Three of 'em. Enjoy!
"Change" by The Young Veins: When you think of the words "Panic at the Disco", do you think of bands like The Monkees and Tommy James & The Shondells?! Probably not. That's why "Change" by The Young Veins, which features two former Panic members, Ryan Ross and Jon Walker, is such a cool song!! Panic at the Disco seemed like the one "emo" band who just absolutely hated the label, as evidenced by the two Beatlesque songs on their "Pretty Odd" CD, "Nine In the Afternoon" and "Northern Downpour". Both of those songs had a pretty "retro" flavor to them, and "Change" continues in that direction, perhaps even more so! "Change" really lives up to its title - it's "change"-ing the way indie music is going, and, hopefully, will continue to go!
"Every Subway Car" by Barenaked Ladies: Do BNL have the sophomore curse, or what?! Their 2005 album, "Barenaked Ladies Are Me" had its first single, "Easy", as a bland folk-pop song this side of John Mayer, but its second single "Wind It Up", was a tongue-in-cheek, hard-rockin' (for BNL, at least), fun song with clever lyrics (i.e. "I was a baby when I learned to suck/But you have raised it to an art form"). Their latest CD, "All In Good Time", seems to have suffered from the same problem. The first single, "You Run Away", was a song that just didn't fit the BNL spirit. I didn't know whether to call it "sappy" or "depressing", as it was kinda both, and that just isn't the vibe I like from my BNL songs! Thankfully, "Every Subway Car" has sought to correct all this! Musically, it sounds kinda like a lighter, but still power pop influenced song from Fountains of Wayne (kinda like Fountains of Wayne's "Someone to Love", but with a slower beat). Lyrically, the cleverness makes a welcome return, especially in the beginning ("My backpack's faded black/But now it's all blue/It looks whack but it's compact/And it works like brand new"), and just like in their biggest hit, "One Week", the name-dropping also continues ("I'm on my own/I'm Sly Stallone"). Welcome back, BNL, we missed ya!
"If I Had My Way" by Robert Randolph (featuring Ben Harper): Occasionally, indie and contemporary folk-rock aren't enough to satisfy the adult alt. audience, and this is one such instance. This song is actually a cover (so I've heard) of an old 1930's blues song. I wouldn't be surprised if this was true, considering how it sounds a lot like a Robert Johnson Delta blues recording. For Ben Harper, this isn't too surprising, considering he's been all over the map musically, especially in the past year or so with The Relentless 7. For Robert Randolph, this seems like a first. His past works, particularly his most well-known song, "Thrill of It", were definitely blues influenced, but more in the Jimi Hendrix/Santana manner of mixing blues with rock and the occasional R & B. As much as I like the indie and folk-rock that seem to dominate adult alt. radio, it's refreshing to hear a song like this once in a while!