here they are:
"Monarchy of Roses" by Red Hot Chili Peppers: Like most of The Chili Peppers' material, the latest song from their most recent CD ("I'm With You") to get attention, "Monarchy of Roses" is quite catchy and danceable. The one factor that distinguishes "Monarchy of Roses" from the other tracks off of "I'm With You" is the fuzziness of the bass (and vocals) during the verses. The funk influence of RHCP's music (which shows up here in the chorus) shouldn't be that surprising considering it's long been an essential factor of their repertoire, but it tends to contrast here with the fuzzy, vaguely garage rock-ish sound used in most of this song. By the end of "Monarchy of Roses", a chord sequence pops up that doesn't seem to follow typical rock/pop chord progressions, perhaps to make it sound more creative, but the catchy, funky, (and fuzzy) parts of "Monarchy of Roses" are enough to make it memorable for me!
"Rewrite" by Paul Simon: Wow! I must say, Simon's latest CD, "So Beautiful Or So What" seems like it's ended up being his most successful one since, well, "Graceland" back in 1986! It has so far spawned not one, not two, or even three, but FOUR hit songs (including this one, and a Christmas song that got put on the CD after its initial release as a single during December 2010). "Rewrite" tends to deviate from the "Graceland" like sound of the other three songs that have gotten attention from "So Beautiful Or So What", but it still comes off as a pure, original Paul Simon song! It has a crisp, ripple-y feel to it and is done largely on acoustic guitar. Like the other songs from "So Beautiful Or So What", "Rewrite" also has clever lyrics! As its title suggests, "Rewrite" is about...well...a "rewrite", of a (perhaps metaphorical) book the character in the song has written. Can't exactly tell if "Rewrite" centers around a fictional person developed specifically for the song or Paul Simon himself, but either way, this song is brilliant!
"We All Go Back to Where We Belong" by R.E.M.: Surprise!!! Although the legendary Georgia alt-rock innovators recently announced they broke up, it turns out there was still a new song left over in their catalog! It also seems to be the most anticipated new song of this week! Both from a musical and lyrical standpoint, this seems to be the R.E.M. equivalent of some of the last Beatles songs recorded, like "Let It Be", "The Long And Winding Road", and "Across the Universe", as if this song was specifically written as a "goodbye song" from R.E.M. addressed to their fans. The Beatlesque guitar sound and Burt Bacharach influenced muted trumpets only seem to add to the already bittersweet vibes of "We All Go Back to Where We Belong". I barely know the lyrics to this song, but it already makes me feel sad (in a good way) just listening to it! "We All Go Back to Where We Belong" is such a fitting way to wrap up the almost 30 year long career of a band who started out introducing the "jangle-pop" sound of The Byrds to a whole new generation, and have continued to expand their musical horizons ever since!!
"Wonderful (The Way I Feel)" by My Morning Jacket: Thought that maybe the stomping yet somewhat improvisational sound of "Holdin' On to Black Metal" was an indicator that My Morning Jacket wanted their latest CD, "Circuital" to focus more on the "rock" side of the band. "Wonderful (The Way I Feel)" has proven that theory wrong, but in a VERY good way!! A finger-picked, acoustic guitar oriented ballad, "Wonderful (The Way I Feel)" sets the musical clocks all the way back to the '70s, reminding me of Crosby, Stills, and Nash's "Helplessly Hoping", Heart's "Dreamboat Annie", and Fleetwood Mac's "Landslide" among others. The title of this song pretty much describes the way I feel when listening to it, "wonderful"! Though the chorus indicates a feeling of joy, the rest of the song has more yearning lyrical emotional quality to it, as Jim James pines for a place where there "ain't no fear", "the spirit is near", and there "ain't no police", and there "ain't no disease". Songs like this already take me to such a place - my imagination, when I listen to this song!!
"You're Too Weird" by Fruit Bats: Back in 2009, Fruit Bats made their big breakthrough in the music world and garnered a little bit of attention with a bouncy folk-rock-ish song called "The Ruminant Band", which sounded a bit like what it might have been like if Roger Hodgson from Supertramp fronted The Kinks on one of their more melodic, chipper songs. The falsetto vocals of Fruit Bats' lead singer, Eric D. Johnson, continue to show up on their most recent song, "You're Too Weird" (though he doesn't sound quite so Roger Hodgson-ish this time around). "You're Too Weird", well, ISN'T "too weird" (well, ok, maybe a little, but not in a bad way). It is a bright, catchy song that sounds like the upbeat, melodic British sounding indie pop of The Kooks (despite the fact that Fruit Bats are actually from Chicago) mixed with the unusually high pitched vocals of disco inflected alt-poppers Scissor Sisters. "You're Too Weird"'s breezy, summery sound might not be that fit for the fall season (especially with Halloween lurking just around the corner), but songs like that are welcome any time in my collection!