Today’s post swings from the early 90s to the present day, from English to French and back again, from Long Beach to Sainte-Foy to Austin. Proceed!
No Doubt – Open the Gate
Before L.A.M.B. and Hollaback Girl; before blue hair and bindis; before Don’t Speak and Tragic Kingdom; Gwen Stefani rocked hair buns like Sailor Moon, while being at the front of the latest ska-punk movement. No Doubt self-released The Beacon Street Collection, and this is a gem from the album. The music’s fine, even catchy, but check out Stefani’s presence, especially on some of the “hurry” parts of the chorus. This one deserves dusting off.
Jean Leloup – Paradis City
No, not a G’n’R cover. I stumbled on this one during a drive through La Belle Province, seeking radio stations for something listenable. It turns out Jean Leloup is only new to my Anglo tastes, having written music for some 25+ years. Don’t understand the words? Who cares?
Shakey Graves – Dearly Departed
I love the simple, layered percussion on Dearly Departed. And though Shakey is a solo artist, this track is a really great duet with Esmé Patterson, who also deserves a close-up on this site.
Once in a while I go back to listening to a few tunes from the Velvet Underground, and then it’s just a progression to Pink Floyd, The Beatles, and so on… and this time I wound up listening to three tracks of a more recent vintage.
Tame Impala – Cause I’m A Man
This recent, psychedelic track from Tame Impala should be listened to over and over again. More toned down than the band’s previous singles, this one is built on synth layers, a steady beat, and Kevin Parker saying things like: “I’m a man, woman. I’ll never be as strong as you.” And then there’s just the slightest bit of fuzzy guitar. Just enough.
Meligrove Band – Our Love Will Make the World Go Round
This post’s second track kicks up the intensity a bit. Trippy, but filtered through the grit of the garage.
Ben Howard – In Dreams
From Ben Howard’s second and most recent album, I Forget Where We Were. There’s some fiendish guitar-playing going on here, but it’s quiet and understated. I’ve had this on repeat and just kind of got lost in the melody.
As a coda, because the title directly references one of my favourite songs, there’s a new book out called Where Did You Sleep Last Night? by Lynn Crosbie. It’s about a girl who has a supernatural relationship with Kurt Cobain. I’m going to check it out.
Like Jay and Derek before me, I’m picking a few tunes that I’ll admit are my guilty pleasures. Also like them, I don’t mind listening to them in the company of others. So why the guilt?
The Rolling Stones – Under My Thumb
I whistle, hum, and sing during some routines, and I don’t particularly care who hears me. Few people ever hear me anyway, because I’m kind of on the quiet side. But for all that I love this song, I can’t bring myself to sing it out loud. Mick Jagger is too… happy about putting a woman down. The Svengali aspect is too much. There’s a cover version by Tina Turner which flips the male/female dynamic, but then it’s still about one sex lording it over the other.
Hedley – Crazy For You
Ok, I’ve had trouble admitting to this one, because the knee-jerk reaction is “A pop band fronted by a Canadian Idol castoff.” But, but, but… this song is slick. It’s got a pretty good hook, and it’s… it’s… perfectly enjoyable. There, I said it.
(Side note: Why are people still staging music videos in mental institutions? At what point is that thing played out? Derek?)
Jason Derulo – Talk Dirty to Me, featuring 2 Chainz
Blame it on the horn section and the overall production. It certainly isn’t here because of the lyrics by Derulo and 2 Chainz. On the other hand, the lyrics are kind of funny in an I-can’t-believe-he’s-saying-that kind of way. Also enjoyable: the cover by Kevin Spacey and Jimmy Fallon (half of the barbershop quartet The Ragtime Gals).
Sorry this post war really (really) late. We’re back to our regularly scheduled programming. See you next time!