20 February 2020

Batch Two » 30 Day Song Challenge

So here we are, Batch #2 of the 30 Day Song Challenge. This group of tunes reflects my sentiment that no matter our emotion(s), and no matter how loudly or quietly we dare to express them, they've probably already been composed near-perfectly in a tune. You just gotta be up for the hunt. 

Designer/illustrator Jay Reoderwho created the illustration above, stated, "This quote comes from the German poet, Heinrich Heine. I think that sometimes music is the only way to describe certain emotions."  B I N G O.  

I went off the rails here regarding this 30-Day Challenge format as my additional Honorable Mentions (already a format no-no's) are just too strong to not get their own write-up. In fact, I think I'll be blowing up this whole challenge format from here on out as I made all 30 music selections a few weeks ago, and just now changed half of this batch. That's the power of music: so much of its resonance is steeped in timing and circumstance.

Being down w/the flu last week, I had a lot of time thinking about this music, hence the playlist shake up and this HELLA long post. Hope y'all have a fab week. Enjoy! xo 

WANNA HEAR THE PREVIEW? Check out the mini-player in the right rail
FULL SPOTIFY PLAYLIST HERE: Batch Two » 30 Day Song Challenge

Seven Angels on a Bicycle  //  Carrie Rodriguez
7. Song to which drive drive
Bicycle Love by VeloVintage

I love (almost) nothing more than driving in a car, listening to music. If you're bored and ask me, "wanna go for a drive?", an immediate and enthusiastic, "Yes!", will always be my answer. So this category delighted me but it's proven way too daunting. In theory, every song could fit into this category, right? Hmmm...

I was reading about Lucinda Williams' new LP while I was in bed sick which then reminded me of her 2007 show at the LC Pavilion, with opening act Carrie Rodriguez. I don't always make it to the opening act, despite best intentions, and was damn I happy I did that night. I was in the upstairs bar area talking with friends but couldn't help to stop to listen to Carrie. The LC wasn't filled w/guests yet so the sound was perfect. By the 3rd song, I had ditched my friends and made my way down to the floor, right up to the stage to catch the rest of her act.

I'm a sucker for a good fiddle, but when paired w/amazing vocals, slide guitar, and a quiet yet equally commanding stage presence... fan for life, right here, this girl. I recall her performing this song specifically and wished she was the main act (sorry, LW) as I didn't want her set to end. In my research for this post, I learned she attended Oberlin College. Further proof a lot of good comes from this great state of O-H-I-O.  

(ps: this is a late afternoon, golden hour, drive in the county, kinda song. If you have a suntan and on your way to enjoying a beer, even better)

Middle of Somewhere  //  The Neighbourhood
Honorable Mention

Jesse Rutherford as Chip Chrome
Ok, so here's where I'm totally breaking form with going deep on an Honorable Mention and giving zero fucks about it.

I caught The Neighbourhood this fall on a Monday night, which is a huge deal for me. Monday's are my least favorite night to catch a show, regardless of the band (Radiohead and The National were Monday shows too - ooooph) but... I had comp tickets. :) From the band who brought us, Sweater Weather, I liked their sound well enough but had never seen them live, so I went.

The show was nothing like I had expected. It was visually arresting from the get-go. Lead singer, Jesse Rutherford, opened with an acoustic version of this tune as his theatrical alter ego, Chip Chrome: dressed and painted head to toe in silver, a single spotlight, and an acoustic guitar. I was immediately mesmerized and the rest of the show just kept getting better. From Jesse's Bowie and Freddie Mercury-esque mannerisms to the lighting used to on the band to make the entire stage appear black and white... it was all rather surreal. I hope to catch them again. Did I mention there was a rope swing? So. Good. 


I was on the outside looking in
Now I'm on the inside trying to stay
Out of my head
I need peace of mind

Landed in the middle of somewhere
With you
Now you're stranded in the middle of somewhere, oh yeah

Handshake Drugs  //  Wilco
8. Song about drugs or alcohol
Jeff Tweedy Illustrated by Philip Burke
This category was an easy and super quick pick for me. Being a loooooong-time Wilco fan, hearing/reading about Jeff Tweedy battle his demons has been sobering, forgive the pun. He has been brutally open about his addiction(s) and it's quite the cautionary tale. He is so talented, his voice so pure, particularly in this tune. When I caught Wilco this fall, Tweedy had a tinge of Bill Murray/Life Aquatic about him due to his lil beanie cap. All of which endeared himself further to me.

Coinkydink: this Wilco show I'm referencing was on the Sunday before the aforementioned Monday night Neighbourhood show. What are the odds? 

Spill The Wine  //  War/Eric Burdon
Honorable Mention

This tune is SO perfectly placed in the pool scene from Boogie Nights. The hippy chick submerging at the 2:37 mark is cinematic brilliance. Lots of sex, drugs and rock 'n roll for all.

Lastly, bronze medal goes to JEFF the Brotherhood for their remake of Teenage Fanclub's Mad Dog 20/20, because how could I not? Any band paying homage to this right-of-passage beverage is a-ok in my books. 

Nice to Meet Ya  //  Niall Horan
9. Song that makes me happy
Elsa Peretti® Cancer Zodiac Cuff for Tiffany & Co.

I don't typically go for overly pop-ish tunes but I dig this tempo and I la la love the lyrics/sentiment. It's light and it does make me happy when I hear it. I also appreciate the, "j'adore la mer," in the lyrics as I'm a shameless francophile and a Cancerian (lover of moon + sea) hence the rad silver cuff by designer Elsa Peretti above! That lovely piece of hardware would make me very happy. 


I like the way you talk, I like the things you wear
I want your number tattooed on my arm in ink, I swear
'Cause when the morning comes, I know you won't be there
Every time I turn around, you disappear

I wanna blow your mind, just come with me, I swear
I'm gonna take you somewhere warm, you know j'adore la mer
'Cause when the morning comes, I know you won't be there
Every time I turn around, you disappear

Nice to meet ya
(I got love for you)
(I got love for you)

Nice to meet ya, what's your name?
Let me treat ya to a drink...

Do You  //  Spoon
Honorable Mention

Bands I've seen multiple times in the past 10 years: Beck, The National, and Spoon. Will travel to catch these shows in a jiff! Spoon never disappoints, or specifically, frontman Britt Daniels never does. He's the package deal with that scratchy voice and fantastic messy scruff on his head. This tune made the list as it's light w/a perfect mix of vocal fry. I love how it gently pokes at the desire for possibility... how it eases into asking the proverbial, "What if...?" 


Do you want to get understood?
Do you want one thing or are you looking for sainthood?
Do you run when it's just getting good?
Or do you, do you, do you, do you, wooh

Oh love, that's the way love comes
Do you, don't you know that that's the way love comes?
Do you feel it black and blue?
Or do you, do you, do you, do you

Wooh wooh wooh
(Tututututututututu) Oh yeah
(Hm hm hm)

Believe  //  Mumford & Sons
10. Song that makes me sad
Limited Edition Letterpress Poster by Two Little Birds

Ok, time for a bit of energy buzzkill w/this category...

Not much to say about this song other than it crushes me. It's just a haunting tune from first chords through the vocals. I don't know if that was Marcus Mumford's intention or not. For all the research/reading I do about music, I avoid links touting, "find out the song's meaning..." I don't care what other's feel the song means. I'm content in my own reaction, my own interpretation.


I had the strangest feeling
Your world's not all it seems
So tired of misconceiving
What else this could've been...

So open up my eyes
Tell me I'm alive
This is never gonna go our way
If I'm gonna have to guess what's on your mind

Say something, say something
Something like you love me
Less you want to move away
From the noise of this place

However, music reviews of a song, well that's a different story. And this one from PPCorn is a worthy read about M&S's changing sound. But wait, there's more: the video for this song is simple yet emotive: a lush time-lapsed driving scene. Which come to think of it, Spoon's Do You video pretty much only consists of Britt driving. Common theme, Friends: cars + music are inextricably intertwined.

Interestingly enough, I've never seen M&S live. They just have too many tunes that tug at my heartstrings. I don't want to be that girl, crying at a rock/folk show. Know what I mean, Jellybean?  

How We Operate //  Gomez
Honorable Mention

Right, wrong or indifferent, this song will forever be cleaved to a super sad Grey's Anatomy episode. I liked it pre-Grey's, for the record. It's fantastically gut-wrenching (how's that for a description?). Thank you, Gomez


A little joy
A little sorrow
And a little pride so we won't have to borrow
Wherever you lead, I'll follow

Turn me inside out and upside down
And try to see things my way
Turn a new page, tear the old one out

And I'll try to see things your way


Penelope  //  Pinback
11. Song of which I never tire

Goldfish Dissected by Jason Freeny
Love this tune, even if it truly is about a goldfish. RIP, lil Penelope. It could have also put this tune the driving category as this makes it onto my roadtrip playlist a lot. 

Thunder Clatter //  Wild Cub
Honorable Mention

Ah, I love this tune, but I REALLY LOVE this video, which captures the epitome of high school teenage purity and angst: broken down van, pep rally, sneaking kisses off in the night. This Rolling Stone's behind the scenes article just adds another layer of wonderful to this wonder years song/video. 

Ain't Talkin' Bout Love //  Van Halen
12. Song from my preteen years
David, Eddie, Ted via Morrison Hotel Gallery
Oh. Geez. The late '70s. So much fab music, I felt it then and appreciate more now. This is a time when the middle school boys stopped listening to top/pop hits and dared to dip their toes into what their older brothers and/or older dudes were listening to. Which left the girls who still pined away for Andy Gibb in the dust of naivety.

No band delivered the goods to those pubescent boys better than the beloved Van Halen. Amiright? Running with the Devil, Beautiful Girls, You Really Got Me, etc. Their provocative lyrics ignited our girlish fears, yet piqued our curiousity: "bleeding... rotting..." layered with Eddie Van Halen's guitars and David Lee Roth's raw vocals. JUST. TOO. MUCH. Ah, puberty.

I had the great fortune to see Van Halen with David Lee Roth, then with Sammy Lee Hagar. I have my opinion. Tell me yours. 


So if you want it, got to bleed for it baby
Yeah, got to, got to bleed, baby
You got to, got to bleed, baby
Hey, got to, got to bleed baby

Ain't talkin' 'bout love
My love is rotten to the core
Ain't talkin' 'bout love

Just like I told you before, before, before

Hey, hey, hey
Hey, hey, hey
Hey, hey, hey

Message of Love //  Pretenders
Honorable Mention

I know this isn't the right time frame, but i'm on a roll and heard this song yesterday and just smiled... I remember listening to this too over and over and over and over again. Total preteen bliss and hormones raging thinking about the boys. ps: pretty sure I was clueless who Brigitte Bardot was. 


Now the reason we're here
As man and woman
Is to love each other
Take care of each other

When love walks in the room
Everybody stand up
Oh it's good, good, good
Like Brigitte Bardot

Talk to me darlin'...

If you're still here and have read this post to the bitter end, bless you. I owe my thanks and possibly a drink. Cheers! ~Joy

10 February 2020

Batch One » 30 Day Song Challenge

The 30 Day Song Challenge has been around since 2011 and I've always enjoyed reading/listening to the selections posted by others. Recently, I got tagged by a friend to curate my 30 songs which map to the various categories, and it's been big fun.

Currently, I do most of my blogging in microdoses via Instagram stories, but I have missed the concerted diligence blog posts require so I am blowing off the dust here for my 30 picks. The songs themselves came pretty quickly to me, but pairing them with meaningful and engaging visual fodder has been the real joy of this challenge.

I chose a different approach to this challenge too (hey, my blog, my rules.) Instead of posting a tune a day for 30 days, I'm posting weekly-ish, in 6 song bundles. It just makes for a more interesting read on this platform.

Many thanks for stopping by. I hope you enjoy this journey with me. xo

SONG PREVIEWS: Scroll down to the mini-player at the end of the post
FULL SPOTIFY PLAYLIST HERE: Batch One » 30 Day Song Challenge

Black Tambourine  //  Beck
1. Song that has a color in the title

Beck has been featured on my blog plenty so it shouldn't be a surprise I'm kicking off this challenge with him. He has come a long way from the early MTV glory days. This interview between Beck and Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore is pretty epic and wonderfully awkward. After watching the video, read the comments posted... absolute comedy gold. #throwshisshoe

This song was chosen for a trifecta of reasons: Color black in the title, I love the rhythm of the song, AND if I ever play in a band, the tambourine is about all I could handle. :) The video's art direction uses a typewriter as the visual language which in turn speaks to my design nerd sensitivities. Beck has a design aesthetic that has resonated with me his entire career. 

SIDEBAR: This song was also featured in one of my favorite mashups: Hollablack Tambourine Girl (Kojiro's Mashmix) featuring Beck + Gwen Stefani, of No Doubt fame. The Dust Brothers, frequent Beck collaborators since 1999, worked on this track as well. We can credit them with, "allowing Beck to move beyond the ten words that defined him at that point: “I’m a loser baby, so why don’t you kill me?”  

Honorable mention » Colors by Black Pumas

Carry the Zero // Built to Spill
2. Song that has a number in the title

I've been a fan of Built to Spill for years and admire frontman and founder, Doug Martsch's, original vision of switching out his bandmates with each new LP (hence the band name). More on that and the band's allegiance to the skater community in this Thrasher Magazine article. Perhaps it's the skater culture that also honed their eye to champion some truly righteous poster designs, as they are plentiful.

This specific BTS song has been on heavy rotation for me lately as it's just a damn fine tune. I love Doug Martch's voice, and considered this tune for "Song 28: An artist whose voice you love." but the fit felt better here.

Honorable mention » Expo '86 by Death Cab for Cutie

Steal my Sunshine // Len
3. Song that reminds you of summertime

I love this tune now as much as I did when I first heard it in 1999. It has a simple summer vibe peppered with a sample from The Andrea True Connection's, More More More. Funny enough, that's a tune I spent a pubescent summer at my parents' County Club going around poolside singing LOUDLY, not knowing the song's context nor that Andrea True was a porn star. boom-chicka-wow-wow. Ah, god bless Tippecanoe Country Club + my folks. 

Len's arrangement balances the disco undertones perfectly, all of which make me wanna go for a long drive w/windows down, sun in my face, and hair blowing all over the place, on a hot summer day. 

Honorable mention » Doin' Time by Lana Del Ray

Sleeping Giant // Bootstraps
4. Song that reminds you of someone you'd rather forget

This selection is not so much about a specific person, but more about a time + place deelio that I'm thankful has passed. I caught Bootstraps at Rumba CafĂ© during their 2014 Communion Tour. Jordan Beckett had an incredible voice and stage presence. 

Honorable mention » None.

Gimme Shelter // The Rolling Stones
5. Song that needs to be played loud

This song takes me on a journey (in my mind, I'm totally in an El Camino. Passenger though, not the driver) And is a tune in which needs to be cranked ALL the way up. Beyond 11, even. :)

I'm guessing if I googled results for the most popular song chosen for this "played loud" category, Gimme Shelter might rank high. Merry Clayton's vocals are what made the song so soul penetrating. Hearing her vocals isolated on this sample gave me chills. Such raw talent.

That typed, all these songs should be listened to loud. Music is meant to be felt. Sometimes that's loud in between your headphones, sometimes it's truly causing a physical vibration in your car or home. GO FOR IT. I grant you full permission. 

Honorable mention » Volcano Girls by Veruca Salt

Bodys // Car Seat Headrest
6. Song that makes you wanna dance 

Well, hell, this was a tough one to nail down, as there are so many songs that make me want to dance, even sad ones... but I'm smitten with this CSH tune landing here in my week one list.

The version of Bodys I chose (not a typo, btw) is taken from the 2018 Twin Fantasy (Face to Face) LP vs from his 2011 Twin Fantasy (Mirror Mirror). There is a lot of debate re:Will Toledo's decision to remake this LP. I'm a fan of the later version. Will himself says, "...[Mirror Mirror] was never finished work."

Music critic, Anthony Fantano (aka the NeedleDrop) had strong opinions on the LP remake too. His review is worth a watch, while the review starts off a little kitschy, he gets into some legit music conversation and deliberation soon enough.

This is a long-ass song, coming in over 6 minutes. But if you're gonna dance, what's the rush, right? I dig the narrative that occurs early in the song:

"Is it the Chorus yet?" "No, it's just the building of the verse
So when the chorus does come, it'll be more rewarding."

And it IS rewarding at the 2-minute mark when the guitars open up (<--that's my made-up music phrasing, pretty sure, sorry...). Great arrangements and smart lyrics just move this song along, and me as well... even if it's just me in my home vacuuming.

Honorable mention » Jackpot by The English Beat
(b/c I'll always try to sneak a lil ska in...)