Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Songs Sixty-Five to Sixty-Eight

Good gravy. I am so far behind. There must be some eleventh law of thermodynamics that says when one is off work--even for non-vacation, entirely worthy reasons--said work will compound in the manner of an inflationary interest rate. So, after returning from my quals break and wading through that quagmire, I spent the Monday of my official week off having minor dental surgery that turned less minor part way through. (Don't ever opt for vanilla-scented nitrous; it seems like a good idea at the time, but it isn't. At all.) (Oh, and I've learned that when you get stitches in your mouth, it kind of feels like you've got some permanently stuck floss in there somewhere. Incredibly irritating!) (Plus, one tires of pasta salad, rice pudding, and yogurt. Very quickly.) Thus, I spent most of this week thinking, "What is wrong with Kelly Rip. . . zzz," then "The View really is awf. . . zzz," ending with "Oprah wears a lot of eye makeu. . . zzz"--courtesy of my doctor prescribed meds. I never got to read Intuition, never got to sew, never got to rake leaves, and just this afternoon pulled together a presentation for a conference next week. Though, I should admit that I plowed through 5 TIVO'd Gilmore Girls episodes; I so dislike Logan, he is the new worse-than-Jess; America needs more Lane. And, I did get my landscape guy (who has an incredible Bachman Turner Overdrive affinity) to create a beautiful raised-bed herb garden. So, Martha of me!

I'm now going to take swats at the blogolapse a few songs at a time, to help engender a much needed feeling of accomplishment. So be prepared for a slew of short, punchy reviews after this.

Song Sixty-Five: big Sir, "Sarah Smile." Yep, still on the covers. This one starts with what my husband calls the ur-trip hop electronica loop. It is true that they're all pretty much the same; someone should be raking in the dough. Still, the vocals on the song work really well against the random electro-synth-tracks in the background. The lead singer has a nice voice that goes breathy rather than high and brings a new life to the song. I've always liked this song--total 8th grade prom!

Song Sixty-Six: Wyclef Jean, "Wish You Were Here." I saw Dave Chappelle's Block Party last week. Awesome! Big up for the Fugees. (Actually, everyone's good in it. And there's a nice rivalry angle between Jill Scott and Erykah Badu centered on the fantabulous Badu/Roots collaboration "You Got Me"--one of my favorite songs ever. And, Lauryn Hill made me cry. ) This is a typical Clef-cut. Clever, island-y, multi-layered with anthemic qualities. It's interesting in that he's somehow kept the essence, the throughline of the song, but really made it a new song to my ears. The paranoid distance has become physical distance to be traversed. Nice!

Song Sixty-Seven: Jonatha Brooke, "God Only Knows." Again with the synth-loop! I don't like most Beach Boys songs, but this is one I do. (Though Brian Wilson makes me so sad now. And, what is his beef with Johnny Cash?) This version kind of reassembles the studio layering and then contrasts it with Ms. Brooke's starker though clearly processed voice. The song also replicates the 60s/70s alternate speaker mixes, giving it a hipster retro-electronica feel. More emotion would have helped.

Song Sixty-Eight: chao, "Lay Lady Lay." I (truly) grew up in bars, and this is a total bar jukebox song to me. So, it's interesting to hear a version that sounds so much more like a Serge Gainsbourg duet (e.g., Bonnie and Clyde). The music holds remarkably true, complete with strings. Chao is actually a one-woman outfit, Regina Chellew, and on this song she duets with someone I've never heard of from a band I've never heard of (one-two punch). It's worth a listen, and I'm tempted to find the original to compare. My remembrance of things past makes me think they'd be quite similar. Maybe that's just the beer nuts talking.

297 to go.