Under the covers

I’m a huge fan of covers — especially when the two bands involved sounds completely different or are from different eras. Obviously, not all covers are better, but there are a few exceptions to the rule, like Orgy’s take on “Blue Monday.” Say what you will, loyal New Order fans, the cover is better than the original. End of debate.

A friend (thank you, Tony) posted the Decemberists playing a Sugar song, part of a project by the A.V. Club to have bands cover a variety of songs selected by readers. Some of the combinations elicit a “Meh” response. But others … well, they made me giddy. They might not be as amazing as the original, but they’re certainly worth a listen. Let me know what you think about the pairings!

Ted Leo & the Pharmacists cover Tears for Fears’ “Everybody Wants to Rule the World”

The Clientele covers M.I.A.’s “Paper Planes”

Ben Folds covers Elliott Smith’s “Say Yes”

Maritime covers Depeche Mode’s “Enjoy the Silence”

Cursive covers Starship’s “We Built This City”

Help, I have done it again …

The way Sia sings that line … it’s so painful, so forced, so beautiful. Who hasn’t been in that place before? You messed something up or you made a horrible mistake. And in those moments after realizing what you’ve done and who you’ve become, you look for someone to hold you, wrap you up, unfold you.

I haven’t listened to much of Sia’s music, but this song sparked something in me today. I think I occasionally have those revelations, realizing that I’ve gone a bit off track or, in some cases, way off track. It takes a song like this to force me back on the right path.

My new obsession

I have no words. OK, I have very few words. I don’t need many; the lyrics say it all. And the video? Amazing. I worried it was going to get a little sketchy there in the first few seconds, but … wow. Love it.

Remember a few blogs ago when I talked about how I overindulge on songs? Yeah, this is the latest one. I think I’ve listened to it about 14 times now — just today.

Gotye – “Somebody That I Used to Know”

“Now and then I think of when we were together
Like when you said you felt so happy you could die
Told myself that you were right for me
But felt so lonely in your company
But that was love and it’s an ache I still remember

You can get addicted to a certain kind of sadness
Like resignation to the end
Always the end
So when we found that we could not make sense
Well you said that we would still be friends
But I’ll admit that I was glad that it was over

But you didn’t have to cut me off
Make out like it never happened
And that we were nothing
And I don’t even need your love
But you treat me like a stranger
And that feels so rough
You didn’t have to stoop so low
Have your friends collect your records
And then change your number
I guess that I don’t need that though
Now you’re just somebody that I used to know

Now and then I think of all the times you screwed me over
But had me believing it was always something that I’d done
But I don’t wanna live that way
Reading into every word you say
You said that you could let it go
And I wouldn’t catch you hung up on somebody that you used to know…

But you didn’t have to cut me off
Make out like it never happened
And that we were nothing
And I don’t even need your love
But you treat me like a stranger
And that feels so rough
You didn’t have to stoop so low
Have your friends collect your records
And then change your number
I guess that I don’t need that though
Now you’re just somebody that I used to know”

The songs that speak

The other day, I had a conversation with a friend who expressed surprise that most of the songs I listen to are clean, crisp and poppy. He saw me as harder, darker; my music choices — or at least those mentioned in this blog so far — didn’t correlate with how he viewed my tastes.

Initially, I was a little taken aback by his comment. First of all, I don’t see myself as particularly hard or dark. Secondly, I’ve never been keen on metal or hard rock. But then I started thinking about the songs that really speak to me, the ones that really elicit a reaction. They all have a dark edge and are a little harder than the songs I listen to throughout the day.

It’s interesting too that they’re kind of my go-to songs for certain emotions. Falling for a guy? The Cardigans’ “You’re the Storm” gets me every time. Feeling helpless? Oh, must be time for “Save Me” by Aimee Mann. Spiraling into depressing? Elliot Smith and “Needle in the Hay” will help that along. Aggravated? Get more fired up by listening to Brand New’s “Sic Transit Gloria.” And when it’s “Go Time” (you know what I mean), She Wants Revenge’s “Tear You Apart” will take it to the next level.

For me, at least, they’re all songs with very specific messages. What songs do you connect with? Or use to bring out a particular emotion or energy?

Breakin’ up

What to say really besides, well … it sucks. Like any good music-obsessive, I have my go-to songs for that oh-so-special occasion. There’s Death Cab for Cutie’s “Tiny Vessels” or Tegan and Sara’s “Where Does the Good Go.”

If I’m feeling especially feisty, there’s always Rilo Kiley’s “Breakin’ Up” or “Silver Lining” — which, by the way, has one of the most amazing break-up lyrics ever: “I never felt so wicked as when I willed our love to die.” Keep in mind that the song was written by Jenny Lewis to perform with a band that includes her ex-boyfriend. Even better, she co-wrote “Breakin’ Up” with said ex. That would be tough, which is why the songs make me love her that much more.

Good break-up songs are one of the key reasons I appreciate occasional Top 40 offerings. Admit it, doesn’t blasting the All-American Rejects’ “Gives You Hell” and singing along help you feel better after a split? Or how about Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep“? (Yes, I know I’ve referenced it before, but it’s just. that. good.)

What are your favorite break-up songs? Help a girl out and post some comments, peeps! 🙂

Pandora’s Box

Of late, Pandora (the Internet radio site) and I have had a complicated relationship. OK, let’s be honest: all my relationships are complicated, but Pandora is proving to be especially so. For example, it tried to play Flo Rida on my “Placebo” station the other day. Fail, Pandora. Epic fail.

It does, however, have occasional moments of brilliance. This afternoon, I’m casually listening to my “Stars” station when — WHAMO! — Natalie Imbruglia’s voice starts filtering through my headphones.

Ms. Imbruglia (much like “My So-Called Life) had a tremendous impact on my formative years. Her album “Left of the Middle” came out when I was 15 and trying to figure out who the hell I was and what I was going to do with myself.

So, when Pandora brought up this blast from the past, I had to go back and listen to all the songs off that album. Shockingly, I still knew most of the words and, terrifyingly, I treated the newsroom to a sort of karaoke performance (but without the backup music/vocals). Lucky for them, most of the newsfolk had left for the day.

Try this song on for size.

Damn you, Jordan Catalano

I think watching “My So-Called Life” stunted my emotional development. Do you remember that scene (and you totally do if you’re between the ages of 22 and 35) when Jordan finally holds Angela’s hand in the middle of the hallway? It’s, like, the turning point in their relationship?

Yeah, well … as a result my brain has always connected the song playing in that scene (Buffalo Tom’s “Late at Night”) with that warm, fuzzy feeling.

I encourage you to 1) check out the scene from the show. If you watched it at all when you were a teenager, it will pull up all those feelings again.

2) Listen to the song on its own. It’s raw and beautiful.

I blame this song and the show for ruining my idea of love. I think I ended up too much of a romantic for this era.

Here comes the bride

My baby sister is getting married on Saturday and, having been dubbed the maid of honor (not “dishonor” … yet), I’ve been privvy to all her planning decisions. It’s safe to say Sarah and I are complete opposites, but not in a bad way; we just have very different tastes.

Among the differences is our taste in music. I don’t know for certain, but I suspect Sarah will walk down the aisle and back to traditional classical music. I, on the other hand, decided to go with a different approach. I walked down the aisle to Nancy Wilson’s “Elevator Beat” and our recessional song was Joey Ramone’s cover of “What a Wonderful World.”

I don’t know where we would have fit it in, but I love the song “Ladies and Gentlemen, We Are Floating into Space” by Spiritualized. Just as “Elevator Beat” is, the song is off the soundtrack to Vanilla Sky, one of my favorite movies. I think the theme of the movie resonates in those songs and, I suspect, that’s why I’ve had such an affection for them for so long.

If you’re married, what did you pick as your recessional/processional songs? And if you haven’t made that leap, have you ever thought about the songs you’d choose?

Fleeting Top 40 love

I have incredible love/hate with Top 40 music. In general, it’s awful. AWFUL, I tell you. But occasionally, there are gems that catch my ear by surprise. I’m often way behind in finding out about those songs, though, because I happen upon them by chance.

The problem with these songs is that I love them so fervently and listen to them so frequently, I usually fall out of love with them quickly.

My current Top 40 obsession is Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep.” The song and video give me chills every time I hear/see them.

Past loves include Eminem/Rihanna’s “Love the Way You Lie” and Cee Lo Green’s “F**k You.” Brilliant songs …

I suppose these are my guilty pleasures in a way. Any songs you love that you don’t like to admit?

Music to vent to

(I totally know I ended my headline with a preposition, but oh, well …)

As much as I love my job (and I do — you HAVE to love it for as little as you get paid), sometimes it can be really frustrating. Most of the time, it’s the news itself that gets me fired up; you won’t believe some of the just incredibly awful stories that come through the wire. But occassionally, it’s the people in the news business that frustrate me. Music is really my only way to vent when that kind of situation arrives and I have a sort of go-to list of angry songs that I can blast in my headphones.

Today’s song is on that playlist and I may or may not have my headphones blasting it right now (hint: I totally do).

What are your go-to venting songs?