Sunday, January 30, 2005

Another Music Post

One more list of tracks from a compilation CD I made up last year:

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.


Drew said...

Good taste, Muz.

"Don't Dream it's Over" almost didn't make the final release of the Sixpence album, either, and it turns out to be one of the best tracks on the CD.

With her talent, Leigh Nash could make a kajillion being just another pop songstress, but instead she chooses to do these moody albums full of introspective songs. In their catalog of songs, numbers like "Kiss Me" or even "Don't Dream it's Over" are the oddballs.

I've been following Sixpence since their very first CD, "The Fatherless and the Widow" (good stuff if you can find it).

Muzzy said...

Actually, I do have 'Fatherless,' in its original form, although it's been recently re-released as part of a Box-Set of Sixpence's first three EP/CD's. I was never a huge fan of their early work, but I always liked Leigh's voice was lovely, and I think I might have had a little crush on her, when I saw them at an early Cornerstone.

And then one day, years later...

I was one of the fortunate few who got to see Sixpence the day that their monster-hit album came out. Steve Taylor, whom I'd known through CCM industry connections, from way back, produced the album, and for its release, put the band on a private jet and flew them to six cities across the US - in six time zones, including Hawaii, if memory serves me. He had them perform a small 20-30 minute acoustic set of their stuff at each stop, and they played at an intimate gig at local Christian Bookstore's coffeeshop to no more than a hundred of us. (It was almost like those backyard tours that Terry Taylor and Mike Roe have done.)

After their set, I went over and chatted with Leigh and Matt for a couple of minutes, and bothered Steve Taylor for a few more - he said he recognized me, but didn't remember from where (sniff) - and got all the priciples, including Steve, to sign my copy of their just-released CD.

Little did any of us know that within a few months their music would even be heard on PA systems in grocery stores, and that a tune from a subsequent album would be in current rotation as the soundtrack to a birth-control pill TV ad campaign.

In closing, they are good people and I'm glad success has come their way, and I loved both their recent albums.

Jezzy said...

Nice choices, Muzzy!

my-december said...

everything except for hurt... that song is pitifully horrid.