Good People (Jack Johnson)

This 2005 song couldn’t be more timely.

 

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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.

Bad Blood (Ryan Adams — cover of Taylor Swift)

Taylor Swift is a guilty pleasure of mine (I think she’s a suberb songwriter and knows how to craft incredibly catchy songs) but I didn’t care too much for her version of “Bad Blood” from her hit “1989” album.

Sometimes covers are better than the originals.   Indie singer-songwriter Ryan Adams (not to be confused with BRYAN Adams) did this gorgeous cover of Swift’s song, which gets played a lot on our local indie station.   I like his low-keyed pop-rock arrangement of it, which sounds quite different from Swift’s upbeat dance-pop original.

Swift’s original:

Which version does everyone prefer? Let me know in the comments.

Ride (Twenty One Pilots)

I heard this song several times today during my almost 700 mile ride home, and can’t get it out of my mind.  It’s incredibly addictive and I think it’s a perfect driving song too.

I think this is one of the best songs played on mainstream pop radio I’ve heard in a LONG time–both lyrically and musically it stands above most mainstream music today.   It sounds more like indie or alternative.  I’m not even sure how you’d classify this. Is it indie rock? Indie pop?  Hip hop? Reggae?  EDM?  1980s or 1990s retro?  Something else entirely?    I’m not sure but it seems to have elements of all those genres and probably a couple others too.  Somehow it manages not to sound chaotic and disjointed–all the various genres flow together well.

Make You Better (The Decemberists)

“Make You Better” by the Decemberists is a new song but sounds like a jangle-pop song from the early ’90s (think REM, They Might Be Giants, Gin Blossoms, etc.)    I can’t stop listening to it.  The harmonies are just beautiful.    I’m not posting the official video because, frankly, I think it’s stupid and the intro makes no sense.  But someone made this trippy “visualizer” and set it to the song so I’m using that. This song makes me cry.

 

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]

“First”–Cold War Kids

Where I live, we’re lucky enough to have a good indie rock station that plays both old and new indie and alternative rock. Most of the new stuff isn’t getting radio airplay on the more commercial stations, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. There’s still good rock music being made but you have to look a little harder for it. Here’s one new song I can’t get enough of. I’m posting the lyric video–is this song a good candidate for my lists of songs about narcissism, or is it just about the end of a normal relationship?

“Electric Love”

I think this song by BØRNS might help with my black mood I described in my last post. It makes me want to get up and dance.

Not all new music is bad. Some indie stuff like this is quite good.  Never mind the obvious illuminati symbolism halfway through the video.