Song of the month August 2018: Gold Rush

“Gold Rush” by Death Cab for Cutie

Buildings.  Going up everywhere in Portland. This song was written about Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, but it could have been written about Portland (except for the fact that two of the lines are “and they keep digging it down and down / so that their cars can live underground” and in Portland most building don’t build so the cars can live underground, but park on the street in a haphazard and unzoned way that is eventually going to have to be fixed.)

I’m trying not to be a fuddy-duddy about the building.  A ton of people are moving here and will keep moving here, just as I did. And we all have to live somewhere.  But it’s hard to see all the old buildings go and makes these lyrics that much more poignant.

I remember a winter’s night
we kissed beneath the street lamplight
outside our bar near the record store
that have been condos for a year and more
now that our haunts have taken flight
and been replaced with construction sites
oh, how I feel like a stranger here
searching for something that’s disappeared
digging for gold in my neighborhood
for what they say is the greater good
but all I see is a long goodbye
a requiem for a skyline
it seems I never stopped losing you
as every dive becomes something new
and all our ghosts get swept away
it didn’t used to be this way

On-point lyrics aside, I was first drawn first to this song because of the musical arrangement, which is more prominent than the lyrics. It’s gauzy and the repetitive “Gold Rush” nicely drives the song.

Song of the month April 2018

“Bill Murry” Matt Nathanson

This is another from KINK Sunday Brunch. Which, now that we’ve started working in the yard on the backyard project, I don’t get to listen to.

This is the kind of song I really love.  Weird theme, the kind that makes me look up from my cooking and wonder what in the hell I’m listening to.  I think I made Google tell me. There’s a Portland reference.  The video is also wacky.

The chorus is a good one:  I won’t only love you when you’re winning/Other fools pretend to understand/Come on take my hand, we’ll go down swinging/Let me be your man, let me be your man.

YouTube and Wikipedia also inform me that this artist also covered James’s “Laid” for the American Pie movies.  He’s aged a little since that song was recorded.  And haven’t we all?

My second song was the song from the end of Outside In.  I liked it.  The Internet is not telling me who sang it.

Song of the month: March 2018

“In My Mind”
Amanda Palmer

I heard this song while watching the McMenamins Theater slide show before A Wrinkle In Time began. The line, “In a future five years from now/I’m one hundred and twenty pounds” caught my ear and I snorted in amusement. I’m often guilty of living a perfect life, but in the future. I didn’t have my phone with me, so when Matt returned from a phone call, I asked him to text me “Amanda Palmer 120 pounds” so I would remember to look her up. He wanted to know why I was having him text Neil Gaiman’s wife’s name. And that’s how I learned that Amanda Palmer and Neil Gaiman are married and have a child.

“The Way It Seems To Go”
Rachael Yamagata

Continuing on the theme of finding songs through movies, this was the end credits song in the film Lucky Them. A film which I am realizing I did not review on this blog. Now I must go back and do that.

Anyway, I like Rachael Yamagata’s stuff and this was a nice addition.

The other thing both songs have in common is that I wrote this post at work and didn’t actually re-listen to the songs. Time will tell if I like them or not.

Old-school:
“Glycerine”
Bush

Here is a song I will happily listen to when I encounter it. It’s very early-adulthood swirling sadness for me, but I like how plaintive it sounds.

And the song that is not going on the song of the month playlist because it is a super earworm:

“Sober Up”
AJR


If this song didn’t include so many ways to get stuck in my head, I would like it better.

Song of the month: February 2018

“Adore”
Amy Shark

“Because I had a great night ’cause you kept rubbing against my arm”

This song–which Wikipedia tells me is from 2016–is being played with some regularity on one of the local radio stations.  The lyric above caught my ear and is the reason the song is featured this month.

I was so obsessed with boys as a teenager (and into my twenties). To this day, I wonder about the causes of that obsession and am thankful I don’t have to worry about raising a daughter to not be obsessed in that way.  I was completely the girl who would chalk up a great night to something that might be entirely unintentional. And “adore” is the exact right verb for what I felt for guys I liked.

I’m happy that period of my life is over, though I’m not fully convinced that it wouldn’t return if I found myself single again.

“This is the Day”
The The

This song is featured in the movie Every Day, which was a worthy adaptation of a really great YA novel.  I had a passing familiarity with this song, and I love when the music people involved with movies pluck just the right song to pair with the narrative and give a new audience a chance to also enjoy the song.

Also: When I worked for Bread & Circus (Whole Foods’ name in Massachusetts) one of my co-workers had a tangential connection to The The. Her husband had gone on tour with them, playing harmonica.

“Electric Love”
BORNS

Also featured in the movie Every Day, I just love everything about this, from the first word, “Candy,” to the last “Baby you’re electric love.”* I like it so much, I’m not 100% certain I have not already included this in the Song of the Month rundown. A quick search tells me I haven’t, so welcome “Electric Love.”

*I did some cross-checking because I would have spelled it “your electric love” but I could see how “you’re” also works.  Most lyrics have both ways.

Song of the month: January 2018

“I Get Overwhelmed” by Dark Rooms from the movie A Ghost Story

Listening to the year-end best-of movie podcasts reminded me how awesome this song was. I loved A Ghost Story–it was #8 on my raking of movies watched in the theater. The soundtrack/score meshes perfectly with the movie and this atmospheric song comes at just the right moment. When I hear it in the future, I will probably forever get that oooey-gooey nostalgic feeling of a good movie watched.

“Ride On” AC/DC

Ride On – ACDC Bon Scott from Luis Patricio Vacas Torres on Vimeo.

This song made the list because not many people showed at the regular karaoke get together. It was just Jeff, Kelly and I, and we had two hours. Three people can go through a lot of songs in two hours. Eventually Jeff sang this bluesy number. I hadn’t heard it, but it’s my type of chilled-out song.

Interestingly, it’s hard to find a Bon Scott version of this song on YouTube. Hence the Vimeo link.

Song of the Month: Vance Joy “Lay It On Me”


After hearing Vance Joy’s “Riptide” approximately 5000 more times than I needed to, I’m a bit hesitant to make this the song of the month.  But I can’t resist the rising notes of the chorus and the great leap of a few notes on the word “out.”  Plus, this song really cries out to be redone with a heavier horn section.  I see a good pep band arrangement somewhere on its horizon.

It’s catchy as all get out, though.  I’m probably going to get tired of it more quickly because of that.  Matt was even singing it the other day, not really knowing the words, just putting nonsense syllables to the notes chorus.

If you aren’t tired of it already, the below is a good acoustic version, including Australian DJs graciously letting Mr. Joy have a sip of tea before he begins.

November 2017 Song of the Month

“Welcome to the Black Parade” by My Chemical Romance

An example of me hearing a song while driving and trying to remember as much of it as possible, because I had left my phone at home, so could not Shazaam, or google once I parked the car.  Luckily for me, when I googled something like, “song that starts off with one singer and a few notes and then the band comes in and then something about carry on?” That mismash took me to a Yahoo Questions page a lo, here was the song I was talking about!

It turns out I’m 11 years late to this song. But better late than never, eh?  Also, it seems that this song is “emo,” at least according to the YouTube comments. Wikipedia tells me that MTV recognized it as the “Greatest Video of the Century” in 2017. It’s quite striking and obnoxious. Plus, it has marching band stuff in it!

“Anywhere” Passenger. Such a sunny song!  It came on the radio when I was driving through a cold rainstorm in the dark. At 5:30pm.  It was the perfect antidote.

October 2017 Songs of the Month: Chris Stapleton; The Mountain Goats

Earlier in the month, I helped out with a retreat at Brasada Ranch.  One of the perks of that trip was that I got to rent a car and drive there myself.  I do love a good solo road trip.  I wasn’t as efficient at getting out of Portland as I wanted to be, so I didn’t properly prepare for my musical selections on the trip.  It was radio all the way.

And so I invented a game.  Once my known stations faded (which didn’t take much time at all, thanks to Mount Hood) I scanned until I found a song* and then I would stay with that station until it faded, or there was a commercial break. Then I would scan again and repeat the process.

*A song that wasn’t classical, smooth jazz or Christian.  (This is because I need words to focus on–thus no classical or smooth jazz.  And those words have to not supremely bug me, thus no Christian.)

This turned out to be quite a fun game that progressed in a predictable manner.  I heard a lot of country music.** I’m pretty sure I heard more country and top-40 music on that trip than I have heard in the last few years.  At one point, I came into a station where the DJ told me, “We’re in the middle of 10 songs of uninterrupted country music,” and I’m pretty sure by “the middle” she meant, “I’ve maybe played one song” because that was a very long stretch of uninterrupted music.

**And also unpredictably, when I got stuck on a reggae segment on the Bend public radio station. No commercials on public radio, so I had to wait for that station to fade.

It was interesting comparing the themes of the country music world. There was a lot of talking about how much they like the rural environment.  There was a ton more talk about god.  There was a goodly amount of flag waving.  I found myself charmed with Phil Vassar’s “Just Another Day in Paradise” which was a nice picture of real life.  (Looking at the video Phill Vassar is a very regular-looking guy.  Oh! Apparently this song is 15 or so years old)

I also enjoyed the parallels between top-40 and country music as when I head the Chainsmokers Honest, which is about how the guy isn’t so much into the relationship any more.  That paired nicely with a country song that I can’t find via googling. In it, the guy is singing to the current girlfriend/wife saying that he’s skipped town with a new girl who gets him in a way the current girlfriend/wife never did.  Unlike the Chainsmokers song, I didn’t care much for that one.

I also discovered this gem of a song called “Tennessee Whisky” which is nearly as old as I am.  (There’s so much music in the world!)  I’m pretty sure I heard the version by Chris Stapelton, who has a great voice. I also enjoy the lyric, “I stay stoned on your love all the time.”

At the end of the month (two days after this post was written, if these posts were written in real time) Kelly and I went to see John and Hank Green as part of John’s book tour for Turtles All the Way Down. They ended the show with the Mountain Goats, the band that John is a super fan of.  And 2017 does seem to be an appropriate year for the lyric, “I am going to make it through this year if it kills me.

 

September 2017 Song of the month : Independence Day by Martina McBride

This one comes to me via the Amateur Talent Contest at the Minnesota State Fair.  Grace Harmoning sang it in the Teen category.  I’d not heard this song before (probably due to the fact it’s a country song and my knowledge of that particular genre is sparse).  I could tell it was a popular song, because several people around me were singing along.

It was only after I watched the video that I found out its subject was domestic violence.

Song of the month July 2017

Don’t Take the Money
Bleachers

It’s very 80s, in a good way.  And there’s some romance.  From random googling, it seems that critics don’t much care for Bleachers, but I sure do.

Here they are on the Tonight Show.  I was a little amused by several things during this performance. Namely: why two drummers? the odd silos of keyboards framing Jack Antonoff; the fact that Mr. Antonoff maybe doesn’t need to wear that guitar during the performance of this song, given how little he plays it.  Still, I did like how he seemed to be connecting with the Tonight Show crowd, and it was interesting to see how something that sounds very studio-produced translated to a live performance.