Sometimes, well a lot of times actually, you get a little obsessive about a song, listening to it over and over again. For me these days that song is ‘Under the Pressure’ from The War On Drugs. It’s almost nine minutes of dreamy, moody pop, anchored by a simple piano-based melody. The ambient layers and clean guitar lines remind me so much of Roxy Music’s Avalon. However, Adam Granduciel’s vocals are a bit rougher, grittier than Bryan Ferry’s crooning so you get this romantic but rustic feel – woodsy, if that makes sense. It’s really beautiful and it’s no surprise to me that the band often gets compared to Tom Petty, one of our great romantic rockers.
Long pop songs that are really worth those extra minutes are hard to find. But, this being the internet age, of course someone – the UK’s NME – has posted a playlist (!!) of that exact thing. BEST LONG SONGS is a mix of pop, rock and r&b with the only link being every track is over seven minutes. Nice to see ‘Sinnerman’ follow ‘Blue Monday’ but where is Death Cab for Cutie’s indie opus ‘I Will Possess Your Heart’? Man, I listened to that on repeat for about six weeks back in ’08.
But going back to The War On Drugs, I’m not familiar with their earlier incarnation, when Kurt Vile was part of the band and they wore their Bob Dylan influences on their sleeves. The band’s latest album Lost in the Dream is my introduction and while I do hear Dylan’s impact, especially on the slower songs and vocals, the sound is much more layered and full to be considered folky or even singer-songwriter. In an interview with Rolling Stone, Granduciel said, with the new album, he wanted to move away from the way he used to compose and write songs that “people could connect with on another level”.
For more War tunes, I’ll leave you with the official ‘Red Eyes’ video. Enjoy!
I wasn’t looking for this; in fact I didn’t even know I needed it. But, oh, it is very, very necessary: Mary J. Blige channeling Julie Andrews in a cover of ‘My Favorite Things’.
I know, right? It’s perfect. In her interpretation, ‘schnitzel’ and ‘strudel’ are no longer tasty dishes, but Mary’s own bittersweet memories of Bavaria! And the video, even though it looks like a quickie-shoot-for-the-marketing-department job, succeeds in showcasing her pure fabulousness, reminding us that she’s one of the few women living today who can pull off a metallic turban. Liz Taylor would be so proud.
If Beyonce is our Tina Turner, all legs and fierce fire, then Mary is our Aretha. She sings soul-first. Even though she has the power to belt each and every tune, she doesn’t need to rely on vocal histrionics to make her point. Her control and range, her ability to convey the emotion of the song, her confidence – all of these elements make her, arguably, our generation’s greatest vocalist. For more proof, listen to her version of ‘Mary, Did You Know’. As the song moves from an understated ache to a gospel revelation about the Son of God, her voice will make you a believer.
I like the fact that she’s recorded her holiday album, A Mary Christmas, with the Verve label, home of classic American singers like Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughn and Nina Simone. It’s where Mary belongs.
So, check out her holiday album and have yourself a very, merry Mary Christmas!
In the spirit of factcheck.org and all of the other researchers who’ve worked so hard debunking the whooping great lies swirling around this election, therockmom has taken on the task of finding a picture of Mitt Romney actually listening to music.
Because it’s important.
We’ve heard about Romney’s iPod and the jokes comparing his musical likes to Paul Ryan’s. We’ve heard about Romney’s taste for Kid Rock and The Killers – lead singer Brandon Flowers is a Mormon btw – and his preference for country. Mainstream country that is. We’ve heard that his campaign staff listed his musical tastes on Spotify (which I’ve just found out you cannot get in Hong Kong!) to try to keep their boss somewhat hip to social media. But you know if you search Google images for ‘Romney wearing earbuds’ or ‘Romney iPod’ or even ‘Romney music’, what do you get? Nothing.
Kind of like those oh-so-pesky details about his budget plans.
I’ve also discovered that out of Romney’s entire Spotify playlist (19 songs total), there is only one song by a woman – “All American Girl” by Carrie Underwood. I hear that, if Romney gets elected, Ms Underwood will remake that song, to be titled, “All American Girl With Ten Kids and Cervical Cancer”.
Now if you do the same search for Obama, you get photos of the President wearing headphones, hanging with Stevie Wonder, chatting with Jay Z and Beyonce as well as some great photoshopped pics of Obama as a DJ, Obama holding a huge boom box and Obama as Elvis on a postage stamp.
So it’s easy to believe him when he says he listens to the Fugees, the Stones, the Boss and Nina Simone. On his 2008 playlist, three out of ten songs are by woman.
Paul Ryan, of course, is another story all together. The 2012 undisputed king of the backwards-baseball cap, cheesy weightlifting, earbud-wearing totally-doofus school of campaign propaganda. The best description I’ve read about Ryan and his earbuds came from a great blogger who posts under the banner: Bob Dylan Wrote Propaganda Songs. He called Ryan’s snaps, “quite possibly the douchiest image ever captured on film.”
I can’t say it any better. Honestly, anyone under 60 who doesn’t see right through Paul Ryan – right through this guy! – is completely deluded.
Now, put on your earbuds and go out and vote!