27 January 2022

27 January 2022- Bonde do Rolê - Picolé

I originally posted about this song, and really about its video with 45 directors, more than three years ago.  

I stated that the word "picolé" loosely translated to popsicle in English, although a picolé tends to be alcoholic.  I also inferred that the song might not be about popsicles.  Mostly because I didn't want to overtly make a sexual reference - and I still don't.

What I did NOT say is that this was part of a larger effort, from their album Tropical/Bacanal, to move away from the funky sound of With Lasers and into a sound that more represented their Brazilian roots.  They did so quite successfully and to great critical acclaim.  

Also, this song is really, REALLY dirty.  Yes, it is about exactly what you think it is. If you can't figure it out from the video, I can't help you here.    

26 January 2022

26 January 2022 - The White Stripes - Fell In Love With A Girl

Not all my short changes were long ago.  This one happened in 2020

It wasn't hard to short-change it, though.  The song is less than two minutes long.  How much can you say about a song by a drum/guitar duo that is so short? 

A lot, actually.  

The song is incredibly fast - Jack White fits a LOT of words - breathlessly at times, which give the song a desperate feeling - in those two minutes.  Despite the frantic guitar and dense drumming, the vocals are the highlight of the song - the music is there for rhythm, with the guitar taking a rhythm guitar role, rather than lead.  

Lyrically, it's somewhat beautiful, illustrating perfectly the feeling of falling in love, hard.

Also, about that video.  It is mostly REALLY Lego bricks, purchased by Jack White.  There is a small computer animated section of the video, but it's mostly really Lego bricks.  Don't call them Legos.  That's a brand.  

This alternate interpretation of the song, from a live performance in Nova Scotia... I'm going to not focus on Jack, but on Meg White.  She's got such subtly to her drumming - she doesn't get enough credit for that - but it certainly shows here.

25 January 2022

25 January 2022 - Toto - Africa

I know, it's surprising, but in 2012, I shortchanged this song.  
In my original post, I talked about the lyrical gymnastics of the 2nd verse of the song.  They are great, but what is greater is the story of the composition of this love letter to a continent.  David Paich wrote the lyrics, which came to him in a flash, and initial brassy flutey synth intro.  Jeff Porcaro wrote the rest of the music - and it was a long process..... to write a love letter to a continent.  

You see, the song is not romantic.  It is about Africa.  And it was their biggest hit - even as others got more critical acclaim - and it is still beloved.

A sound installation in the Namib Desert in Africa plays this song on an infinite loop.  It is run by solar batteries and designed to be durable against the environment, and although the desert landscape will eventually swallow it whole, it will, until then, play for eternity.   

24 January 2022

24 January 2022 - Tasmin Archer - Sleeping Satellite

This week, I'm revisiting songs that I gave not nearly attention to on the first go around.  

I originally posted about this song in 2013, after I heard it in a Food Lion in Delaware.  I wrote a really short post about it, with a couple of small details, such as chart position.  

What I neglected to address was the subject matter of the song.  Overtly, it's about the Apollo missions to the moon - the moon being the titular satellite.  And, there are a lot of moonscape references - the eagles fly, the dry seas.   However, the song is also a metaphor for anything one might want to shoot for - the stars, a goal, anything.  

It is also one of those songs that is a persistent favorite of mine, since its release in 1992.   

I wanted to include a live version here - Tasmin Archer is still performing, and of course performs her biggest hit.  I did not find a more beautiful version than this one from 1993, with less production and a simple acoustic accompaniment.  

21 January 2022

21 January 2022 - Ringo Starr - It Don't Come Easy

Nothing worth having comes easy.  Life is a tough trial, and so is love, but it gets better.  Push forward.  "Use a little love and we will make it work out better."

So is the message from Ringo Starr's first post-Beatles single, produced by George Harrison.  It remains one of Ringo's biggest solo hits - and no one expected him to have solo hits.  Starting and ending somewhat quietly, the tune gets more bombastic, becoming a beautiful, uplifting song - and one of my personal favorites.

Ringo Starr and George Harrison famously performed this song at the Convert for Bangladesh, the first time that any two Beatles had performed together since the breakup.  Ringo did forget the words..... but everyone still loved him, because how could you not?

20 January 2022

20 January 2022 - Aimee Mann - Wise Up

From the Paul Thomas Anderson movie Magnolia, for which Aimee Mann did most of the soundtrack, this song comes at a sad, emotional crossroad in the movie. In fact, let's open this post with that very sad, emotional crossroad.  The moment could have been absurd, but it wasn't.  

But this song is so so much more than a soundtrack song - especially since it wasn't written for the soundtrack and had PREVIOUSLY appeared on the Jerry MaGuire soundtrack.  It is in and of itself an emotional powerhouse with a real downer of an ending.  P.T. Anderson has said that Aimee Mann's music inspired Magnolia, so it is likely that this song was part of that inspiration. 

Listen to Aimee sing it herself, without the cast accompaniment.   

She still performs the song, which is a fan favorite. Because of course it is.  

19 January 2022

19 January 2022 - The Replacements - I'll Be You

The Replacements had been indie darlings for the better parts of a decade in 1989.  This song was the closest they got to breaking out of that.

From the album Don't Tell A Soul, this video was in heavy MTV rotation, even during the day.  Which is good.  Because The Replacements were actively seeking a hit after many years of that indie fame.  They didn't quite make it there - this song peaked at #51 on the Billboard Hot 100 - but it did spread their sound to a broader audience.