Hiya!! I decided it would be a better idea if I just reviewed the songs I liked - I'd be guaranteed to find at least one per week (at least I hope so). Anyway, since the chances of me finding a couple new faves per week seems more likely to happen than to find songs suitable for my reviewing on the Adult Alt. Top 20 at least once per week, I thought I'd change my focus a bit. Not to worry, though, I'll still be sticking to reviewing the same type o' songs. So here goes!! Also, before I begin, I realize that about half these songs came out the week before last, but I thought I'd give my opinion on 'em anyway:
"Dear God (Sincerely M.O.F.)" by Monsters of Folk - The alumni of My Morning Jacket and Bright Eyes have done it again! Unlike the Traveling Wilburys-ish first single, "Say Please", this one seems to have a bit more of a trip-hop influence (with some nice, lush string arrangement added in!) Lyrically, it seems like a more positive, less confrontational version of the similarly titled "Dear God" by XTC. Only instead of questioning and denouncing a belief in God, like XTC did, this song seems more fit for those who think God exists, but who just don't understand why He allows people to suffer. Kudos to the stations who have chosen this as the second Monsters of Folk single - it's a nice choice!!
"Lay There And Hate Me" by Ben Harper - Ben continues to show his diversity with this sultry funk-'n'-blues track. His backup band for his latest record, The Relentless 7, is pretty aptly named considering that that's how they seem to be in pursuing both musical talent and musical diversity - relentless!! In "White Lies For Dark Times", they've gone through Led Zeppelin-esque hard rock ("Shimmer And Shine"), tender folk-rock-y ballads ("Fly One Time"), and now, Ben Harper's funky side comes out on this song. Just like on the other two songs that became "hits" off of "White Lies For Dark Times", Ben pours all his heart and soul out into the lyrics when he sings them! Looking forward to knowing if anything else off the album will be up for grabs sometime later this year.
"Set the Fire to the Third Bar" by Snow Patrol (w/Martha Wainwright on backing vocals)-
This is actually NOT a new song (it came out back in 2006), but I guess now that Snow Patrol put out a "best of" collection and included this song as one of the songs, adult alt. stations are finally starting to pick up on how poignant this song is. Personally, I would have preferred "An Olive Grove Facing the Sea" (truly one of THE most beautiful songs I've ever heard - and that's not just counting Snow Patrol songs) to be the next single off the album, but this song's pretty cool, too. In addition to the sincerity of (lead singer) Gary Lightbody's vocals and lyrics, it also has very moving chords (perhaps because they are all major 7ths - those are the melodic 7 chords, not the "bluesy" ones), and Martha Wainwright's vocals sound beautiful and harmonize excellently with Gary Lightbody's. If only ALL of Snow Patrol's "softer" songs could be like this...
"Song Away" by Hockey: What kind of a name for a band is HOCKEY?!? Oh well, no matter - "Song Away" is still a cool song. Musically, it seems very derivative of The Killers (and a bit of the mid-2000's power pop band, Rooney), but the lead singer of Hockey's vocals seem more uneven and Dylanesque than the more straight, melodic vocals of Brandon Flowers from The Killers. Hockey's lead vocalist even "sing-speaks" the parts right before the chorus as though he WAS Bob Dylan - perhaps its even a lyrical satire on Dylan, since he keeps saying "This is (fill in random word here) music" throughout those parts of the song (my fave line - "This ain't no Roxy Music" - not that I have anything against Roxy Music, in fact I love what I've heard of theirs, but I like the line because of the potential pun involving the word "music"). All that being said, this is a pretty quirky song - so check it out!!
"Summer Is the Champion" by Laura Veirs: I was pretty excited when I heard Laura Veirs was gonna release a new album for 2010 since I loved her 2005 song, "Galaxies". It was really unique, even among the already (mostly) unique indie rock/pop categorization, because it had weird lyrics and a spaced-out (but endearing) sound. Laura continues to show what a quirky little girl (bonus points for those who get the reference) she is on her latest album, "July Flame", which I have already heard two songs off of, and this is one of them. It's kinda like Feist's "1234" meets Van Morrison's "Moondance", done with a Burt Bacharach-ish instrumental arrangement. A very charming mix of influences if you ask me. It's just too bad that so far only one station I know of (Sirius XM's The Spectrum) has bothered to play this. Oh well. Maybe soon more stations will play this one.
"Wide-Eyed, Legless" by Laura Veirs: Another example of Ms. Veirs' cutesy but cryptic brand of folk-rock. This one is a bit more melancholy than the above, but in a very sweet, precious sort of manner. The creepy, death-related lyrics create somewhat a lyrical dissonance in comparison with the bouncy (but minor key) melody and rhythm of the song. I guess sometimes the musical mood of a song can compensate for the lyrical mood of a song, and this is one of those times. I know I didn't give this one as lengthy a review as the one above, but it's pretty cool, so check it out!