Here is the List of the Moment, volume number 21, and it’s about time again! Some terrific new and old stuff this time. I found all sorts of inspiration from many varied corners and I hope you’ll like what you see here and give it a shot if you don’t know it by giving it a whirl on The Tant Mieux Project where you can take a listen.
Apologies to fans again, for we had a death in the family and so for this reason, I would like to dedicate every song on this list to Lenny Sacchetti, Lenny Jr., and Randy. Uncle Lenny, this one’s for you.
Thanks all for waiting.
"Wild World" by Cat Stevens – It’s been years since I heard this song, that is, until I found it on a collection of hits from the '70s the other day at, of all places, a gas station off the highway, and I just had to buy the disc. Other songs included “Sweet Home Alabama,” “Maggie Mae,” “I Shot the Sheriff,” and “Midnight Train to Georgia” (which I have to tell you, is the first record, a 78 RPM that I ever bought for 50 pence in Finsbury Park (UK) when I was growing up).
"Wild World" – wow – is still a terrific song. A break-up song, of course, and if you must go, then go, and he may even mean it with good will, (although that line, “It’s hard to get by, just upon a smile…” sounds a bit like it may have some teeth, as if this woman has no brains, but then, this was the '70s, so it wasn’t exactly unheard of to call a full grown woman a girl, or baby, etc.) I’m not a politically correct person, I have to tell you. It’s not that I take pride in it. I say it only to make the point that I’m not after Cat Stevens in any aggressive way. It’s just lines like “I’ll always remember you like a child, girl” may have been meant sweetly as he doles out his advice about the wild world, but would this pass muster today?
I wonder. If someone I were breaking up with said this shit to me, I’d probably tell him to, well… use your imagination here and fill in the blanks in your mind. I’m no child. I know the world is “wild” — yes, oooh, the big, bad, world — I think we all know this. The 11 o’clock news makes that abundantly clear every day, as does the general current state of affairs in the world. No shit it’s a wild world. I’d have to have blinders on and be protected by ‘daddy’ to not see this, or was Cat Stevens ‘daddy’? More likely, he saw himself as pretty much every woman’s daddy; was the future telling? Well, no matter; once he accepted Mohammed and Islam, Stevens withdrew from music and changed his name to Yusuf Islam. He is currently on a government watch-list from the Department of Defense and is not allowed to enter the United States.
"Sun Comes Up It’s Tuesday Morning" by the Cowboy Junkies – If you don’t know the Cowboy Junkies by now, you should, because to know the voice of Margo Timmins is to know the voice of an angel, especially if you have ever heard what is perhaps their most popular album, The Trinity Sessions (more on this below). This song is from the album Caution Horses and is a break-up song with lyrics that you'll relate to if you’ve been through one. You can visit my site take a listen to this song (as with any other song on this list) to see if you like. it.
As I said, this is a break-up song, but it’s not all bad here. She is the protagonist here, moving on with her life and beginning to notice new things about her surroundings (see lyrics below), while still missing the old things: “I sure do miss the smell of black coffee in the morning, The sound of water splashing all over the bathroom, The kiss that you would give me even though I was sleeping", but at the end of that stanza, she tells us, “But I kind of like the feel of this extra few feet in my bed, Telephone's ringing, but I don't answer it 'cause everybody knows that good news always sleeps till noon."
The group is from Canada and have been around since the mid-eighties. You may know them from their album The Trinity Sessions which was recorded in one day and all you hear above all is Margo Timmins' clarity of voice and the echo of the church acoustics. It could not be more perfect, and production would have only ruined this incredible album. Among the many great songs on The Trinity Sessions is a cover that maybe outdoes the original of “Sweet Jane” by the Velvet Underground. Most of the band is formed by the Timmins siblings – Margo as lead singer, Michael on the guitar and Peter on the drums. On bass is Alan Anton.
I sure do miss the smell of black coffee in the morning,
The sound of water splashing all over the bathroom,
The kiss that you would give me even though I was sleeping,
But I kind of like the feel of this extra few feet in my bed
Telephone's ringing, but I don't answer it
'cause everybody knows that good news always sleeps till noon
Guess it's tea and toast for breakfast again
Maybe I'll add a little TV too
No milk! God, how I hate that
Guess I'll go to the corner, get breakfast from Jenny
She's got a black eye this morning, `Jen how'd ya get it?'
She says, `Last night, Bobby got a little bit out of hand'
Why'd you have to be so cute
It's impossible to ignore you
Must you make me laugh so much
It's bad enough we get along so well
Say goodnight and go
This refrain is repeated three times, which can be unbearable. At the end she says, “Say goodnight and go…” Which is perfect, because that’s what you say when you cannot do. Did you follow that? If you can’t, if your situation is impossible, then you say goodnight and go. That is your only option besides the obvious, but in this case some hindrance. It’s pop, it’s fun, it may stick to the bottom of your shoe like bubble-gum, but for whatever reason, it’s stuck in my head, hence, it makes The List and for anyone who liked the eighties or early nineties, this takes me back – maybe you too.
"Blue Monday" by New Order – I’ve heard this group labeled “post-punk” (which is true) and electronic dance, both of which make sense and are of the time – the mid-'80s, early '80s. New Order was formed in 1980 after Ian Curtis, the lead singer of the original group, Joy Division, committed suicide. “Blue Monday” is a dark song almost harking back to their roots as Joy Division. Curtis had temporal lobe epilepsy and would seize on stage while performing – seizures are not all grand mals but come in different forms, so his ‘complex partial’ seizures and those jerks, which are called ‘myoclonic jerks', are part of what made his performances so intense, and the epilepsy itself is part of what made him so intense. It isn’t a surprise to me that he committed suicide. "Blue Monday" is a dark song, with the main line that always sticks out, “Tell me now, how do I feel?”
There is almost no question that the lyrics hark back to Curtis's suicide, which is why I’ve reprinted them partially here. It’s an embittered song, and a sad song and one I understand. “Blue Monday”, recorded in 1982, made the top of the charts and was one of the best-selling singles of all time. “Blue Monday” is synthropop – which was already a come-upper in the UK but it was "Blue Monday" that is often credited with starting the synthropop wave in the U.S. So, for Ian Curtis then, most likely, “Blue Monday:”
And I still find it so hard
To say what I need to say
But I'm quite sure that you'll tell me
Just how I should feel today
I see a ship in the harbor
I can and shall obey
But if it wasnt for your misfortunes
I'd be a heavenly person today
And I thought I was mistaken
And I thought I heard you speak
Tell me how do I feel
Tell me now how should I feel
"You’re All I Have" by Snow Patrol – If you don’t yet know Snow Patrol, you really should try to get to know them. They were on Saturday Night Live this St. Patrick’s Day with the majority of their members being from Northern Ireland, so you may have caught them then. They have a good sound. It may be the sound of the moment, but I can tell you they’re worth listening to. This particular song has a great rhythm, terrific ethereal guitar sounds.
Snow Patrol may sound like many garage bands and they may be just another spin-off off the whole post-Nirvana/Oasis thing, but they’re still good and I like them a lot. I hope they last. I really do because they have a sound that is different than that of those who came before.
Snow Patrol originally formed as a rock band in Scotland signed to Polydor and now are an indie rock band. This song is from the album Chasing Cars. The name of the band apparently comes from an incident in Telluride, Colorado – ski paradise – where the band was almost caught trying to cut down a Christmas tree and hid in a cave for over five hours to avoid being nailed by the police. True or not, it makes a good story. One hopes they last, or at least keep morphing because they have a great sound.
"Close to Me" by The Cure – I’ve always loved this song because I find it sexy as hell – maybe the lyrics say something to me that they don’t to anyone else? But “I never thought tonight could ever be/This close to me/Just try to see in the dark/Just try to make it work"… it’s hard to explain if you haven’t heard the song, but its breathy and has a rhythm that works and has a slur of syllables – a melisma – that makes it all come together. The thing about The Cure is that it’s either really sexy as in “Let’s Go To Bed” or “Love Cats” which I’ve always loved, or songs like “In-between Days” or “Boys Don’t Cry.” I can go either way. As Adam Sandler says in The Wedding Singer as a disclaimer to the song he wrote about his ex-fianceé , Linda, “I was listening to The Cure a lot when I wrote this song.” He says that for a reason – not simply because it’s funny, but because The Cure were at the time, and still are, a very catchy band with a unique sound that to date no other group has been able to capture, try as they may. Garage bands there are many, even Snow Patrol, who made my List this week, but they may not, likely will not, change the face of music the way The Cure have. Here, some lyrics from “Close To You:”
I've waited hours for this
I've made myself so sick
I wish i'd stayed asleep today
I never thought that this day would end
I never thought that tonight could ever be
This close to me
Just try to see in the dark
Just try to make it work
To feel the fear before you're here
I make the shapes come much too close
I pull my eyes out
Hold my breath
And wait until I shake
The rest of the lyrics can be found at LyricsFreak, which is the best site, in my view, for lyrics to any song; there are no pop-ups and it's the most reliable.
"The Doot Doot Song" by Freur – No lyrics to this song. You either know it or you don’t. You may recognize it from Vanilla Sky when Tom Cruise (who in my view, gets weirder and weirder as time goes on, although he's still a great actor which is really all that counts — so be it), but "The Doot Doot Song" is what you hear as he is, at the very end of the film, riding up in the lift (okay, elavator – I’ll cop to th American way since when in Rome, I mean America…) to the roof of the building with his “technical support guide.”
Freur is, no doubt, an ‘80s one hit wonder, but what a hit. "The Doot Doot Song" has to be one of the best pieces of synth-new wave music to date, and especially excellent for driving fast to in my Mini, I admit (I drive it like I stole it.) "The Doot Doot Song" has only these lyrics, “and now we go doot doot” and that’s it, then the synth comes in, and other sounds, but it’s a great freakin’ song. You’ll have to visit the list of the moment on Tant Mieux and take a listen. When "The Doot Doot Song" was first played in the UK, Freur didn’t even have a name (much like Prince, or Squiggly or whatever his Royal Purpleness is calling himself these days).
"Don’t Dream It’s Over" by Crowded House – Well, they say it all, “Try to catch the deluge with a paper cup.” “Don’t Dream It’s Over” by Crowded House may be covered by any number of bands but none, in this reviewer's opinion, will ever beat the original, which isn’t true of every song. For example, I think the Jeff Buckley version of “Hallelujah” is on par with Leonard Cohen’s if not hauntingly more beautiful in some ways, so I’m not a ‘true believer’ in the ‘classic’ before you label me as an atavist. I’m not.
This song, by the Finn brothers, written by Neil Finn, reminds me so much of 1987 when I met my first real boyfriend and it was constantly on the jukebox of the dive bar we frequented which was a great, great place and always packed. It's since become an upscale boomer hell-hole with brass and ferns and leather and probably a cigar lounge somewhere in there. Back in the day, it had Crowded House blasting from the speakers, “There is freedom within, there is freedom without…” and lots of cigarette smoke (yes, some of it my own at the time) and lots of fun, and I felt in those moments that they would never end; so “Don’t Dream It’s Over” was the soundtrack to a whole period of my life because I could never dream that it would end. “Hey now, hey now…” was such a reassurance to me. It was all I ever needed to hear, and it was all I ever needed to hear from him. But life changes… trite, but it’s flux, and that time did end and now I have no soundtrack except for perhaps Dylan’s “Shelter from the Storm” (an echo of “try to catch the deluge with a paper cup"), and also, not surprisingly for those of you who know me, Dylan’s, “I’ll Keep It With Mine”, which is far more optimistic, so maybe the times they are a-changin’ after all…
"I’ll Keep It With Mine" by Bob Dylan – A beautiful song, and one I can relate to because I find it so hauntingly beautiful for the line,"come on, give it to me, I’ll keep it with mine” which I’ve always interpreted as anyway you want to interpret. I’m not trying to be slippery here, but I think that the “it” could be so many things. It could be pain, which is what to me it most likely is, some sort of emotional distress, need of comfort, something along those lines.
This song was originally written for Bringing It All Back Home but was an outtake, alas (Bringing It All Back Home is my favorite Dylan album most days). This song was originally given to Nico in 1964 and she did record it for Chelsea Girl in ’67, though note that Judy Collins beat her to the punch with her own version in ’65 (though how she got the song, I do not know). “I’ll Keep It With Mine” is considered by some to be one of Dylan’s best songs (Clinton Heylin, for one). There is an acoustic version with Dylan, playing his fantastic piano which he is so damn good at, on Biograph. Take a listen on Tant Mieux. A taste of “I’ll Keep It With Mine” lyrics:
You will search, babe,
At any cost.
But how long, babe,
Can you search for what's not lost?
Ev'rybody will help you,
Some people are very kind.
But if I can save you any time,
Come on, give it to me,
I'll keep it with mine.
You can always go to Tant Mieux to hear more.
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