sound like a romantic story, but when I was in Paris I saw this band of kids that all bought pawn shop instruments like busted up tubas and trumpets and stuff, and they would all wander around Paris, playing. They weren’t great musicians or anything, but it sounded awesome and was a lot of fun. I kind of wanted to mimic that idea. That’s why I’m working with…basically we are all amateurs. No way in hell could I ever revert back to a guitar-bass-drum kind of band. I can’t write for that. I don’t really even like the sound that much."

Father John Misty - god's favorite customer, 2018

"in remaining tight-lipped, this taciturn new aspect to Father John Misty might be his most genuinely sincere, and his most profound"

Muzz - knuckleduster, 2020

"Exclusively discussing “Knuckleduster” for American Songwriter, Josh Kaufman says that the track “was the first track we recorded and the last one to get finished. We re-cut it several different ways only to end up with the first take. This song feels like a flashback of old love, in the middle of a speedy new life adventure. Also, the drumming is exquisite.”

Paul Weller - on sunset, 2020

"an album on which he gamely attempts to meld the competing desires to be the keeper of musical traditions and a modernist in the original sense of the phrase: if you were looking for a spiritual forebear in Weller’s catalogue, you might alight on 1980’s Sound Affects, where the influence of the era’s wilfully jarring post-punk was overlaid with his obsession with mid-60s Beatles."

Slowdive - sugar for the pill, 2017

“Sugar for the Pill” is something entirely different—a disarming heartbreak ballad led by singer Neil Halstead in a surprisingly gentle mood. Sparer than their early, fuzzy compositions, and warmer than the equally minimalistic tracks on Pygmalion, “Sugar for the Pill” is simple and delicate, but never frail. The song’s greatest surprise is a smooth, catchy ‘80s soft-rock chorus—a considerable risk for a band that rarely indulged in straightforward pop. But icy needles of guitar and Rachel Goswell’s ghostly backing vocal balance out any hint of effusiveness. An undulating melody and underlying thrum of steady, persistent bass and drums imbues its sad story of a dissolving relationship with a sense of acceptance. It’s gorgeous, but grounded. In their newest incarnation, Slowdive have traded the abject longing of youth—an emotion that suffused so many shoegaze classics—for the wisdom of maturity. Every great band should age so well."

The National - nobody else will be there live, 2017

"Extremists are going to eat the Republican party alive....They're losing their moderate people."

Wednesday, March 27, 2024

The Beatles - long tall sally cover, 1964

"The Beatles were admirers of Little Richard, and regularly performed his songs during their live act. "Long Tall Sally" was the most durable song in their live repertoire, lasting from their earliest days as the Quarrymen in 1957 through to their last public concert in August 1966. As with the majority of their Little Richard remakes, Paul McCartney sang lead vocals, as he could closely imitate Richard's vocal style."

REM - you are the everything, 1988

"Falling asleep while voices are talking somewhere in the house brings to mind the total trust and feeling of safety we lose as children."

The Smith Street Band – death to the lads, 2017

"I'm not hiding from anything, I said some incredibly hurtful things that I completely regret. I ask that you make up your own minds based on what has actually been said rather than form an opinion based on someone else's version."

Beirut - august holland live, 2015

"Despite rhythmic vitality and the addition of optimistic trumpet and trombone, Condon's lyrics reveal a man still suffering from loss and longing."

Sufjan Stevens - tonya harding, 2017

"Tonya Harding's dramatic rise and fall was fiercely followed by the media, and she very quickly became the brunt of jokes, the subject of tabloid headlines and public outcry. She was a reality TV star before such a thing even existed. But she was also simply un-categorical: American's sweetheart with a dark twist. But I believe this is what made her so interesting, and a true American hero. In the face of outrage and defeat, Tonya bolstered shameless resolve and succeeded again and again with all manners of re-invention and self-determination. Tonya shines bright in the pantheon of American history simply because she never stopped trying her hardest. She fought classism, sexism, physical abuse and public rebuke to become an incomparable American legend."

Surf Rock Is Dead - tough love, 2022

“Tough Love” is a nice bit of sunny respite from the harsh cold of winter, with a bright-minded vibrant spirited, and jangly dream pop sound that sees the band pick right up from where they left off."

The Mountain Goats - get famous live, 2021

"Whereas it seems to mess with people really bad, it seems like the younger you get famous, the worse it is for you. So the song is a curse, right, the song is, I just thought, that’s the worst thing you can wish on somebody."

Pope Francis - wake up go go forward, 2015

"Wake Up! Music Album with His Words and Prayers is a progressive rock album by Pope Francis released on 27 November 2015 on Believe Digital. The album is formed of speeches by Pope Francis recorded in numerous locations worldwide between 2013 and 2015 with accompanying music tracks of prayers and hymns by various Italian artists and producers."

The Cure - lovesong, 1989

"Speaking of its simplicity and unusually upbeat nature compared to the other tracks on Disintegration, Robert Smith stated, "It's an open show of emotion. It's not trying to be clever. It's taken me ten years to reach the point where I feel comfortable singing a very straightforward love song."

U2 - i will follow live, 1983

"Bono has said that he wrote the lyrics from the perspective of his mother Iris, who died in 1974 when he was 14 years old, and that they were about the unconditional love a mother has for her child."

Belle And Sebastian - jonathan david, 2005

"isn't just guitarist Stevie Jackson's most triumphant non-album contribution to the Belle and Sebastian canon, it might be the best example of what his songwriting is capable of. [It] impeccably blends in with his band's MO, with its dense '70s-ish melody and pitch-perfect orchestration. Thematically, it fits with Belle and Sebastian's underdog narrative too."

Fleet Foxes - third of may odaigahara live, 2017

"This is, in my opinion, THE magnum opus—the greatest song that FF has ever produced and one of the greatest songs in the history of the genre. This is the only perfect score I have given and I will give on these posts. 10/10. I have listened to this song hundreds of times, and upon each listen I find new details and new layers of complexity. This song is so good, in fact, that I feel like Robin tried to copy the formula on a few songs on Shore, without the same level of success. Every note of Third of May seems so carefully placed and finely tuned. The two-note snare at 5:32 is, for some reason, the most satisfying, spine-tingling sensation I can find in most all of music. I am overjoyed that this song even exists."

Pet Shop Boys - the pop kids, 2016

"Despite the bouncy, seemingly carefree music, there's a strong undercurrent of melancholy conveyed through a preponderance of minor chords and Neil's slightly stiff, wooden vocal. It sounds almost as if he knows something that we don't. Or is he simply trying to express a sense of the vague sadness that so often accompanies nostalgia—a bittersweet awareness of lost youth and "good old days" now long past? Then again, there's that little matter of lost love ("I loved you"), which in and of itself is more than enough to justify that melancholy."

REM - world leader pretend live, 2013

"While it was never released as a single, “World Leader Pretend” is a very important song in the R.E.M. canon for a couple of different reasons. For one thing, it’s the first set of lyrics that Michael Stipe was comfortable with printing on an album sleeve. This felt like a huge deal at the time, putting the spotlight on “World Leader Pretend” in the same way that Led Zeppelin had put the spotlight on “Stairway To Heaven” 17 years previously. Which, of course, was on purpose, though the two songs couldn’t be more far apart on pretty much every level. But given that Peter Buck played a mandolin on three of the Green songs and “The Battle of Evermore” was on that fourth Led Zeppelin album, there’s no way it was a coincidence."

Prefab Sprout - bonny, 1985

"I grew up in Witton Gilbert in County Durham and started Prefab Sprout with my brother [Martin, bass] and Michael Salmon, who lived down the street. Michael borrowed a drum kit and Martin and I shared an amplifier. We rehearsed in my dad’s run-down wooden-framed petrol station. We were as rough as can be, but we sounded like a band, at least to ourselves."

Father John Misty - total entertainment forever, 2017

“Human civilizations have been entertaining themselves in disgusting ways all through human history”

New Order - regret, 1993

"The central puzzle is that with New Order you have lyrics that most songwriters would look at as senseless knock-offs, and a voice that most singers would call insultingly blank, and when you put the two together you sometimes get records which turn your stomach upside down with their brilliance. Actually, that’s not a puzzle at all: that’s just how pop music has always worked, but still New Order remain a frustrating band to write about because their quality is so slippery but so undeniable."

Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Neil Young - after the gold rush, 1970

"After The Gold Rush is an environmental song... I recognize in it now this thread that goes through a lotta my songs that’s this time-travel thing... When I look out the window, the first thing that comes to my mind is the way this place looked a hundred years ago."

The National - day i die, 2017

“Day I Die” makes nice use of the organ at the onset. It’s great to hear a song with a quicker pace from The National. Up until this point, most of the singles have been slower. In addition to the tempo, there’s more of a rock-oriented sensibility, which is a pro. The tone of the guitars, particularly when they ascend to their upper register, stands out. Also, there’s an exuberance about this particular song, at least in regards to sound. It also helps that it’s set in a major key. Even with the exuberance, the lyrics showcases pessimism."

The Flaming Lips - a day in the life cover, 2014

"With a Little Help from My Fwends is the second main album of the "Fwends" series by American rock band the Flaming Lips. It is a track-for-track tribute to the Beatles album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, with guest performers appearing on each song. It was released on October 27, 2014, through Warner Bros. Records. All proceeds from record sales went to the Bella Foundation, an organization in Oklahoma City that helps provide veterinary care to pet owners in need."

The Cure - catch, 1987

"Catch" is a song by English rock band The Cure released on 22 June 1987 as the second single from their album Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me (1987). It was only released as a single in the UK, where it charted at No. 27, and Europe."

The Charlatans - with no shoes, 1997

"Discussing the opening song "With No Shoes", Burgess said he and Mark Collins wanted to make something between Solid Air (1973) by John Martyn, which was owned by the former, and Smash Hits (1968) by the Jimi Hendrix Experience, which was owned by the latter. The song's title was taken from Kung Fu, where the character Kwai Chang Caine refrained from wearing shoes. "North Country Boy" discusses a man attempting to cheer himself up; Burgess said this person was himself, explaining that he remade "Girl from the North Country" (1963) by Dylan from a man's perspective. For it, Burgess said he and Collins tried to mix the work of the Rolling Stones and Simon & Garfunkel. "Tellin' Stories" was initially named "Laughing Gravy", a reference to Laurel and Hardy, with some of the lyrics being influenced by John Wesley Harding (1967) by Dylan. It is a neo-psychedelia song that evokes This Is the Sea (1985)-era the Waterboys. Rob Collins did not like the initial version of the song done at Windermere, suggesting they rework the melody, which eventually happened. This alteration prompted Burgess to re-do the lyrics. Collins also proposed adding a drum-and-guitar break between each verse and chorus section. Rowlands' contribution to the track saw the addition of a countdown during the introduction; it was originally from 1 to 10, but was edited to only include 1, 2, and 9."

Le Canal - falling tide, 2019

"The song was recorded in Gothenburg, Sweden, in 2018. Musicians on the track is: Daniel Blomqvist - guitars and vocals, Olle Nilsson - drums, Anders ”Enda Barnet” Göransson - keys and production and Totte Nydén - bass."

U2 - beautiful day, 2000

"Like many tracks from All That You Can't Leave Behind, "Beautiful Day" harkens back to the group's past sound. The tone of the Edge's guitar was a subject of debate among the band members, as they disagreed on whether he should use a sound similar to that from their early career in the 1980s. The band's lead vocalist Bono explained that the upbeat track is about losing everything but still finding joy in what one has."

Monday, March 25, 2024

Sufjan Stevens - fourth of july, 2015

“Fourth of July”, is a reflection on the night his mother died. Sufjan quietly cries and croons his love for the woman who bore him, the woman who weaved in and out of his life until her death. The words feel close, **like a private conversation occurring with the listener eavesdropping."

Belle And Sebastian - electronic renaissance live, 2018

"Actually when the band started, when it was Stuart teaching people songs he'd written on an acoustic guitar or the piano, I guess people hadn't necessarily found their place in things. You maybe didn't know what people are into, and i think eventually you start to draw from other people."

The Mary Onettes - ruins, 2015

"Last summer I basically lost every song I've ever recorded with the Mary Onettes. My hard drive with all my music was stolen in my car one fine afternoon in Stockholm, the very same fine afternoon we came home from our US tour, the very same day I was feeling thrilled to come home and start the process of finishing our new album. Of course I had made a backup copy on my computer at home. But for some reason a power failure in the building made that hard drive collapse too. Unbelievable. I was speechless for days."

The New Pornographers - colossus of rhodes, 2019

"the hooks and the lyrics are as sharp as ever, too, the latter functioning as part anxious messages-in-bottles, part baroque bubblegum life preservers. It’s panic-attack pop, fretting its way through vintage good-time chord changes, and letting us know we’re not alone."

Pet Shop Boys - the sodom and gomorrah show, 2006

"Neil told interviewer Jacqui Swift of the online Sun that when he wrote the lyrics he was "thinking about 24-hour news channels" because of the way they present the world—in particular, its horrors ("death and destruction")—as entertainment. Another source of inspiration is the French author Marcel Proust (1871-1922), the fourth volume of whose great novel À la recherche du temps perdu is titled Sodome et Gomorrhe (often translated as Cities of the Plain). A major theme of Proust's work is the way in which distractions, often of a technological nature, all too often serve to alienate people from themselves and each other. So is "The Sodom and Gomorrah Show" a distraction from reality or reality itself? Perhaps both. That is, television news indeed presents reality—or at least one version of it—but in such a way as often to make it somewhat unreal to us."

Belle And Sebastian - i didn't see it coming, 2010

"my story went on for seven years, and everything happened really, really slowly"

REM - shiny happy people, 1991

"Pierson interpreted the line "throw your love around" to mean "to share your love and grow your love with others. It's not mindless at all. It's a song about spreading love."

Beirut - east harlem live, 2011

"the stately backing is what we've come to expect from Beirut, with swaying accordion, rich brass, lively piano, and trebly strums, all in all more like a 2010 Williamsburg performance. By the time Condon switches things up, repeating, "Oh, the sound will bring me home again," over wordless backing vocals, he might as well be describing the warm, cozy but still distinctive feeling "East Harlem" has achieved."

Purple Mountains - darkness and cold, 2019

"Lyrics from "Darkness and Cold" appear on the album We Will Always Love You (2020) by The Avalanches. The lyrics appear on the track "Dial D for Devotion", sung by Karen O, and on the track "Running Red Lights", sung by Pink Siifu. Berman first collaborated with The Avalanches in 2012, on their track "A Cowboy Overflow of the Heart", which featured Berman reading a poem he composed over music by the group. Berman later appeared as a vocalist on The Avalanches' album Wildflower (2016), reading a poem on the album's closing track "Saturday Night Inside Out".

Saint Etienne - avenue, 1992

"The eclectic sense of rhythm that has revitalized British pop through raves, techno and other aural experiments allows Wiggs and Stanley to make "Avenue" one of the most breathtaking set pieces since Roxy Music's "Amazona"." Peter Stanton from Smash Hits declared the song, along with "You're in a Bad Way", as "classic pop beauties"."