Tag Archives: “Song Review”

Sunday Song: Sail – AWOLNATION

The best way I can sum up this song is “sound collage.” According to wikipedia, I am using that term incorrectly. The reason I use collage is this song has so many kinds of sounds in it. Though I initially wanted to classify it was electronica, there is natural human voice, and actual musical instrument sounds mixed with altered voice sounds and totally unnatural computer sounds that don’t even sound like typical electronica.

The contrasts in this song are what make it an amazing song. The musical instruments contrasted with the electronic distorted sound and the softer voices compared to what main singing which is essentially yelling. All the contrast adds to the emotion of the song which seems kind of desperate and dire.

The first time I heard this song, I was driving at night and the lights of the city mixed with the emotion of the song came together in a perfect emotional picture. Its definitely a unique song that I wouldn’t always be in the mood for, but fits a kind of displaced loneliness that we all feel from time to time.

Official Video for Sail


Sunday Song: Georgia – Band of Horses (cover)

I went into the office early one morning to try and catch up on some work and needed something to get me going so I queued up this song. Little did I know a few of my coworkers were also in the office early…and that I unconsciously started belting out along with the song. As the song started into the final chorus, one of my coworkers leaned into my doorway with a quizzical look on his face and I quickly tried to act professional after getting caught in the act. “I thought I was the only one in the office,” I said weakly.

I love this song, it is a great get up and go kind of song. Its not particularly fast but it is extremely upbeat both in sound and lyrics. Of course how can you be backed by a marching band and NOT sound upbeat?

And these lyrics:

You’ll always be home to me
I belong to you
and yes you belong to me
When they ask me where I’m from
I’m proud to say that I’m your son.

How can it not sound like a song that will pick you up on an early morning or anytime you need some get up and go?

While Cee-Lo may be the credit for the lyrics, I feel that Band of Horses does a better job with this song than he does. The song doesn’t fit Cee-Lo’s sound in my mind. Its too triumphant and he tends to have a bit of snark in his sound. I doubt I would have paid much attention to this song if only his version existed. Band of Horses does it up right with much emotion that makes you feel like you are  (and as I said adding an entire marching band probably doesn’t hurt.)

Listen to this song and I dare say you’ll have a hard time not singing along too.

User Video – Georgia by Band of Horses

For contrast: User Video – Georgia by Cee-Lo


Sunday Song: Rolling in the Deep – Adele

Its been a while since any new music has really captured me. I often listen to the radio in the car, but as of late I am consistently disappointed with the offerings and/or here things I have heard a million times before.

Thankfully, Adele has broken the monotony of radio listening. This is a song I can get into and actually have a reason to crank the radio up.

First, this woman’s voice is amazing. Her ability to be so soulful allows her to convey such depth (no pun intended) in this song. I get a little caught up in the sadness of the song even though its been quite long time (thankfully) since I got my heart broken.

Second, I love out the soul sound of the singing is mixed with a more modern sound of underneath. It allows this song to pop out and not just sound like a retread of an oldie.

Its a powerful song that really holds you in its grip. I can’t possibly change the radio dial when this is on.

Rolling in the Deep – Official Video

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: Animal – Neon Trees

I am not a music snob per se, but I do pride myself on not being a fan of top 40 nonsense for the most part. I like to think I outgrew pop music. But in the end some songs creep in and whether I want to admit it or not, they are so darn catchy I can’t help but sing along.

This song would totally fall into the guilty pleasure category of music. I really wrestled with whether I should post about this song because I could just keep it my little secret that every time this song comes on the radio in my car, I can’t help but turn it up and sing along. But then I am just lying to myself.

One of the local L.A. radio stations have been playing the heck out of this song. And this song…is so catchy. It is an ear worm. Even if I haven’t heard it on a particular day, I will find it popping in my head and humming some of it.

Here are the reasons I think is song is so addictive:

1. It starts out slow but with a fast back percussion sound. The jazzy back beat drags you kicking and screaming into listening to this song.

2. You can clearly understand all the lyrics on first listen. This is not true with a lot of songs, at least for me. I often have to go look up lyrics to songs I enjoy because I am not truly clear what the song is about. Since you can clearly understand the lyrics, you can sing along pretty quickly.

3. It has an upbeat and catchy hook. Darn the hook, it really works. This has a cute little hook that starts out with a wailing “oh oh…” Come on, I am helpless to not chime in!

These three things plus the general bouncy, jubilant nature of the song makes me like it despite not wanting to at all because it will ruin my street cred. To make matters worse, the band and video are super cheese. What is with the lead singers hair?! My hating will not stop me from singing along the next time it comes on the radio.

Official Video for Animal – You’ve been warned, this song is a grade A ear worm.

Sunday Song: Tighten Up – Black Keys

Exposure to a new song can happen almost subconsciously. For me, this song was used in some promos of the show House apparently and I didn’t even register it at the time. I vaguely recall now hearing it there but only after searching for a different Black Keys song, did I stumble on this and thought “I know this song…why?” These are the situations were Wikipedia is invaluable to my sanity.

The Black Keys known for their Blues-y sound. I like this song versus some of their others because it sounds more modern and less like a total rip off of old school Blues. I prefer when artists continue to innovate instead of sticking with “good enough.”

This song has a bass sound that is almost soothing to my ear. It is a short, medium burst that borders on synth sound. The vocals are grainy and yet don’t sound like the singer gargled with gravel. Sometimes that’s appealing but today I am enjoying the bright sound of these vocals while still capturing the Blues vibe. The pace of the song is good too, sometimes Blues can drag a bit for me. This folds in rock nicely with the guitar and crashy drum sounds.

Official Video for Tighten Up

Sunday Song: Coming Home – Diddy-Dirty Money feating Skylar Grey

Typically, I am not a fan of mainstream, super produced rap music. I do not condone the wide spread use of auto tune. However, this song seems perfect for starting a new year.

Skylar Grey’s intro with just single piano notes and her beautiful voice that leads into the building of the song, adding in more sound and Diddy’s rapping. The sound really matches the emotion of rebirth and returning with determination. The feeling of the song is infectious, its hard not to listen to it and not pick up the resolution to be better that is in the lyrics and the sound.

There are a lot of good lyrics in this song. And Skylar Grey’s voice and Diddy’s created a great balance, one soft and melodic, one rough and deep.

Listen to this song if you need something to get you going on your New Year’s resolutions.

Official video

Sunday Song: Afarid of Everyone – The National

If anyone knows the music supervisor for the show, Gossip Girl, give them a pat on the back for me (as I am sure they are very concerned about MY approval). It seems every time I watch an episode at least one song catches my attention. I am thankful for their web page specifically devoted to music from the show, it takes a lot of the work out of tracking down the songs.

This is one of my recent favorites.

The song has an foreboding tone from the first guitar strums and snyth sounds. And the song builds to full blown fear. However, the fear almost seems to come from within the singer rather than an outside source.

The song climbs in an interesting way that I have not noticed before, because it seems to add instruments as it picks up speed and intensity.By the end it has many sounds and instruments almost causing a feeling of chaos while still sounding good.

The lyrics are interesting too.They seem to lend themselves to the feeling of fear without focus.

Not to hurt anybody I like
But I don’t have the drugs to sort
I don’t have the drugs to sort it out
Sort it out

User Video of Afraid of Everyone.

Sunday Song: Unthought Known – Pearl Jam

I tend to avoid writing about certain songs or bands because I love them too much. For some reason, the more a song touches me, the harder it is for me to write something about it. I think in part because it is hard for me to analyze a song that reaches into my chest and squeezes my heart. I can’t hear the individual guitars or determine why the crush of sound moves me so much. Some songs are just a full body experience and are difficult to divide up to their components.

Pearl Jam and their music is a one of those bands that are hard for me to write about. I wasn’t always a member of the “Jamily.” I kind of married in. I met my husband way back in the forgotten time of 2001. He was already a card carrying member of the Ten Club. I  was familiar with PJ. I was a teenager in the early 90’s after all. I’d worn flannel and listened to grunge but I have never placed Pearl Jam above the other bands of their ilk. I liked Soundgarden, Candlebox, Silverchair too and they stood on equal musical ground in my mind.

As my relationship with my (not yet) husband grew, my understanding and appreciation of Pearl Jam also grew. In 2006, I had the opportunity to see Pearl Jam live for the first time and I started to understand what the fuss was about. I have now seen PJ live, 6 times. Their concerts are amazing and unlike other concerts I have been to. They have power and memories and movement. There is almost always at least one song that will make me cry.

So finally, I will talk about the song I am posting this morning. It’s a song from their newest album which came on this morning on Pandora and I was reminded how much I love the song.

I like the slow build of this song and how Eddie Vedder’s voice is so gentle in the start of the song. It’s a reassuring song of hope. I particularly like these lyrics:

Feel the sky blanket you
With gems and rhinestones!
See the path cut by the moon
For you to walk on

As I said, my analysis of this song isn’t going to be great because its an emotional and doesn’t necessarily have good reason. Just listen, consider and determine for yourself if this song has any power for you.

Unthought Known Live in Berlin

Sunday Song: Beat The Devil’s Tattoo – Black Rebel Motorcycle Club

Why has it taken me so long to listen to Black Rebel Motorcycle Club? The name of the band itself sounds right up my musical alley. Sadly, I have taken note of the band name and never taken the time to look into their music.

I probably should be equally embarrassed what lead me to listen the song is a show called Gossip Girl, but I’m not. I watch dramas geared toward 15 -year-olds, and I like it. A snippet of this song was in the last episode and I had to listen to the full song. I was not disappointed.

I love the guitar starting that is so twangy and almost broken sounding. And the percussion that sounds (or actually is) someone stomping adds to the gritty sound of the song. The vocals are unbelievable in the way they weave together and separate into an individual voice.

And a favorite of mine in songs, a building to a chaos of sound and voices that climaxes. It really touches a powerful emotion even if you can’t be sure what the song is actually about. The intensity when the song reaches that point is always satisfying and gut wrenching.

I also love how the song abruptly breaks off, leaving you feeling spent from the dark emotion of the song. I imagine the musicians and singers stopping and immediately gasping for breath after forcing the song out.

Video for Beat the Devil’s Tattoo