Tuesday, May 3, 2011

On the Road: Today's Songs

The songs on my iPod represent a double-edge sword. All of my music is on the iPod I keep in the car, which is set to random. This means, I'm at the fickle mercy of whatever it chooses to spit out. Since it's all music I've added to my collection, you'd think I'd like all of it, but the reality is that I have a lot of garbage in my collection that I'm only in the mood to hear at certain times. I tend to drive with one hand on the steering wheel and the other on the "next" button on the stereo.

Today was a good commute to work...sometimes the iPod knows just what to pick. Some highlights of today's selection:

Human League's Night People - When a band makes a comeback after a long time away, do you want to hear a band that's evolved over the years, one with a modern sound or do you prefer a band to sound like they just walked out of a block of frozen carbonite? It's a tough one to answer - in some cases you want to hear an evolution. Take Blondie: A few years ago, Maria sounded like a refreshed and updated Blondie...and then you have something like Starship: While a direct descendant of the band that crafted White Rabbit, no one would dare recognize We Built this City as a part of the same pedigree. With The Human League's Night People, this song sounds like it was snatched right up from the Don't You Want Me? recording sessions. And you know what? Good for them for doing that. The song doesn't sound derivative: it sounds fresh and it sounds like what you think a good Human League song should sound like:

The Breeders' Flipside - This is a great instrumental from a era and genre where decent instrumentals didn't usually find their way. Mix a splash of surf punch with a classic Pixies sound and you get this crisp, driven, song. It's even fun to watch being performed live:

Duran Duran's Crime and Passion - Much has been made of this year's return to form for Duran Duran. And as with the case of the Human League, they came out with an album of tunes that could stand beside the Rio songbook and hold its own. In fact, All You Need is Now producer Mark Ronson has been quoted several places as saying that he went into this recording session with the intent to produce the "lost follow-up to Rio", even though the actual follow-up to Rio, Seven and the Ragged Tiger did pretty okay as a follow up. Crime and Passion came from this album and holds up pretty well...it's the sound of a band fraying at the edges a bit, but the members bringing each of their skill sets to the show: John's driving bass, Roger's tight drumming, Nick's synth experiments, Andy's rock guitar sound and Simon's fascinating obscure lyrics. It's one of their darker songs of the era, but gives an early peek into the diverging tastes of each member of Duran Duran and their pet projects Arcadia and Power Station.

KT Tunstall's Push that Knot Away - I really wanted to like this album (Tiger Suit) when it came out. KT is a breath of fresh air in music today...she's creative, funny and great live. This album never gelled for me. However, this song is great:

Snoop Dogg's Boom (featuring T-Pain) - A sample of Yazoo's Situation underneath Snoop rapping? From an album titled Doggumentary? With a video like this?!?!

How can you not love this? Try these out for your next commute...boom, indeed!


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