here they are:
"College" by Rogue Wave: "College", eh?! Perfect song title for a guy who has just moved on to a four-year college (me!!) Anyway, this also happens to be a very good song, especially for those who are used to Rogue Wave being an indie-folk-rock group, as opposed to the more techno influenced sound they opted for back in 2010. So glad they are back to the sound they do best!! A jangly guitar sound, slightly reminiscent of R.E.M. circa the mid '80s, rings throughout the song, though the sound starts to gradually fade out towards the end of it. As a matter of fact, even lead singer Zach Rogue's vocals seem influenced by Michael Stipe on this track (once again, specifically reminiscent of mid '80s R.E.M. songs), as the vocals are both melodic and garbled, like those on Stipe's earlier works. It's easier to tell what Rogue is saying during the chorus, as he picks out the word "knowledge" for a somewhat cliche, but still memorable rhyme for the title of the song.
"Every Little Thing" by Eric Clapton: Not exactly the most rockin' song for Clapton, but still one worth checking out. "Every Little Thing" actually serves as a nice little combination of Clapton's folk/country influenced side during the verses, and his flirtations with reggae during the chorus. Yes, he DOES have a reggae side to his material, and not just his cover of Bob Marley's "I Shot the Sheriff", either. His cover of Bob Dylan's "Knockin' On Heaven's Door" also has a reggae sound, and he even did a duet with Bob Marley once called "Slogans". The chorus of "Every Little Thing" is probably its saving grace, actually, as it lifts up the song enough rhythmically to make it a more enjoyable song to hear. The weird part about this song is how a chorus of children come in out of nowhere towards the end of it. Huh?! "Rastaman Clapton" doesn't seem to flow as well for me as blues-y, rockin' Clapton, but "Every Little Thing" is not among his worst material either.
"6 A.M." by Fitz and The Tantrums: Like their last big song, "Out of My League", Fitz and The Tantrums once again have made the jump from the best Motown band that never was to the best Hall and Oates tribute band that never was. Ummm...that is, if Hall and Oates got an indie-pop makeover. The combination of new wave and soul music is actually even more apparent on "6 A.M." than it was on "Out of My League". The sax in the song provides the more soulful side of it, while the synth on the song not only gives it a new wave-y sound, but it also seems to be the main instrument in the song! "6 A.M." actually contains synth SOLOS, which I never thought I'd hear from a group like Fitz and The Tantrums. From what I've read, Fitz and The Tantrums apparently think that guitars are an overrated instrument, but I would rather hear guitar solos than synth solos, myself. Perhaps something to keep in mind for their next album?! Soul music with guitars can work, just ask the guys from Funkadelic!
"Soothe My Soul" by Depeche Mode: Hmmmm...this is weird!! I NEVER thought I'd be reviewing a Depeche Mode song on my blog, yet here I am, doing exactly that! The closest I would come to being a Depeche Mode fan would be the songs on their late '80s/early '90s smash album, "Violator", which contains songs like "Personal Jesus", "Policy of Truth", and "Enjoy the Silence", all of which used electric guitars, despite the fact that DM were primarily viewed as a "synthesizer band" at the time. While there are no guitars I can hear clearly enough in "Soothe My Soul", it DOES sound an awful lot like "Personal Jesus" in terms of the rhythm of the song. Perhaps the fact that "Soothe My Soul" has a familiar sounding rhythm is what I like best about it. Other than that, it just kinda sounds like your typical song from "Depressed Mode" (as one DJ for an alt-rock station decided to call them, heheh). Once again, I feel like this song COULD use a bit more guitar, but then again, that's probably because I play guitar, and have done so for over 10 years now.
"Trying to Be Cool" by Phoenix: I once read that one of Phoenix's fave bands is Electric Light Orchestra. It was a little hard for me to believe that until I heard "Trying to Be Cool", which has a very similar A minor chord progression (and rhythm) to ELO's "Evil Woman". Rest assured, though, Phoenix is still Phoenix, they haven't switched their Talking Heads-ish brand of danceable indie-pop to '70s prog-rock. "Trying to Be Cool" isn't as catchy as most of Phoenix's material, but it's definitely still catchy! Lyrically, "Trying to Be Cool" is a pretty weird song!! What exactly IS "mint julep testosterone", and "two dozen pink and white ranunculus" (also, what IS a "ranunculus" in the first place)?! Such is the appeal of Phoenix, though. Their lyrics don't need to make sense, as long as the tune of the song is good, and, as usual, it is!!
"Unbelievers" by Vampire Weekend: And I thought "Diane Young" was a "retro" sounding song from VW!! That song sounds positively modern compared to their "Unbelievers", though, which has a piano based sound reminiscent of some of The Beatles' more piano based songs. I'm used to Ezra Koenig and co imitating the sounds of The Police, Bob Marley, Peter Gabriel, and "Graceland" era Paul Simon, but this takes the band to an era about 10 years before music like that became known! As the title of the song indicates, "Unbelievers" deals with topics like religion and fate, yet it sounds like such a happy song, that it makes me want to get up and do a Snoopy dance!!