Funktacular! Sure, that might not actually be a word, but how does would you describe this sumptuous bit of electronic bebop? Swingalicious? Groovapalooza? Whichever way you decide is best, you are still describing a song that effortlessly inspires much rigorous movement. Undoubtedly cool, unlike the moves I pull.
I may be getting into more and more rap and hip/hop these days, but I do have my limits. Some delightful friends of mine decided to link me to this the other day, which is quite possibly the worst song I’ve ever heard. I’d rather listen to a cover version of the Macarena done by Alvin and his little, irritating rat-faced brothers than listen to Rack Rack City again.
The original version of Bitches Ain’t Shit probably has to go into the ‘do not want’ category as well, if only for the lyrics alone. And yet, when Ben Folds puts a melancholic, indie-rock spin on the song, it becomes perfectly delightful and entertaining. Even hilarious! After all, when you’re hearing lyrics like “lick all these nuts and suck the dick”, accompanied by a gentle piano and sung in a very gentle way by a nerdy white guy, you can’t help but laugh. Also, it’s probably weird that I know the lyrics off by heart, thanks to this song. I just don’t sing it out loud.
It’s amazing what you can do with two chords. In the hands of most, a two chord song would be the most horrendous thing ever, but it seems that all Aretha has to do is open her mouth and start singing and magic will commence. There’s only one thing you can do when this song starts up and that’s get down and get jiggy.
Gosh dangit, I do love me some Cowboy Bebop. One of the single greatest series I’ve ever seen, helped in no small part by its monumentally awesome soundtrack. Here is a track that appears in an episode towards the end of its run: without spoiling too much for those who haven’t seen the show, some bittersweet things happen while this song plays out. Truly wonderful.
Elliott Smith Week may be over, but the memories will live on. Anyway, this means a return to regular programming!
Anyway, here is a new Canadian group for you, playing some delightfully haunting indie rock. I am digging this sound immensely: it stays interesting throughout, with some good ‘ol fashioned guitar work and wailing vocals.
It’s fair to say that Smith wrote a lot of tortured songs. As beautiful as they all are, they weren’t designed to convey any sense of optimism. Having said that, Angel in the Snow is quite possibly one of the most heartfelt, tender love songs that I’ve ever heard.
It is the kind of song that needs to be listened to with someone equally special: a time for two people to be peacefully alone, but absorbed in each other as the song plays. If you can find (or have found) your own angel in the snow, make sure they know this song exists.
Back in the day (2005 or so), I had quite the collection of unreleased Elliott Smith songs. Not all of them had great audio quality (48 kbps MP3s!), but the songs were still great. And then, in 2007, the powers that be decided to release a bunch of these songs in CD form. One of my favorites of these was Going Nowhere, a song that sounds great however you listen to it. It’s a low-key, incredibly depressing song – but one of his most beautiful, too.
From A Basement On The Hill is the first album of Smith’s that I heard, and had no idea at the time that it was a posthumous album. I just thought, “Wow, this guy is amazing.” So the first time I heard this song, with a million references to drugs and suicide, I went “man, this guy’s got some problems!” When I later learned he died what was from most likely suicide (and that he’d tried it before), I didn’t have anything to say. A guy actually singing “Give me one good reason not to do it!” and then following through is just unreal. I’m incredibly thankful for the amazing music he left behind.
Many of Smith’s songs are rather special for me, but this one especially so. Why? Back in 2004-05, I had met an aspiring level designer and music aficionado called Hugh. Wise as he is, he introduced me to the previously unheard music of Elliott Smith via a song called A Fond Farewell.
To say I was hooked would, perhaps, be an understatement.
I was introduced to his wonderful writing abilities, his elegant compositional talents and a remarkable form of introverted expression. This is the song that kickstarted it all: it led to a comprehensive dive into his back catalogue; it led to this blog; and it led to a deeper appreciation of true beauty within music. I don’t particularly mind if other people don’t have the same reaction to his music that I do. The real value of music comes in whatever the listener gets out of it, after all. It is, however, important to remember that music is an art form, not just a soulless revenue stream, and Smith’s work is the perfect embodiment of that sentiment.