01 - U2 - Beautiful Day
It's amazing to see a band as old as U2 - they've been together since the late 70's, with their original lineup - still creating music that's bold and vital. After detouring over the years into R&B and electronica, the band seems to have returned to making the kind of rock anthems that connect with our jaded souls. This song starts and ends with a slow boil, sandwiching a swirling cacophony of sound. Lovely and amazing.
02 - Kylie Minogue - Can't Get You Out Of My Head
Didn't you want to call down a pox on the girl the first time you heard this? The song's got a beat and a hook as addictive as crack and almost as hard to kick. In her mid/late 30's, Kylie still has the looks that make men weak, and women envious. She's obviously playing the part of a vixen, but she is smart enough to know that it's all done with smoke and mirrors. This song of obsession is smoldering reminder of why dance music was king in the 70's.
03 - Sixpence - Don't Dream It's Over
I think I've decided that I like this version better than the Crowded House original; I love Leigh Nash's voice and she does a great treatment of the song. Not only is the tune lovely, but there's more to the lyrics than first appears: 'try to catch the deluge in a paper cup.' Brilliant! So brilliant, in fact, that you'll find the line in the header of this Blog.
04 - Cyndi Lauper - Time After Time
Cyndi made her name with the incredibly boisterous 'Girls Just Want To Have Fun,' but she also had a more serious side, showcased admirably here. Both melancholy and powerful,'Time After Time' was a staple on my stereo some 20 years ago and it still sounds good today - even if it does remind me of a painful breakup during that time of my life.
05 - The Innocence Mission - Brave
I first heard of The Innocence Mission when I received an EP of theirs back in 1986, recorded and released by the band itself. I was intrigued. The group was formed by high school chums from Lancaster, PA who'd met at their local Catholic Church. Lead singer Karen Peris, married to guitarist Don Peris, form the core of the group, once a quartet and now pared down to a trio. Karen's delicate and trembling voice is haunting, and her lyrics are poetic and beautiful. This song is one of my favorites.
06 - Oasis - Wonderwall
Forget all the hooey about the brothers and their fisticuffs. These guys can make music. This song has been referred to by some as one of the best British rock tunes of all time. They'll get no argument from me. I agree. Mr. Gallagher snarls his lyrics with a tenderness that belies his ornery persona. If they never made another great tune, Oasis would still be listed in the Rock and Roll Encyclopedia for this song alone.
07 - Coldplay - Clocks
I've only recently begun to appreciate Coldplay. In fact, I only last summer bought their first two CD's, but I am intrigued by what I hear and I want to hear more. 'Clocks' was one of the songs that made me want to get to know this band. Although the lyric is a bit stilted, in the context of the song, it works.
08 - Bach - Prelude F Minor WTC
The Clavier was not a well-known in Bach's day, and little music existed for it. Bach dashed off two collections of tunes for his students to practice on the new instrument, including this from Book Two. It's a gorgeous and moving piece that shifts effortlessly between minor and major keys, connoting sadness and contentment. I liked it so much I used it as the centerpiece instrumental solo when I got married.
09 - Dido - White Flag
After the monster-hit Dido had with 'Thank-You,' I wasn't sure she could follow it up with anything of substance. She did. 'White Flag' is a chillingly matter-of-fact statement of emotional obsession. We've all been in love with someone who didn't reciprocate and whom we didn't wish to give up. This song speaks for you, me and all of us.
10 - Johnny Cash - Hurt
Most of my Johnny Cash records are from his early years, and on vinyl, at that. This is one of the few recent songs I have of his. With his weary and unsteady voice, Cash gives this creepy Nine Inch Nails tune an acoustic twist that makes it even more powerful than the original, particularly given the inevitable pain Cash experienced with the the death of his wife June.
11 - Kasey Chambers - Pretty Enough
Kasey Chambers' voice reminds me a little of Victoria Williams or Julie Miller, but she sounds much, much angrier on many of her songs. On this one Kasey sounds downright wounded, vulnerable, perhaps even a bit scared. It's part folk, part country but rings true and speaks to all of us who've ever wondered if we measured up.
12 - Norah Jones - Sunrise
For everyone who wondered if Norah Jones was a one-hit wonder, well, wonder no more. Her new album is actually better than her first. 'Sunrise' is the first track of the new album. With a yawn and a blink of the eyes, it invites the listener to take on the day. And it works.
13 - Nick Drake - From The Morning
It seems every compilation CD I make has a Nick Drake song on it, and this one is no exception. 'From The Morning' is a great closer, showcasing Nick's incredible guitar work and his quiet voice. It is the perfect song to drift off to sleep to.
OK, now I say, go to iTunes, download the songs and burn yourself a copy. I doubt you will regret it.