Weekend Melody: First (Cold War Kids)

I know it’s only Sunday, but this song was on my mind and I didn’t want to forget, so I’m posting this early.  I thought I’d forget about it by Monday, so I had to call this a “weekend melody” instead.

“First” by Cold War Kids is one of the rare newer songs that will ever appear in this series.  Unlike most of the more recent dance and pop music that has dominated the airwaves since 2009 – 2011 or so, “First” both rocks and also has emotional depth.   I do like much of the newer EDM and pop, but as a teenager of the ’70s and a twentysomething of the ’80s,  my heart will always remain that of a rock fan, and the vast majority of post-2010 music doesn’t, well, rock.  This one does — and at the same time seems current and relevant.

Not only is this an outstanding song, the video for it is phenomenal.   I love the non-linear structure of the story.   It seems to be about someone with a drinking or drug problem that gets in the way of his relationships, but without the video, I think it the song could also be describing a relationship with someone suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder, with or without the chemical substances.

Monday Melody: Beautiful Day (U2)

I’m featuring this song a second time, because it has special meaning for me today and the message — that beauty and grace can still be found even when everything has been lost — is profound and so important, especially to those of us who have often felt (and feel) so lost.

Original post:

The early 2000’s weren’t exactly the best time for popular music. Sirius, Youtube, and EDM (for the most part) were still in the future, and radio rock, though still ubiquitous, was well past its prime. The airwaves were full of interchangeable post-grunge, nu-metal, Britney Spears, and unmemorable R&B and rap. But there were a few gems that stood out all the more because they were so rare. One of those gems was 2000’s “Beautiful Day” by the supergroup U2–this was one of the last great rock songs.

From the Wikipedia entry for the song:

According to Bono, “Beautiful Day” is about “a man who has lost everything, but finds joy in what he still has.” Blender interpreted the song and the line “it’s a beautiful day” as “a vision of abandoning material things and finding grace in the world itself”

The heart is a bloom
Shoots up through the stony ground
There’s no room
No space to rent in this townYou’re out of luck
And the reason that you had to care
The traffic is stuck
And you’re not moving anywhere

You thought you’d found a friend
To take you out of this place
Someone you could lend a hand
In return for grace

It’s a beautiful day
Sky falls, you feel like
It’s a beautiful day
Don’t let it get away

You’re on the road
But you’ve got no destination
You’re in the mud
In the maze of her imagination

You love this town
Even if that doesn’t ring true
You’ve been all over
And it’s been all over you

It’s a beautiful day
Don’t let it get away
It’s a beautiful day

Touch me
Take me to that other place
Teach me
I know I’m not a hopeless case

See the world in green and blue
See China right in front of you
See the canyons broken by cloud
See the tuna fleets clearing the sea out
See the Bedouin fires at night
See the oil fields at first light
And see the bird with a leaf in her mouth
After the flood all the colors came out

It was a beautiful day
Don’t let it get away
Beautiful day

Touch me
Take me to that other place
Reach me
I know I’m not a hopeless case

What you don’t have you don’t need it now
What you don’t know you can feel it somehow
What you don’t have you don’t need it now
Don’t need it now
Was a beautiful day

 

Monday Melody: Old Man (Neil Young)

I remember “Harvest” was one of the first albums I ever bought with my own money (that wasn’t bubblegum!) and “Old Man” was probably my favorite song from it.   It’s timeless.

Monday Melody: Mr. Brightside (The Killers)

Another great post-1990s pop-rock tune, from 2004.   This is just a great song.   The lead singer is very easy on the eyes, too.