Wednesday, January 8, 2014

New songs for the new year - part 1 - left over from 2013!!

Since I missed so much last time around, my first new blog will be a two-parter. So here goes:

“Hey Brother” by Avicii: Avicii made his name known in summer of last year with his “Mumford and Sons goes clubbin’” megahit, “Wake Me Up”. In his latest song, “Hey Brother”, the Mumford aspect is definitely still there. The “clubbin’” aspect? Well, not so much this time, until the end of the song, which is driven by a synthetic horn solo. Avicii’s pleas for love and peace in “Hey Brother” (“Do you still believe in one another?”) really resonate with me. “Deep” messages in his songs tend to be quite common, but it’s not any wonder when you consider that his stage name refers to an aspect of Buddhism.

“Kangaroo Court” by Capital Cities: And now, here’s another band who had a megahit last year with the super catchy alt-pop dance anthem, “Safe And Sound”. Capital Cities continue to get funky in their second big song, “Kangaroo Court”, perhaps even more than they did the first time around. The song shows a bit of an eccentric side to Capital Cities that wasn’t that apparent on “Safe And Sound”. First off, the title alone points it out (name one other song with the word “kangaroo” in the title!) The chorus (“Shut up, shut up, shut up, sit out, sit out, sit out, it’s a kangaroo court”) is odd, yet still memorable. It’s the music video for “Kangaroo Court” that really takes the cake, though!! Can’t get better than a bunch of weird people in animal costumes! The video can be viewed here:

“Stranger to My Happiness” by Sharon Jones and The Dap-Kings: What better way to kick of a new year of blogging than with a sassy, funky blast of neo-soul that combines the Motown sound with the Stax Records sound?! This one actually came out in November 2013, but I haven’t been able to find a decent copy of the song until this year. Anyway, if you feel like you’re hearing a long lost duet between Aretha Franklin and The Temptations on “Stranger to My Happiness”, don’t be surprised. Sharon Jones and The Dap-Kings really know how to keep the sound of classic ‘60s soul alive for those of us growing up during the 21st century! Though the subject matter of “Stranger to My Happiness” might be a downer (which can be indicated just from the title of the song), the song itself is most definitely not!

“Thunder Clatter” by Wild Cub: Much like a lot of the other songs for this part of this week’s blog, “Thunder Clatter”, by electronic indie-pop group, Wild Cub, has certain elements of dance-pop to it. If someone told me four years ago when I started this blog that I would have a week where I reviewed songs that were danceable, I would have thought they were nuts, yet here I am, doing exactly that! I guess it’s an acquired taste. Perhaps what sets “Thunder Clatter” apart from other indie-dance-pop songs is that it seems to have certain elements of world music in terms of its rhythm, along with the expected Modest Mouse/MGMT type influences.

“Turn It Around” by Lucius: The “-us” ending of Lucius made me think this was a band fronted by a man, but its lead singer is actually a woman. Lucius’ “Turn It Around” seems to run halfway between the blithe, bubbly indie-pop sound of Boy (best known for “Little Numbers”), and the more sophisticated alt/dance-pop of musicians like Lorde. There is definitely a dance-pop aspect to “Turn It Around”, but it also has a bit of an “indie” sound to it at the same time. “Turn It Around” is for more than just the “hipster” crowd, though, with its tight percussion section (which uses both handclaps and tambourines, in perfect synchronicity with one another), and its simple, but earworm-y chorus (“She’s looking through the wrong end of the telescope, turn it around.”)