December 15th, 2010

children of dune - leto 1

so that was a lot of decades of music in a go

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Now that that is out of the way, music! As it's been a while.

My Chemical Romance - The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys

I didn't expect to like the entire album; they're either hard hit or complete indifference. So far my repeat-one is Summertime to the point I have unconscious and conscious lyric retention. I haven't done that since Adam's entire goddamn album. I can't tell if they changed or I have; I need to listen to their earlier albums and find out. Eventually.

The Kings of Leon - Come Around Sundown

I only pulled two of their songs so far, Radioactive and The End, and I play The End against Summertime on a two song multi-repeat playlist. I couldn't even tell you why, but they work like that like espresso and mocha. The End especially appeals to me; it's still a repeat-one. They're nothing like One Less Reason or Hurt, but this song is so much the odd stepbrother of Use Somebody. The only thing that irritates me with them is whatever they recorded in is heavier than pretty much anything else I have and I have to adjust my sound a lot so it balances.

Wars - Hurt (single)

I love the entire few seconds of stripped down vocals leading to getting hit by sound like a truck. I cut it with The End and Augustana's Hey Now, but on it's own it's intense enough; unlike the songs I liked of theirs, this is some gorgeous music above and beyond the vocals and lyrics, and a world away from Falls Apart in sophistication if not in the music itself; less violent, less brutal in execution, even if the intensity is the same. Then again, I'm not sure anything can match Falls Apart for me. I like feeling it quietly before I'm slammed into the concrete with what they're getting across, and Falls Apart kept eerily calm before bringing the world to its knees.

Stand By Me - John Lennon (single)

Off Power to the People that went on sale at Amazon during Black Friday week, so I grabbed it because he's a musician I appreciate more than like. I know he's amazing and his work is seminal, but he's like going to listen to the orchestra or a night of chamber music; it's not music I live to, more music I have to sit down with and really absorb.

Which is how I spent a week going around singing Power to the People and Give Peace a Chance a few decades too late and asking people if they want a revolution. Which yeah, don't we all? Stand by Me, don't get me wrong, will always be Ben E. King for me, but it cut through a lot of the block I had on John Lennon as a popular musician, not just a superstar, icon, artist, and activist. Being hugely respectful of a musician's work is apparently a really good way not to want to listen to them. Imagine, gorgeous as always, and even better cut with A Perfect Circle's haunting cover. I remember only vaguely when he was killed, but my parents were apparently extremely affected by it. Considering they are both conservative and not terribly into music, that's saying something.

Which is why I went ahead and got pretty much the entire Beatles catalogue.

That probably needs an entry of its own, because so much of it, again, falls into music that I know intellectually is amazing, groundbreaking, that inspired and even defined a generation, but it's not emotionally engaging for me, though I like it. Let It Be is in most people's blood by now, but I fell in love with it all over again listening to different versions, then Paul McCartney doing it for Good Night New York, where it broke my heart. Here Comes the Sun was a surprise; I forgot I loved that song. Revolution, Revolution 1 and Revolution 9 back to back was an experience, and I took a detour for Bruce Springsteen singing War (What Is It Good For?) which, just leave me alone, IDEK what happened there? The aesthetic of the Beatles, like Elvis, like even Janis Joplin, feels like I'm missing a crucial generational element of absorbing it as more than an intellectual exercise. Not that I don't like; more that the gut-level obsession doesn't kick in.

I need to work on that.

Save Me San Francisco - Train

I like most of it, rarely love it, not since Drops of Jupiter that once held the record for all-time repeat-one for eight months while I was writing Jus Ad Bellum in X-Men. Yeah, no idea why. I adore that song. Overall, this album is so much better than their first, but I don't adore any one song. Not yet anyway.

Drift Away - Dobie Gray (single) and Drift Away - Uncle Kracker

Classics are classics for a reason. This is pretty much what set me off on Let's Discover John Lennon when it came on the radio and I immediately really needed the song right now. These two versions are similiar right up until you realize how much they aren't; the same bright energy and richness of experience, the feel of a guitar and a dusky porch and celebrating the wonder of rock and roll, but two such different men bring their experiences to the song. Gray's voice is beautiful, and Kracker's enthusiasm is just uplifting.

I'd kill for a woman to cover it. I was trying to think of someone with the kind of voice to carry it off, then realized that was stupid; the voice didn't matter, but the feeling behind it does. I'd like to be surprised and have a modern cover made to round it out.

Everybody Knows - Concrete Blondes and Everybody Knows - Taller Children

An already eerie song taken a new eerie direction. Concrete Blondes captures the despair and resignation and grimness of reality gritty and dark and matter-of-fact; Taller Children is experimental with a hard, stripped wooden beat and a woman's nearly expressionless voice and someone using maracas in a very unsettling way, before a sudden melodic line that completely throws the song. I don't know how I feel about it yet. Third part is gorgeous and not as unsettling and with a uneasy, bouncing beat thing. I can't background this song. It's like Taken By Tree's Sweet Child O'Mine cover, which granted, I heard it the first time in the trailer of Last House on the Left crooning over torture-murder-rape, but even without it, the song leaves me a little uneasy. Then again, so did Guns and Roses, and for so many reasons.

Interstate Love Song - Stone Temple Pilots(single)

I always think I don't like them, until I count up how many of their songs I have. The thing with them, it's love or turn off the radio, and that's a lot of songs that turn off the radio. I like this one, though I can't tell why exactly; it's just fast and rushing forward.

Dust - Augustana (single) Hey Now - Augustana

For five songs total that I like by them, my playlists are dominated with them. Dust, like The Frays You Found Me just work for me, though totally different in pretty much everything; despair and your musical approach to expressing it are illustrated by them. Hey Now though....

For some reason, that one has gone into secondary renaissance for me, and I burned that one out this summer on repeat. I kind of blame One Less Reason for being so endlessly dark and Hey Now is just--not. I can't explain why it worked for me or how. The slow, subtle build, the instruments creeping up on his voice, despair turned sideways into something like hope, or at least a kind of narrow-eyed determination for something more, something better.

Which covers current adventures in music. I'm bracing myself for a Pink Floyd and Sister Hazel marathon due to Black Friday MP3 sales at Amazon. Pink Floyd is another aesthetic that has never clicked (with one or two exceptions); this should be explored. Or something.

Anyone else have musical thoughts? Recs? Ponderings?

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children of dune - leto 1

covers: generational shifts make something new

Until Christmas, work is taking over life and reason, and it will do the same after Christmas. And VPN will make sure it follows me home anyway. It is also That Fucking Time of the Month in triplicate and I hate everything ever in life.

This is a good time to focus on music. Two posts the same month! I know! But there's a fair to good chance I'll barely be online for the next two weeks and that is so goddamn depressing I can't even. I do love my work right now; at least now, we're doing something necessary. It just sucks because the importance means it takes everything out of me to get it done and I don't have anything else left for anything. I'm just so tired, and I'm not sure now it's entirely physical either.

Anyway.

Covers are my pet. I like for different groups and singers to take up songs and recreate them in their own imagine. Good or bad or mediocre, they bring something interesting to them, leaving something of themselves behind in the history of the song, and it's always fascinating, even if I hate it. Which I'll be honest, a lot of covers I wouldn't listen to for fun; I listen to them because it's an affirmation, an argument, a discussion, a protestation, and it may not be good, but they're trying to say something and I want to know what it is and why.

Reference: Second Hand Songs, a cover database that steals your life.

I'll pull youtube this time for direct comparison when I can find it. You will want to sample both, but I suggest even if you don't like it, listen straight through. Chosen for what I could find quickly so could be anything in the video.

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Okay, that's about--okay, that didn't even put a dent in my covers playlist, but I'm getting uncomfortable with how many times a perky song becomes a heroin addict's anthem of pain and loss. IDEK. I'm not entirely comfortable saying the 00's were clinically depressed for music, but I'm not sure I can argue against it, either.

In the last entry in comments, I mentioned I have a mental Do Not Cover list too (it's very short and clung to with almost religious fevor); one of them is Let It Be by the Beatles, because I've never heard anyone do it and even capture a tenth of the strength and the gorgeousness, much less remix it into their own. Now I wonder if there are any that don't make me grit my teeth. It's not that I think anyone is untouchable, more that the song is simple and the meaning is everything and anything but. Anyone heard a good one?

I also wouldn't mind cover recs. Just not Hallelujah--I just downloaded a new one and I have to wait between them or I hate the new cover too much to listen to it fairly. I think I officially have a Hallelujah playlist.

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