I swear ta god….I have had the worst luck in the past couple of weeks. This is the second time that I’ve had to completely re-type my Friday Music entry because of my browser locking up. Sheesh.
I am glad to see, though, that this weekly experiment is doing what I had intended. Not only am I introducing you folks to some music that I think is nifty, but occasionally, it works the other way as well. For example: Last week, Val requested that I post some Reggae. I told her that I didn’t have any, mostly because I never really got into it, thanks to one too many run-ins with Frat assholes who had co-opted the whole “we be jammin'” vibe. Well, because of her comment, I took a listen to some recent reggae, and found this brilliant track from Capleton’s latest album. He does a mix of roots reggae, dancehall and ragga, and it comes off as very bright and poppy. If this song ever managed to get radio play here in the US, I could easily see it becoming one of this summer’s inescapable anthems. (Oh, and from the “my god, they’re everywhere” file, the vocal hook for this track is by Stephen Marley….one of Bob’s sons.) Capleton (feat. Stephen Marley) – “Sunshine Girl”
A few weeks back, I posted a track by The Scissor Sisters–one of their uptempo numbers, channelling the spirit of 70s Elton John. Here’s one of their slower tracks, which hearkens back to Ziggy-Stardust-era Bowie: Scissor Sisters – “Return to Oz”. I said it before, and I’m saying it now: if you haven’t picked up this CD, do so. The tracks I’ve posted are just a sample of how good this album is.
In keeping with Yosa’s request for things chill and trip-hoppy, here’s Zero 7 – “I Have Seen”. Usually, this style of music features female vocalists, but Zero 7 (a collaboration between UK producers Henry Binns and Sam Hardaker, which features a mix of electronics and soulful orchestral arrangements) switches from track to track between a male vocalist (Mozez), a female vocalist (Sia Furler) and pure instrumentals. This track features Mozez, and when the bassline changes subtlely when his lyrics kick in, I get chills (which, I suppose, is appropriate for the genre). The only way to describe this is “lush.”
Here’s one of Laura’s faves: Brit crooner Robbie Williams, inspired by the success of his cover of “Have You Seen Ms. Jones” from the Bridget Jones soundtrack, released a CD of Rat-Pack-era vocal standards, called Swing When You’re Winning. This track, which features Nicole Kidman warming up for her turn in Moulin Rouge was the single from the album, and was a minor radio hit pretty much everywhere except in the US (where the album was never released). They do a cover of an old Frank Sinatra/Nancy Sinatra duet: Robbie Williams (feat. Nicole Kidman) – “Somethin’ Stupid”
Something a little more odd, now: this track features jazzy, almost stream-of-consciousness narration layered over a processed beat (complete with vinyl crackle), and tells the tale of an average LA resident. Soul Coughing – “Screenwriter’s Blues.” “It is Five A.M., and you are listening….to Los Angeles.”
For the Duran Duran fans out there, here’s something that you probably don’t have. Duran Duran – “Virus”, which is a bonus track from the newest album, Astronaut, only available when you get the album via Apple’s iTunes Music Store. I love this track…even more than a couple of the regular tracks on the album. I’m a bit surprised that they made this one the bonus.
I had thought about posting a Spanish-language song, in honor of Cinquo de Mayo, but instead, I’ve chosen an English-language song with a Spanish name. Morphine – “Buena”. This is from their album Cure for Pain. I’ve always been amazed by what these guys can do with a band that was entirely comprised of drums, a two-string bass and a baritone sax. This is my favorite Morphine track, with “Thursday” off the same album coming in a close second.
For our last track this week, we have one of those things where a bizarre combination ends up making a really amazing song. Take the eldest son of cheesey TV sitcom dad Alan Thicke, and have him lay down some downright Timberlakean vocals over the 1970s disco instrumental version of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, “A Fifth of Beethoven.” The result? Absolutely brilliant. Thicke – “Alone.” I like this track probably way more than it deserves, but damn if it doesn’t make me want to dance my ass off.
There ya go, kids. Enjoy.