2011 SONGS OF THE MONTH
I decided to look back at the music I acquired in 2011 and was surprised when iTunes reported over 400 songs were added to my collection, swelling it to almost 11,500 tracks. That is quite an investment since I paid in full for anything commercially available in digital form.
I’m surprised that I acquired that many new songs since my heyday of music appreciation was in my late teenage years. I figure most folks are that way. But at 45 I’m still on the prowl for songs, especially since the ready access I’ve had since 2004 to digital tunes via iPods, iPhones, and my Apple TV means that old favorites get worn out and I want fresher material. I don’t hear a great deal of new music since I rarely use services like Pandora, Spotify, etc. But I do get alerted to some new-to-me tunes through NPR and various blogs.
No one wants to peruse someone else’s list of 500 songs, so I’ll boil this down to one favorite track I’ve selected from my acquisitions from each month of the past year. They’re fairly eclectic and many were released in previous years but were new to me.
Lying Peacefully from Beatitude by Pepe Deluxé
This is a Finnish electronic music band. The Beatitude album dates back to 2003 in which they tried a number of styles, collaborating with about 40 other musicians. The Lying Peacefully track vocal is by Mika Sellens.
Cool Summer from Kitchen Clean by Can’t Stop Won’t Stop
February is a good month to be thinking about summer and I found this song through an awesome video. This is an unsigned hip hop group out of Provo, Utah.
Delilah from The Ramsey Lewis Trio In Person by The Ramsey Lewis Trio
I first heard this in the longer version from the Ramsey Lewis’s Finest Hour album where the beginning is a somber piano piece reminding me of how Ferrante & Teicher made a living out of “pianizing” movie themes. But that is the white bread for the sandwich Ramsey is making: the meat is syncopated jazz. It is a weird combination that I like to play loudly when driving on a lonesome highway late at night. But the live version I’ve linked to here is a far more exciting recording, even if it lacks the weird intro and outro.
Take Me Back Again from Bella by Teddy Thompson
I’m terribly fond of Teddy’s music and I love the rich orchestration accompanying this guitar-heavy track. I couldn’t find a good video link, but you can sample the track on his website: hit the fast forward button above the lyrics until this track is selected. Turn it up and surf the sound. If you insist on a video version, here it is, but the audio doesn’t do the song justice.
Ida Red from Continental Stomp by Hot Club Of Cowtown
I was fortunate to hear this trio live in Bartlesville at OK Mozart.They’re keeping fast country swing alive and kicking.
Creep from The Sing-Off by Street Corner Symphony
This is an acappella take on Radiohead’s hit from 1992…there aren’t any instruments in this track, just manipulated sounds produced by the men in this group.
Save the Last Dance for Me from It’s Time by Michael Bublé
I raved about this already on the blog. And I still never tire of this Canadian’s Latinized version of the classic song.
Stop, Look, and Listen from Josie & The Pussycats
This obvious imitation of The Jackson 5’s ABC is nostalgic for me since I loved it back in 1970 when I watched the silly Josie & The Pussycats television cartoon as a child. Unfortunately you can only find this song via the YouTube video (37 seconds into the clip) or through a non-commercial bit torrent server. It’s Patrice Holloway’s version, superior to the sped-up version Cheryl Ladd sang in the actual television episode.
Du soleil plein les yeux (Eyes Full of Sun) from 1969 by Pink Martini with Saori Yuki
I’ve driven to Fort Worth on more than one occasion to catch a live show by Pink Martini. Lead singer China Forbes is sidelined for now, recovering from throat surgery, so their new album featured Japanese singer Saori Yuki. In keeping with their worldliness, she is singing a French track. I don’t really care what she is singing about as they play, I just want to tune out the world and listen.
Under a Cloud from Sweetheart of the Sun by The Bangles
Three of the four members of one of my favorite groups from the 1980s (did you comprehend all of those numbers?) return with a fine new album. I like the strings dropped in here and there.
Moment of Surrender from No Line on the Horizon by U2
I loved U2’s sequential albums The Joshua Tree, Achtung Baby, and Zooropa but was disappointed by their later efforts. So it took me a couple of years to get around to listening to their latest. This song has that weary poignancy they carry off so well when they care to, reminding me of some of their work under the guise of Passengers with songs like Your Blue Room.
Pot Belly from Ma’ Cheri by Freshlyground
I discovered this one through Wendy’s Alternative World Spin. The group is from South Africa and the video is precious, reminding me of when I bought songs because their videos were irresistible.
And now I’m looking forward to a new year with more new music. New to me, at least!