Friday, 22 March 2013

My Musical Diary LIV

Another week has passed (does time fly or what?) and so a new Diary is here. Features some new & obscure songs as well as underrated classics...and a country hit! And if you like your female pop music sassy, be sure to check out the Bonus section.

David Bowie - God Bless The Girl

I don't wanna hurt you, just wanna have some fun

This song is a bonus on the Japanese edition of The Next Day and I'm a bit pissed off it's not on the album here. I really, really like this song a lot. Seems to have been written by Bowie, the (still thankfully very theatrical) human, not Bowie the alien. Does this make any sense? For me it seems to accomplish what She Drives A Big Car wanted to but didn't quite deliver. It has an emotional punch. Well done, DB. Now go & make it available for the rest of the world. I love the Japanese but this is too good to be released just to them.

Woodkid - The Shore

I've featured Woodkid here before but this time he's here because his debut album The Golden Age finally came out a few days ago and I've had a chance to listen to it a bit. Just like with Lana Del Rey (for whom he directed a few videos), his music sounds a bit samey on first listen but after a while of living with the record, the individual jewels that are on it start to crystallise and you get struck by the beauty of pretty much each and every song. The first song that hit me like that was The Shore, slower than the songs that precede it on the album and definitely something that a fan of interesting piano-featuring songs would appreciate.

Woodkid's voice already reminds me of Antony Hegarty a lot. Less vibrato and pain, more melancholy. The tempo and instrument choices on this song drive this comparison home, pretty much. But it would be wrong to try to force Woodkid into Antony's world. Woodkid has his own, a very cinematic world. Sometimes the songs are like 60's co-production epics, sometimes they are an independent 90's flick and sometimes, as is the case with The Shore, they are a quirky noughties film, a bit dark, a bit sweet and somehow moving.

I couldn't find the studio version online, but the live one I do feature here is pretty close to it and great as well. Do check out the album on iTunes if you like this song. Woodkid isn't exactly a big mainstream star and I'm sure every cent he gets for his music counts.

Carrie Underwood - Two Black Cadillacs

And the preacher said he was a good man
And his brother said he was a good friend
But the women in the two black veils didn’t bother to cry
Bye bye

Country songs are not a frequent staple on my Diary, especially not the pop country ones. But I watched Country Strong this week (and was pleasantly surprised!) and it kind of got me in the mood for one of USA's most successful female country artists of the last couple of years. Carrie performed this song on the Grammy awards this year (together with her winning monster hit Blown Away) and I got instantly hooked and had to buy it. I went back to this song this week and felt the need to listen to it over and over.

This song has an amazing groove, it's pretty dramatic (infidelity! revenge! murder!) and simply a great song, especially for a mainstream brand of country. And Carrie is just vocally spot on for it.

T.V. Carpio - I Want To Hold Your Hand

This is my favourite cover version of a Beatles song. Why did I decide to put it here this week? American Idol had a Lennon/McCartney songbook week and while quite a few of the contestants did a great job with their songs (shoutout to Candice, Amber, Kree & Janelle!), some of the less successful ones got me thinking of the Beatles songs featuring film musical Across the Universe (one of my favourite film musicals, btw!) and in particular of this delightfully surprising and moving version of I Want To Hold Your Hand. An early Beatles classic and their first smash hit in the US, but not a song that I hold as dearly to my heart as some of the others, got a deeper meaning in the film and a more interesting and exciting arrangement. The dominance of the bass in combination with T.V.'s angelic vocals are truly chill inducing. Before this version came out I honestly had no idea this song was this good and that it wasn't just some dance song for 60's teenagers.

The Beatles - She's Leaving Home

I don't write about my favourite band's songs here nearly often enough. Whenever there's a choice between an old song of an established artist and a song by a lesser known "fresh" artist I tend to choose the latter, because what can I really add to what's already been written about the classics?

But then I see 80% of the American Idol contestants not really knowing the music of The Beatles and I realise that regardless of age not everyone knows every little detail about this band. Not everyone has read almost every Beatle-related book they could find. Not everyone at least once fantasised about time travelling to the 60's and meeting them. Not everyone can't actually count how many times they listened to an outtake of a lesser known Beatlesong. Not everyone cried when George Harrison died. And that is OK. It means that there are still plenty of people who can discover the magic world of the Beatles discography and fall in love.

Take Amber Holcomb who didn't know any Beatlesong before choosing She's Leaving Home from a list of twenty. She approached the songs with fresh ears, gave each a listen and decided She's Leaving Home was the one she could connect with the most. And her recorded version is quite remarkable. She approached the emotion of the song a bit differently from the deadpan melancholy of the Englishmen. And her approach works really well.

She's Leaving Home is still a somewhat underrated Beatles song. It doesn't get played on the radio much. It gets slightly lost in the creative mayhem of the Sgt. Pepper album - it hasn't been accused of being about drugs or covered by Joe Cocker - but it's one of the most moving songs Paul McCartney and John Lennon ever wrote. And it's probably one of the last true collaborations between these two. The swinging 60's meeting the deprived 40's and 50's: the voice of a narrator telling the leaving girl's story is mixing with the desperate and disappointed cries of her parents. It's an incredible achievement which could lead one to writing an essay about happiness and the meaning of life. The parents who thought comfort and security were the way to live one's life are proven wrong by their curious child. When will the child be proven wrong?

I could go on and on...actually analysing this song makes all these ideas sound a bit heavy-handed but the beauty of the song lies in the fact that it actually is completely effortless and its meaning might have changed and gotten deeper with time.

God, don't you just love songs like this one?


Stockholm Syndrome - Karma (preview)

You can always count on the Swedes to make great, interesting pop music and Stockholm Syndrome are no exception. The female trio's second single will be released next Monday but the preview has already piqued my interest so much I had to include this snippet here. These girls are sassy. They already proved that with their first single Pretty Girl (a song that is everything but pretty). But I have a feeling Karma might be even better than Pretty Girl was, but just as cutting.


Cody Belew - Baby Get Out

Adding this song last minute because it didn't quite fit into my five chosen songs... the song is worth a paragraph though. It could be huge on country crossover radios but I think people who do not listen to country at all could like this one a lot as well. Too bad Cody is unknown outside of Nashville and the fanbase he acquired thanks to taking part in The Voice last year. This song deserves to be heard. Great hook, great two vocalists with interesting voices... Spread the word guys!

Dearly beloved, thank you for checking out the blog. Feel free to share and/or comment and till next Friday...

Love, Peace and Ringo! xxx

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