Yay! A New List! I managed to get a pretty decent balance of old familiar songs and new-to-me gems this week. My current favorite is Burlap to Cashmere’s “Orchestrated Love Song”, but each of these songs has a good chance at being my favorite in its turn by the end of the week.
1. Josh Turner – “Would You Go With Me” – Josh’s low notes in this song won him more hearts than just about anything else he’s done so far, I think, though “Your Man” was also a particularly great song for attracting lady-fans.
2. Rising Appalachia – “Tuli Tuli” – This song has a hidden track buried at the end of it that always startles me, the rough harmonica contrasting quite dramatically with the silence right before it.
3. Rhydian – “Hafan Gobaith” – I’m pretty sure Rhydian mentioned in the last message I saw from him that he’ll be working on a new album soon. I’m hoping it is more along the lines of this Welsh songs album, rather than his Waves album, which is a bunch of covers of 80’s non-hit songs (though maybe they were bigger hits in Wales). This fellow’s voice is amazing, but he lacks the delicacy and stylistic range necessary to sing pop songs like those convincingly. I’m sure he’s great to see live, even singing this pop stuff, but there are so many pop singers around already; I’d love to hear Rhydian sing more of the stuff that the average pop singers can’t really do successfully.
4. They Might Be Giants – “Why Does the Sun Shine?” – Here’s a classic TMBG song I encountered during my first college degree, while I was aiming to study astrophysics still.
5. Celtic Thunder – “Voices” – This song gets back to some of the cheesy theatricality of earlier Celtic Thunder shows, which doesn’t appeal to everyone. For us choir-singers it seems to be quite appealing with all its overlapping voices in the verses. In addition, it could be considered semi-autobiographical, since the doubts and concerns mentioned in this song are all realistic concerns for the lads singing the song, and it also captures nicely the constant uncertainty and precariousness which seems to be my lot more often than not.
6. Chris Spheeris – “Juliette” – This is one of the new tracks I came across this past week that is just really pretty, though it also ties in with the guitarists’ shows I’ve enjoyed recently. This particular song’s guitar bits fit better with the aesthetics of Andreas Kapsalis, Goran Ivanovic, or my newest ‘acquisition’ to my music radar, Trace Bundy, but in my mind Maxwell Hughes and Tyler T., who I have also seen recently, also fit into this category. Anyway, this song is still really just on the list cause it’s pretty.
7. Jill Sobule – “Good Person Inside” – Last time I included this lady’s music on a list it was one of her folk songs. This one’s a bit different, a nice post-break-up song which may come in handy if I ever try dating again to need break-up songs again. And yes, these are also great to listen to while infatuated (a state I find myself in reluctantly at the moment) as an antidote to that obnoxiously sneaky urge that comes on suddenly in the presence of a certain fellow to do or say something irrevocable and imprudent.
8. Andrea Bocelli – “Miserere” – The first time I encountered Andrea Bocelli, on PBS, this song, not “Time to Say Goodbye”, was my absolute favorite, and I was quite a bit disappointed to discover that the cassette tape of the album which corresponded to that concert did not include this song.
9. Reba McEntire and Kelly Clarkson – “Because of You” – One of the great recorded duets of recent popular music. I’m sure there are lots of covers of this song by other artists, but I can’t imagine how this one could be improved upon. It could certainly be done by a male/female duet pair, and would have a different connotation then, but it wouldn’t be better, just different.
10. Joy Kills Sorrow – “You Made It Easy” – This is one of the bands I encountered relatively recently via spotify, and they are most definitely on my list of bands I’d love to see live (along with Elephant Revival and quite a few others). A few love songs are bound to creep onto these lists until I make my infatuation go away or at least transfer it back to Ryan Kelly and Neil Byrne, nice safe lads who live on the other side of the planet and are Catholic.
11. Depeche Mode – “A Question of Lust” – Another old favorite from my first college degree. Depeche Mode was my very first concert, which set a really high bar for all the rest. No wonder I stopped doing concerts for a long while after switching majors and getting into a new crowd. I’ve been to very few concerts where I never felt tired and forgot to be self conscious, enough to dance and sing along loud enough to lose my voice like that. I see 2-5 shows/week lately, and while my relationship to the musicians is a lot more personal now, only a few of those shows were anywhere near that powerfully engaging. Celtic Thunder came close, but not quite.
12. Burlap to Cashmere – “Orchestrated Love Song” – Another love song, also pretty. I do not want to live on a boat, though (which is why even though I recognize that Keith Harkin is attractive, I am not infatuated with him, ever- surfing and living on a boat is just really not ‘me’). With any luck my new object of infatuation will have similarly incompatibilities so I can get over him and get back to being my nice normal melancholy, moody self.
13. Ben Sollee – “I Can’t” – I haven’t seen this guy live yet, let alone met him, but he is acquainted with people I do know, so who knows but maybe I’ll get to meet him relatively soon. This song is more along the lines of the break-up that would be the big reason not to get involved with my current obsession. I can, after all, have him as a friend for life, and I have been grateful for his friendship ever since I met him, so I don’t want him as an ex. Yep, if everyone though like this the human population would shrink drastically while we all try very hard never to turn our dear friends into exes, but I’m quite sure most people would just go for it, thus maintaining the human race.
14. Queen – “Modern Times Rock & Roll” – A couple friends and I had been toying with the idea, probably not seriously, of starting a Queen cover band. We have a singer and a fantastic guitarist who also sings, so far, but I think we still would need a drummer who also sings and can cover Roger Taylor’s songs, because it would just not look right for a Queen cover band to have someone besides the drummer on vocals for this song. We also need a bassist, still, but I know a few bassists now who might be interested if we were serious. 🙂 One day it will happen.
15. The Corries – “The Folker” – Between the Jill Sobule song, Depeche Mode’s song, and this one, this list is probably not quite child-safe, if you live in a society that tries to hide sexual content and cuss words from kids. This song, though, is absolutely hilarious.
16. Nickle Creek – “Jealous of the Moon” – My sister gave me a Nickle Creek album several years ago, and I’ve loved this song ever since.
17. The Civil Wars – “Girl With the Red Balloon” – This song is actually another pretty one, if a bit sad, but I was drawn in by the title, which still makes me think ‘creepy’ because of the little girl with the red balloon in the Doctor Who episode with the strawmen. There are also children with red balloons in the episode of the Sarah Jane Adventures with the Peid Piper as a creepy clown alien.
18. The Barenaked Ladies – “Call and Answer” – I got into a 90’s kick for a while this past week, listening to all the bands that were popular when I was in high school and in my first college degree, because I found myself hanging out and taking photos at a show with one of the guitarists from one of those bands, and had to remind myself of what his band sound like. I have to say I like his solo performance better, though maybe my being too exhausted to appreciate much more than a guy with a guitar also made a difference that evening. Anyway, Barenaked Ladies is another band I remember from ‘back then’, and I still love this song.
19. Miranda Lambert – “Love Your Memory” – I love singing along with Miranda Lambert’s songs- her voice and mine must have a very similar range- and this song is another one that provides a potential non-romantic resolution to my current state of infatuation. Realistically I will see the fellow I’ve fallen for, and as he is not an ex, I look forward to seeing him again. I just hope to be back to daydreaming only about Ryan or Neil by then.
20. Maroon 5 – “I Shall Be Released” – This song was the closing number to the Bob Dylan tribute show I saw this past week, with 7 fantastic artists all performing a mix of their own songs and Bob Dylan songs. This was the only song which brought all 7 musicians onto the stage at once. From what I was reading on wikipedia this closing group performance seems to be a customary way of performing this song, one Bob Dylan started. It may not have been captivating to quite the degree that that old Depeche Mode show was, but the Bob Dylan tribute show was definitely one of the more memorable shows I’ve seen this year. Obviously none of that show is on spotify, but this Maroon 5 cover is as good as the one which closed out the show here last week.
Well, that’s this week’s 20 songs. Check them out on spotify, and of course most of them are available on amazon.com and/or on itunes if you find that you need them in your own music collection.
Now that there have been weekly 20 song playlists on this blog for 10 months, it seems I have barely scratched the surface of all the music I enjoy or could enjoy. And, since I only include songs on these lists that are actually available on spotify, much of the new music my friends and favorite artists are creating won’t ever make it onto these lists, at least not in the near future. Quite a few of the songs I am particularly fond of lately are actually not available on any recording yet (though I am slowly amassing a collection of shaky poor audio-quality youtube clips of some of these songs). So, how do I use my own lists? What is the point in my making them (considering that some weeks only a few dozen people view the week’s songlist post)?
Well, last summer I was wishing for a radio station that didn’t repeat the same 20 songs over and over and over again. I wanted this ‘station to include my favorite songs from my ~3 decades of music experiences, but I also wanted it to include great songs by artists I just discovered, and lesser known songs by artists I had only passing awareness of in the past. I figured that each song should meet some minimum criterion, namely that I could hear it a few times in one day without getting tired of it, and I try to include mostly songs that stand out to me as particularly appealing for some reason or another. Out of this my songlists were born, and thanks to the music library on spotify it has been easy to browse ‘related artists’ to find ‘new’ bands and artists. I ‘star’ every song I include in one of these playlists, so when I open up my spotify app and go to the playlist that shows all the songs I’ve ‘starred’, that list includes all of the songs on my playlists since last July. If I want a shorter list I also keep the past few weeks’ lists around for a while, and when these weekly lists are 3-4 weeks old, I add the songs from these weekly lists to ‘accumulated lists’ which each have ~200 songs, or 10 weeks’-worth of songlist tracks.