Wednesday, July 22, 2015

"Star Wars" Episode IX: Return of the Tweed-eye (and 4 other good ones)!!

In honor of Wilco's new album, "Star Wars", I have decided to make the title of this week's blog a reference to the "Star Wars" movies!! Here are this week's songs:

"Phone In A Pool" by Ben Folds (featuring yMusic): Ben Folds is one quirky dude! I mean, who ELSE would come up with a song title as random as "Phone In A Pool"? As it turns out, the title is not as random as it seems. It actually comes from how Ben was sick of answering his cell phone all the time. This resulted in how he did, in fact, throw his phone in a pool, out of the anger that rooted from having to answer it so often, even when he just got off stage. The song itself is charmingly odd, like most of Ben's material. New York ensemble yMusic provides a bit of light classical influence to the song to add to Ben's signature piano sound.

"Random Name Generator" by Wilco: So here's the moment you've all been waiting for, folks! A long time ago (1995, to be precise) in a galaxy far, far away (actually Chicago, Illinois), a singer named Jeff Tweedy decided to form a band, and he called it Wilco, after a military term short for "will comply". They started off as a country-rock group, but soon ventured into more folk, psychedelic, and even punk influenced territory as their career progressed. Their ninth and latest album is called "Star Wars", though no one quite knows why (yet). The first single off that album, "Random Name Generator", is, well, random! Both the title and the lyrics are rather mysterious, perhaps as an ode to musical heroes of theirs, such as Bob Dylan, though the song itself sounds more like something from what a Lou Reed led Led Zeppelin might have sounded like.

"Spots of Time" by Warren Haynes (featuring Railroad Earth): As a temporary member of The Allman Brothers Band, Warren Haynes is quite an accomplished "jam band" guitarist! His studio songs often feel more like live recordings due to their enormous length. Another thing he has in common with The Allmans is how blues-y he sounds. Well, normally. Warren's latest song, "Spots of Time", sounds more like an amalgam of flamenco, bluegrass, and jazz. So how did this happen?! Perhaps it's because he chose to jam with Railroad Earth, who are known for being more bluegrass than blues. For you guitar solo hungry folks, though, fear not! There is still plenty of chunky guitar jams in this song! It's just that this time around, they're interspersed with fiddle solos, too.

"The Next Storm" by Frank Turner: Plenty of folks have opted for folk-rock in the 2010's, but in 2013, Frank Turner won over more than just the usual folk-rock crowd with songs like "Recovery" and "The Way I Tend to Be", both of which made it into my Top 20 of 2013 at the end of the year. Songs like these were invigorating, lively, and quite clever as well! Frank continues this pattern with his newest song, "The Next Storm", proving himself to be England's answer to Bruce Springsteen in the process of performing it! "I'm not gonna live my whole life indoors, I'm gonna step out, and face the next storm", Frank proudly and defiantly proclaims in the chorus of "The Next Storm". Adventure, ho!

"Trouble" by Keith Richards: Since quite a large number of adult alt stations have started spinning this song when it isn't even a week old yet, I was expecting this to be a softer Keith/Stones song. It is not! It's basically a Stones song with Keith taking the lead vocals instead of Mick. The song has plenty of juicy Chuck Berry style riffs, a fast, propulsive beat, and an overall rebellious (but fun) sound. The world's oldest looking Stone is still young at heart! The dry, sardonic delivery of the lyrics is also worth noting here, as a marked contrast to the louder, more direct vocal delivery of Mick Jagger.