I first heard this song on WFUV, the radio station where I discover a lot of new music (90.7 in NY). It sounded to me like James Mercer from The Shins, but I Shazam’ed it and Shazam told me that it was a song called Brill Bruisers by The New Pornographers. I don’t know what a Brill Bruiser is, and to be honest I can barely make out any of the lyrics in the song. What was funny was that I ended up looking up the lyrics, but even after I found out the words they are saying, I still had no idea what they were talking about. Maybe they aren’t saying anything. Not every weird song has deep philosophical undertones. I’ve heard people say that they don’t really pay attention to lyrics in songs, that’s not why they listen. For me lyrics are very important, and I always listen to what the singer is saying. Great lyrics can be the difference between a mediocre song and a classic. I’ve always thought that a lot of Paul Mccartney’s solo stuff could have been a lot better if his lyrics were a little more interesting/edgy/provocative. However, sometimes a song is so catchy that it doesn’t really matter if the lyrics are incomprehensible (Movits is a great example). Brill Bruisers is one of those songs. I love the harmonies, and I love the “poba obapa oh” thing they keep doing. I also LOVE the video game noise that comes in for the first time at 0:45. Listening to this song at full blast feels like riding in a convertible with the top down.
P.S.- I just found this video of A.C. Newman discussing the song. Check out what song he references, and watch till the end to see what OTHER song/album he references. This dude has some seriously good musical taste.
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
So I went bowling with my parents and siblings a couple of weeks ago. It was one of those alleys with big screens playing music videos above the pins. Apparently the theme that night was 80s. Despite that era being “before our time” but also “after their time”, I think everyone enjoyed the music. One song which I had not been familiar with, but which my siblings and I got a kick out of, was “Everybody Have Fun Tonight”. The song is catchy, but to me what made it stand out was the refrain “Everybody have fun tonight, everybody wang chung tonight.” Huh?? I didn’t get it but I loved the randomness. So it turns out the band is called Wang Chung, so it isn’t as random as I thought. But I still love it. Weirdly working your own band name into a song? Why not! I now consider this song to be right up there with Huey Lewis’ “The Power of Love” from Back to the Future.
To quote a great man- “what’s up with enclosed movie theaters nowadays?” I’m trying out this blog as a way of talking about some things I’m listening to. I figured for the first post, it would be appropriate to mention a song I recently heard, which I have adopted as the theme song for my production company (Drive-In Productions). When I first heard it, it actually sounded familiar. Or like a song I should know but didn’t. I was sure that it was from the 60s. But it turns out it’s brand new! Very cool. I hadn’t really been familiar with Ray LaMontagne but now I want to listen to more of his music. My fav line: “I wanna be the guy who doesn’t like to fight, who could kick your ass if you touch his girl. Wanna be the guy who breaks all the rules, but the cops let him off cuz they think he’s cool.”