Today’s Top 5 Music Obsessions feature 5 songs that
spoke sang to me at the start of today and have been speaking singing to me ever since. The first song is from Anna Calvi. I’ve been digging Anna’s 2018 album, Hunter, since it came out – mostly turning up and singing-a-long to “Don’t Beat the Girl Out of My Boy” and “Alpha”, but today I’ve been swaying to the melancholic dream-pop sound of the title track.
Next is another pre-album single release from The National. This one got to me. Deeply. I listened as I drove through Silverlake this morning, the sky was hazy, the air warm. It reminded me of a not-so-past pain and brought unexpected tears. Some pain that I believe to be gone forever sneaks up on me some days. Today was one of those days. This new album is going to be something else.
The mood swayed to the other side, lightening up in an “I should be on the beach on vacation” kind of way, with Phosphorescent’s effervescent sounding track, “New Birth in New England”. Today has been pretty stressful, so this airy, dreamy, indie-pop tune has definitely been an aural help.
George Harrison (a.k.a. my favorite Beatle) has one of those voices that almost always soothes me. “If Not For You” is one of my all-time favorite solo songs of his, and was just what I needed today.
Last, but not least, is a track off of T Bone Burnett’s new solo album (the first in 12 years). It is part of a trilogy and based on a long poem. This is gorgeous. A little bit discordant, a little bit ambient, a little bit cinematic, and a little bit “throwback”. I can’t wait to listen to the rest.
Top 5 Music Obsessions – April 8, 2019
1. “Hunter” by Anna Calvi
from the album, Hunter (2018)
“The bodies and the rhythm,
and flowers in my hair.
The red light on the leather;
nothing will compare.”
The title track from Anna Calvi’s fantastic 2018 album. I was going back to it this morning, doing some re-discovery listening, and got caught up with this track. I can’t get enough of it today.
The video is all-out sexy, but definitely not safe for work. Gorgeously sensual though. It makes the song less melancholic, and more seductive.
Anna is a fascinating artist. I’d love to see her play live.
The music and the visuals feel a bit like performance art and cabaret. Something about it reminds me of Dresden Dolls, back when they first came around.
2. “Light Years” by The National
from their upcoming album, I Am Easy To Find (coming in 2019)
“You were waiting outside for me,
in the sun,
laying down to soak it all in,
before we had to run.
I was always ten feet behind you,
from the start.
Didn’t know you were gone,
’til we were in the car.”
I’m a sucker for piano. Sad piano especially gets to me, tears me open, rips me apart. From the start of this song, before Matt Berninger vocals started, I could feel the prickle of tears in my eyes.
And then the lyrics, and the ache in Matt’s voice.
It reminds me of the last day. That Friday. The sun starting to go down. The ocean was so close. It was all so unexpected. So cold. So shock-sudden. Like ripping off a band-aid. In a moment everything changed.
It was for the best. That I know for sure. But it hurt nonetheless. It felt like being erased. It felt like all of it was just erased. I never felt comfortable. I always did feel ten feet behind. But there were moments, and I thought that they mattered. That I mattered.
Sometimes we don’t matter at all.
3. “New Birth in New England” by Phosphorescent
from the album, C’est La Vie (2018)
“She said, “‘Don’t I know you?
Honey, don’t I know you?
Honey, don’t I know you?'”
A feel-good song for certain. Thank you, Phosphorescent. Some of your songs make me cry, but this one…well, this one makes me sway, smile, and sing-a-long.
Reminiscent of Simon and Garfunkel, if Paul and Art went a little indie-pop with “Cecilia”, driving her down to Echo Park to ride the paddle boats and drink over-priced lattes.
It could happen.
4. “If Not For You” by George Harrison
from the album, All Things Must Pass (1970)
“If not for you my sky would fall,
rain would gather, too.
Without your love,
I’d be nowhere at all.
I’d be lost if not for you.”
One of my favorite love songs from my favorite Beatle.
I used to love Olivia Newton John’s version of this song when I was a young girl, too. I still do really, but not as much as I love George singing it.
Though I was a very wee thing in 1970, I still feel like this song, and this album, was around me a lot.
It feels part of my DNA. Part of my musical muscle memory.
And, I’m so glad for it.
I love the album All Things Must Pass – it is definitely one of my all-time favorites.
5. “Anti Cyclone” by T Bone Burnett, Jay Bellerose, and Keefus Ciancia
from the album, The Invisible Light: Acoustic Space (2019)
“If you tell people what they already believe,
they will believe you.
It doesn’t matter if you don’t mean a word you say.
And, it doesn’t matter if what they believe is true,
or have extreme view.
To the thieves who can speak from both sides of their mouth,
this is child’s play.”
Chilling lyrically, musically stunning. A fusion of trance, electronic, ambient, folk, tribal, global, and something very old-time cinematic. Close your eyes and I see an old, oversized organ, a carnival in the background, and a black-and-white silent film aesthetic.
I’m looking forward to hearing this entire piece of work, and the other two parts of the trilogy coming in the future.
Ride a swan with Phosphorescent