Wednesday, March 19, 2014

A journey is like marriage. The certain way to be wrong is to think you control it.

If you're new to the segment, this is me, a man relatively unfamiliar with all music that exists, choosing a random song form youtube, commenting on it, then following whatever song by a different artist that youtube suggests to listen to next. This time round, our musical journey begins with the piece suggested at Rock Paper Shotgun's round-up of videogame news.

Architecture in Helsinki -- I Might Survive.  Oh, this is entirely too chipper for me at the moment. And a little too discoteque. You know that montage at the beginning of Season Two of Venture Bros where Doc Venture is at a rave? (Of course you do.) This could be playing at that rave. And yet... it's kind of catchy. "I'd rather be with you than alive." Yeesh. That's a depressing sort of sentiment for such an upbeat song. It's a contrast that works, though. And damned if I wasn't tapping my toe with a stupid grin on my face by the end of it.

Chvrches covers Artic Monkey's "Do I Want to Know?" for Like a Version, a cover channel, I guess. This would probably have more impact if I knew Chvrches or Arctic Monkeys, besides vaguely recognizing then name. I like the female singer. Otherwise... it feels like a pretty typical love song duet thing. I get a sense I should have a stronger opinion of this song than I do, but all I can muster is polite "that was nice." And the firm opinion that the phrase "tomorrow day" is silly.

Of course, now we are trapped in a cover loop, with San Cisco's cover of Daft Punk's "Get Lucky." They sound New Zealand-ish.  But they are Australian. The one thing I got out of Flight of the Concords was a smug feeling that's inevitably wrong that I could tell the difference between Australian and New Zealand accents. Anyway, this song was everywhere about a year ago; I had no idea it was Daft Punk who played it, so that's a point in the musical education chart right there. I kind of like the use of bongo drums here. And I like the song. It's most distinct from the original in its non-chorus parts. Oh, but the "isk isk isk" at the end is... weird.

Next, Chvrches covers Arctic Monkeys' "Do I Wanna Know?".   I can't say I like the heavy percussion beat here. Very distracting. I'm vaguely familiar with the original song, and while this band seems likable enough, I think I prefer that version. It's very early twenties "dating is scary" and as an early thirties, it's embarrassing how much I can relate. Actually, most things are vaguely embarrassing re: relationships in the early thirties. I can vaguely see off in the distance the age where I'm old enough not to give a damn and not be embarrassed about anything, and I look forward to it with unguarded desire.

The Jezabels covers Journey's "Don't Stop Believing." My rule is that I can only select bands that I haven't already selected in a particular musical journey (journey being the term I use to describe these musical posts, not the band Journey, which have, in somewhat bad timing, just shown up). But with covers, that eliminates two sets of bands. So by my own rules, after the last song, for example, I couldn't select anything Chvrches has done, OR anything Arctic Monkey has done--or any other Arctic Monkeys songs. That limits my choices a fair bit.  Hence being stuck in cover town. I guess this particular feature, Like A Version, features a lot of local talent, which means Australian talent in this case. So this is "Don't Stop Believing"? Huh. I thought the song was called "Midnight Train." Don't laugh at me.

Next cover: HAIM's cover of Sheryl Crow's "Strong Enough."  The pre-song discussion is very endearing. I also cannot twirl a drumstick (or pencil, my equivalent) like Tommy Lee. The last few bands have blurred together a bit, but they stand out a bit. I like it. The electric organ is a little heavy in places, but the rest of it is good. The song itself is an interesting thing, gender conception-wise. But it takes on cool new shades when performed by an all girl band. I'm going to have to remember to come back to some of these folk in a non-cover capacity.

Miley Cyrus -- Jolene.  I thought I was out of the cover depths, but this is a cover too, isn't it? Because of my general musical ignorance, Cyrus is someone I know of more than than know, music-wise, wrecking-ball and twerking sessions aside. Her performance is... fine. This song is so clearly Parton's, though--it's like I can feel her lurking under Cyrus' performance, occasionally bursting to the surface. It's funny that this song actually crossed my path recently--there was an episode of Dan Harman's podcast a few weeks ago where they discuss it at great length, and how there's no real male equivalent, a song where a dude asks another dude to please not sleep with his girlfriend.

Avicii --Hey Brother.   It's a country-pop sort of thing. Is that a sort of thing? The vocals are by a bluegrass singer Dan Tyminski (uncredited) and the song is from Avicii, who is a Swedish DJ and producer. The image association keeps sliding between inspirational and weird: lots of basketball moves, a kid facing the rain, a guy getting hit in slow motion by a snowball. A guy in a suit breaking a pencil. Popcorn popping. A woman eats an olive. It's fine, but it strikes me as one of those things that's been produced to look like there's more depth to it than there is. Wikipedia tells me that the official music video version (as opposed to the lyric version I'm seeing) has a Vietnam War video, which is at least trying to say something, I guess.

OneRepublic -- Counting Stars. That is the fakest alligator ever. The plot seems to be a religious meeting of some sort, with the singers elsewhere in a run-down alligator infested building. (The basement?) The preacher riles up the crowd, seems to do a "release this woman, Stan" kind of thing. The croc gets its exploration on. The unpossessed are inspired to breakdance, as you do. And the dance does damage on the floor below. A man falls through, the band looks up. Seems like they've got a Chekov's Gator violation.

And rounding up this installment of A Musical Journey, we have Capital Cities -- Safe and Sound. Oh, that's this song. It's got a "history of media/music" thing going on, with black and white bits, ball room costumes, flapper dressed, disco, and such. It looks like one of those videos that would be a lot of fun to make, actually. There's not really much connection between the lyrics and the video, but both are light, simple things. The song is big in Germany, apparently. I could see that. Apparently, the whole thing was meant to be a reflection of the history of the Los Angeles Theatre, which I did not recognize at all.

We are at an end. We voyaged through the valley of the cover song, and came out the other end, in a land of alt pop. I have learned nothing from this experience.

Later Days.

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