Monday Melody: Everybody Hurts (REM)

I haven’t posted any new Monday Melodies in a while, but this one was suggested to me, and is not only a great song (released in 1993), I think all of us can relate to it.    REM is one of my favorite bands.

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Monday Melody: My Favorite Mistake (Sheryl Crow)

Don’t let the laid back sound of Sheryl Crow’s voice and music fool you.  This 1998 pop song is about a relationship with a narcissist, after she has been devalued and discarded.   I heard it the other day in the car, and I haven’t been able to get it out of my head, so I’m making it this week’s Monday Melody.  I’ve posted the lyrics below the video.

I woke up and called this morning
The tone of your voice was a warning
That you don’t care for me anymore

I made up the bed we sleep in
I looked at the clock when you creep in
It’s 6 a.m. and I’m alone

[Chorus:]
Did you know when you go
It’s the perfect ending
To the bad day I was just beginning
When you go all I know is
You’re my favorite mistake

Your friends are sorry for me
They watch you pretend to adore me
But I’m no fool to this game

Now here comes your secret lover
She’d be unlike any other
Until your guilt goes up in flames

[Chorus:]
Did you know when you go
It’s the perfect ending
To the bad day I’d gotten used to spending
When you go all I know is
You’re my favorite mistake

You’re my favorite mistake

Well maybe nothin’ lasts forever
Even when you stay together
I don’t need forever after
It’s your laughter won’t let me go
So I’m holding on this way

Did you know, could you tell
You were the only one
That I ever loved
Now everything’s so wrong

Did you see me walking by?
Did it ever make you cry?

You’re my favorite mistake
You’re my favorite mistake
You’re my favorite mistake

Monday Melody: Major Tom (Peter Schilling)

I’ve posted about this song before, but oh, drat–I can’t find the post now.

Oh, there it is–playing Peekaboo down there in the “Related” posts.  Oh well.

Anywho…this one-hit Europop wonder by German musician Peter Schilling–intended as a sort of “answer” to David Bowie’s “Space Oddity,” never became that popular in the United States when it was released in 1983 but it did get a little airplay here, especially on the dance circuit, and remains one of my favorite 1980s tunes.

The beautiful, haunting chorus still gives me chills every time.   Does “coming home” mean coming home to earth…or “coming home” to the afterlife?  I think it’s most likely the latter.

Standing there alone
The ship is waiting
All systems are go
Are you sure?

Control is not convinced
But the computer
Has the evidence
“no need to abort”
The countdown starts

Watching in a trance
The crew is certain
Nothing left to chance
All is working
Trying to relax
Up in the capsule
“send me up a drink”
Jokes Major Tom
The count goes on

4, 3, 2, 1…
Earth below us
Drifting, falling
Floating weightless
Calling calling home…

Second stage is cut
We’re now in orbit
Stabilizers up
Running perfect
Starting to collect
Requested data
“What will it effect
When all is done”
Thinks Major Tom

Back at ground control
There is a problem
Go to rockets full
Not responding
“hello Major Tom
Are you receiving
Turn the thrusters on
We’re standing by”
There’s no reply

4, 3, 2, 1…
Earth below us
Drifting, falling
Floating weightless
Calling calling home…

Across the stratosphere
A final message
“give my wife my love”
Then nothing more

Far beneath the ship
The world is mourning
They don’t realize
He’s alive
No one understands
But Major Tom sees
Now the life commands
This is my home
I’m coming home

Earth below us
Drifting, falling
Floating weightless
Coming home
Earth below us
Drifting, falling
Floating weightless
Coming home
Earth below us
Drifting, falling
Floating weightless
Coming coming home…
Home…..(x8)

 

 

Monday Melody: Shine (Collective Soul)

“Shine” is one of those ’90s songs that sounds positively dated by today’s standards, but this is not a bad thing, not at all.    The feel of the song, technically classified as post-grunge (even though it came out in 1994 during the height of grunge),  owes a lot more to classic rock than it does to popular music today–or even other music of its time.

Unlike many post-grunge/grunge songs that tend toward dark, ironic, and nihilistic lyrics, “Shine” has a positive, inspiring, unironic message.    If you didn’t know better, you might even think it was a Christian song, even though the band insists that it was not intended as one.   But the overall mood of “Shine,” with its distorted guitar and heavy bass line, is as dark as anything else from that time, which creates an interesting juxtaposition with its upbeat lyrics.

“Shine” sounds so much like classic rock that it gets airplay on my local classic rock radio station, which plays very little music that came out after the early 1980s.   They also play a lot of Pearl Jam, another ’90s rock band that could easily be mistaken for classic rock.

Give me a word,
Give me a sign.
Show me where to look,
Tell me what will I find?
What will I find?

Lay me on the ground,
Or fly me in the sky.
Show me where to look,
Tell me what will I find?
What will I find?

(Yeah)
(Yeah)
(Yeah)
Whoa, heaven let your light shine down
Whoa, heaven let your light shine down
Whoa, heaven let your light shine down
Whoa, heaven let your light shine down

Love is in the water,
Love is in the air.
Show me where to look,
Tell me will love be there?
Will love be there?

Teach me how to speak,
Teach me how to share.
Teach me where to go,
Tell me will love be there?
Love be there?

(Yeah)
(Yeah)
(Yeah)
Whoa, heaven let your light shine down
Whoa, heaven let your light shine down
Whoa, heaven let your light shine down
Whoa, heaven let your light shine down

Give me a word,
Give me a sign.
Show me where to look,
Tell me what will I find?
What will I find?

Lay me on the ground,
Or fly me in the sky.
Show me where to look,
Tell me what will I find?
What will I find?

(Yeah)
(Yeah)
(Yeah)
Whoa, heaven let your light shine down
Whoa, heaven let your light shine down
Whoa, heaven let your light shine down
Whoa, heaven let your light shine down

I’m gonna let it shine
I’m gonna let it shine
Heaven, let your light
Shine on me

Oh, yeah,
Yeah
Heaven, let your light
Shine on me

(Shine) Shine on me, yeah
(Shine) C’mon and shine

Monday Melody: Wild Wild Life (Talking Heads)

Back in the day (late 70s and most of the 1980s), the Talking Heads were among my favorite new wave bands.    “Wild Wild Life” was one of those songs (“Psycho Killer” was another)  that I couldn’t get enough of.  I first heard it in David Byrne’s independent film project, “True Stories” in 1986 and went out and bought the album of the same name.  I kept playing “Wild Life” on repeat until I had to purchase a new copy of the album.  My copy was on vinyl–CDs were new on the market but hadn’t overtaken LP sales yet.

At the time I was a young newlywed and I still thought I’d married a good man.   My new husband hadn’t started showing his true colors yet (or I just didn’t see or chose not to see the red flags).    I remember being incredibly flattered because he often compared my looks with Tina Weymouth, the bassist for the band (and in fact, in those days I did resemble her).

So without further ado, here’s my 1986 earworm.  Yes, that is a young John Goodman (of Roseanne fame) in the video–he appeared in the David Byrne film and some movie scenes are in this video.

 

Monday Melody: Beautiful (Christina Aguilera)

I really should start calling these Sunday Songs, since I seem to post them so often on Sunday night instead of Monday–but Sunday Songs sounds like religious music, so I guess I won’t be changing the title.

My apologies for slacking on posting every week as I promised, but I did post The Cure’s “Just Like Heaven” a few days ago, because I didn’t want to have to wait.   That song was my obsession that day.

“Beautiful” is one of those big diva-ballads of the late ’90s and early 2000’s I don’t normally get into that much.  Don’t get me wrong–these ladies (Christina, Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, and their ilk) are incredibly talented and their success is well-deserved, but their melismatic r&b style just isn’t usually my cup of tea.  I’m more into rock or indie and alternative type of music.

“Beautiful” is an exception.  On every level it’s amazing.    It’s not a shallow song about physical perfection as one might think; it’s an empowering song about self esteem and not fitting in because you’re “different,”  but learning to love yourself anyway in spite of those differences.  Christina belts the lyrics out with so much raw emotion I always feel like I’ve been hit in the gut.  Rumor has it she she cried while recording it.  I believe it too.

I heard it again today and it brought tears to my eyes, so I decided it deserved to be this week’s featured tune.

 

Lyrics:

[Spoken]
Don’t look at me
Every day is so wonderful
Then suddenly it’s hard to breathe.
Now and then I get insecure
From all the pain, I’m so ashamed.I am beautiful no matter what they say.
Words can’t bring me down.
I am beautiful in every single way.
Yes, words can’t bring me down… Oh no.
So don’t you bring me down today.To all your friends you’re delirious,
So consumed in all your doom.
Trying hard to fill the emptiness.
The pieces gone, left the puzzle undone.
is that the way it is?

You are beautiful no matter what they say
Words can’t bring you down….oh no
You are beautiful in every single way
Yes, words can’t bring you down, oh, no
So don’t you bring me down today…

No matter what we do
(no matter what we do)
No matter what we say
(no matter what we say)
We’re the song inside the tune
Full of beautiful mistakes

And everywhere we go
(and everywhere we go)
The sun will always shine
(the sun will always, always shine)
And tomorrow we might wake on the other side

We are beautiful no matter what they say
Yes, words won’t bring us down, no, no
We are beautiful in every single way
Yes, words can’t bring us down, oh, no
So don’t you bring me down today

Oh, yeah, don’t you bring me down today, yeah, ooh
Don’t you bring me down ooh… today

 

Monday Melody: Pretty Pimpin’ (Kurt Vile)

monday_melody

The Monday Melodies are intended to pay homage to songs I like from the past, but I’d like to make an exception this week and include a new song. Lately I’ve been hearing some good and interesting indie rock and pop on a local radio station that doesn’t play the usual Top 40 hits.

Kurt Vile‘s “Pretty Pimpin'” is musical crack. His style is like a cross between Tom Petty (who he names as one of his influences) and ’90’s alternative such as Beck. The video features Kurt, appearing disheveled and either confused, high, or severely dissociated, possibly in a fugue state. The lyrics describe what sounds like a very unpleasant dissociative experience, in which the protagonist looks in the mirror and doesn’t recognize himself. Yet Kurt’s delivery is oddly unemotional and disconnected, as if he’s describing the experience of someone else, which is exactly what dissociation feels like.

I’d like to include this comment from the lyrics page, which I think nails the meaning of the song:

The song’s narrator likely suffers from Depersonalization Disorder, a dissociative mental disorder in which one feels disconnected or estranged from one’s body, thoughts and emotion.

The song uses subtle changes in its repeating verses, progressing through different manifestations of this disorder. As the narrator interacts with himself in the mirror, he begins with the first person pronoun “I” and later moving toward more uses of the third-person “he.”

The upbeat song ends with a gradual fade-out, which you don’t hear much anymore in modern music.

I woke up this morning
Didn’t recognize the man in the mirror
Then I laughed and I said, “Oh silly me, that’s just me”
Then I proceeded to brush some stranger’s teeth
But they were my teeth, and I was weightless
Just quivering like some leaf come in the window of a restroom

I couldn’t tell you what the hell it was supposed to mean
But it was a Monday, no a Tuesday, no Wednesday, Thursday, Friday
Then Saturday came around and I said “Who’s this stupid clown blocking the bathroom sink?”

All he ever wanted was to be someone in life that was just like
All I want is to just have fun
Live my life like a son of a gun
I could be one thousand miles away but still mean what I say

Then I woke up one morning
Didn’t recognize the man in the mirror
Then I laughed and I said, “Oh silly me, that’s just me”
Then I proceeded to not comb some stranger’s hair
Never was my style

But I couldn’t tell you what the hell it was supposed to mean
Because it was a Monday, no a Tuesday, no Wednesday, Thursday, Friday
Then Saturday came around and I said “Who’s this stupid clown blocking the bathroom sink?”
But he was sporting all my clothes
I gotta say I’m pretty pimpin

All he ever wanted was to be a man
But he was always a little too cute to be admitted under “marbles lost”
He was always a thousand miles away while still standing in front of your face

Then he woke up this morning
Didn’t recognize the boy in the mirror
Then laughed and said, “Oh silly me, that’s just me”
Then I proceeded to brush some stranger’s teeth
But they were my teeth, and I was weightless
Just quivering like some leaf come in the window of a restroom

And I couldn’t tell you what the hell it was supposed to mean
Cause it was a Monday, no a Tuesday, no Wednesday, Thursday, Friday
Then Saturday came around and I said, “Who’s this stupid clown blocking the bathroom sink?”
But he was sporting all my clothes
I gotta say pretty pimpin

I woke up this morning, didn’t recognize the boy in the mirror [x6]

Monday Melody: Year of the Cat (Al Stewart)

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There are some songs you just never grow tired of. I clearly remember the first time I heard Al Stewart‘s “Year of the Cat” because I heard it in a dream. There’s only one other song I first heard while I was asleep and became incorporated into my dream (Lifehouse’s “Halfway Gone,” 2009). There’s something magical about hearing a song in a dream that always remains with you and makes the song seem more special somehow. You almost feel like it came from inside you.

“Year of the Cat”‘s vivid imagery recalls outdoor markets in faraway Eastern places and exotic women in colorful silk dresses. In my dream, during the summer of 1977, I saw all this imagery while on some kind of safari and my male companion–a boy who I had a wild crush on–was serenading me with this song.

I woke up right at the end, during the long instrumental and couldn’t get the song out of my head. I had to have that record, so I rushed out to purchase the 45 RPM. For the next month I listened to it more times than I could count.

It’s a great song, with many layers of instrumentation–violins, piano, guitar,and saxophone, giving it a sensual, even sexy feel. The lyrics are pure poetry. You simply don’t hear lines like “she comes out of the sun in a silk dress running
like a watercolor in the rain” these days.

“Year of the Cat” has a timeless sound and doesn’t sound dated, even 40 years after its release. It could have been made yesterday.

Monday Melody: “Somethings Always Wrong” (Toad the Wet Sprocket)

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The ’90s holds a special place in my heart and of all the decades, I like the music of that decade the best–even though technically I was a little too old for it.   ’90s music seems the most versatile to me.   No one knew it yet, but it was the last decade where good rock music was still dominant, before it disintegrated into the commercial post-grunge of the early 2000s, and the eventual takeover of hip hop and finally, EDM.

Sometime during the late 1980s, new wave segued into early alternative (or what used to be called “college rock” before it became “alternative” in the 90s. )  No matter that I was no longer in college and was in fact married by then, I was always drawn to this type of music.  REM is a fantastic band and of all the early alternative bands probably became the most famous and long lived.   But there were others that seemed so underrated to me.    Toad the Wet Sprocket (formed in 1986) made music that wasn’t offensive to anyone’s ears but was never over-produced or overcommercialized either.   Their lyrics were always meaningful.   “Something’s Always Wrong” wasn’t their biggest hit; in fact it never became much of a hit at all, although it did get some airplay in 1994.   It’s my favorite song by this band.  The harmonies are just gorgeous and I can’t get enough of the jangly guitars.   I never get tired of it.

I know it’s Wednesday. It’s two days late because I forgot. I don’t have any other excuses. 😳