Wednesday, May 16, 2012

My 100th post...could it be?!?

According to what I read on my dashboard for this site, it is!! :D What better way to celebrate than with nine new songs?!? Here goes!!!

“Eyes Wide Open” by Gotye: It’s gotta be tough to follow up a song that’s both as unique and popular as “Somebody That I Used to Know”, but Gotye has finally done so after almost half a year since that song first the airwaves! Gotye continues in a Peter Gabriel-esque, world music meets alternative pop/rock type direction here for the sound of “Eyes Wide Open”, with enough exotic sounding but thrilling orchestration in the background to make it sound like something from “The Lion King”! The music video for “Eyes Wide Open” is, perhaps, even more impressive than the song, in which Tim Burton-ish robot monsters run rampant in a post-apocalyptic landscape across the ocean! The video for “Eyes Wide Open” can be viewed here Here’s hoping more songs (and videos) from Gotye’s catalog will make it into this blog, and onto playlists, sometime in the near future!

“Full Circle” by Ben Kweller: And here is yet another musician getting a second song noticed from his latest CD! Ben seems like the ‘60s would have suited him well, I must say! In January of this year, I reviewed his “Jealous Girl”, which sounded like a “missing” song from the British Invasion. And now, Ben’s latest song, “Full Circle” shows another side to him, a more subdued, gentle side that recalls the sunny country-rock vibe of The Byrds circa ’68. Ben’s chipper disposition in “Full Circle” is matched by both the sage advice (“There’s so much that you don’t see/Don’t judge anyone, because everybody comes full circle”) and surreal imagery (“Sand-shark tooth girl won’t cry for you”) in the lyrics of the song. I don’t think Ben’s QUITE come “full circle” YET, though. There should be plenty more songs of his coming up around the corner for people to hear!

“Hey Jane” by Spiritualized: Perhaps not the most immediately likable song on this week’s list, but certainly one of the most interesting! The first three minutes of “Hey Jane” recall the tougher, more rock-and-roll oriented songs Lou Reed did for The Velvet Underground, with its defiant, New York influenced attitude (even though Spiritualized are actually British!) Coincidentally, both the title of the song (“Hey Jane”) and the title of the album it appears on (“Sweet Heart, Sweet Light”) recall The Velvets’ material (“Sweet Jane” and “White Light, White Heat”, respectively). After the three-minute mark, “Hey Jane” lifts more from the trippy, just plain weird part of The Velvets’ catalog, to the point of where it almost becomes unlistenable, unless maybe you like progressive rock, free jazz, or some other form of complex, lengthy, surreal music. If you prefer your music to be more casual, though, spare yourself by only listening to three out of the eight minutes (and eleven seconds) of “Hey Jane”. It’s one of the only two songs in which I prefer the edited version (the other being Death Cab for Cutie’s “I Will Possess Your Heart”, which was also around 8 minutes in its unedited form).

“Lucky That Way” by Joe Walsh: Joe Walsh was usually the man who turned rock legends, The Eagles, from a country-rock band to more of a hard rock band! His solo songs were typically in a hard rock vein as well. Not this time, though! “Lucky That Way” sounds a bit more like a song from the country-rock side of Tom Petty’s musical repertoire (think “Into the Great Wide Open”). The lyrics are simple, but honest, just Joe reflecting on how good his life is. Perhaps the mellowness of this song, as opposed to most of Joe’s other material, is just indicative of him getting older, or maybe wanting to surprise his listeners with another style of music. Whatever the case, though, Joe is doing what he does best on “Lucky That Way”, and I don’t mean playing guitar. I mean having fun!

“Somebody” by Jukebox the Ghost: You can’t tell me you don’t feel happy when listening to this song! Well, I guess you CAN tell me that, since everyone has his/her own opinion about songs, but this is the type of song that just sounds so upbeat (and different) that it would appeal to just about anybody! It has a stick-in-your-head chorus reminiscent of Annie Lennox’s “Walking On Broken Glass” (only a bit catchier), a danceable beat (with hand clapping in the background), and a theme that everyone can relate to (wanting a relationship). “Somebody” has just as much potential of hitting the Top 40 charts as it does indie and alternative charts, and it would probably hold equal appeal to both audiences! The verses are mostly piano-based, but they build up to a more guitar-oriented chorus. There are just too many things I like about this song and I hope it reaches a larger audience someday soon! Highly recommended!!

“Spread Too Thin” by The Dirty Heads: I was reluctant to explore the music of The Dirty Heads at first, but I soon found their blend of folk, rock, and reggae to be quite appealing! They had three songs that became popular from their debut album and now I feel kinda bad I didn’t blog any of them! Well, it’s never too late to catch up, though, right? So now that their sophomore album has come out, I feel like I should discuss how I feel about their latest song, “Spread Too Thin”. The lyrics to the song are actually a lot more angst-ridden than the song itself is. Where The Dirty Heads’ most popular song so far, “Lay Me Down” was a song that reflected their sound, about just having a good time out on the beach, “Spread Too Thin” is more about trying to deal with pent up emotions (most obvious on the line, “I’ve bottled up all these emotions, babe/A monster ‘bout to rage”). I guess The Dirty Heads know that when life gives you lemons, you make lemonade, and “Spread Too Thin” is some of the best musical “lemonade” I have ever tasted!

“The Only Place” by Best Coast: Just the name of this band reminds you of California, doesn’t it? Well, no surprise there! Best Coast are from LA, and this song is about California, perhaps the best one since Randy Newman’s “I Love L.A.”, as lyrics to “The Only Place”, like “We’ve got the babes, we’ve got the sun, we’ve got the waves”, illustrate oh so well (lead singer Bethany Cosentino IS a “babe” coincidentally). California dreamin’, on such a summer’s day! It seems like that’s the vibe “The Only Place” sends out with its bright energetic chords and rhythm contrasted by its more wistful sound. Best Coast started out with a more surf guitar influenced sound a little over a year ago, but “The Only Place” sends them in a new direction, with more influence from the bittersweet but fun, folk-y flavor of bands like The Byrds, R.E.M., Big Star, and The Lemonheads! Being a Californian myself who was born and raised the same city Bethany was, I can’t help but love this song!

“We Almost Lost Detroit” by Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.: Between the sunny indie-folk-pop of “Simple Girl” and the more organ-driven, Zombies-meets-Foster-the-People sound of this song, I’d say Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. are a band whose choice in sound is as quirky and unpredictable as their name!! Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. are from Detroit, as the song title indicates, but the way this song sounds, they sound more like some British band, or perhaps even a band that came from outer space! “We Almost Lost Detroit” was originally a protest song from the late jazz musician Gil Scott-Heron, but DEJJ put a whole new spin on it! Their version is more upbeat, and their video for it (which seems to be becoming somewhat of an underground “hit”) depicts Detroit as a city that is still surviving, rather than the bleak vision Scott-Heron offered of it back when a nuclear meltdown outside of one of Detroit’s power plants inspired him to write and perform the song. The video can be viewed here (

“You Don’t Have to Love Me” by Blues Traveler: Blues Traveler were a nostalgic but catchy (and sometimes clever) band back in the ‘90s. Once the next decade rolled around, though, it seemed as though the harmonica-loving jam band was left in the dark with songs that just didn’t have the spark of their old material! After twelve long years, though, Blues Traveler are back on their feet again with “You Don’t Have to Love Me”!! With John Popper covering Sublime and providing harmonica solo on reggae band Rebelution’s most recent track earlier this year, though, I kinda knew BT were bound for the “cool radar” once again. I had no idea how good they still were though! For the first time since “But Anyway”, John Popper and co now have a song with just as many harmonica solos as there are guitar solos! BT haven’t been this gritty in quite a long time! The contrast between the apocalyptic opening lyrics concerning global warming and the more generic lyrics of the chorus (“You don’t have to love me, tonight I’ll be your man”) show that they still have their sense of humor as well! Welcome back, guys, I’ve missed you for ever so long!!