Single Play (Week of 3/25/13)
It’s been an interesting week of music coming my way at Popdose. Some of it was god-awful, some mediocre, and some was quite good. Maybe one day, I’ll post some of the songs that just don’t make the cut and explain why, but for this week, the songs in the musical spotlight are there because, well, I think they’re good. I know recommending songs to a wider audience doesn’t have the prestige it used to have. Back the day when I used to read music magazines with an obsessive devotion, I would look first to the album reviews section to see what was new and worth spending money on. Now, music critics weren’t gods to me (not even demigods), but their views certainly influenced me on my music buying decisions. Nowadays, it seems our tastes are often framed by reinforcement from social media. However, like so much noise filling up your feed, music recommendations are just another update that blurs past or gets bumped down the crawl. That’s why I don’t overload the number of songs featured. I think having four songs is enough for people to give a fair listen — which I hope you will. So with that, let’s get to this week’s selections.
James Younger, “Monday Morning”
If you’re a fan of the Canadian indie pop band, Sun Wizards, you’re most likely a fan of their accessible, catchy, and well-crafted music. Well, now that the Sun Wizards are focusing on “other projects,” James Younger (one of the main songwriters for the Wizards) is wasting very little daylight by making use of his time away from the band. “Monday Morning” is so jaunty and bubbly that’s it’s very difficult not to like it. So far, Younger hasn’t produced more than a few songs, and it’s uncertain whether he’s going to do so in the future (I’m sure a lot of that has to do with what’s on the Sun Wizards’ calendar for this year), but if you’re looking for a song that will make your ears perk up and your head nodding in time, you can’t go wrong with James Younger’s “Monday Morning.”
Vienna Ditto, “Liar Liar”
No, this group is not from Vienna, nor to my knowledge, do they wear Dittos. Rather, they are a tripp, atmospheric, yet melodic sounding band from the UK whose song “Liar Liar” is interesting for its familiar use of melodies with a slightly dissonant feel. Hattie Taylor’s vocals have a certain retro feel, and it’s been said that the band likens themselves to Bessie Smith, Bo Diddley and Benga mixed together in a blender. Well, I can kind of hear the Bessie Smith and Bo Diddley influences in their music, but on “Liar Liar,” the song is fairly dubstep-free — which is a good thing to me.
So many artists from the UK affect a North American accent when singing that it’s refreshing when I hear an artist from England not going along with the crowd. Case in point: Tich. Yes, I know it’s a slang for “bitch,” but I get the feeling that Tich is trying hard to overcome how badly she treated her paramour in this song. I mean, she’s the one who’s calling herself dumb for the way she acted, and is in full “I’m really sorry I hurt your feelings” mode through the course of the song. Sure, stylistically speaking, “Dumb” is not that different from many other songs on the Top 40 today, but there’s something about it that keeps me coming back and listening. Yeah okay, it’s probably her accent.
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, “Let The Day Begin”
Robert Been — son of Michael Been who, before his death, was noted as the lead singer and songwriter for The Call — is probably the only person who has the right to cover this song. I mean, the original is just far and away one of the most anthemic songs to come out the The Call’s oeuvre, so hearing Robert Been pay tribute to his dad’s songwriting abilities, is touching. The fact that BRMC knocks it out of the park with this cover, is just the icing on the cake of a very tasteful tribute.