Friday, January 23, 2009

Song Of The Day - 1/23/09

"Beautiful World"
New Traditionalists
Released 1981

Devo had already hit it as big as they ever would by 1981, with the success of "Whip It", which became the Akron based band's biggest hit a year earlier. Bands like Devo didn't exist to feed the pop music machine, though, and it was not at all surprising to see them never sniff that level of success again.

This song, taken from the follow-up album New Traditionalists, could have easily been a hit. It's catchy, synth driven beat, highlighted by a surf guitar break, could have easily found chart success at a time when songs like "Bette Davis Eyes" and "Kiss On My List" were spending weeks atop the Billboard lists. A look at the video provides the likely explanation as to why it didn't:

[video to be posted shortly]

What I love about this song is the way the upbeat sounds and lyrics lull one into thinking it's simply an updated version of a "What A Wonderful World"-like sappy anthem, until you get to the chrous reply line at the end which snaps you to attention:

It's a beautiful world (for you)
It's a beautiful world (for you)
It's a beautiful world (for you)
It's a beautiful world (Not Me)

Ah, the lovely smell of irony in the morning! Another reason to love the band, whose cynical view (recall that the name, Devo, is shorthand for de-evolution, the idea that instead of evolving, mankind has actually regressed, as evidenced by the dysfunction and herd mentality of American society.) of culture managed to surface once again. This is a highlight from their catalog, and one worth revisiting.

all music link

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Song Of The Day - 1/20/09

The National
"Mistaken For Strangers"
from the album Boxer
Released 2007

Just as the previous entry, "Time To Pretend" was my pick for 2008 Song of the Year, this haunting three minutes and eleven seconds of awesomeness was easily the selection for 2007.

Quick personal note: iTunes tracks the numebr of times each track is played, and provides a list of your individual Top 25 Most Played. When I checked after my latest synch, this song was so far at the top it had doubled the next closest song.

About the song, what stands out to me is the drumming of Bryan Devendorf. The rhythmic pounding which punctuates each measure will stick in your head, while the clanging echoey guitars create an amazing mood in what turns out to be a brooding tone. Check this lyric for an example:

You get mistaken for strangers by your own friends
when you pass them at night under the silvery, silvery citibank
arm in arm in arm and eyes and eyes glazing under
oh you wouldn’t want an angel watching over
surprise, surprise they wouldn’t wannna watch
another uninnocent, elegant fall into the unmagnificent lives of

Wow. Not exactly "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go", huh?

The above, when sung in the droning, Leonard Cohen-ish voice of Mark Berninger, makes for a highly memorable track which to this listener, stands out on a very good album.

Americanmary (band site)

Friday, January 16, 2009

Another New Feature - Song Of The Day

It's a new year, and it's time for some new resolutions. First, I resolve to post more frequently - posting more frequently means more things which will turn up in Google searches, which mean more hits and traffic to the site, and more...profit?

Anyway, I thought it would be cool to introduce a Song of the Day, kinda like NPR does but different, because it's, well, me. And I won't hit you up for any donations, although you're welcome to send any cash my way.

The goal is to briefly touch on a song heard during the course of the day, be it something from my collection or the radio. Hopefully over time we'll explore an eclectic batch of songs, and I will accept any and all recommendations from you guys as well.

Up first......

- "Time To Pretend"
from the album Oracular Spectacular
Released 2008

Had I published a Best Of list for 2008, this gem would have won the top spot as Song Of The Year. It is at once a wistful, dreamy and depressing song , disguised with happy sounding synth bursts and a updated psychedelic fuzzy backbeat. It has become a song I've yet to be tired of, and you won't either.

Sample Lyric:
This is our decision to live fast and die young.
We've got the vision, now let's have some fun.
Yeah it's overwhelming, but what else can we do?
Get jobs in offices and wake up for the morning commute?

Listen and see the video on MGMT's Official Site