Category Archives: Song of the Day

President’s Day Song: Stay – Shakespeare’s Sister

I owe a lot of my early music likes to my older sister. I am not sure how she would classify her former musical tastes. Her favorite bands when I was growing up included The Cure, The Dead Milkmen and The Ramones. I didn’t go along with all her tastes in music but I did think I was pretty cutting edge when I would latch on to a song or band she liked. After all, none of my friends had heard of a lot of the music I appropriated from her.

This was one song I latched on to. Thought I was very edgy for liking this song because its dark and not at all Top 40. But it continues to be a song I really enjoy.

This song has one of my favored element of songs, which is starts out in one tempo and changes up mid way. I love the slow sadness of the beginning and changes into a fast evil sound which makes the song not just some mopey goth song but a great early 90’s love song that includes a touch of sci-fi, which makes to a masterpiece for a geek like me.

I love how the slow element and the fast elements combine together to have a the slow chorus over the faster evil sounding tempo.

And you can’t deny those those two ladies have beautiful and amazing voices that are so perfect for the two elements of the song. One light and high, the other dark and low.

Take a listen and be transported back to your early 90’s days.

Video for Stay

Sunday Song: Far from Grace – The Doves

Amazingly, I am writing about a song that is not totally downbeat electronica. I was actually surprised myself especially since all I listen to anymore is my Zero 7 station which I thought I had been grooming to be almost wordless lounge music.

This song by The Doves snuck on to my Pandora station probably because of it  has that kind of dream like soothing sound that I associate as being downbeat electronica. Perhaps the small amount of Coldplay that I allowed to remain on my Zero 7 station helped it along.

I had never heard of The Doves before but according to their wikipedia entry they have been around for a while. Who knew?

The lead singers voice is so smooth it almost blends with the instrumentals. I barely know what he is saying because I hear it as another instrument weaving through the other sounds as a rich, dark undertone to the higher electronic sounds.

This song has an electronic sound I can’t quite explain. It starts at 0:21 on the youtube link I posted below. It is some sort of guitar sound that has a slight worble to it. I hear a similar sound though a little rougher in the start of the song The Ocean Breaths Salty by Modest Mouse. There is something about this particular sound that soothes me in some way its like a strange binaural beat to my psyche (Binaural beats effects were discovered by Heinrich Wilhelm Dove, consequence? I think not!)

In any case, its a beautiful and relaxing song. Perfect for my Sunday morning routine of relaxing and drinking some tea.

User Video for Far from Grace

Kiss with a Fist – Florence and the Machine

I kept hearing of this band Florence and the Machine and yet some how never heard any songs associated with them. I think I finally heard a song on Pandora or online randomly and was like “This is my kind of music!”

Though I do not condone abusive relationships, I like the contrast in this song of it being really up beat sounding and yet it is about this couple who are punching and kicking and setting beds one fire.

And I adore how this song reminds me of old school punk. I think it’s the guitar sound that really makes it sound like a punk song to me. I like how it sounds really loud and the drums are simple with really clean and crisp sound.

And the vocals have a low-fi quality that also adds to the punk like sound. And yet there is still something that brings it into the kind of folk sound. It’s an odd combination, but it works.

Video for Kiss with a Fist

Total Eclipse of the Heart – Bonnie Tyler

I think I’ll dedicate this post to Billy Griffith, the stupid idiot I dated when I was a freshman in high school. We dated for a whole month. And though he did stick with me through chicken pox. He dumped me at the end of the month and immediately hit on my best friend. When he broke up with me, I made a cassette tape (yes, I am that old) on which this song was recorded over and over on both sides so I could sit in my room and cry and listen to this song on loop. Because obviously when you are 13 (14?) and you have dated someone for a whole MONTH and they dump you it is…the end of the world. And this song SPOKE to me.

This song falls into what my husband calls Theatre Geek Rock, I believe. It seems most theatre geek rock is written by the same person, Jim Steinman, who wrote songs for Meatloaf, another singer beloved by theatre geeks.

I can see now why people who worked in theatre, like myself would enjoy this song. It definitely has a theatrical sound to this song. With lots of call and response. The instrumental aspects almost call for a full orchestra. And effects that sound like thunder and crashing. It’s totally the making of a musical number. And the lyrics are so dramatic.

Turnaround, Every now and then I get a
little bit restless and I dream of something wild
Turnaround, Every now and then I get a
little bit helpless and I’m lying like a child in your arms
Turnaround, Every now and then I get a
little bit angry and I know I’ve got to get out and cry
Turnaround, Every now and then I get a
little bit terrified but then I see the look in your eyes
Turnaround bright eyes, Every now and
then I fall apart
Turnaround bright eyes, Every now and
then I fall apart

You can also see why this appealed to a 13 year old girl who just got dumped. Drama. Drama.

The video for this song was obviously conceived by someone who did A LOT of drugs or seriously mentally disturbed. It’s the only explanation for how totally bizzaro it is. Or perhaps they just knew us Theatre Geeks would eat it up.

Video for Total Eclipse of the Heart

Add It Up – Violent Femmes

This song is a classic. At least it is in my world.

This has a favorite musical device in it, which is the slow start that goes directly into a crazy chaos of the song. And then later in the song it gets quiet again only to go back into a loud part. There is something about the contrast that really makes the song for me.

I especially like how the first line has no instrumental accompaniment at all and then the drums and guitars start in.

The rhythm of this song seems simple to me but in a way it seems almost primal and I think that is why I enjoy it. I feel like I can just bounce along with it so easily.

This song also has some great lyrics that are so much fun to sing. How can you not laugh when singing:

Mo my my mymymy mo my mother
I would love to love you, lover
City is restless, it’s ready to pounce
Here in your bedroom, ounce for ounce

In looking for a video to link for this video, I found a lot of strange user videos for this song. Like this one. I guess I can see why this song may inspire some strangeness. I think even stranger was the user video that was this song with various pictures of flamingo dancers. I really can’t figure that video out.

Violent Femmes performing Add It Up Live

Wake Up – Arcade Fire

This is another song I heard on a movie trailer. I am constantly amazed how movie and television shows find just the perfect song. I guess when it’s what you do all day, eventually you’ll hit upon a lot of amazing stuff under all the so so and awful music.

I think the bass guitar in this song is amazing. It almost creates a noise foundation for the rest of the song. An underlying vibration that keeps the song going.

The male vocalist has that kind of “I have a cold” sounding voice which is perhaps not the most flattering way to describe it but sounds sexy in the context of the song.

And I always enjoy songs that sound like they have a chorus of people singing. It takes me back to my days of musical theater.

The emotional progression of the song is pretty cool to. It starts out a little slow and almost sad and seems to move into a place of light and joy.

User Video for Wake Up

Largo – Handel performed by The London Symphony Orchestra

I have never been a fan of classical music. I think it relates to my monkey brain. There isn’t enough for me to attach to so I have tended to tune classical music out when it is on and my brain starts in on being a monkey.

Lately though I have been looking for escape from noise. I feel like I am constantly being bombarded with sounds I don’t want like barking dogs, leaf blowers and music that though lovely sometimes hits raw nerves. I have thus turned to classical music for some sanctuary. And I have found a new appreciation for it.

For me the best way to enjoy this song is with earphones and eyes closed (try not to fall asleep). It is amazing to me how much emotion a song can have without any words. But the swells and recessions in the music really stir up emotions in your chest (unless you are a robot). And there is something so soothing even as the song gets louder about having a space where there is music that you can interpret as you desire. Allowing you some space to let your mind kind of run around and perhaps your heart to.

This song makes me imagine myself as a bird flying over canyons and enjoying the beauty below and content with life and happy with my own abilities. What does it make you imagine?

User Video of Largo

Stand Up and Cheer – Ohio University Marching 110

I admit, this is a little cheap. I went to OU and they smacked down Georgetown in March Madness last night. I like basketball and I love my alma mater.

I do enjoy the OU fight song because of the percussion.

Stand up and Cheer
Cheer loud and long for old Ohio
For today we raise The Green and White above the rest
Our boys are fighting
And they are bound to win the fray
We got the team
We got the steam
For this is old Ohio’s day.

Recording of Marching 110 Performing Stand Up and Cheer

Life on Mars – Seu Jorge (cover)

If 10 years ago, you’d have told me I would love David Bowie, I am pretty sure I would have given you the most quizzical look that I could muster. And while I really like David Bowie’s original Life of Mars, there is something about the mellow mumblings of Life on Mars in Portuguese.

Seu Jorge has covered all kinds of David Bowie, in Portuguese. And why not. He has a beautiful voice. It is soothing and deep. It’s the kind of voice you can lose yourself in. And Portuguese, is so beautiful it always reminds me of French in how the words run together in a poetic way. You can say anything and it sounds amazing.

The simple acoustic guitar is all that is needed with this song. Perfect.

Video for Life on Mars covered by Seu Jorge

Moondance – Van Morrison

In honor of St. Patrick’s day, I had to find a song by one of my Irish brothers. Yes, I have Irish heritage (pretty much all my ancestors came from places where people don’t tan well).

And as much as I apperciate Celtic music, I prefer this jazz song to that.

I love Van Morrison’s voice. Its so rich and deep while still having a good range. And he obviously has great control over his voice because he is able to change not only the range but volume of his voice while singing. It really shows his mastery.

I think I have spent too much with my husband while he obsesses over jazz drums because I have fallen in love with the jazz drum sound. That kind of sound that sounds like a soft (yet rhythmic) rain. It is so controlled without sounding totally boring.

If a song like this doesn’t make you want to grab someone and dance them across the floor, then you probably don’t have any Irish blood running through your veins. It’s okay, we can’t all be so blessed.

User Video for Moondance