Friday, 29 June 2012

This Week's Top 5 Songs XIX

Let's start this week's edition of my music diary with a fade-in...

Roxy Music - Out of the Blue



I've been incredibly lazy and it took me almost two years to transfer my Roxy Music discography to my now not so new computer, but I finally managed to do it yesterday. Out of the Blue was the first song which started playing when I put the Roxy songs on shuffle last night (or is it toggle?). And it's actually one of my favourites. I'm a fan of Roxy's first two albums but OOTB is definitely just as good as the best songs on those two. I am not very fond of violins but what Eddie Jobson's doing on this track is amazing. Yeah. Eno was great (is he still?) but poor Eddie doesn't get enough credit for his contribution to Roxy. He didn't just play the electric violin, he was quite a music wizard himself and you can hear some of it on this record. And of course the rest of the band are great on this track too. Everyone on top form.

Savage Garden - Break Me Shake Me



Let's pop! But funnily enough Break Me...is a VERY rock song for this undeniably pop duo. Also reminiscent of Michael Jackson's harder stuff (no surprise there since Darren Hayes is an MJ fan). Keep listening to this song a lot on my iPod and thought it was about time I acknowledged that here. A great rock/pop song and recommended listen to those who don't know it.

Also: "Just heard this song last night at work. I'm adding it to my Sex Playlist. This is some music you fuck to." in the words of a YouTube commenter.

The Dresden Dolls - Pretty in Pink



My Winamp crashed on me a few months ago and ever since then I keep re-adding albums into it. Last night I realised I didn't have No, Virginia in the player - and it was thanks to me remembering I used to be addicted to The Dresden Dolls' cover of the Psychedelic Furs song. I wanted to play it but it wasn't there! I'm re-addicted now, have listened to it way too many times since last night. It's one of those records that make me smile AND make me want to go on a road trip.

Tin Machine - Baby Universal



Another instance of me being influenced by Pushing Ahead of the Dame's posts on Bowie songs. I decided not to listen to the Tin Machine songs again (after cca 10 years) until they are analysed there, so that I have an open mind when I read about them. So just like with a couple of songs from Tin Machine's first album Baby Universal pleasantly surprised me. More than a typical Tin Machine song it sounds like something which could appear on Buddha of Suburbia or the later 90's Bowie albums. Bowie and Gabrels at their best. Has been added to my iPod (a badge of honour).

Muse - Survival



Oh dear. So I've given Survival quite a few listens since it came out yesterday and just...no. Yes, I realise it's the official olympic song, so the lyrics and overall mood of the song should reflect that. But man. Could the lyrics be any more sports cliché?
There's actually a couple of things I like about Survival: the piano, most of Matt's vocals, even some of the guitar wanking. But I just can't get over the lyrics and the female (?) backing vocals. Muse are not exactly a less is more kind of a band but this is in poor taste even for them. Self-indulgent and for all the noise and choirs it ends up being pretty hollow.
But then, most of their fans like it, it seems to have been well received by the public, so who cares what I think?
One good thing did come out of this song for me: it made me go back to some of their older songs and I reassured myself I do still like their music.

Friday, 22 June 2012

This Week's Top 5 Songs XVIII

Paloma Faith - Freedom



Opening this week's Top 5 Songs post with my newest discovery. I'd been aware of Paloma since her arrival on the scene but I hadn't really noticed her properly until listening to the UK chart show two weeks ago and hearing Picking Up The Pieces. Last weekend, free from exams, I remembered and checked the song out again on YouTube. The video held my attention to the very end...and the way I feel toward it and the song itself is: while it's not completely original, the mix of influences just completely clicks with me. Me and Paloma are on the same musical wavelength. I love pretty much all of the songs on the second album and it was not easy choosing just one: Freedom for sure has a hit potential. Will check out the debut album soon but I'm very impressed so far.

Blondie - Atomic



Earlier this week, after a long day, I decided to rewatch the 2006 Blondie documentary, and realised all over again how much I adore Debbie Harry. While Kate Bush is the ultimate female artist for me, Debbie is the ultimate ultracool female star. Forget about Madonna. This woman did it first and she did it better. (I still have a lot of respect for Madonna though and like a lot of her songs.) Blondie might have better songs than Atomic but I've always had a soft spot for this one. A perfect mix of punk-alternative rock stuff and disco/dance music, an anthemic melody plus the cool, dark tones of the way Debbie sings the title words. Hot and cool at the same time.

Fun fact: the first time I heard Atomic was at a record store around the time one of their best of's came out and before Debbie started singing I actually thought it was a new Franz Ferdinand song. So young, so cute. :) Oh well, when it comes to Blondie I'm the Maria generation...

Kate Bush - Hello Earth



Well, I was shortening my sundress the other day and after I listened to Paloma's album a few times I craved change but would only listen to someone good, and female: Kate was an obvious choice. While deep at manual work I was in the right mood for Hounds of Love, ready to actually listen. It felt like the perfect opportunity to listen to The Ninth Wave, the side two of the album, in its entirety. Hello Earth, the penultimate song of the album finds the heroine of the Ninth Wave close to death, recounting the events that brought her alone into a storm at sea. The beauty of the melodic, harmonic and production choices is indescribable by words. You have to feel this song, down in the marrow of your bones.

Iggy Pop - Shakin' All Over



I listened to Iggy's version of this early 60's oldie quite a few times this week thanks to Pushing Ahead of the Dame's recent blog entry. Apparently Bowie, as part of Tin Machine, covered this song live as well...a fact I either forgot or never was aware of. Well, I can't help myself but Iggy's '99 version (available on his Avenue B album) is my favourite. Sexy, ballsy but sung from a point of view of an old lizard. I prefer that to the youthfulness of the original. Yep, I'm weird.

David Bowie - Hang on to Yourself (Bowie at the Beeb, 1972 version)



Listened to the Bowie at the Beeb live album after a while the other night and realised a lot of my favourite Ziggy-era songs performed at these BBC sessions are my live favourites, and in some cases I even prefer them to the studio versions. There are two versions of Hang featured on this album but I managed to find the right audio so you know which one I'm taking about here.

This version ROCKS. HARD. I don't think Ronno ever played this song better than here. Actually the whole band is just tight. That's the way I like it, baby. No solo wanking, short, bitey. Fuck yeah.

P.S. UK-ers: there's this programme on tonight at BBC Four. Ziggy, the album, turned 40 earlier this month, so this docu could be an interesting celebration...

Friday, 15 June 2012

This Week's Top 5 Songs XVII

Lana Del Rey - Born To Die



A fed days ago I saw a link to Lana's new song that she's started to perform recently. Sounds good, would be nice to have a studio version of it. Anyway, that put me in the mood for listening to her....and I have done so...and that's why I'm opening this week's Top 5 Songs post with one of her songs. I actually think "feet don't fail me now, take me to the finish line" might be my favourite opening song-lyric couplet of any of the songs I got into listening to this year. It keeps popping up in my mind almost every day, especially when I feel tired...

The Velvet Underground - Venus in Furs



...Which takes me to my other fave song this week. Venus In Furs features these lyrics:

I am tired, I am weary
I could sleep for a thousand years
A thousand dreams that would awake me
Different colors made of tears


That's my life in a nutshell, however sad that might be.

A few days ago, after listening to a couple of Lana's songs while studying, I ended up craving Nico's voice...and once I started listening to The Velvets' first album I just couldn't stop. Venus in Furs is quite a unique song: it's by far not as conventional as the album's opener Sunday Morning or the album's other folkier songs, but it's also not as Really Weird as the album's closing European Song...it's still pretty weird and musically unconventional (as well as lyrically) but it's actually pretty catchy at the same time. And the chorus's lyrics (is that the chorus?) that I quoted above...one of Lou's best.

Harren Hayes - Bloodstained Heart



And from now on it's all unabashed pop music. Last week I featured Stupid Mistake here in this blog erm... serial. This week it's another song from Darren's latest album. If I'm not mistaken this was the leading single in the UK last year. This song has been a grower for me. I pretty much had to hear a live acoustic version of it to fully appreciate it - but since listening to that I have had this song lodged in my head and I don't mind one little bit. It's now proudly residing in the Australia Mix playlist on my iPod.

Misha B - Home Run



Misha B's debut single. Another grower. When I first heard this song for the first time a couple of weeks ago I thought...good, but not really my thing. Then I heard it again a few days ago...and again today because its official video has been released (watch above)...and man, I'm going to buy this one when it comes out. I listened to the UK singles chart last Sunday and I can tell you this song is what sells right now but it's much better than some of the shit in the same genre that's in top places right now. So I hope this does well. Misha has heaps of talent, style and charisma, I hope enough people see that.

MIKA - Celebrate



MIKA's leading single from his upcoming third album. It's....very current and quite different even from MIKA's previous album, let alone the piano-lead debut. It makes me a bit sad, actually. The fact he was a piano singer-song writer was what brought me to MIKA initially, so I'm not sure what I think about this new direction. He obviously wants to experiment and judging from the choice of feat (Pharrell Williams), he wants back into the charts. But so far it feels to me he's lost something in the process, I'll reserve my final judgement for after I hear the whole album though. Celebrate itself is not bad, but to my ears it blends a bit too much with what's in right now. And if I pitted Celebrate with Adam Lambert's Pharrell Williams collab Trespassing (the song), it would lose hands down. It is a charming song though. Maybe that should be enough.

Friday, 8 June 2012

This Week's Top 5 Songs XVI

A run-down of my favourite songs this week.

The Beatles - Tomorrow Never Knows



When in doubt, listen to The Beatles (or Bowie), that's my life philosophy. Tomorrow Never Knows manages to sound edgy and just really strange in a good way 46 years after it was released. Just how many other songs can boast the same?

Kylie Minogue - Did It Again



This seems to be a bit of a controversial Kylie song. To my ears it sounds like good 90's. Might just be in my top 10 Kylie songs at the moment.

Darren Hayes - Stupid Mistake



More Australia. A great pop song coming from Darren's latest album released last year. Really impressed. I like some Savage Garden songs (more 90's!), but some of their stuff is too schmaltzy for me. This song is definitely high quality though. Will check out this guy's discography for sure.

Marc Almond - These My Dreams Are Yours



Been in one of these posts once before. Well, this song is so beautiful, there is no reason it can't be here again. My most listened-to song of this week.

Amanda Palmer - Want It Back

Amanda's Kickstarter project was a huge success and it's now over and done. To celebrate its successful funding and thank us dear backers Amanda released a new song last week. And it's very orgasmic. Synths, a bass solo, piano, a super-catchy chorus. Well. the whole fucking song is super-catchy. Did I mention the bass solo? This song features a bass solo. I repeat: A BASS SOLO.

[note: the song has been released to the backer's of Amanda's project only but it will be on the regular album which comes out in September. You can listen to and watch a live version of the song here.]

Saturday, 2 June 2012

This Week's Top 5 Songs XV

Kylie Minogue - Timebomb



I've got one word for you: WHOOP! The Australian Queen of Pop is celebrating her 25 years in the entertainment biz & the release of the new single is part of this celebration. What can I say.....I LOVE it. I'm a casual fan of Kylie's music at best (own several albums from Fever on, have a best-of) but I just adore Kylie as a person...and it's obvious this tiny woman knows how to do a sexy pop song. WHOOP!

The Sound of Arrows - Conquest



The Sound of Arrows have just released a video to this new single of theirs. It's all very fantasy meets sci-fi meets the 80's. Also DeLorean. And naked painted breasts. As for the song itself...I'm in love with the verses. The chorus is fine but the verses sometimes make me O when I listen to this song. God, I love this band so much.

Faye - Water Against The Rocks



More Genius Swedish Pop Music. The are two things I love about this upcoming single: the song itself, and the fact Faye has a surprisingly un-Swedish voice. It's not a norm, obviously, but Swedish pop singers tend to have higher voices...but Faye's is rich and deep. Can't wait for this to come out, so I can buy it.

Scissor Sisters - Somewhere

(sadly no audio available online ATM)

As I already mentioned in my review of Magic Hour, Somewhere is my favourite song on this album. Not quite sure what more to say about it that I haven't already in that review. Great song. Well done, Scisters.

Amanda Palmer - The Bed Song



Perhaps the saddest song every written. Looking forward to listening to the studio version of this song which will appear on Amanda's new album in a few months but the live versions of this song are all pretty stellar and will be hard to top. Most recently Amanda played The Bed Song at the MIT Media Lab webcast and it was amazing.

Here are the full lyrics. I dare for your heart not to bleed out as you listen to this song. I feel like crying just writing about The Bed Song - and I'm not much of a crier when it comes to songs.

Exhibit A: We are friends in a sleeping bag
Splitting the heat we have one filthy pillow to share
And your lips are in my hair

Someone upstairs has a rap that we laugh at
And people are drinking and singing the scarborough fair
On a ukelele dare

Exhibit B: Well we found an apartment
It's not much to look at - A futon on the floor
Dirty desktop for a door
All the decors made of milk crates and duct tape
And if we have sex they can hear us through the floor
But we don't do that anymore

And I lay there wondering what is the matter
Is this a matter of worse or of better
You took the blanket so I took the bed sheet
And I would have held you if you'd only let me

Exhibit C: Look how quaint and how quiet and private
Our pay checks have bought us a condo in town
It's the nicest flat around
You picked a mattress and had it delivered
And I walked upstairs and the sight of it made my heart pound
And I wrapped my arms around me

And I lay there wondering what is the matter
Is this a matter of worse or of better
You walked right past me and straightened the covers
And I would still love you if you wanted a lover

And you said: "All the money in the world
Won't buy a bed so big and wide
To guarantee that you won't accidentally touch me in the night"
Then I said: "You must be right"

Exhibit D: Now we are both mostly paralyzed
Don't know how long we've been lying here in fear
Too afraid to even feel
I find my glasses and you turn the light out
Roll off on your side like you've rolled away for years
Holding back those king-sized tears

And I still don't ask you what is the matter
Is it a matter of worse or of better
You take the heart-failure I'll take the cancer
I've long since stopped wondering why you don't answer

Exhibit E: You can certainly see
How fulfilling a life from the cost and size of stone
Of our final resting home
We got some nice ones right under a cherry tree
You and me lying the only way we know
Side by side and still and cold

And I finally ask you what was the matter
Was this a matter of worse or of better
You stretch your arms out and finally face me
And said

I would have told you if you'd only asked me
you'd only asked me
you'd only asked me