here they are:
"Looking For A Sign" by Beck: Beck might as well be called the David Bowie of the '90s and 21st century. You never knew what kind of Beck you were gonna get next. The wacky hip-hop/funk influenced Beck, the sensitive folkie Beck, the surf-guitar Beck, the moody, trip-hop/jazzy Beck, and the list goes on and on from there! For his latest song, "Looking For A Sign", Beck has chosen to go for sensitive folkie mode, which makes sense, considering it is on the soundtrack to the (comedic) indie film, "Jeff, Who Lives At Home". The highlighting moments of "Looking For A Sign" are not in the mood or lyrics, though, as much as they are in the unique chord progression of the song! What can I say, Beck never ceases to amaze me!
"Never Go Back" by Grace Potter and The Nocturnals: And here is yet ANOTHER musician (with a backing band) who has trodden eclectic waters! Grace started out as a quiet country-pop/rock musician, but soon went into more hard rock territory with her cover of Jefferson Airplane's "White Rabbit", as well as the punchy, Lenny Kravitz-ish "Paris (Ooh La La)". "Never Go Back" is NEITHER of the subgenres I've mentioned so far, but rather an electronic alterna-pop sound. "Never Go Back" is catchy, and combines synthesizers and guitars kind of like the typical Killers song might, but Grace sounds more detached on this song than she did on "Paris", in which she had wild but passionate vocals. Perhaps not the best decision Grace and The Noc's have made, but I still like it, and personally, it holds my attention much better than the dry, country-ish sound she had on "Ah, Mary" and "Ain't No Time".
"No Light, No Light" by Florence and The Machine: This song is equal parts electronic, alternative, soul, and gospel, but it still sounds great!! I'm pretty convinced Flo can do no wrong with every new song I hear by her! "No Light, No Light", of course, is no exception, no exception! The lyrics of this song seem to indicate this is a breakup song, as many of her songs tend to be, but our red-haired beauty takes the angst of her situation and turns it into full-blown, four minute opera/sermon with this song. Flo, you're just too amazing for words, what can I say?!
"North Side Gal" by JD McPherson: Wow! Has Little Richard released his comeback album?! Or maybe that's Fats Domino, or perhaps Chuck Berry?! Nope, it's the latest '50s rock influenced sensation from the 21st century, JD McPherson! I swear, this song sounds like it came out back when rock 'n' roll was as young as a newborn baby!! With the increasing lack of zippiness and zest in today's music, though, I think that's a good thing! Sometimes I feel like the world might need a new Elvis Presley, and I can't think of anyone better than JD McPherson (well, maybe the sexy, snazzy Irish gal, Imelda May would be an exception, but still...)!! It even sounds like it's own song, despite having the chord progression almost every '50s rock song has (although the end part of the song, in which JD repeatedly sings, "Crazy 'bout a north side gal", sounds a bit too similar to when Elvis repeatedly sings "Dancin' to the jailhouse rock" at the end of "Jailhouse Rock"). This is a real swingin' song, though, and I highly recommend it!!
"Paddling Out" by Miike Snow: No, "Miike" is not a typo, that's how this band spells their name. And it's not pronounced like "Mike" or "Mikey" (or "Mi-yike", as I have jokingly pronounced their name based on how it has two "i"s), but it's actually pronounced like "MEE-kay". The piano hook in this song combined with its hip-hop beats remind me of people like Fatboy Slim, only Miike Snow seem like their music is more directed at a neo-hippie, NPR-ish audience than Slim's music was. It seems as though terms like "alternative" and "indie" aren't good enough to describe a song like "Paddling Out", though. Something about it sounds more eclectic than most songs/bands that are typically considered as such. The unique musical qualities of "Paddling Out" only make me want to know more about Miike Snow, though, and hopefully the same can be said of most (if not all) of the listeners of this song!!
"Stare Into the Sun" by Graffiti 6: Before their adult alt mega-hit, "Free", "Stare Into the Sun" was actually the FIRST song to get noticed by Graffiti 6, but I guess it didn't go anywhere initially. Now, however, "Stare Into the Sun" is slowly but surely attracting more listeners! Like "Free", "Stare Into the Sun" is basically a "psychedelic soul" type of song, but it has a bit more of a "retro" '70s-style sound than "Free" did. The organs and tambourines in "Stare Into the Sun", in addition to the relentlessly optimistic sound of this song overall, make me picture a rainbow with musical notes going around Graffiti 6 as they sing this song! Plenty of songs are trippy, and plenty more are soulful, but it's rare that they'd be combined into one sound. That being said, I think we've got another big hit on our hands with this song!
"We Are the Selfish Ones" by Cowboy Junkies: To wrap up this week's review, we end with a somber song, and we started with a somber song, but the other songs in between were energetic! Odd, but I guess that's what I get for reviewing songs in alphabetical order, haha!! Anyway, this song is pretty much an entirely acoustic song from Cowboy Junkies. Not anything too out of the ordinary, I guess, but usually their songs have a bit more backbone than this one does. I was expecting a little more than this from Margo Timmins and co. It's also just a little under 3 minutes, so I feel like it could have been longer, too. This isn't a bad song, as I pretty much like everything I've heard so far from Cowboy Junkies, I just feel like "We Are the Selfish Ones" COULD use just a LITTLE more tweaking wouldn't ya say?!