Augustana: Hey Now (and thoughts about 2008)

“Hey Now” is incredibly nostalgic to me.    Although it came out in 2008, it has a distinctive ’90s sound.   Without going into too much detail, even 2008 seems like “simpler times” to me now.    Obama’s election made it seem as if racism was finally a thing of the past.  How wrong we were.   (But that’s another topic for another time).

2008 (eleven years ago!) was also one of the last years actual rock music was still being played on commercial radio, but Augustana (grouped in a catchall category called “modern rock” which included more well known indie-pop bands like The Fray, Snow Patrol, or O.A.R) never caught on big.  I believe their biggest hit was “Sweet and Low,” from the same album.

I purchased Augustana’s 2008 album “Can’t Love Can’t Hurt” and almost all the songs are great, but this one, which was never released to radio, became my favorite song on the album and possibly of that year.

This comment on Youtube sums it up best:

This is one of those songs that confirms that some of the best most epic songs exist in the “unknowns/seldom exposed” category. If this song was released in the late 90s, it would be played in the cycle of those nostalgic 90s sound most of us loved. I don’t think that sound every ended. It just fell asleep, while bands like Augustana and Blue October kept that timeless mood alive for another day.

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Keane: Somewhere Only We Know

Keane’s “Somewhere Only We Know,” released in 2004, seems like it’s from another lifetime, because everything has changed so much since then.   It seems like the world was more innocent then and so were we.   Fourteen years is a long time, but not so long to make me feel like we’re in an entirely different eon.    This piano rock ballad, already melancholy enough, is made even more so for me for this reason.   I still love this song.

RIP Chris Cornell.

I was shocked and saddened to learn that Chris Cornell died early this morning.  The cause of death was suicide.  He was 52 years old.

Chris Cornell was the frontman for the ’90s grunge-rock band Soundgarden, and later for Audioslave.   I’ll miss his unique voice and style, as will many.   But his memory will live on in those of us who were fans of his music.

 

Video Killed The Radio Star (The Buggles)

I played this one-hit-wonder nonstop when it came out in 1979.   It was definitely ahead of its time, setting the stage for the sounds of the ’80s and the MTV age.

Good People (Jack Johnson)

This 2005 song couldn’t be more timely.

 

Monday Melody: If I Had a Million Dollars (Bare Naked Ladies)

I heard this this morning and I just can’t help smiling every time I hear it.  So cute and witty, even if it’s just stoner rock.

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.

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: 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: Boulevard of Broken Dreams (Green Day)

monday_melody

I’m posting this on a Sunday because I feel like it and it’s close enough to Monday anyway.

“Boulevard of Broken Dreams” was a huge 2005 comeback hit by the alternative/pop-punk band Green Day after several years of being out of the public eye. It’s one of the last great rock & roll songs in the wilderness of dreary post-grunge and r&b/hip hop that dominated the airwaves prior to the changeover to EDM and pop around 2009. “Boulevard” has special meaning for me because of the connection it has with Borderline Personality Disorder. I think it captures the horror and emptiness of what it feels like to have BPD, especially these lines:

I’m walking down the line that divides me somewhere in my mind
One the borderline of the edge and where I walk alone
Read between the lines what’s fucked up and everything’s alright
Check my vital signs to know that I’m still alive and I walk alone
I walk alone
I walk alone
My shadow’s the only one that walks beside me
My shallow heart’s the only thing that’s beating
Sometimes I wish someone out there would find me
Til then I walk alone