Wednesday, February 16, 2011

new songs for Feb. 16th, 2011

Here they are:

"100 Other Lovers" by DeVotchKa: DeVotchKa are an indie group perhaps best known for doing the opening song in the smash indie flick (and one of my personal fave movies of all time), "Little Miss Sunshine". The song was called "How It Ends", and it was a very poignant piece of work dominated by plaintive, melancholy vocals, gentle keyboards, and sighing violins. Five years later, DeVotchKa have still got it in them, but it lacks the emotional power of "How It Ends", perhaps mainly because, well, "100 Other Lovers" is more of a happy, bouncy tune without any emphasized minor chords. This is not to criticize "100 Other Lovers, as it is still a fine tune, and the orchestration is remarkably similar to "How It Ends", with its keyboards, violins, and vocals. However, in "100 Other Lovers", the keyboards have more of a tinkly sound, the violins sound more excited and energetic, and the vocals sound calmer. Overall, though, this song has a very relaxing, looking-out-the-window-on-a-Sunday-morning sort of vibe, so I still like it.

"Our Hearts Are Wrong" by Jessica Lea Mayfield: People who are familiar with Aimee Mann's charmingly quirky, folk-pop-y, solo career material will probably like what is becoming newcomer Jessica Lea Mayfield's first "hit", "Our Hearts Are Wrong". Despite the pessimistic sounding title of this song, it is actually a rather upbeat sort of tune with rather unique instrumentation, complete with a "We Will Rock You" type beat (only a bit more of a "softened" version if you know what I mean). "Our Hearts Are Wrong" centers largely around the percussion and acoustic guitar, though there are occasionally other instruments the song uses that set it apart from that of your average indie-pop/folk-pop female musician. There are occasional bursts of a somewhat "indie-fied" Creedence Clearwater Revival-ish electric guitar sound in some of the parts in between the song, and the sunshiny, bright and cheerful sound of the organ towards the middle might just be the best part of the entire song!

"The Afterlife" by Paul Simon: One of the most amazing things about songs from Paul Simon's solo career is that many of them, especially those he did in the '70s and '80s, incorporate a musical gumbo of many different styles. Sure, he might have started out with folk-pop numbers like "Kodachrome" and "Me And Julio Down By the Schoolyard", but not long afterward he expanded his musical terrain into reggae ("Mother And Child Reunion"), Latin jazz ("Late In the Evening"), and African influenced material (the entire "Graceland" album, as well as "The Rhythm of the Saints, the album that followed immediately after). Simon actually released a couple records in the '00s, but most of them lacked (or tried too hard to emulate) the World music vibes he went for in most of his solo career material. Thankfully, Simon's latest, "The Afterlife", has sought to correct all that! The World music influence has returned in "The Afterlife", and there's even the advantage of the lyrical cleverness Simon uses in the lyrics for those who are under the impression he is still merely trying hard to emulate his "Graceland"/"Rhythm of the Saints" period in his career. As one might expect in a song titled "The Afterlife", many of the lyrics deal with religion and philosophy. I especially admire the rhyme scheme in some of the lyrics ("I was finding it odd there was no sign of God", "Buddha and Moses and all of the noses", etc.), and I think that is what really makes this song worth listening to in my opinion!