Saturday, February 19, 2011

Number 10,000

I just realized tonight that I added my 10,000th song to my iTunes music library. As for what song it is, I should be embarrassed about this, but I'm not. Ladies and gentlemen, I give to you #10,000 - Lord Sitar's cover of the Monkees' Daydream Believer:



Now that we're beyond the 10K mark, let's look at what else I've downloaded so far this year:

David Sylvian's Sleepwalkers:  I'm not sure if you can call this a collection of past work or a reworking of past collections or a restrospective of lost tracks. Maybe it's all three, but it all not only sounds fresh, it also sounds like it was lifted out of one of (I think) best periods. I'm an unabashed fan of Sylvian's Secrets of the Beehive, and this album hearkens back to that.

Japan's Oil on Canvas: When Mick Karn passed away in January, it motivated me to go back to listen to some old Japan (which was also David Sylvian's old band), and in looking back, I realized I never transferred by copy of this CD to iTunes all those years ago. This has always been one of my favorite Japan albums...don't let the "live" tag on this album fool you...it's not really a live album. I think there are a couple of live tracks the the audience noise is canned and piped in only between tracks. If you've never listened to Japan, this is a good place to start. Here's a video of one of the tracks on this album:



Jellybean's (Who are we kidding, it's a Madonna song) Sidewalk Talk: Sometimes there are songs that you totally forget about. This is one of them. Madonna was on a meteoric rise when this song featuring her came out, and you couldn't escape it on the radio in 1984. Between then and now, I had totally forgotten about it, and then last month Audra made a joke about it to me, and I think I heard the song two or three other times that week. It was a sign for me to download it. It doesn't take much.

David Bowie's Let's Dance: Here's another one from the "I can't believe I didn't convert this album over to iTunes" pile. I was motivated to revisit this album after reading Nile Rodgers' amazing blog chronicling his cancer fight. I had forgotten that he produced this album, and while everyone remembers the huge hits Bowie had from this album, there are some solid tunes on here. It's easy to dismiss Bowie's mid-80s contributions to music as aiming for a more mainstream audience, but that would be short sighted. Cat People still holds its own today - in fact, it was wonderfully and anachronistically featured in Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds. Let's Dance only had eight tracks on it, and three of them were huge hits (China Girl, Modern Love and Let's Dance)...and as for as Bowie 80s albums, it has probably aged the best of the lot.

The Black Keys' Brothers: Yeah, I finally jumped on this bandwagon. Actually, I had one foot on the bandwagon when I started watching Hung on HBO (they performed the theme song). What iced liking the Black Keys for me was when they appeared on the Colbert Report prior to the Grammys:

                   
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KT Tunstall's Live at the Wiltern: One thing that's great about KT is she's usually very productive and doesn't let too much time pass between projects. Right now she's touring her latest album Tiger Suit, yet she found time to put out this mini live EP as well that has some excellent live version of a collection of her songs.

The Raconteurs Steady As She Goes: Did you ever have a version of a song that wasn't the same version that most people know or have? That's how I was with this song. Somehow, the version I had in my collection of this song was some live/demo version which was much slower...but still as good...just different. Once I heard the real version of the song, I was just as hooked.

Jeremy Little's If I Only Had a Brain: This is a great little cover of the Wizard of Oz Scarecrow classic (I'm a sucker for covers from Wizard of Oz...I don't know why... I once gave a street performer a huge tip for a beautiful version of Over the Rainbow). How did I stumble upon this version? Well, Musicule's partner in crime, Audra, asked me to Shazam this as it was being played on an episode of Fringe. Music comes from the strangest places...

Ultravox's Quartet: I game to this album a little late in the game...oh, by about 29 years. It came out in 1982 and with the exception of Reap the Wild Wind, didn't know any of the tracks until I downloaded it and listened to the whole thing. The first time Ultravox came around, I was late for the party as well. Their Lament album was my first exposure of to Ultravox (which I just bought again off of iTunes because, lo and behold, I didn't possess it), which I loved...but apparently not enough to buy any other records of theirs. It's worth a listen...some people can't stomach Midge Ure's vocals...I'm not in that camp. As an aside, Midge Ure does a great version of Tom Rush's No Regrets...so much so that I thought it was Midge who originally sang it! In hindsight, that might not have been one of my brightest insights. Here's the video (and visual proof why mustaches weren't big in the 80s):



Lady Antebellum's Need You Now: I'm willing to admit that I can jump on a bandwagon as well as anyone. And following Lady's big Grammy win last week, I figured this is as good a bandwagon to jump on as any...Need You Now it's a catchy tune, although it is this close from being a bit to Grey's Anatomy-ish (and if you need an explanation of what I define as a Grey's Anatomy song, close your eyes and picture the kind of song you'd hear featured on that show...or Ally McBeal or Felicity. Does that help?), but that's not their fault.

Finally...speaking of bandwagons, I'm fighting myself on Mumford & Sons. Dammit they have catchy songs, but I really hate the idea of a band having non-ironic banjo and accordion players. I may have to take the hit on this one. Good songs trump ├╝ber-hipsterness.