here they are:
"It Takes a Lot to Know a Man" by Damien Rice: It sure does!! Wow! Didn't think Damien had it in him to do a song that surpasses the length of "Stairway to Heaven" by about a minute and a half, but this is exactly what he does in "It Takes a Lot to Know a Man". Damien's songs are typically sad, but this one takes the melodrama of his music to a whole other level! The ending lyrics of the song are when it reaches its zenith. The phrase "What are you so afraid to lose?" becomes a mantra, and leads into what is perhaps the most intense mood I've ever heard in a Damien Rice song, as his voice and the background vocals argue with each other about their innermost insecurities.
"Most In the Summertime" by Rhett Miller (featuring Black Prairie): Just in time for the coming season, this is probably one of the most upbeat songs in both Rhett Miller's catalog and Black Prairie's. It is a mellow but catchy country-rock ditty in which the lyrics concern themselves with the simple pleasures of life. Well, perhaps other kinds of "pleasures" as well, as the chorus indicates that Rhett and Jenny (Black Prairie's lead singer) have their "clothes off, hangin' on the line". But hey, that's what summer's for, isn't it?!
"Scared" by Delta Rae: "Scared", eh?! Well, perhaps the reason why is because this song is different from Delta Rae's other material in two ways. First of all, one of the men in the group sings lead vocals, unlike Elizabeth Hopkins, who usually does so, and second of all, its sound resembles the "neo-soul" of groups like Fitz and The Tantrums more than it does the folk sound of their typical material. The "scare" factor here is really the uncertainty of whether a romance is going to work out, and the song's combination of minor key and catchy beat are enough to keep you on the edge of your seat!
"Song For Someone" by U2: After the anthemic rock vibes of "The Miracle (Of Joey Ramone)" and "Every Breaking Wave", U2's third single from "Songs of Innocence", "Song For Someone", has a more laid-back and poignant feel to it. Whoever "someone" is, they must have been incredibly important to U2 for them to make such a moving song in which the lyrics tug at the heartstrings as much as the music does. The chorus of the song pretty much defines it with its opening words, "If there is a light, you can always see, and if there is a world, we can always be. If there is a dark within and without, and there is a light, don't let it go out". For those who are in touch with their sensitive side, I highly recommend this song!
"The Stars Over Your House" by Bob Schneider: Ever since Bob Schneider's adult alt radio breakthrough with "40 Dogs (Like Romeo And Juliet)", a lot of his songs have had somewhat of a moody streak, albeit laden with sentimentality in most cases, with the exception of the surprisingly hard-rocking "Unpromised Land". "The Stars Over Your House" seems like a much needed feel-good song in his catalog that he had more in his early days than the later ones. The "oh-oo-woh"s and "yea-ee-yeah"s that punctuate the verses, along with the harmony of the backing vocals, and just the chipper feel of the song in general, are all aspects that make "The Stars Over Your House" the perfect equivalent of a pop chart hit for indie fans.
"True Affection" by Father John Misty: Or as I like to call it, Father John Misty...IN SPAAAACCCE!!! FJM hasn't really used synthesized instruments in his music until now, and boy, does he use them!! The beginning of the song doesn't sound that far off from what you might hear when someone is playing an arcade game! It kinda sounds like one of the trippier Radiohead songs, in particular, songs like "Lotus Flower" and "Staircase". The song basically has only one verse that's repeated twice (with the second verse having only a slight difference in lyrical content), and it doesn't veer from its A minor chord at all, which gives the song a bit of a "static" flavor. FJM, meet LSD!
"24 Frames" by Jason Isbell: Right from the beginning of the song, you can tell it's gonna be a sad one, since the opening lyrics are "This is how you make yourself vanish into nothing". Thankfully, it's not a bleak sadness, but a bittersweet one, and Jason Isbell does an excellent job of pouring his heart and soul into "24 Frames". Its sound is reminiscent of the songs from R.E.M.'s album, "Automatic for the People", and that sound is not just coincidence. It turns out that Jason's band, Drive-by Truckers, was based in Athens, Georgia, the same town R.E.M. hails from! As for the title of the song, it is taken from how many frames roll per second during a movie, which is how life itself is portrayed in "24 Frames". Jason has truly outdone himself this time!!
"Woman (Oh Mama)" by Joy Williams: One half of folk-rock duo, The Civil Wars, Joy Williams' debut solo song is basically like a Celtic version of Depeche Mode's "Personal Jesus" in terms of how it sounds. As the title of the song implies, this is Joy's ode to the spirit of femininity. The one complaint I have about this song is that she seems to be expressing her thoughts as though she is stereotyping those who speak "broken" English, though I'm not sure if this is intentional. Each line of each verse starts with the word "woman" and is followed by a verb of some sort, which reminds me of how Cookie Monster speaks ("Me want cookie!"), or perhaps the Hulk ("Hulk smash!") Why she is choosing to speak this way, I have no idea, but I do appreciate the sentiment she has intended in the song, as well as the way it sounds.