Well, since this the second post of “Single Play” in the new year, I have broken my record for the number of posts from last year! This week it’s a bit of an eclectic line up, but that’s okay because if you have a broad taste in music, you may have more than one favorite in this collection.
Marilyn Manson, “Deep Six”
I’ve never been a fan of this guy. I’ve always seen him as that old quote from Shakespeare, “Full of sound and fury. Signifying nothing.” Or, to quote a more high-minded source, the film “Singles,” “Somewhere around 25, bizarre becomes immature.” That’s what I think of Manson’s act. It’s a lot of bizarre stuff that’s probably best left to the kids. Now that
Brian Warner Manson is in his mid-40s, one would think he would revise his shtick to make himself less of a marker of the late ’90s/early 2000s and more of an elder statesman of hard rock. But no — as the video makes clear. The music, however, is pretty kick-ass, and the whole vibe of the song has got me really warming up to this single (which was released in December). The full album is out now, and given that Manson’s intention is morph into a different sound like his heroes have (i.e., Bowie and Tom Waits), it’s clear that while Manson can’t let the music speak for itself without the added visuals, it’s easy to just close your eyes and let this song wash over you.
Melody Rose, “Last Call”
Melody Rose certainly has a soulful sound, but there’s also a quirky quality to her singing that makes her brand of pop so appealing. “Last Call” could easily be one of those pub sing-alongs — well, if you are in the UK. And to put a fine point on what this song is about, Rose does bring in a chorus of drunken revelers in the ride out. I’ve been spinning this one quite a bit since the link was sent to me, and I kept wondering why the song was so damn appealing. But it doesn’t take too much thought to understand why: a song about drunken good times with friends is always appealing. Have a listen and you’ll hear what I mean with “Last Call.”
Mark Knopfler, “Beryl”
I’ve been a fan of Dire Straits and Mark Knopfler’s work since, well, I bought “Love Over Gold” in 1982. Knopfler’s 2012 release of “Priveteering” was a terrific record that was a real departure of his solo work. “Beryl,” however, is much more straight ahead in terms of style and substance. Knopfler isn’t breaking any new ground with the song, but his guitar work has more of a Dire Straits feel than previous efforts. I know that sounds odd since he was the primary songwriter and guitarist for the band, but much of his solo work deviated from his Dire Straits past that it’s nice to hear flourishes from that era bubbling up again.
Marika Hackman, “Before I Sleep”
Have you ever heard a song that just sort of enveloped you the first time you listened to it? It’s certainly happened a number of times for me, and it recently happened when I heard Marika Hackman’s “Before I sleep.” Hackman’s vocals remind me of a song that Lorde would do if she weren’t trying so hard be artistic. Hackman effortlessly drew me in with her casual and relaxed vocal style — and maybe she will for you as well. “Before I sleep” is meditative, atmospheric, but also spare in its production. If you’re looking for a very chill song that works well for drive down a lonely highway, this will fit the bill.