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. Check out the past issues by choosing “music” in the categories pulldown bar to the left if you are so inclined. These songs are all dope and you can listen to them or 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.
“Smile” by Lily Allen
So for whatever reason, I totally missed the Lily Allen train when it departed in 2006 or 2007. I just found out about her a couple of months ago and I probably had assumed her stuff was stupid, pop nonsense. Big mistake. If there’s a better song for the summer than “Smile”, I don’t know it and in retrospect, maybe it’s good that I totally missed this boat since I can’t imagine that this song wasn’t played to death when it was popular. It’s brand new to me and I can slowly kill it with repeat listens on my own time, thank you. Seriously, great fun to listen to and sing along with.
“I Get Around” by The Beach Boys
For a while, I got so into the late 60’s, early 70’s Beach Boys because I had never heard any of it. Especially “Surf’s Up” and “Holland”, which didn’t sound like anything I knew of the group. Like The Beatles, this latter stage of experimentation can almost drown out the fact that they started as a boy band banging out grade A pop songs like they were nothing. A single with “Don’t Worry Baby” as the A-side and “I Get Around” as the B-side is almost too brain-meltingly good to comprehend. It just goes to show that you need to master the conventions before you can break them. No one will ever harmonize as good as this again.
“My Girl” by The Temptations
Two of the earliest tapes I can remember having were the soundtracks to Beauty & the Beast and My Girl. I wore both of them out, which foreshadowed my stints in musical theater in high school and my lifelong love for anything Anna Chlumsky. This is another song that listening to has become like walking. It’s so natural and reflexive to sing along that you have to really stop yourself to realize how effing good it is. The opening bass line and when the strings kick in are two of the best moments in music history. “I’ve got so much honey the bees envy me.” That’s a great line people.
“Band on the Run” by Paul McCartney & Wings
I’ve been making these mix CD’s for my Dad that compiles some of the best songs from each year that he’s been alive and right now I’m in the mid-70’s. Mostly, it’s not very exciting stuff from Steely Dan or Fleetwood Mac but recently I got to listen to some Paul McCartney & Wings, which was a nice surprise. “Jet”, from this same album is like a Strokes song from 1974 and this title track changes gears more than a squid driving in the Indy 500. That doesn’t make sense does it? The point is, McCartney was at his most unpredictable during this time and it makes for some mighty fine listening.
“Gymnopédie No.1” by Pascal Rogé
When I saw Man on Wire at the L.A. Film Festival last month, I was moved to tears by the scene in which Phillipe Petit finally walked across the World Trade Center towers on a tightrope. Possibly because I had learned a thing or two about art and artists or possibly because you could show someone taking a dump and use this music to score it and still have it be powerful. This composition by Erik Satie is over a hundred years old. A hundred years ago someone popped this out of their skull and almost everyone thought it was something new Michael Nyman cooked up just for that documentary. Ridiculous. Go see the movie if you can.
“You Can’t Hurry Love” by The Supremes
This is another rediscovery thanks to the CD’s I’ve been making for my Dad and I realize that I am well on my way to becoming an old man who whines about the good old days of music. Except that I won’t be talking about when I was a kid, I’ll still be referring to the 60’s. Honestly, what can compare with this from the modern landscape? A repulsive cover by Phil Collins and repeated use in Julia Robert’s comedies can’t dull the power of the track. Tara’s constant requests have also bumped up the play count but I don’t mind. I don’t mind at all.
“Folkhemmet” by Porn Sword Tobacco
If the movie Gods smile upon me, next April I’ll be shooting a new movie in Sparks, Nevada and the finished product will begin with this song. From the moment it randomly came up on shuffle, I knew it was the embodiment of what I was going after. The band doesn’t know it yet, but we are a creative match made in heaven and I will do for them what David Gordon Green did for Mogwai. Which is nothing really except use their song perfectly in one of his films. Come on movie Gods, you owe me after rendering the footage for 30 pages worth of script unusable on my last movie.
“Gobbledigook” by Sigur Rós
I’ve already written about this track on this blog so I won’t go through it all again. I will mention that it has lost no luster after plenty of listens and it may have even found it’s way onto a mix CD for my Mom. No word yet on how she likes it but she may think it’s a little too hardcore for her. Now who would have predicted that for a Sigur Rós track before this album came out? Also, the video has lots of boobies and wee wees.
“Let’s Get Ready to Crumble” by The Russian Futurists
Some of you may not know this but I have long considered trying to put my constant time-wasting on the internet looking for new music to good use by becoming a part-time DJ. I know nothing of turntables or remixing but I do know which songs are awesome and which songs are lame. For example, my DJ set would never include “Don’t Stop Believing” by Journey but it would always include this track. In fact, I may play it twice a night. So if there are any bar or club owners out there reading this blog, give me a shout and I’ll spin for your joint. But by spin, I mean create a playlist and select the function where the songs blend into each other.
“Strawberry Swing” by Coldplay
Alright. After giving the new Coldplay record an embarrassing number of listens, I can firmly state that this is the best song on there. It may even be in their top five songs of all time. Many have already given up on this band ever putting out anything worthwhile again (or ever) but I am quite content listening to them any and all the time. I also think that they are at their best when they keep things simple (“See You Soon”) and this is a great example of that. Great verses, great chorus and even greater bridge. Optimistic lyrics and a perfect showcase for that smooth as butter voice Chris Martin has. Like butter!