Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Seven songs

Tagged by Liz:

List seven songs you are into right now. No matter what they are. They must be songs you are presently enjoying. Then tag seven other people to see what they’re listening to.

Liz is wily. She knew I could not resist a meme which allows me to blather on about music. It should probably be noted that I've learned that I don't write very well about music. I can never say exactly why I like something, or what grabs me. I get all excited and cannot think properly. So I'll just do my best.

These are in no particular order. Here goes...

1. Miracle Drug (A.C. Newman) -
(no lyrical excerpt)
A.C. Newman is the redheaded Canadian guy behind the goodness of the New Pornographers. I've been popping this track on almost daily at work, when I need to concentrate. It is, right now, always the very first song I pick when I need to be productive. Something good in the drums and the little bursts from the guitar that I just love love love.

2. (I Don't Want To Go To) Chelsea (Elvis Costello) -
"...she give a little flirt, give herself a little cuddle / but there's no place here for the miniskirt waddle..."
Map of July used to attempt this song, but we never came within a mile of the effortless perfection of the original. When EC released this as a summer single in the 70s, a reviewer called it "tantamount to bragging." Hard to believe his American label dropped it from the album for being "too English." This song bursts out of the speakers and never fails to energize me. Not even close to my favorite Elvis song, but it's been in the playlist a lot lately.

3. Rehab (Amy Winehouse) -
"...I ain't got seventy days..."
I have no idea if this song will still be as pleasurable in even a few months, but at the moment I've been playing this in the mornings before work. The most authentic "girl-group" arrangement recorded in years, and Winehouse has an amazing, soulful voice. Very hard to believe that she's only in her early 20s. Plus it's difficult not to like a song with handclaps and a horn section (and even some very subtle strings) about not going to rehab.

4. If You Have Ghosts (John Wesley Harding) -
"...the moon to the left of me is a part of my thoughts and a part of me is me..."
Another nearly-perfect pop single, this time from 1991, and released on a tribute album to Roky Erikson. I had to dig to find a copy of this last summer. When I popped in the cd and hit "play," I was treated to a rare moment: a long-lost favorite still sounding as good to me as the first time I ever heard it. So I've been making up for lost time.

5. Get Him Back (Fiona Apple) -
"...I think he let me down when he didn't disappoint me..."
I suppose I should point out that I'm talking about the leaked bootleg version of this song, and not the official release, which I don't really like very much. Less convincing than Amy Winehouse, but some nice flourishes and girl-group arrangements on the bootleg version, which was the one I fell in love with a while back. Played this tonight while working late, and Suzi—who sits next to me—kept asking who it was. She seemed to like it, too, which made it even nicer to listen to.

6. The Big Guns (Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins) -
"...let's pretend that everybody here wants peace..."
Jenny Lewis took a break from her duties with Rilo Kiley to make a record out of the type of songs she apparently used to just throw away. I hope that the acclaim she has gotten will convince her to keep them from now on. It was kind of hard to pick a track off of this record, which I have been listening to for more than a year straight, as I tend to play the whole thing all the way through. Anyway, the record and the song have elements of country and soul, some great songwriting (deeply personal and weirdly accessible at the same time) and a feel Rilo Kiley never even hinted at. Plus I have a crush on one of the Watson Twins...

7. My Mathematical Mind (Spoon) -
"...planning for the apocalypse is not considered / considered cool / I don't suggest it myself..."
These guys sure as hell don't sound like they come from Texas. Craig said recently that he thought they were really good "recordists," and when I said they wrote great songs as well, he replied "Well, I'll take your word for it." I have no idea what he meant by that. Another album in nearly constant rotation for more than a year. It has survived every reworking of my main playlists for both working and general use. Sometimes, though, I wish the singer would blow his nose.

[Hidden Bonus Track] That Teenage Feeling (Neko Case) -
"...and nothing comforts me the same / as my brave friend who says / 'I don't care if forever never comes 'cause I'm holding out for that teenage feeling...'"
Neko Case lives somewhere in my neighborhood, but that has nothing at all to do with why I love her music so terribly much. I've heard her voice described as being like Patsy Cline's so often I've lost count (recent favorite: "Patsy Cline with a graduate degree"). Her early records were pretty straightforward country of the sort that Nashville hasn't made for at least 40 years. Now she's branching out, and her songwriting is growing more sophisticated. Her voice dissolves me. The best I can do is to say that if you've never listened to Neko Case, you should stop reading now and go mend your ways. You might not like her at all, or you might end up falling in love.


I tag no one, of course. I've never tagged anyone, and I probably never will unless I write a meme myself. But if you do this one, let me know so I can check it out.

17 comments:

Susan Abraham said...

Sounds like an eclectic taste, Maht, peppered by that added dash of soul. :-)

Minx said...

Winehouse won't thank you for the 'girl band' comment! Pop over to YouTube and catch her singing 'Teach me tonight' - original by Dinah Washington. The girl is talented.

Katie said...

I'm quite into Amy Winehouse at the moment. Damn, that girl can sing.

Canterbury Soul said...

not really into seven songs at the moment, but into several albums. if you are keen, check out my list here.

Liz said...

Yes, I figured you couldn't resist a meme about music. I'm so glad you did this one, if only so I could read, "Sometimes, though, I wish the singer would blow his nose."

That's truly funny and I'll have to check them out. I feel like I've heard them before though, movie soundtrack maybe?

Caroline said...

Amy Winehouse is on my playlist at the moment, although I think that I've overplayed her.
A nice meme.

The Moon Topples said...

Susan: I don't know how eclectic it really is. A lot of indie critical darlings in there, now that I look again.

Minx: "Girl group" and "girl band" are two seperate things. The former refers to the early 60s girl groups like the Chirelles, the Ronettes and many others, and Ms. Winehouse has acknowledged that she was listening to this music when she started the album and was influenced by it. I doubt she's take offense. Her U.S. shows have actually featured The Chirelles as the house music before she takes the stage.

Katie: Yes, she can.

Canterbury Soul: It would have been far easier for me to latch on to seven album than seven songs. A lot of my list is a favored song from an album I listen to a lot. I will check out your answers today.

Liz: I think a couple of the songs off of "Gimme Fiction" have been used in commercials. Possibly soundtracks as well.

Caroline: Yes, yes. I'm worried that in a couple of months she'll leave a bad taste in my mouth. And I don't really care for her lyrics much. But the meme said to list current stuff, and I always obey my memes.

goodthomas said...

I love Jenny Lewis (thank you for the referral). Absolutely love her.

And I have a crush on the other Watson twin (though I am not sure which one that is).

yellowduck said...

Bingo. Done it. Changed the rules a little.

I have very poor taste in music, though...

Minty said...

Maht-

Wow.. That took a while.

It is done. Hope you'll come have a look..


--Minty

The Moon Topples said...

GT: You're welcome for Jenny Lewis. And you should know that the other Watson twin is married. But so are you, so maybe you can come along on dates as chaperones. Provided you disappear when I give you the signal.

Yellowduck: I think it's already been established that your tastes are not poor; they are eclectic' Nice list, though. A few of those I know quite well, but haven't been listening to lately. And PJ's always a winner.

Minty: Mine took two hours, which is something like six times longer than I usually take to compose a blog post, if it's any consolation. Thanks for reminding me about No Alternative, which I haven't popped in for a while.

Minty said...

Maht-

It took me a couple of hours, too. Well worth it, though. It will be interesting to look back on after some time has passed.

--M

The Moon Topples said...

Minty: yeah, I could do this post almost daily with different results...

Verilion said...

I've been listening to that Costello song for the majority of my life and getting that lyric wrong. Shit! Now what the hell have I been blasting out every time I warble along to Alison. Am I singing that right?

The Moon Topples said...

Verilion: In fairness, he gos through that part really quick. And you may have more than the lyrics wrong on the other song: it's spelled "Allison."

Tee hee.

I know it was just a typo, but I couldn't resist.

Verilion said...

Will you JUST STOP it. That's like my favourite song of all time and for one millisecond, I actually believed you.
You are joshing me aren't you? You don't really think it's spelt with two l's do you?

The Moon Topples said...

Verilion: I am indeed "joshing," as you say. It seems that when it comes to pulling your leg, my aim is true...