It’s that time again, time to list, and turn up the volume on the Top 5 Music Obsessions of the Day. I’ve got a case of the Tuesday blues (what? It’s a thing) and am feeling sad and discouraged and exhausted. There’s not much that’s going to help me today except sleep and music (and coffee, though I’m on my fourth cup and it’s still not helping). Since there’s no sleep in the near future, at least until much later tonight, music is going to have to do it.

The first track I first heard on FX’s series, “Better Things”, a current favorite of mine. At the end of Season two Sam (Pamela Adlon), and two of her three daughters, along with Sam’s Mom, do a choreographed dance to “Tilted” by Christine and the Queens for her oldest daughter, who is graduating high school. The scene was magical and surreal. It stuck with me for weeks and weeks after seeing it, as did the song.

“Better Things”, Season 2, Episode 10

Next up is “Don’t Tell Me” by Madonna, a song that came to mind after listening to “Tilted” on repeat. There’s something about both songs that blend into each other brilliantly and share similar sensibilities.

“Betsy” by Billie Martin keeps the indie-pop feel of “Tilted” going, while adding a bit of low-fi feeling. Then two recent discoveries, via Spotify’s Discover Weekly, takes us to the end – songs by Cherry Ghost and Red House Painters (both with a “red” color scheme in the title. Interesting).

What is filling up your ears today?

Top 5 Music Obsessions – March 26, 2019

1. “Tilted” by Christine and the Queens
from the album, Chaleur Humaine (2016)

“I’m doing my face with magic marker.
I’m in my right place,
don’t be a downer.”

“Tilted” (also known as “Christine” and “Cripple”) is a song by Héloïse Letissier who records under the name Christine and the Queens. The track was recorded and released all in French, in 2014 (released as “Christine”). It was originally recorded in English though, in 2012 (recorded as “Cripple”). The English/French version was eventually released as “Tilted”, in March of 2015.

The song is so catchy and addictive that I keep finding it stuck in my head in some sort of internal loop. I really dig it.

2. “Don’t Tell Me” by Madonna
from the album, Music (2000)

“Tell me love isn’t true,
it’s just something that we do.
Tell me everything I’m not,
but don’t ever tell me to stop.”

Madonna’s album Music and this single came out while I was living in Chicago. I had temporarily returned to my record store roots, picking up a few shifts at Tower Records, and Music was getting a heavy-rotation play that particularly cold Winter.

Madonna Don't Tell Me Top 5

That music video, too, had been all over MTV ever since its release.

“Don’t Tell Me” holds up though, really well actually.

Did you know the track was originally meant to be a tango-styled torch song? I can’t imagine it like that, can you?

The actual track has been described as “electronica meets country rock” song based on a single four-chord sequence, disguised by the mixing.

3. “Betsy” by Billie Marten
single released 2019

“Glory days are gone.
Heaven knows we’re doing it wrong.”

I love Billie Marten’s indie-pop-folk style and sound.

A new single from an artist I discovered last year. I found and fell for Billie’s 2016 album, Writing of Blues and Yellows in the Spring of last year.

“La Lune” was the track that got me obsessing, and now “Betsy” is right there, obsessing me again.

I’m hoping this new single is a precursor to a whole new album, too.

“La Lune” by Billie Marten

4. “Mathematics” by Cherry Ghost
from the album, Thirst For Romance (2007)

“Meet me on the corner by the fire escape,
and I’ll be waiting.
Every inch of back roads that have put me here will disappear,
and I’ll hold you in my arms.”

I love these lyrics and this song.

I don’t know how I’d never heard, or heard of, Cherry Ghost before. They remind me of other bands that I love, but somehow they never hit my aural radar. Thank you, Spotify Discovery Weekly for the introduction.

The band’s name, Cherry Ghost, is a reference to the Wilco song “Theologians” from the album A Ghost Is Born.

It was first just an alias for singer-songwriter Simon Aldred as a solo artist, before morphing into a full band called Cherry Ghost.

5. “Grace Cathedral Park” by Red House Painters
from the album, Red House Painters I (1993)

 “We walked down the hill,
I feel the coming on of the fading sun.
And, I know for sure that you’ll never be the one.”

Red House Painters Grace Cathedral Park Top 5

When this song first came on Spotify I glanced at the title and expected it to be “Grace Cathedral Hill”, by The Decemberists – a favorite of mine.

I was surprised to find out it was a different “Grace Cathedral” song by the Red House Painters, whose music I hadn’t heard in a long, long time.

This is yet another Spotify Discover Weekly introduction this week that I’m loving. Its a good week for discovering!

Grace Cathedral

Top 5 Music Obsessions – March 23-March 26, 2019