Monday, August 16, 2010

Seven songs for a summer night

In an attempt to jump start myself back into more regular blogging, I thought I'd do the old "seven songs you're into right now" meme. Some of these are what you might expect me to be listening to right now, others may surprise you. And only one of these is a current release.

1) You're Nothing Without Me / Belinda Carlisle
Reading the Belinda Carlisle book got me on a Belinda kick (or was it the other way around? Really, it hardly matters.) This little-known track from her little-known album Live Your Life Be Free is one of my favorite Belinda tracks. I always think of my friend Jeff when I hear this song - "you're nuttin' without're nuttin' without me."

2) It's Here / Kim Wilde
Kim Wilde is dramatically underrated. Her output is also amazingly uneven, but when she is good, she is oh-so-good. I had never heard this song until just recently - and it has vaulted into my top 5 Kim Wilde songs. Infectious in a way that only pop songs from the late 80s/early 90s can be, it has a soaring chorus and a killer middle eight. As XO so rightly put it, great albums are full of songs with great middle eights.

3) Snowbird / Mark Eitzel
It's no secret that I'm a bit of an Anne Murray fan (more on that later.) Guess what, I am so over the mockery, I can't even tell you. Her voice is pleasant and I have fond memories of hearing her songs from my youth. Mark Eitzel's take on her first hit, "Snowbird," slows it down some, but it certainly doesn't detract. It does what any good cover should - put it's own stamp on the song while making you appreciate the original all over again.

4) Come On Come On / Mary Chapin Carpenter

Truth be told, I never much liked this Mary Chapin Carpenter song. The last song on the Come On Come On album, it ended the album with a whimper rather than a bang. But as a friend of mine put it, "songs are like clothes, not always great when they're brand-new, a bit too stiff and shiny. After you've worn them a while, you can realize all of a sudden how nicely they fit." This is certainly true of "Come On Come On" - it suits my 38 year-old self so much better than my 21 year-old self. It's a perfect example of a sad song that really leaves you a little bit better off than when you started.

5) Alone In New York / Chatham County Line
I'm not a huge fan of roots music or Americana, but I recently discovered Chatham County Line via my friend Jason and boy am I glad I did. Don't get me wrong - I enjoyed the O Brother Where Art Thou? soundtrack and Dolly's bluegrass albums were top notch (it's Dolly, what do you expect?) but apart from that, I just have never really gotten around to listening to much of it. This is a standout track fromt he Wildwood album, it's a sober and melancholy affair, setting itself apart from the pop frenzy that has really characterized this summer. Much like October Project, I wish I had discovered them in the fall because, really, this is autumn music through and through.

6) Trouble in Shangri-La / Stevie Nicks
Stevie shimmered back in 2001 with her most classic-Stevie-Nicks-sounding song since who knows when. Obtuse lyrics + great melody = Stevie at her best. It almost makes me wonder if this song wasn't from the vaults - with Stevie, anything is possible. But it is latter day Stevie that didn't just not disappoint, it made you think that maybe she still had some spark and fire left in her after all. Props to Matt for putting this song back on my radar for reasons well known to him.

7) Who's Leaving Who? / Anne Murray

So about this Anne Murray thing. I discovered this song, as I have blogged before, when two friends independently of each other sent me a link to a download of the long out of print vinyl 12" single of this 1986 Anne Murray song. Talk about getting out of your pop-country rut - she is positively synth-tastic on this song. It's almost, as Heidi put it, "disco Anne Murray" (which ranks a close second to her comparing Debbie Harry at the True Colors Tour to "Anne Murray gone hard.") And then, I discovered the video. It's non-embeddable (bastards) but seriously click the link. The crowd at the Anne Murray show I went to was nowhere near that animated.

And guess what? This is my 1,400th post. As Cher would say, follow this you bitches!


Jason said...

Fantastic blog post, Dan! A wonderful list of left-of-center pop songs overall. For some reason, I'd actually never seen the video for Kim Wilde's "It's Here," and it's great...SO early '90s, and such a catchy song.

And no worries about hearing the autumnal sounds of Chatham County Line a bit early, since autumn is only a little over a month away now!

JP.M said...

hello here jpaul from France, thank you for these good articles, including Kim Wilde that I really love!
Soon ...

Myfizzypop said...

I'm totally on board with belinda and kim. great tunes that I have neglected of late :)

your mary chapin carpenter choice made me think that you would like Cookies n Beans "Beg Borrow Steal" (youtube it - and i believe the album is on US iTunes). It's just heartbreaking lite country...

John said...

Good mix of music, but the MCC track is by far my favorite. For me, "Come On Come On" was the perfect ending for that CD, and gave some balance to an album that was trying a little too hard to be mainstream at times.

And I completely vouch for Cookies n Beans...beautiful track as well.