It's time that I hit you up with a new list. It's not that I do not always have a list, because I do. Lately, it has had more to do with time constraints. tOver the next few months this current book project will be finished and then we can all run out and buy the book. (Yes? Okay…maybe not.)
For those of you new to the List, it is simply a list of what is on my current play-list at the moment, hence, songs I am listening to a lot right now in the moment. There is no rhyme or reason to the list other than that. It’s that simple, and it’s a place to discuss music and join in and reminisce and swap ideas. Jump in if you have something to share…
"After Hours" by The Velvet Underground – Originally said to have been written for Nico by Lou Reed, this song is more likely to bring up visions of Edie Sedgwick. It's nymph-like and more sweet and waifish than the Teutonic Nico.
“After Hours” sometimes known as “Close the Door” is a strange, sweet woman/girl song. The lyrics are about a girl who seems unhappy, hopeful at once, yet still stuck following the bright cynic’s light of Diogenes thinking she’d never have to see the day again. The lyrics here speak for themselves better than anything I can write. So here is a sampling.
- One, two, three
If you close the door
The night could last forever
Leave the sunshine out
And say hello to never
All the people are dancing
And they're having such fun
I wish it could happen to me
But if you close the door
Id never have to see the day again
"Eve The Apple of My Eye" by Bell XI – I love the sound of this song and singer Paul Noonan’s voice. The band is Irish from Country Kildare and have been around since 1999 from what I could discern. This song is terrific because it is a song about a love that remains doomed and yet hopeful, if sadly so. I strongly recommend listening to the strongly ethereal, if you can imagine such a thing, then take a listen… you know where to go.
- You left it, I sent it
I want it back
You left it, I sent it
I want it back
If I had you here, I'd clip your wings
Snap you up and leave you sprawling on my pin
This plan of mine is oh so very lame
Can't you see the grass is greener where it rains
"Gutters Full of Rain" and "It’s Not Easy Being Me" by David Gray – Gray is from Sale of Greater Manchester, Great Britain. Here, in “Gutters Full of Rain” you can really hear his accent. He goes to no end to hide it at all which is what really, I think, makes this song.
Gray has been around for a while, but wasn’t really noticed until the release of his album White Ladder. Songs like “This Year’s Love” and “Babylon” have made the charts in both the U.K. and the U.S. with “Babylon” being Gray’s most popular song in the States. Still, as much as I like all of those songs, I like the underrated "Gutters Full of Rain." It’s quiet and understated. itself Perhaps that is it's very appeal.
"It’s Not Easy Being Me" has a greater appeal, and is a melancholy kind of song. It sounds almost as if it were written about a super-hero who is just trying so hard (was this from a soundtrack?). It’s a beautiful song. “I can’t stand to fly… I’m not that naïve.” Perfect.
"His New Look" by Bongwater – The lyrics are enough to crack you up and enough to keep you listening because we’ve all had some ridiculous lover whose “hair is long and styled in a prince valiant hair-do” etc. Maybe it wasn't exactly that, but we get the point. Then, there is the point about the “somewhat pudgy redhead” in the car; it's all at once biting humor and sarcasm mixed in with something bittersweet and is what makes this song work.
Bongwater wrote a song called “His Old Look” but it is nowhere as good as this one. This is the best one; so good it is almost performance art. Trippy stuff, this group was formed in 1985 by Ann Magnuson and Mark Kramer (of Shimmy Disc). The song ends with a terrific howl… if you liked silly but fun trippy music in school or now, you’ll love this song. It’s too funny and too good to miss.
"Meet Me By the Water" by Rachael Yamagata – Here is a yearning and pining question of a song. I discovered Yamagata through one of her harder songs, “Worn Me Down” (also a terrific song). “Meet Me By the Water” is a question here, … Would you? she asks, because this time she is “ready to break all the rules,” but is the other in this equation.
This is clearly a love that society would frown on because it means breaking rules, as she says, so it could be an affair (a word I loathe because I think it cheapens what can be real love between two people, even if socially frowned upon. It happens. People fall in love with other people. It’s life.) This is a love that has held on for a long time and you can just tell this is a friendship on the cusp – a ‘would be, could be, will it be?’
We don’t know the answer in this song, we never find out, but Yamagata gives us compelling reason to believe it could happen but as with her other work and songs there are no guarantees. So much of the songs from Yamagata are about being worn-down and tired at the end of something huge, just a huge, huge love that is one of those ones that you just know you won’t recover from quickly, no matter what trite things your friends have to say.
Not every relationship is the same… Yamagata makes that perfectly clear and if you’ve been down her road or are on it, then find her because you will identify and she is a beautiful singer.
"Is a Woman" by Lambchop – Much like “The New Cobweb Summer” in sound, Lambchop has an incredible ability to turn a song into a short-story, or perhaps it is more like a short-story set to music and his voice is perfect – smooth as molasses and always sounds nostalgic. “Is a Woman” is a short-story in a song, what they are always about seems to be the stuff of every day life – simple things to which we can relate. In “New Cobweb Summer” it was “the Smoky Joe is broken…”
"Everyday I Write the Book" by Elvis Costello – Well, this song is my right now, so I suppose that’s why it makes the List. Every day I write the book… and I write and I write and I write. One day it will end and then I’ll write another book. Yeeesh. I hadn’t heard this song in a long time when I heard it or saw it on a site and the irony struck me of my current situation. Most perhaps do not remember the music video to this song, which featured Prince Charles and Lady Diana look-alikes in a scene of the not so blissfully domestic life. One of Costello’s fun songs. Of course, we love "Alison," but this is a fun break.
"Academia" by Sia with Beck – A clever song using different measurements and words of measurement to express a definite sentiment. It’s catchy and clever… “I am a dash and you are a dot, when will you see that I’m all you got.”
“I’m greater than X but lesser than Y so why is it that I still can’t catch your eye.”
The person here is a “difficult equation” and if she is a number she is “infinity plus one.” I haven’t liked much from Sia after the terrific "Breathe Me," which admittedly was pretty damn hard to beat and now there is the Mylo Remix of that song which is also very good.
"Academia" is the best thing to come along in a while and how she gets those words out like an auctioneer I don’t know. I wonder in concert, if she will need the lyrics in front of her or if she will remember them all – certainly, I could not. A fun hop-skip-and-a –jump song that reminds me of playing hopscotch or hand-slap games as a child back in Britain.
"Sweetest Decline" by Beth Orton – Beth Orton has such a range that she can pull off a lot and this is but one of her sides that I find here. I can’t classify it or put it into any particular category. Throughout this song there are brief interruptions that are all so human, such as “so” and “anyway” as if she is having a conversation with us. It makes us relate even more as if we are in the story with her. You have to love the title. A decline never thought of as sweet before, yet the commingling of the words here seems perfectly natural, poetic.
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