I’m taking a break from the blog for a while. Between moving and going back to working from the office, I feel like I’ve lost momentum. I’m not sitting at my desk on my own for eight hours a day listening to music the whole time. I don’t have a commute on a bus where I could sit and search for music. It’s become a bit of a chore to come up with songs of the day. And that makes me feel shitty about the whole thing because there are so many songs that I love that I still want to talk about. I’ve also just been doing other stuff. I’ve been building furniture for the new place. That’s kinda just taken up the space in my brain that was the blog for the last six or seven months
So I’ll be back in two weeks or so. Hopefully feeling fresher and re-engaged.
I only realised when I did my reading about “Rescue Me” by Fontella Bass, that the recording features Maurice White and Louis Satterfield from Earth, Wind & Fire. I’m pretty sure this is a first for the blog, to have the same people featured on consecutive songs. Kinda impressive really to see people popping up again in another great song.
“Rescue Me” is so good. It’s a sing a long tune and and one for dancing. I love the 60s R&B drumming that drives the song along. The piano playing feels frantic, like the person playing the piano is dancing at the same time. It’s a great example of a song that feels happy but the lyrics are sad. I’m not entirely sure if it’s a sad song. I ask Shóna to rescue me about 4 times a week and that’s mostly when I have to do things I don’t want to do, like going to work on a Monday morning. The more I think about it, the more I feel like these lyrics could be written by me back in the days of commuting on the bus, feeling very melodramatic.
I wish I could write a song like “Rescue Me”. It’s a song that knows its strengths. It gives the listener plenty of what we want, lyrics that are easy to remember, repetition of the really good singing parts by Fontella Bass and top notch call and responses.
You can listen to “Rescue Me” by Fontella Bass here.
Picking anything other that “September” today would have been the wrong choice. “September” is a perfect song. The intro is iconic. The vocals, also iconic. The flourishes on the horns are flash, but perfectly measured. The bass grooves away. I love how the singing stretches a little bit in the second half of the second verse. Maurice White just kicks it up a notch. I’d love to find a version of the song where he went all Mariah Carey on it.
I think every night out should end with “September” regardless of what else was being played. It’s so happy. It’s all about love. It talks about dancing. It has nonsense lyrics so everyone can sing along. The end just drifts out in to the universe. And then the lights would come on and the night ends on a high.
You can listen to “September” by Earth, Wind & Fire here.
I’ve got a good Dad. I always hate when you hear about dads having to “babysit” their own kids. My dad was very involved and I think that was a really positive thing.
One of my key memories from when I was very little and we’d hang out with my dad at home was listening to Rage Against The Machine’s self titled debut album. Colin and I would run around in circles and throw ourselves into the couch. And we had to promise that we wouldn’t say any of the bad words we heard.
That album was an album that I just knew as a complete album. I didn’t know what the “singles” were. I think it’s a really consistent album. Even the less memorable songs are very solid. “Know Your Enemy” is a real wiggler. You can imagine how it works for a little kid running in circles. The intro really is the peace before the storm. And it’s a double drop. The riff kicks in and lifts it but then when the lyrics properly start it goes up another level.
Rage Against The Machine get a bad rep. I think they’re associated with teenage years of angst and lame attempted nonconformity. The truth is they talk about plenty of things that I agree with wholeheartedly. “Know Your Enemy” is a cool track with some fairly reasonable hot takes on the land of the free that I probably didn’t fully get until I was older.
You can listen to “Know Your Enemy” by Rage Against The Machine here.
Tennis cropped up on my Release Radar this morning. They had a song on the Rick and Morty soundtrack. I remember watching it and being intrigued by the song but then I forgot about it. Then when “Borrowed Time” showed up in the playlist today it all made sense. I really like that song and it sent me down a Tennis rabbit hole.
“Need Your Love” is a cool song. It’s got a flipped, anti love song kinda vibe.
I need your love and I need your touch
Like I need a bolt of lightning from the sky above
The chorus leads in with a traditional love sick line, but follows it with a turn around that counters that. There’s a choppiness to the timing of the song. It moves along and then slows down and gets back going before slowing all the way down. The drumming has a relaxed feel to it that I like. It suits the vocals. They’re sweet and effortless. The whole song has a very laid back 70s vibe and reminds me of what I would call “disco ballads”, things like “How Deep Is Your Love” by the Bee Gees.
You can listen to “Need Your Love” by Tennis here.
“Wincing The Night Away” is a wonderful album. We had visitors from America at one point when I was a kid and they brought it and it has become one of my favourite albums. I return to it every few years and it’ll have a week or two of being the only thing I listen to.
“Phantom Limb” is the song that’s been stuck in my hear this time around. I think it’s the best example of everything that I like about the album. I like the vocal melodies a lot. It’s not a case of an incredible voice as much as really nice ideas for where the vocals go. I like the buzzy bass sound. It’s got a melancholy kinda folk sound which I find quite peaceful.
The Shins are a funny case of a band that I might not have given a chance at another time. This album came out when I was around 14. I don’t think I was as culturally aware as I was later in my teens. I wasn’t really aware of any buzz around them and I missed the later weirdness around the band’s line up changes. To me, this was this nice chill album that reminded me of the calmer Beck albums and frequently took very nice little melodic turns.
You can listen to “Phantom Limb” by The Shins here.
When I was doing my leaving cert in 2011 I listened to Amanda Blank’s “I Love You” album a lot. I distinctly remember putting it on and dancing to the whole album straight through.
“Make It, Take It” is such a cool opener. It sits in that sweet spot between indie, dance and hip hop. It’s high energy. It’s got a great bass line. The vocals are super slick. The chorus has a layered harmony and the repetition fits perfectly with the quite modular production. It’s just a cool, very danceable track.
You can listen to “Make It, Take It” by Amanda Blank here.
A few weeks ago I had a short lived dive into my iPod Classic and a look at (and listen to) some of the old tracks from my days scraping blogs. One of the tracks that I rediscovered was “WWW” by STS. It was always one of my favourites. I’m not sure where I first heard STS, but I downloaded quite a lot of his music.
I like “WWW” a lot. It’s a very solid song. It has what I would think of as quite an Atlanta type sound. The piano and harmonies combo would sound at home on a Big Boi album. The beat is punchy. I like the vibe of the lyrics. It’s kinda like Marie Condo’ing your conversations. There’s a million conversations we could have that wouldn’t bring us joy, but why bother? STS wants to talk about “Women, weed and what to wear” and so he does. It’s a bit facetious, but I think as I get older and more comfortable in myself, this makes more and more sense. I’d rather hear another person talk about something they’re passionate about than make small talk. And STS is good at talking about his passions on “WWW”. There’s two very smooth verses and the hook is very catchy. The word play is clever. The flow between the topics is seamless.
It’s a fantastic song and finding it again has encouraged me to bring the iPod for the walk to work tomorrow to see what else I’d forgotten about.
You can listen to “WWW” by STS feat. Count Justice here.
I can’t say I expected Jason Schwartzman to reappear in my song of the day list but here we are. “Nighttiming” appeared on some Spotify playlist and I liked it and added it to my liked songs so I’ve been listening to it on my way to and from work this week. I didn’t realise it was our pal J_Schwartz (that’s the K-Fedification of Jason Schwartzman in case it wasn’t obvious) until I did my little bit of research before this post. I’ve very fond of him in general and, relistening with the knowledge that it’s him, it all kinda adds up.
I was already gonna write about this song anyway. Sometimes the reasons that I like a song are kinda vague and a bit handwavy when it comes down to the explanation. “Nighttiming” has three distinct things that I really like. I like the verb “nighttiming”. It’s imprecise but implies a lot. Contextually, it’s clear that it’s seen as a negative, but it could cover the full spectrum of night time activities that would give a partner anxiety- partying too much, infidelity and just generally not being around at night. Getting into bed and the time before sleep is quite an intimate time as a couple. Having to go to bed while a partner is out leaves plenty of time for lying in the dark and thinking about what they’re up to. “Nighttiming” is a wonderful word and conveys those feelings really well.
The other two are quite trivial. The intro reminds me of “Apocolypshit” by Molotov, which appeared in Breaking Bad and was in the ads for the show on Channel 6 way back in the day when it first appeared. I didn’t watch Breaking Bad when it came out first so my mind goes more to the ad than its appearance in the show. I like that the intro brings up such a distinct memory.
Finally, when J-Schwartz opens with “Hey” it reminds me of this Vine where the little girl says “Hey, I want to be famous”. I love that Vine.
You can listen to “Nighttiming” by Coconut Records here.
When I started going to parties back in 2010, we used to ruin a lot of people’s birthdays by playing “Abracadabra” by Steve Miller Band. We had a synchronised “dance” and we’d sing it as loud as we could and that would generally be the point in the night when the music would have to be turned down or turned off. It’s a daft song really. The synths are real blocky and the riff is kinda lame. At the same time there is something fantastic about it. It’s an earworm and a stomper. More than anything it always reminds me of that great pocket of time when I was drinking but still acting like a child.
You can listen to “Abracadabra” by Steve Miller Band here.