here they are:
"Do It Anyway" by Ben Folds Five: Ben Folds and his "Five" (actually just two other people) are like what a cynical, sarcastic version of Elton John might be like, in that they are known for their soft, sensitive side, but occasionally they can dabble in other more energetic material as well. "Do It Anyway" is an example of the BF5's more energetic side. The typical Folds deadpan factor is here as well, as he talks about various troublesome situations, but urges the listener to "do it anyway", without a lot of sincerity attached to the statement. Folds does break from his deadpan-ness in the middle of the song to sing that he "used to not like (the subject of the song), but now (he) thinks (he/she)'s o...KAAYYYY-yeah-yeah-yeah!!!", with the "kay" part of the word "okay" marking the exact point that Ben not only creates a brief shift in the mood of the song, but also the only part of "Do It Anyway" in which he lets out a somewhat Dave Grohl-ish "scream".
"Spectrum (Say My Name)" by Florence and The Machine: For those thrown off by the "Say My Name" part of the title of the song, let me assure you that, no, Florence has NOT gone the way of Beyonce! However, this song does have a bit more disco influence than most of Flo's material. I don't know of any actual disco songs with harps in them (and especially not one with a harp SOLO), though, so "Spectrum (Say My Name)" is a song that is in Flo's own unique style! The word "spectrum" does not appear in the chorus of the song, but there are quite a few references to color throughout it, (such as "as every color illuminates, we are shining"). Funny to think that one of the stations I know of that spins Florence and The Machine's music is CALLED "The Spectrum". I can only wonder what they would think of playing a song whose name is the same as their own station!!
"Stubborn Love" by The Lumineers: So where do The Lumineers go from the surprise success of the folks-y but catchy "Ho Hey"?! Well, with another folks-y but catchy song! Well, kind of. The folks-y part of The Lumes' latest song, "Stubborn Love", is definitely there, but it is mostly a minor key song with darker lyrics (even the opening lyrics, "She'll lie and steal and cheat, and beg you from her knees, and make you think she means it this time", prove this). In its own way, though, "Stubborn Love" IS catchy, since it has a strong enough backbeat, though not nearly in the same way "Ho Hey" was. The instrumentation here is slightly reminiscent of Bob Dylan's "Hurricane", especially the cello part, though the percussion here is more light tambourines than heavy drums (which brings about yet another Dylan connection - he DID sing about a "Tambourine Man", didn't he?!)
"This Gift" by Glen Hansard: I don't think I've known an Irishman so far with more success in both music AND movies than Glen Hansard! He first became noticed with the bittersweet ballad "Falling Slowly" from the indie flick, "Once", and now, Glen has yet another song from a movie soundtrack, although this time it is the more family friendly (but still quirky) film, "The Odd Life of Timothy Green". "This Gift" is probably the most amazing song I've heard from Glen SINCE "Falling Slowly", actually. Glen proves here that with just two chords, he can still pull at the ol' heartstrings! The harmonizing vocals backing Glen up on "This Gift" only make it even more memorable! It is never mentioned what exactly the "gift" in the song is, but one could probably easily imagine that it is love, or perhaps even life itself. Whatever it is, though, "This Gift" still makes for quite a memorable song!
"Yet Again" by Grizzly Bear: Taking our only detour into electric guitar oriented music for the week (with a post-psychedelic flavor, in this case), Grizzly Bear reach new heights of both intriguing and weird with "Yet Again". Much like how they did with "Sleeping Ute" merely a month ago, The Grizzlies continue to push the indie envelope with "Yet Again". The song features a rather complex chord structure in comparison to most contemporary bands/songs with the "indie" label, and by the time "Yet Again" gets to its last minute, it dissolves into a swirly noise-fest in which it becomes trickier to tell which chords are being used. In a world full of Byrds-y and Simon-and-Garfunkel-ish bands, Grizzly Bear want to be like the Syd Barrett era Pink Floyd, or perhaps an even more exotic band like King Crimson.