It’s time once again to highlight some of the tracks that are burning up my iPod and registering the most listens during the last few months. I did this once before back in March and you can check out those tunes by clicking here. You can listen to them and download the ones you might need for your music collection. Honestly, would I steer you wrong. So, once again these are just some of the songs that have been played the most in the past few months.
“The Other Side of Mt. Heart Attack” by Liars
Aaron Katz and I will always have a soft spot in our hearts for the song “Mr. You’re on Fire Mr.” from the 2002 Liars album They Threw Us All in a Trench and Stuck a Monument on Top but other than that one track I hadn’t found much to like about the band. That is until I read about their 2006 record Drum’s Not Dead, which sounded right up my alley. Sure enough, it’s moody, beautiful, epic and slightly depressing, all the things I love in my music and not at all like the track that Katz and I spent countless drives dancing around to in Winston-Salem. I don’t know how else to describe it except that it sounds like it could be the song that St. Peter plays when he either opens up the pearly gates or sends you packing to your next destination.
“You Never Give Me Your Money” by The Beatles
I’ve spent the last year and a half convinced that Abbey Road is the greatest album of all-time and 75% of the reason for that is the sixteen minute medley that begins with this track. Primarily written by McCartney, it features one of his most signature melodies and when the full orchestra comes in playing that sucker at the end of “Carry That Weight” I get shivers every single time. While it’s not my favorite track of this band, this album or even this medley, it’s probably indicative of how many times I’ve started to listen to this chunk of the album and not always deciding to finish. Still, do yourself a favor and spend the time to just sit and listen to side B of this sucker. Don’t surf the net, don’t read a magazine. Sit and stare at the ceiling and listen to it.
“Slow Show” by The National
After publishing a list of my favorite albums of 2007 I got a myspace message from Nate Park, a guy I knew in school but have hardly kept in touch with. He asked if I had heard this album and I said not really. The next thing I knew I got an e-mail saying I could claim a gift on the iTunes store. Nate had bought the album for me. Big ups to him for being generous and also for his taste, because it is genius. This song always stood out and then after I saw Snow Angels, which features it in the trailer, I started bingeing on it. And I didn’t even love Snow Angels. Again, it’s a melancholy song and I’m not sure why that’s so appealing to me. I’m a pretty happy-go-lucky guy but every time I make a mix cd for my Mom she tells me I need to lighten up.
“Starlings” by Elbow
There are few bands that thrill me more than Elbow, although the ones that do are also on this list. Their fourth album hit earlier this year and I’ve already got it memorized. It’s highs don’t quite match the heights of Cast of Thousands, it may actually be their most consistent effort to date. I did a mix cd swap with my friend Jessica where she gave me a theme and I had to come back with the mix. Her theme was Sunrise/Sunset and this became my opening track. The sudden orchestral bursts just reminded me of an alarm interrupting a hazy, lazy, beautiful morning. P.S. if anybody else wants a cd and wants to give me a theme, I’ll hit you back with some shit that’ll make you poop your pants.
“White Whale” by Seamonster
I have an idea for a music video for this song so I’ve been listening to it a lot in order to finalize it and flesh it out. As it stands, there isn’t a whole lot to it other than one amazing prop, an art gallery location and George Ducker. Seamonster gets a lot of plays from me regardless but this used to be a track that I didn’t pay much attention to until after I saw Todd play in concert. He mentioned how he wrote this song about Moby Dick and when I heard him sing it then, I immediately felt the melancholy (there’s that word again) in it. Beautiful, tragic song that starts with the line “At last, I’ve seen the white whale”. Honestly, that’s all I need to hear to be swept away and if I ever get the pieces together to make the video, I hope to honor that.
“Dear Boy” by Paul & Linda McCartney
I’m not exactly sure what Linda McCartney contributed to this album because it sure sounds like it’s just Paul singing throughout the whole thing, but it doesn’t matter. This is hands down my favorite solo-Beatles record and that’s saying a hell of a lot. Especially since it has to overcome that dreadful cover and the formidable challenge of All Things Must Pass. But this was a surprise discovery for me almost two years ago and it’s still getting a lot of mileage. Again, McCartney shows that he is the king of melody with the songs here and “Dear Boy” has one of the best ones. Overdubbed vocals, jibberish choruses and a short and sweet runtime all help the cause. “Ram On” is a better track but I played that sucker out last year.
“Dancehall Places” by Mint Royale
One of my all-time favorite songs, no doubt. Alex Bickel played it for me trying to convince me to use it at the end of my thesis film in college and I haven’t let go of it since. I named a script after it, I put it on the very first mix I made for Tara and it must have become synonymous with me because when Keegan played a cover of it at a show in New York, he dedicated it to me in the hopes that I would stick it out in a city I didn’t really like. Listening to it now, it makes me think of those first few weeks in New York, some of the best of my life whether I thought so at the time or not. That’s all to do with Tara though and she’s the only thing that could make me go back there.
“Green is the Colour” by Pink Floyd
I’ve already blogged about this guy but that won’t stop me from posting it again. I picked up a couple of obscure Pink Floyd soundtracks and one was for a Barbet Schroeder film called More. Never heard of it. And for the most part the music was atmospheric but not very grabbing. That is, until this track played and my heart bled. I was not prepared for Pink Floyd to pull out the pennywhistle and play a song like this. Unfortunately, the rest of the album couldn’t compare and I don’t think I’ve even listened to it all the way through. Instead, I’ve listened to this on repeat and wished I had this in our rental car when Aaron and I were driving through the countryside of Ireland for no reason but to drive.
“Run Off the Road” by Ola Podrida
There are plenty of tracks on David Wingo’s debut cd that warrant repeat listens but this one evaded me for a while. I was too busy listening to “Photo Booth” or “Lost and Found”. Then after I saw the video Swanberg made for this, I suddenly realized that I had been neglecting the most gorgeous track on the record. This one also made the Sunrise/Sunset mix in the latter half since it reminds me of the time I was working on a film called Two Soldiers. More than once I had to be at a farm location in rural North Carolina all by myself as the sun was rising. As much as I hate getting up and prefer indoors to out, it’s pretty awesome to feel, smell and experience nature like that at 5am. You can see Swanberg’s video here.
“Viva la Vida” by Coldplay
No surprise to anyone that knows me. Coldplay are the reason I pay attention to music and have the motivation to write blogs like this at all. I can honestly say that I downloaded this the minute it was available and knew all the words two hours later. I don’t even know if it’s good or not. It’s impossible for me to tell with them because I’m so blinded by my fandom. I’m pretty sure it is though and I’m positive that it represents an interesting new step for the guys under Brian Eno. I’m more than curious to see how this album turns out and if it’s anything like this track, it’ll be THE soundtrack to the rest of my year.