Sunday, July 31, 2011

30 Day Song Challenge - Day 11: A Song From Your Favorite Band

"Every second counts when I am with you" and "I think you are a pig" don't belong in the same song.  This didn't occur to Bernard Sumner and the world is a better place for it.  I'm not suggesting that "Every Second Counts", the closing track on 1986's Brotherhood, is the greatest New Order song, but it does help explain their charm.  The lyrics may be be bonkers but the band acknowledges it on this self-produced track by leaving Sumner laughing at his own words on the record because the song is much bigger than the lyrics.  Little more than halfway through the running time the singing ends and the instruments take the melody soaring into a place that is almost too precious before the band's punk instincts take things down a notch.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

30 Day Song Challenge - Day 10: A Song That Makes You Fall Asleep

New Order's "Video 5 8 6" was created for the opening of The Hacienda in 1982 and contains the raw DNA of "Blue Monday". However, it is really long and repetitive...

Friday, July 29, 2011

30 Day Song Challenge - Day 09: A Song You Can Dance To

It wasn't so long ago that Erlend Øye and Kings Of Convenience taught the indie kids to dance. As for me, I'd rather dance with you.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

30 Day Song Challenge - Day 08: A Song You Know All The Words To

Easy.  My kids like the Olivia theme song.  This plays into my theory that kids shows are as successful as their theme songs.  Beware: The video loops!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

30 Day Song Challenge - Day 07: A Song That Reminds You Of A Certain Event

Client's "Radio", released in 2004, takes me back a few years earlier to a time when there was no music on the radio.
We begin the song with the vocalist in such a state that she “can’t be bothered to try to survive” because television news informs her of a world that is entirely a mess. There are no signs of light and she has no hope for comfort when even the solace found in workings of a great song is missing because there is no music on the radio. All this brings to mind the immediate aftermath of the September 11th terrorist attacks and emotional numbness of those, such as myself, who experienced the events of the day through a repeating media filter and directly echoes the experience of those who looked to music as source of consolation but could not find it on most US radio stations as many stopped playing music temporarily instead broadcasting news. It is remarkable, given that the lyrical content, that the song is not a dirge but the apparent contradiction between the music and the lyrics gives the song a more hopeful message that makes it even more effective emotionally.
(excerpt from an old review)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

30 Day Song Challenge - Day 06: A Song That Reminds You Of Somewhere

The Wiseguy's "Start The Commotion" is forever linked with Disneyland in my mind.  First coming to my attention with "Ooh La La" on the Wall Of Sound compilation Bustin' Loose, which I played often during my college radio show, I had to come to think of The Wiseguys as being a strictly underground act in the US.  However, in 2001 when "Start The Commotion" was featured in the Zoolander soundtrack and re-released as a single something changed.  Maybe it was memories of Derek Zoolander performing a walk off or maybe it was a car commercial that shifted the climate but suddenly the song was an American top 40 hit.  On vacation in the happiest place on earth, where "Who Let The Dogs Out" was heard many times, I was exiting the park into Downtown Disney when the song played over the PA.  It suddenly sank in that they weren't just my underground band anymore.

Monday, July 25, 2011

30 Day Song Challenge - Day 05: A Song That Reminds You Of Someone

In high school my buddy, who helped turn me on to some great music, complained about not finding his dream part-time job at a pet shop.  A few long months later he got the gig which led to some self-aware complaining about his job where he quoted a great line from The Smiths "Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now".  Looking back on it now he was a bit of a miserablist. No wonder we got along so well.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

30 Day Song Challenge - Day 04: A Song That Makes You Sad

Robyn's "Call Your Girlfriend" makes me very uncomfortable.  Breakup songs have been a staple of pop music since it began and Robyn found a unique angle, one I don't recall being used before, taking the point of view of the new girlfriend.  The start of this new relationship is not a place of pure joy, but something that will wound the girlfriend no matter how well the situation is handled.  How sad.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

30 Day Song Challenge - Day 03: A Song That Makes You Happy

How could Bad Manner's take on Todd Rundgren's  "Bang On The Drum All Day" not make you smile?  Poking around the internet I discovered that Allmusic claims it is "downright awful" but they are completely missing the point.  You see they don't want to work, they just want to bang on the drum all day.  That makes me happy.

Friday, July 22, 2011

30 Day Song Challenge - Day 02: Your Least Favorite Song

There are so many popular songs out there that I have had the misfortune of being forced to listen to over the years that truly deserve spite.  Deep Blue Something's "Breakfast At Tiffany's" is right at the top of my list.  I didn't care for the song when it first a hit in the mid-90s and I can't stand it now. Why would I hate such a sweet little song with a catchy guitar riff?  Because there is nothing there.  All this song is the damn stupid chorus repeated over and over and over and over and over.  Let's look at the structure for a moment.  A verse, followed by the chorus, followed by a verse, followed by the chorus, followed be the first verse repeated, followed by the chorus, followed by the chorus before ending in the chorus.
The song has two verses, repeats the chorus five times and then gives the chorus an instrumental reprise. 
Given this is a breakup song where "our" guy expresses just how sad he is there is a huge problem that he has no convincing argument for them as a couple.  She is the only one who knew him yet they have nothing in common except a film she thinks she remembers.  She might not even remember the film.  She might be thinking about something else entirely.  If you, dear reader, ever find yourself in a situation like this you should be filled with joy to be free of a relationship that never stood a chance of lasting. It is never, ever appropriate to write a sad repetitive song about the experience.


Thursday, July 21, 2011

30 Day Song Challenge - Day 01: Your Favorite Song

The 30 Day Song Challenge, a "popular Facebook meme" that no one I know has attempted, calls upon the challenger to answer 30 questions about how they relate to songs over the course of 30 days.  What a novel way to write about music.  I used to write about music!  Challenge accepted.

The first question is deceivingly simple because at this point in my life I love and have loved too much music too passionately to be tied to any one song's strings. That being said, the challenge demands an answer.
Depeche Mode's "Enjoy The Silence" was my favorite song when I was 15 and despite years of radio and myself overplaying the song it still gets to me.
Famously composed by Martin Gore as a ballad and rearranged into a synthpop masterpiece by Alan Wilder the song has so much going for it. The guitar line. The bubbling bass. The touches of synth choir. The deep lazer synth.  That beat. Everything is just perfect from the unusually tense harmonic structure to the melody that is unshakable.  Lyrically the song speaks of violence and pain but centers around the purest distillation of romance ever sung. "All I ever wanted, all I ever needed, is here in my arms".  We know the dangers of love, but who can resist it when it's what we need.