I have a very close friend who’s favorite band is Counting Crows. I’m always intrigued when someone tells me that they have a favorite band. Well I guess more intrigued when that band is not The Beatles. Cuz then I’m just like, what does that band have that The Beatles don’t?? But if it’s a friend I respect then I will take their preference seriously and I will give that band a chance. So due to this friend’s love of Counting Crows, I wound up going to a number of Counting Crows concerts and listening to a lot of their music over the years. They had some really powerful songs in their prime, and I kind of understand the allure. Adam Duritz seems like a really interesting, if somewhat depressed dude (Jewish, btw). But their prime was 20 years ago. Their new album can’t possibly be good, right? Well it is! This was the first song I heard from it, and I loved it immediately. It really sounds like their vintage stuff. It’s even a little meta, being that they are the Counting Crows and the song is Scarecrow. I’m not exactly sure what the significance is, but there has to be something. To me the style is very Dylan-esque. Sort of stream of conscious, lots of attitude, and the words flow really well and sound profound, whether or not they actually are.
I do not speak a word of Swedish. But that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy Swedish swing/hip hop! Somehow Stephen Colbert found out about these guys and had them on his show in 2009. Colbert even had their album released in America on the Comedy Central label, which had previously never put out a non-comedy album. But even with the “Colbert Bump” Movits! never really caught on in the US. Probably bc of the Swedish. But I love these guys. I don’t need to know what they are talking about (sometimes things they say sound like English, hence the title of this post, based on the opening line of the song). They all speak English fluently, but unlike other Swedish artists like Abba, Ace of Base and Avicii, Movits! has never done a song in English. As they explained at a show in NY a few years ago, they decided to stay true to their roots instead of trying to sound American. I definitely respect that, but I also kind of wish I understood Swedish. I’ve been wearing Converse All Stars ever since I saw this video.
The “Colbert Bump” in action- http://thecolbertreport.cc.com/videos/c4hocz/movits-
As much as I love The Beatles, when it comes to their solo stuff I’ve never been too blown away. Don’t get me wrong! I think each of them made some amazing music, especially in the years immediately following the breakup (yes, even Ringo). To put it into perspective, I think that at their best, solo John or Paul or George are on par with any of the rock legends. That is no small feat. It’s just that as The Beatles they were completely in a stratosphere of their own.
Anyway, I’ve always thought it was funny how Paul reflects on the past with such despair in the song “Yesterday”. He looks back on happier times, more carefree times. But now his troubles are here to stay. He is not even half the man he used to be! Poor guy. 😦 He was 23. 49 years later in 2014 at the age of 72, Paul is singing a very different tune. To be fair, most of Paul’s songs are optimistic and happy, sometimes to the point of silliness. But “New” really resonates with me. It is cautious, yet hopeful. Unsure, yet optimistic. He has gone through his share of setbacks and challenges. But he isn’t dwelling on the past. Now he is looking forward. He still believes in new beginnings. New feelings. New music. His insanely positive attitude is nothing short of inspiring, and I hope he is able to keep up that energy for many years to come.
OK I’ll admit it. I’ve been listening to a lot of Phish recently. Don’t knock it till you try it! They really are a unique band. At this point you may ask me “OK, so how do Phish compare to The Beatles?” To that I would answer that they are completely different animals… and therefore comparisons would be futile. In a big way they are actually polar opposites, because The Beatles stopped touring in 1966 and consequently never performed many of their most well known songs live. Phish on the other hand have forged their entire identity through their live performances. But my goal here is not to prove their excellence. A song of theirs that has been stuck in my head is called Golgi Apparatus. Now you may be thinking “wait, isn’t that something I learned in biology class?” Yes, the golgi apparatus is an organelle found in cells. But it’s also the title of a Phish song! I’ll say off the bat that this song is atypical for Phish, because in concert it is played pretty much the exact same way every time. Nevertheless, it has their catchiness, it has their energy, and it has their weirdness. (If you figure out what they are talking about please let me know)
Couldn’t find a good video but this gives the idea