Tuesday, February 11, 2014

“The beautiful journey of today can only begin when we learn to let go of yesterday.”

It is time for another musical adventure. I figure once a week, on a semi-regular basis, is the right pacing for this. Music starts after the break, with Crooked Still's "Little Sadie." (In case anyone is wondering, I've been taking the starting songs from the list that MGK is currently doing over at Mighty God King.)
Crooked Still's "Little Sadie." Oh, this is nice. The banjo and cello combination reminds me of Kentucky Route Zero, which is a compliment. I wish the version I found had the singer's voice a littler more clearly; as it is, I'm not sure exactly what the song is about, lyric-wise. But she's got a good voice, and the rest of the band knows what it's doing too. I've also got a general soft spot for bands that have men and women on them. 

Janelle Monáe "Cold War." I had to pretty far down the list to find a song that wasn't another cover of Little Sadie, or by Crooked Still. But it was worth it. This, too, is really good. And it isn't just a song, but a full out performance, the version she did for the Nobel Peace concert, which is apparently a thing. And there's a big band, an orchestra, a conductor--it's nothing like the last song, but I like it all the same. Monáe has style; I love her look.

Ellie Goulding. 2010. "Lights." And this was the only option that wasn't either Nobel concet or more Monáe. As someone currently experimenting with longer hair, I don't know how she stands the hair in her eyes for wide parts of the video. Beyond that... I prefer commenting on a full video than a concert, because I feel like I have more to say there--I can comment on things beside the singer's appearance and music, neither of which I generally have anything interesting to say. Critics were complimentary of the electronic sound in the song, and less complimentary that it was a little generic, and I can nod and say, yep, I can see why you'd say those things. It's a long way from "Little Sadie," I'll say that much.

Karmin. "Pumped Up Kicks."  It's got a nice energy to it. In the "behind the scenes" bit, the singers revealed that this isn't their usual thing, and that they're stretching a bit, and I can see that a little--not that they're bad, but you can see they're trying really hard at something they're not 100% comfortable with. And going for something minimalist works here, I think; anything flashy would have just made it awkward.  I like that they gave the song their own interpretative spin, too. Make it your own, and so forth. If nothing else, this one shows how much I like to latch on to something, anything, that could lend me even the slightest pretense of knowing authority.

Parachute. "Pretty Girl Rock."  Oh, I get what's going on now--it's a series. Unlikely low level bands do fairly different covers of slightly more popular bands. There's some weird gender issues in an all-male band appropriating a very woman-oriented song, but given the slant of the lyrics, I think we already had weird gender issues before Parachute showed up on the scene. "Girls think I'm conceited 'cause I know I'm attractive / Don't worry about what I think, why don't do ask him?" "Jealousy is the ugliest trait / I can talk about  it 'cause I know that I'm pretty." Next, please.

Hanson. "Troublemaker." This is apparently a Weezer cover. I like the concept of these mash-ups; it reminds me of the of the creative appropriation involved in fan fic, only, uh, with corporate sponsors and industry-mandated pairings. I figure this one would work better if I had any emotional attachment to Weezer or Hanson, back in the day, so the contrast would matter more. There's some humor in a band known (compared to Weezer at least) as a reasonably straight-laced boyband claiming to be a "troublemaker" and explaining the joke makes it funnier.

Grace Potter and the Nocturnals. "Why Don't You Love Me." A Beyonce cover. I appear to be stuck in cover song land, where postmodern theory never dies, creative industry believes in recycling, and it's totally cool for an all white band to do a Beyonce song. Seriously, though, I liked this. I liked the spin the singer put on it, the high notes I assume are in the original, the clapping bit. There are a lot of beards going on in this indie band. And a moustach and side burns combo. After a two month concerted effort, I gave up the field of facial hair to those more qualified. But I'm really into the shoulder length hair at the moment, so I've got that going. The aftertalk also feels a little more honest than some of the other mash-ups.

Mary Lambert. "She Keeps Me Warm."  Still in the Billboard network of music. Apparently Lambert worked with Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, and wrote their gay rights single, "Same Love." Clearly, I had misjudged Macklemore from the earlier set of songs. I like this. It feels like a very personal song, and she's got good pipes. I like that it's a love song without being grossly sexualized (although admittedly there may be a sexier side to it from a woman's perspective that the heterosexual male perspective just isn't privy to. Which is also cool, because frankly, that particular demographic has enough songs.).

Train. "Drops of Jupiter." I notice I've been stuck in Billboard for a while. Just one of the ways Youtube production is governed invisible, amiably sinister forces. I assumed at first that this was a cover too, but no, it turns out Train actually DID write Drops of Jupiter. Man, what happened to those guys? I remember hearing this song for ages, and then... I guess "Calling All Angels" made some waves. It's a simple song, with fairly simple lyrics, but that's in its favor, I think.

And that's all the music I had time for before my work is done. Tune in next time, where we'll listen to more wacky mash-ups. Or not. Either way.

Later Days.

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