Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Blast from the past!! (And one more song)

Blondie and Red Hot Chili Peppers are two thirds of the new entries for the week?! Did I just take a trip in a time machine?! Nope, and even the third entry on this list sounds like it's from an older musician even though it isn't! Old is the new new, and here we go with this week's entries!

"Goodbye Angels" by Red Hot Chili Peppers: Not as reflective and soulful as "Dark Necessities" and not as much of a happy-go-lucky funk-rocker as "Go Robot", "Goodbye Angels", the third single from Red Hot Chili Peppers' latest album, is a song defined by its use of double-octave chords that gradually builds up into a faster song with fuller chords by the time the last 30 seconds or so kick in. Knowing the Peppers, "Angels" is probably a reference to their hometown (and mine), Los Angeles. The reference has occurred in a few of their songs, perhaps most famously "Under the Bridge", in which L.A. is referred to as the "City of Angels". The lyrics suggest it's about a girl(s), but the use of such imagery could be metaphorical for all I know. What is apparent is that the "goodbye" part of the song is a painful one, as the word "suicide" is mentioned a few times in the song. Whether this is the suicide of an actual person or the "suicide" (societal decay, perhaps?) of Los Angeles itself is unclear, but it's a bittersweet song nonetheless. I could do without the crazy buildup at the end, though.

"Long Time" by Blondie: Blondie?! Yes, THAT Blondie, the punk-cum-new-wave band from New York that pretty much screamed "girl power" in the late '70s and early '80s is back on the bandwagon!! Don't expect a powerful, gutsy rocker in the vein of "One Way Or Another", though. Debbie has mellowed out this time around, although this makes sense given how she is now 71 years old. No longer interested in melding the attitude of The Ramones with the harmonies of The Ronettes, she now turns to current electro-rock groups like TV on the Radio and Future Islands as her main musical inspirations for her latest song. Given how she has collaborated with both groups recently, this is hardly surprising, though perhaps slightly disappointing for those who might have wanted her to never be too old to rock and roll. Her voice, once young enough to sound like she was forever in her early 20's, now sounds a bit more motherly, but in a cool kinda way that only Debbie can truly pull off!

"River" by Leon Bridges": Not an old musician, but definitely an old soul, Leon Bridges has earned rightful comparisons to musicians like Sam Cooke and Otis Redding since his debut back in spring 2015, but in Leon's latest song, "River", he pulls off a feat that neither Sam nor Otis did. The song is a rare but sublime hybrid of folk music and soul music that is usually only able to be pulled off successfully by people like Tracy Chapman. During a lyrical journey that equates romantic love with spiritual love, a la Al Green, Leon passionately pleads the words "Take me to your river. I wanna know." What he wants to "know" is love, and it appears to be both that of a woman and that of God. Whichever one you prefer, though, "River" is a song with a smooth, quiet flow as steady as its title would suggest it has.