Just so you know, it’s been raining like a mofo in the Bay Area (which is where yours truly resides). And in between driving to work, or taking BART into San Francisco a couple of times in the past week, I’ve been spending more time with my iPod than I usually do. Through the good fortune of “shuffle mode” luck, I was treated to a triple play of songs that reflect those rainy days where introspection and undefined longing dominate one’s thoughts. So, this week’s mix is dedicated to the rain and all the emotional baggage that comes with it.
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This German prog rock band was introduced to me by my good bloggy friend, Gina. She featured this song when she was the guest DJ of the weekly Mix Six on my old blog. It’s one of those songs that doesn’t sink its hooks into you right way, but when it does, it’s just sublime. Although Sylvan has been compared to Pink Floyd and Coldplay (an odd combo, I know), I hear a lot of Ultravox influences.
I bought this CD a couple of years ago while visiting my in-laws in Portland, OR. While shopping at Music Millennium, I was able to convince a clerk that I was serious about buying a lot of CDs by local bands. One of the CDs the clerk recommended was Branches by Antlerand (pronounced “Antler And”). When I heard this song, I immediately put it in the “to buy” pile. I love the slow buildup with the layered guitars, the brief vocal break, the loud release, and the midtempo ride out to the end.
If you thought the intro to the last song was long, how ’bout this wonderfully hypnotic tune by the Cure? By 1989, I thought Robert Smith and his ever-changing lineup of players had pretty much reached their peak. But then Smith’s muse once again kissed him, and the Cure recorded one of their best albums â€” the incorrectly titled Disintegration.
The inclusion of this one was really John Hughes’s doing. He had to go and feature ‘Til Tuesday on his Lost in the ’80s post â€” which made me want to listen to more ‘Til Tuesday. The group’s first album was okay, but Aimee Mann’s songs got considerably better and better with each album (three in total). For some reason, the final chorus on this song is simply wonderful to me. I don’t know if it’s because of the emotion in Aimee’s voice (something that was missing on the first ‘Til Tuesday album), but there’s just a certain je ne sais quoi that gets me when I hear this song.
What rainy day mix would be complete without a song called “Cloudbusting?” Looking a little deeper into this song (via Wikipedia), we learn it’s based on Wilhelm Reich and his rather unorthodox contribution to the field of psychology. However, back in 1985, I had no idea what the hell this song was about. I just thought it was pure magic from an amazing album.
When Sheila was recording under the name of Monsoon, “Ever So Lonely” had a quirky Indo-new wave vibe to it. This version, however, stripped of the ’80s synth gloss, reveals Sheila’s mature and lovely voice with a depth that was lacking in the original version.