Give Me Five…Featuring Yola

Took the weekend off from posting to spend some time working on my novel-in-progress, and spend some time with my boyfriend, on Saturday, and to celebrate mother’s day with delicious food and a movie marathon, with my oldest daughter.

But, it’s Monday now, and Monday requires musical distractions, and a hefty dose of music magic. So, I’m back with five songs that are giving me all I need today.

What songs are giving you that dose of magic every Monday needs? Care to share?

Give Me Five – May 10, 2021

You can listen and follow along with May’s Give Me Five at Spotify and YouTube

Song 1: “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” by Yola

Yola "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" GMF
“Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” by Yola – from the album, Walk Through Five, Deluxe Edition (2019)

“What do you think you’ll do then?
I bet they’ll shoot down the plane.
It’ll take you a couple of vodka and tonics,
to set you on your feet again.

Maybe you’ll get a replacement.
There’s plenty like me to be found.
Mongrels,
who ain’t got a penny,
sniffing for tidbits like you,
on the ground.”

There’s nothing more magical than a good cover song, so why not start Monday with one?

One of the movies my daughter and I watched yesterday was the Elton John biopic, Rocketman. It was her first time seeing it, and my second time. I loved it when I saw it in the theaters back when it was first released. And this time? I loved it even more. It is all kinds of magic. Magical realism/speculative fiction juxtaposed with a heartbreaking at times story of music, fame, friendship, love, addiction, and recovery. It’s more than all that, too. In a lot of ways it was just what I needed right now, as I deal with a lot of recovery in my life.

Elton’s songs are intertwined into the story and used to help communicate time, place, feeling, emotion, pain, love, reaction, and change. One of my favorite moments in the film featured one of my all-time favorite Elton songs, “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road”.

Seems fitting that the first song I heard today, found on a Spotify Soul Mix, was Yola’s cover of “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road”. I am totally obsessed with her cover today. What a lucky find this morning, bringing back so many feelings I had while watching the film yesterday (and so many feelings I’m having today, as well).

Yola is a singer-songwriter from Bristol, England. She started her career as a singer-for-hire, working with DJ/producers such as Bugz In The Attic, Duke Dumont, Massive Attack, and Sub Focus. Walk Through Fire – which includes this wonderful cover on the Deluxe release – came out in 2019, and led to Yola receiving four Grammy nominations for the same year, including one for Best New Artist. (source: Wikipedia)

If you’d like to hear more of Yola, and if you’d like to help support her music, follow the yellow brick road here.

Yola "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" Give Me Five - Song 1

Song 2: “Things Can Only Get Better” by Howard Jones

Howard Jones "Things Can Only Get Better" Give Me Five
“Things Can Only Get Better” by Howard Jones – from the album, Dream Into Action (1985)

“And do you feel scared?
I do.
But, I won’t stop and falter.
And, if we throw it all away,
things can only get better.”

I’ve been playing this song guessing game on my phone when I need a distraction, or need to clear my head. Over the weekend I went through all the different categories/themes from the 80’s. This song came up a few times reminding me how much I used to love Howard Jones. For some reason, his music is something I haven’t revisited much. I’m not sure why. Today, though, I’m making up for lost time.

This is another song that really hits me where I’m feeling a lot lately. Trying to work through some big things from my life, and finally let them go. As HoJo sings, “And, if we throw it all away, things can only get better.”

I believe that.

Howard Jones is a singer-songwriter from South Wales, in the UK. During the 80’s, he had ten Top 40 hit singles in the UK, six of those ten singles reached the Top Ten – including today’s song, “Things Can Only Get Better”. The song reached #5 on the Billboard Hot 100, in the US. (source: Wikipedia)

Howard Jones had this to say recently about the continuing relevance of “Things Can Only Get Better”:

“I’m so glad that I can stick to those sentiments now. And they’re just as relevant, really. I think pop music, one of the things it should be is like a cheerleading song that helps you get through a bad time and pick you up a bit when you’re feeling a bit exhausted and glub. And that’s what I really wanted to do.” (source: Songfacts)

To hear more of Howard Jones, and to help support his music, hum along to “Things Can Only Get Better” while you head on over here.

Howard Jones "Things Can Only Get Better" Give Me Five - Song 2

Song 3: “Rooftop” (Unreleased Outtake) by Pete Yorn

Pete Yorn "Rooftop" Give Me Five
“Rooftop” (Unreleased Outtake from musicforthemorningafter) by Pete Yorn – from the EP, Rootop EP (2021)

“Comin’ over the rooftop, baby.
Comin’ over the rooftop.
Would you save me?
Cos I’m not okay.”

It’s a good day when you discover a Pete Yorn song you’ve never heard before. I love all the live tracks and unreleased outtakes and demos that Pete’s been unearthing and sharing lately. It’s definitely made the pandemic times of no live shows a bit more bearable.

His virtual concerts have, too.

He’s doing another one on May 15th where he plans to play both his greatest hits and deepest cuts. I can’t recommend checking this out enough. Really. Do it.

You can go here to purchase tickets to the virtual show, as well as to a pre-show Zoom Q&A, and a post-show Zoom Q&A.

If you’d like to hear more of Pete Yorn, and if you’d like to help support his music, pick up some tickets at the link above for his May 15th virtual concert. You can also go here to help support his music, as well. You don’t even have to climb up on the roof to do it.

A little taste of a past quarantine concert series virtual show that Pete put on.

Pete Yorn "Rooftop" Give Me Five Song 3

Song 4: “Uncle Alvarez” by Liz Phair

Liz Phair "Uncle Alvarez"
“Uncle Alvarez” by Liz Phair – from the album, Whitechocolatespaceegg (1998)

“Oh, oh, oh imaginary accomplishments.
Hey, hey, hey you visionary guy.
You might even shake the hands of presidents.
Better send a postcard and keep the family quiet.”

I’ve been in a total Liz Phair mood lately, spinning her new songs, and all her past albums. Though I honestly love every era of Liz, whitechocolatespaceegg is my current favorite album of hers.

This morning, I woke up with “Uncle Alvarez” in my head. Specifically the above lyrics. I want to know the story behind the song. I want to know more about Uncle Alvarez. Is he a fable? A cautionary tale? One of those people we al know, or have met, who tell tall tales about their lives? Is he a secret agent? A genius inventor? Some guy who lives downstairs in a Chicago apartment?

Did he jump off that bridge and leave behind his legacy?

What do you think?

Liz Phair is a singer-songwriter from New Haven, Connecticut, who was adopted at birth, and raised in Chicago, Illinois. Her debut studio album, Exile In Guyville, was released to critical acclaim; it has been ranked by Rolling Stone magazine as one of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. Whitechocolatespaceegg is Liz’s third studio album. The record peaked at #35 on the Billboard 200, that same year. (source: Wikipedia)

Photo by Paul Natkin

Song 5: “Want Ads” by Honey Cone

Honey Cone "Want Ads" Give Me Five
“Want Ads” by Honey Cone – from the album, Sweet Replies (1971)

“Extra extra,
read all about it,
wanted,
young man single and free
Experience in love preferred,
but will accept a young trainee.”

Ready for some pure fun to dance to? Might I suggest “Want Ads” by Honey Cone?

It’s definitely bringing me joy, and making me get up and dance around my kitchen, right now.

Honey Cone was an R&B and Soul girl group formed by singer Edna Wright, the sister of Darlene Love, who sang lead on the hit single, “He’s A Rebel”). Carolyn Willis and Shelly Clark make up the rest of Honey Cone. The girl group was formed in 1968. I remember hearing my mom play this song. If memory serves, she had the 45′ of it in her 45′ collection.

Now go on, get up, turn the volume all the way, and DANCE.

Honey Cone "Want Ads" Give Me Five - Song 5

For May’s Give Me Five I’m featuring Kelly Vivanco’s piece “Creekside” as the Cover Art.

GIVE ME FIVE – MAY 2021

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