Sunday, March 16, 2008

Songs That Might Otherwise Pass You By

She & Him, "Why Do You Let Me Stay Here"

I first heard this song several weeks ago, but I didn't post it because I didn't want to be the 1,001st blogger to post it. But dangit, it's Zooey Deschanel,the chick from Almost Famous, Hitchiker's Guide and Tin Man! It's Bones' sister! It's an awesome song! It's M. Ward! I love M. Ward. So yeah, few people can capture the warm scratchiness of some of the earlier pop/country vocalists like Tanya Tucker (Delta Dawn, what's that flower you have on?), Dusty Springfield (The only one who could ever reach me was the son of a preacher man) and Lulu (Those school girl days of telling tales and biting nails have gone...). Where are our Loretta Lynns? Our Patsy Clines? Okay, now I'm just sounding like a drunk rambler recounting the good ole days for the fiftieth time. Zooey Deschanel's voice calls to mind those classic, rich voices dripping with coyness and not playing into the female stereotype that to be "feminine" is to be bland and to blend. Deschanel, like the best vocalists, only blends when the song calls for it.

Label Site

Zooey Deschanel even looks like she could be from the era of the great female country singer.

The Notwist, "Good Lies"

"Let's just imitate the real until we find a better one," sings lead singer Markus Acher. This is an ode to replacing unfavorable reality with a reality of our making: the "good lies" that help us get through the bad periods. He doesn't specify what his good lies are--whether they are about finances, relationships, or something deeper that he can't articulate. Is it something as seemingly innocuous as talking himself out of being annoyed at traffic or is it full on self-delusion? Whatever it is, hopefully the reality will become favorable enough for him to emerge sometime soon.


The Notwist reminisce about the best good lies

Dyjecinski, Artur "In Greed" (mp3 available on his Myspace)

This is the song I should listen to when my nerves are so edge they're fraying each other. The vocals crackle out of the headphones, intimate and immediate. The guitars slide through, making Jack Johnson's music seem rushed (I rely on Jack Johnson to fill the role of "laid-back guy" too much...the only other musician who would fit would be Jimmy Buffet, though...). This song quells even my most neurotic impulses, though the lyrics aren't so comforting: "...what have you given me but emptiness that fills my life, pursuits grounded in greed". I have a deep seated ability to block out depressing lyrics (I used to listen to bands like Bauhaus, The Cure and The Smiths almost exclusively--I developed coping mechanisms), so to me this is a song born out of a peaceful morning on the beach, watching the sunrise and thinking about not much of anything. The guy has The Dude as his top Myspace friend, afterall--appropriate since this song could be the soundtrack to one of Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski's crazy dreams--trippy, but not dangerous.


The Dude abides...



Vampire Weekend, "A Punk"

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