November 16, 2008
Playlist: Carry on!
That's a photo of some of the fences in my neighborhood (by a great photog TonyinDC). His child's hair matches the leaves! The weather here is seriously autumnal. Last night I was on a street in NW DC that was literally blanketed in newly-fallen ginkgo leaves (see further down). Here are thoughts on six songs I've been playing lately as I crunch across those leaves...
Frankmusik Vacant Heart
A few days ago, I put up the video for Malcolm McLaren's Madame Butterfly, which is sampled on this unreleased new track. I'd speculated awhile back that before I got excited about Vincent Frank I wanted to hear how he handled ballads and midtempos. He nails them: great lyrics, strong vocals and a beautiful melody that holds its own against that sample. I am not sure if this is one of the Stuart Price-produced tracks or a demo. Either way it MUST be released in 2009. Hear a bit of it via his myspazz or via PopMuse.
Leela James A Change Is Gonna Come
I don't think it can be understated how American history was altered two weeks ago. I had not been proud of this country for many years and now I am. Period. So we need songs to go with that mood! Seal released an Obama-themed video for this oldie, but I think Leela James 2005 version gets to the heart of the matter by keeping it simple. Where Seal's orchestrated arrangement pushes the mood, Leela relies purely on her voice, the melody and the lyrics. Note that she does a 10-minute version of this on her Live in New Orleans EP. I hope we hear more from her soon.
The Killers Spaceman
Aliens stop just short of anally probing little LaFleur on this new single. Durn. Hitting Brandon's magic spot might have sent him right over the glittery disco edge, which would not be a bad thing. Regardless, Spaceman is one of those tunes that seems pedestrian at first but morphs into an earworm. PopJustice's Peter Robinson wrote last week that the album is a big disappointment, though the singles have been 5 star in my opinion. All will be revealed within a week.
Sugababes No Can Do
The Babes next single has been branded their worst by some fans, which truly baffles me. This is so much better than non-song Girls. From the blaring horn intro to the brilliant final vamp (2:36) "Don't try and even call me on the telephone..." it's solid retropop. Makes me happy. Watch it.
Tony Christie The Only Ones Who Know
When I heard this song, it instantly became my favorite from the ye olde British crooner's wicked cool new album produced by Richard Hawley. The fact that it was a cover of Arctic Monkeys flew by me for a few weeks, but I should have known by the lush lyrics (Alex Turner is GOD). "I hope your holding hands by New Years' Eve / They made it far too easy to believe / That true romance can't be achieved / These days." Hear it.
Will Young Tell Me The Worst
It took me a month to understand that this Annie Lennox-like weepie is probably Will's finest lyric. The conceit is Will telling a lover that they cannot have a true relationship if he doesn't reveal his flaws. The point when Will admits he has the same problem ("I got close before, but I turn back every time") seems to lift the song higher. As with all the vocals on the Let It Go album, Will is in total control, knowing exactly when to play it soft for maximum emotion. I should also mention the momentary Bittersweet Symphony-eque strings at 2:30. Epic. Hear it.
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Read my October Playlist
photo by RoyBoy 05