April 1st is supposed to be a day for tricksters and pranks, right? I’ve never been a fan of all that though. Not at all. This is probably due to the fact that I’m extremely gullible, usually expecting people to be honest and true, and not twisting truths and playing tricks. I’d rather look at this is a 1st day, a first Monday, and the first day of the rest of my life, instead of a day full of dodging possible trick-bullets. Bring it on, if you must. I’m just going to turn up the music and get on with it.
The 1st track for this 1st day is the 1st song from Billie Eilish’s new album. My daughter introduced me to Billie about a year or so ago. I’ve been following along ever since.
Next up is an artist I just discovered yesterday, via my same daughter. She was playing Yellow Days in the car and I kept asking who it was as each song played. I like the neo-seventies-R&B feel to it.
Kailee Morgue is another fave of my daughters. I was reminded of this song while I was putting these 5 together and ended up listening to it about 5-6 times in a row. That’s a song obsession if I ever “heard” one.
Karen O and Danger Mouse’s track fits perfectly in this mix, and is one of those songs that motivate me and make me feel good – make me want to move – which is perfect for a Monday, don’t you think?
Last but not least is a track I obsessed over most of last month. Lizzo is addicting.
Top 5 Music Obsessions – April 1, 2019
1. “bad guy” by Billie Eilish
from the album, When We Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? (2019)
“I’m that bad type,
make your mama sad type,
make your girlfriend mad type,
might seduce your dad type –
I’m the bad guy,
This song is completely addictive. Pop sensibilities with an edge. I knew from my first listen that this track would be my favorite and that I’d want to keep hitting repeat.
I love the agency in taking back the “bad guy” labels. The reputation of only liking bad boys, twisted and turned on itself, becoming the “bad guy” yourself. There’s an “f-you” in this, an exchange of power that I’m here for.
And the song makes me want to dance it out. A lot.
The rest of the album is worth checking out, too. There’s a lot of other obsession-worthy tracks on there – have a listen to “you should see me in a crown” and “all the good girls go to hell” next.
2. “Gap In the Clouds” by Yellow Days
from the album, Harmless Melodies (2016)
“A beautiful mind between those eyes.
I wasn’t looking,
but oh I found.
A gap in the clouds,
the sun comes out.
We’ll stay up all night make you feel alright.”
I’m forever grateful that there is so much music out there to discover. So much music that I’ve still not heard. That every day is another chance to hear something new. To obsess over something new.
A voice way beyond his years, a Seventies R&B soulful sound, I’m obsessing not just over “Gap In the Clouds”, but the rest of the album, and the follow-up Is Everything Okay In Your World?
I dig the way this song hits on the way new love feels. How it comes on so unexpected, like the sun coming through a small “gap in the clouds”. I also like how youthful this kind of love feels. It reminds me of falling for the first time when I was young, and not so afraid of everything eventually going wrong. Where I wasn’t so afraid of being so often disappointed.
3. “Do You Feel This Way?” by Kailee Morgue, featuring Whethan
“You only call me on the telephone,
’cause I can’t see the lies written on your face.
Your secrets know that place.
You only find me in the night,
when I can’t look in your eyes,
and ask you “stay”,
do you feel this way?”
Another take on youthful love, but this one laced with insecurity, doubt, and a jadedness that one would hope to come much, much later. Though perhaps its better to be ready for love’s disappointments. I don’t know. I always preferred optimisim and divine naivete.
Perhaps that’s part of what makes me so damn gullible.
No matter the cause, I know that I am. And, I know that I keep obsessing over the lyrics (I love the lyrics above, and this one – “When things are simple, they get hard”, and the sound, to Kailee’s “Do You Feel This Way?”
4. “Turn the Light” by Karen O and Danger Mouse
from the album, Lux Prima (2019)
“Starry, starry night –
this is how I wanna live.”
I can’t get enough of the disco-seventies-deliciousness sound of “Turn the Light”, my “first listen” favorite track off of the fantastic new album, Lux Prima, from the glorious Karen O (love love love her) and Danger Mouse.
As much as I adore the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s, I almost think that THIS is where Karen O was always meant to be.
Another obsession-fueled track from the album? “Woman”. I can’t get enough of it either! Those scream-sing bits get to me so much. Damn.
“Woman” by Karen O and Danger Mouse
5. “Juice” by Lizzo
“If I’m shiny,
everybody gonna shine (yeah, I’m goals).
I was born like this,
don’t even gotta try (now you know).
I like chardonnay,
get better over time (so you know).
Heard you say I’m not the baddest,
bitch, you lie.”
Danceable x 1,000,000, and then some.
This is an instant feel good, cheer you up, get you moving, feeling good, and believing in yourself kind of song – and we all need that, don’t we?
I’ve been addicted to this track since first listen, and every subsequent play has me lovin’ it more and more. I can’t get enough. This is music obsession x 1,000,000.
Today’s Top 5 Music will make you want to DANCE.
Top 5 Music Obsessions – Week of April 1, 2019
Yesterday was crazy busy, so much so that I missed my Top 5 Music Obsessions, but not to worry, today’s were definitely worth the wait. All 5 of these tracks should be turned up high, and really work best if you drive around to them while you sing-a-long (at least that’s my favorite way today).
The first track is from a favorite singer-songwriter-musician of mine. Sharon Van Etten has made her way into so many Top 5 Obsession days and playlists, too many to count. One of her newest tracks, “Seventeen”, is definitely one of those songs that are playlist headed.
Next up is a new track from Chromatics. “Time Rider” is cinematic and music-magical. I can’t stop listening. I drive and hit repeat, drive and hit repeat, then drive and hit repeat again.
Another song off of Jenny Lewis’ new album, On the Line, is song 3. “Wasted Youth” is so 70’s singer-songwriter radio to me, in the BEST way. I dig it big time. I’m getting some serious 70’s Carly Simon vibes here.
A new track from Andrew Bird’s album, My Finest Work Yet, is up next. “Manifest”. Andrew played at Largo recently. I wish I’d made it out to see, and hear him. Next time for sure.
Last, but not least, is a Paul Westerberg cover from The Lemonheads. Westerberg via Dando? Yes, yes, please. The Lemonheads version of “Things” is brilliant.
Are you ready for today’s 5?
Top 5 Music Obsessions – March 28, 2019
1. “Seventeen” by Sharon Van Etten
from the album, Remind Me Tomorrow (2019)
“Down beneath the ashes and the stone,
sure of what I’ve lived and have known.
I see you so uncomfortably alone.
I wish I could show you how much you’ve grown.”
I listen to “Seventeen” and sometimes I think she’s singing it to her younger, seventeen-year-old self. Other times I think its meant for a sister, or younger cousin, or daughter. I know when I listen I think first of my daughters, and then of myself, at seventeen.
The line above – “I wish I could show you how much you’ve grown” – that really makes me feel like the song is meant for a younger self.
Like time traveling back to your seventeen self, giving comfort, and trying to say -“just wait…you will grow SO MUCH.”
2. “Time Rider” by Chromatics
“Lonely hearts club left behind.
There’s no shame in pain,
there’s only time.”
Time travel. This song feels like time travel to me. Both in sound and in lyrical content. But, in this case (opposed to time traveling back to seventeen) this seems like traveling forward. There is a future-feel to this track, yet it is grounded in the New Wave of the ’80s, and Electro-Clash/Electronica of the ’90s and early 2000s.
I think the first time I heard Chromatics was in the film Drive. I heard them later in the recent-ish Twin Peaks series. They are always so cinematic sounding to me, and “Time Rider” is no exception.
In addition to this track (released about a month ago), Chromatics have announced their first public performances in over five years.
The Double Exposure tour kicks off on April 30 in Santa Ana. I may have to check this out.
3. “Wasted Youth” by Jenny Lewis
from the album, On the Line (2019)
“Why you lyin’?
The bourbon’s gone.
Mercury hasn’t been in retrograde for that long.
stop your hiding,
drop that bomb.
Do you remember when I used to sing you this little song?”
So seventies. “Wasted Youth” is a throwback to my youth, for sure. I feel like I’m back in my childhood bedroom with those big headphones on, listening to albums borrowed from my mom, or to AM radio.
I’m so into Jenny’s new album. But, then again, I’m always so into Jenny’s albums (and Rilo Kiley and Nice As Fuck, too).
4. “Manifest” by Andrew Bird
from the album, My Finest Work Yet (2019)
“I’m coming to the edge of the widest canyon.
My companions’ dear.
I’m starting to question my manifest destiny.
My claim to this frontier.”
I just discovered Andrew Bird’s newest album, and I have to say it is my favorite of his work yet, making the title – My Finest Work Yet – seem oh so fitting.
“Manifest” makes me want to take a leave of absence from work, and life, rent an RV, and take a long, “getting lost” kind of road trip, bringing along with me lots of books. Doesn’t it feel like an “on the road” reading On the Road kind of song (and album)?
5. “Things” by The Lemonheads
from the album, Varshons 2 (2019)
“Things I`m bound to tell you,
like that dress looks great on ya,
I could use some breathing room,
but I`m still in love with you.”
Paul Westerberg writes some of my favorite love songs. Evan Dando, too (though this one is Evan’s cover of Westerberg). This song – “Things” – and the whole cover album, Varshons 2, I’d like to take along on that RV road trip, too.
I think it would fit right in just perfectly.
Top 5 Music Obsessions – March 23-March 28, 2019
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.
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.”
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!
Top 5 Music Obsessions – March 23-March 26, 2019
The first Monday Top 5 Music Obsessions since the RELAUNCH is an all-women-in-music musical affair. What better way to start a Monday, I say. I’ve been blasting these 5 songs all morning and early afternoon – on repeat. Maybe you’ll want to, as well.
The Top 5 starts off with my first listen favorite track off of Jenny Lewis’ fantastic new album, On the Line. It is the last song on the album and it references Los Angeles, as so many Jenny and Rilo Kiley songs have; usually, a surefire way to know I’m going to dig a song. If you like the track I highly encourage you to check out the entire album. You’ll love it.
Next up is a new-to-me song that I heard for the first time early this morning via this week’s Spotify Discovery Weekly. I adore the “Made For You” Playlists that Spotify compiles each week. Margo Price is definitely a welcome new-to-me artist. I look forward to diving in and hearing more of her music.
One of my forever favorite 10,000 Maniacs tracks is next, which flows so perfectly into the next two by Mazzy Star and Belly. I love them all so much.
I’d be stoked to hear what you are listening to, and obsessing over, this Monday. I’d be even more stoked if you shared them with me in the comments below.
Ready for my Top 5? Here we go…
Top 5 Music Obsessions – March 25, 2019
1. “Hollywood Lawn” by Jenny Lewis
off the album, On the Line (2019)
“And you keep dreamin’,
If you keep dreamin’,
keep sleepin’ through the night.
‘Cause your demons got reason to fight,
and you keep dreamin’, yeah, yeah.”
I adore this song. I love the message of love and hope, despite issues and polluted Los Angeles air and personal demons. There is something soothing here, beautiful and real, and heartbreakingly hopeful. It fits in well with what I’m trying to accomplish in my life right now. A search for peace and joy, vulnerability, mindfulness, and joy.
“Hollywood Lawn” transports me to the front lawn of my childhood home. I picture myself with one of those big blankets we kept in the back of our blue Oldsmobile station wagon. The thick and itchy one that always had sand in it from many trips to the beach. I’d throw it on the grass and drag out toys, or stacks of books, on late Summer afternoons, hoping other kids would notice, and come over to play.
Most of the time, though, I’d remain alone and lie back on the itchy blanket, losing myself in cloud-fantasies, or pages of Nancy Drew mystery books.
Sometimes I still feel like that little girl, but the green grass and itchy blanket are blog post entries, playlists, and social media posts. I’m still there waiting, offering what I have to share, hoping for some real connection.
2. “Hands of Time” by Margo Price
from the album, Midwest Farmer’s Daughter (2016)
“When I hit the city I joined the band,
started singing in the bars and running with the men.
But the men they brought me problems,
and the drinking caused me grief.
I thought I’d found a friend,
but I only found a thief.”
That lyric, “I thought I’d found a friend, but I only found a thief” is what sunk this song deep into me. Damn. I’ve definitely met too many thieves in my life. I wonder if I’ve been a thief myself, to anyone else?
Margo Price, where have you been hiding? How is this the first time I’ve ever heard you? I love the storytelling in the track, the country/alt-country/folk/pop sensibilities that have all merged together, and I love her voice.
I want more.
3. “Like the Weather” by 10,000 Maniacs
from the album, In My Tribe (1987)
“Do I need someone here to scold me,
or do I need someone who’ll grab and pull me out of this four poster dull torpor,
For it is such a long time since my better days.
I say my prayers nightly this will pass away.”
It was this album, and this song, that started me off with Natalie Merchant and 10,000 Maniacs. Soon after I’d become a forever fan, falling hard for all of the band, and Natalie’s solo albums, and seeing them, and her, play live as often as I could.
This song is the perfect example of 10,000 Maniacs style of songs. Happy, jangly, pop-folk sound, and deep, emotional, heavy lyrics.
This track, which is about depression and agoraphobia, has grown in relevance to me over the years.
It always hit hard though, from the first time I heard it, singing about something so often left in silence – especially back in its 1987 release.
Natalie would go on to do the same things, style and lyric wise, with her solo albums. This is something I’ve always loved about the band and her music. Something that will always bring me back to the songs.
4. “In the Kingdom” by Mazzy Star
from the album, Seasons of Your Day (2013)
“Walked up the stairs
The sunlight hit my face
See all the people just standing ’round
If all is right in the kingdom tonight,
You know your place and time.”
I realized two Mazzy Star things recently.
Thing 1 is that whenever I’m alone in my room/the house and I think to put something on to listen to it is almost always Mazzy Star lately. Even this morning, early, before the sun, I’m in my kitchen getting ready to make coffee and I call out to the “Echo” my boyfriend got me for my birthday and say “Hey Echo, play Mazzy Star”.
Thing 2 is that I never explored their 2013 album, Seasons of Your Day, very much. I listened and loved a few tracks, and left it at that. But now I’m digging in deep and falling hard for the album as a whole, and all the songs. Right now its this track – “In the Kingdom” – that I can’t seem to get enough of.
5. “Shiny One” by Belly
from the album, DOVE (2018)
“Come my fallen angel.
When the call comes,
you answer it.
When the call comes,
you answer it,
I’m still so into Belly’s most recent album (DOVE, released last year). The songs are so good. “Shiny One” has been my current favorite from the album. Something about it reminds me of their early-career hit, “Gepetto”. Almost as if “Shiny One” is Gepetto grown-up. It’s like what the ’90s grew up into (at least the ’90s through the lens of music I obsessed the most over).
I dig the religious undertones and/or subtext to this song. I love the broken-up with/fallen angel feeling to it, too. As a girl who grew up going to parochial school and church, I can relate. I tend to relate to the fallen angels of the world, feeling very much like one myself.
Top 5 Music Obsessions – March 23-March 25, 2019
Re-launch day 2’s Top 5 Music Obsessions includes songs from the ’80s, ’90s, early 2000’s, and last year. It’s a running the gamut kind of Sunday full of songs that I can’t seem to get enough of lately. We start with Elvis Costello, our unofficial host for today’s Top 5. Costello is a musical someone I tend to take for granted, underappreciating (sometimes) how much I love his music until I run into a track of his and think “I love this song” immediately.
Liz Phair is one of my go-to favorites. I sometimes wonder if a week goes by when I don’t listen to something of hers.
Garbage is next, with one of my favorites of theirs. It may not be raining here anymore (though it was early this morning), this track still resonates with LA weather lately.
My forever favorite from The Kills follows-up perfectly, with their ode to the music business (and the vampiric nature of it).
Finally, and “last but not least”, is a song from Jill Sobule’s most recent album, produced by another favorite of mine – Ben Lee. Jill is so underrated, in my opinion. She is an exceptional singer-songwriter whose tunes have always hit me right in my music-obsessed soul.
Are you ready to press play?
Top 5 Music Obsessions – March 24, 2019
1. “Our Little Angel” by Elvis Costello
from the album, King of America (1986)
“She sits alone apart from the crowd,
in a white dress she wears like a question mark.
Friends speak of her fondly.
Enemies just think out loud.”
The songwriting power of Elvis Costello is another thing I know I take for granted. His music and skill as a singer-songwriter is something I definitely underrate. I think I need to do a deep dive into his catalog and immerse myself in the magic.
“Our Little Angel” was part of a Spotify Discover Weekly Playlist and I was immediately reminded a) how much I love his music, and b) of me and my life (and music collection) in 1986. This album (King of America) was one I remember listening to even more when I first lived on my own, in the early ’90s.
I love the idea of wearing a dress like a question mark. Every time that lyric comes up it stops me – in a good way.
2. “Divorce Song” by Liz Phair
from the album, Exile In Guyville (1993)
(live version – album version not available on YouTube)
“And the license said you had to stick around until I was dead.
Bu,t if you’re tired of looking at my face,
I guess I already am.”
This song. Fuck. This song is everything about break-ups and disappoints in relationships and yes, divorce (even if it isn’t actual divorce, but that kind of significant, big split). So many lyrics just break me. The one above, and this one, too:
“…it’s harder to be friends than lovers,
and you shouldn’t try to mix the two,
cause if you do it and you’re still unhappy,
then you know that the problem is you.”
Damn. I mean, I know in a capital KNOW kind of way what these lyrics and lines, and this song FEELS like.
I think sometimes people forget how rad Liz Phair is. She was one of the ’90s hit “It-Girls” who broke songwriting stereotypes, especially with her Chicago-made debut, Exile in Guyville, wherein she sang frankly about sex and sexuality and desire and of coming-of-age as a woman in the ’90s.
She was lauded and revered, wrote about in all the top indie magazines, and beloved by most of the girls I knew at the time. She was in her twenties just like me and my girls were, and she sang like we talked, and she could write one hell of a good song.
I was getting divorced for the first time right around the time I first heard “Divorce Song” and it hit hard. But even in other relationships, years later, with me older than “in my twenties”, this song has hit (and still hits) hard.
3. “Only Happy When It Rains” by Garbage
from the album, Garbage (1995)
“Pour some misery down on me.”
Its been raining a lot in Los Angeles lately, disproving the song “It Never Rains In Southern California”. As much as I love the rain (and I love it in big ways), I hate commuting to work in it. Driving in Los Angeles rush hour, while the sky leaks on all the drivers who (like me, to be honest) have little experience driving in water, is challenging, at best.
“I’m Only Happy When It Rains” has been in my head a lot during those long, rainy drives. And well, it is never a bad thing having Shirley Manson’s voice in my head.
Things about rain that do make me happy? Being in bed/sleeping in the rain, or doing other things in bed – in the rain – read books, watch movies, have sex (with or without a partner), writing, meditating, daydreaming. Cooking in rain. Coffee in the rain. Dancing in the rain. Kissing in the rain (such a movie trope, but damn it’s romantic). A fire in the fireplace in the rain (or with the rain outside). Literally, I’m happy when it rains as long as I’m not behind the wheel, in traffic.
Driving with no set time to be somewhere though? In the rain? Love it.
4. “Back Balloon” by The Kills
from the album, Midnight Boom (2008)
“Let the weather have its way with you.”
It is immeasurable how much I love this song. There’s a character I have been writing and developing and breathing life into that was born from this song, and from the way it makes me feel.
This is the stuff of vampire stories that do not fucking sparkle, and the stuff of eroticism and romance that are not in any kind of “50 shades”, but so much, so much, so much more.
This is the stuff where fucking and loving converge, in a song.
“Black Balloon” was the first song I heard of The Kills, and it was my first favorite (and is still my favorite).
The first time I heard it I was taken aback, and I couldn’t stop listening to it. Then, I saw the video and was enthralled even further. The correlation between the violence and drama and loneliness of touring and fame illustrated as a story about a vampire was brilliant and inspired. It quickly became one of my all-time favorite music videos, one I’ve shared, written about, and watched multiple times.
Check it out. Isn’t it cool?
5. “I Put My Headphones On” by Jill Sobule
from the album, Nostalgia Kills (2018)
“Janis Ian’s ‘Seventeen’.
that song from 10cc.
‘Alone Again, Naturally’,
someone has it worse than me.
Sam Stone, ‘Major Tom’,
Captain Jack and Delta Dawn,
Alvin Tostig, ‘Sweet Jane’
Music, wash away my pain.
I’ll put my headphones on.”
I got the chance to see Jill Sobule open a few years ago for Joseph Arthur, and recently (this past February) I got to see/hear her sing a few songs at Ben Lee’s Valentine’s show at Largo. I’ve always loved Jill’s music and songwriting so much, and this song is no exception.
The whole album, Nostalgia Kills, is fantastic. This song (“I Put My Headphones On” and “Island Of Lost Things” are two of my current favorites that I can’t get enough of.
What a great lyric – “music, wash away my pain”. I hear you, Jill. I put my headphones on a lot, too (and turn the music up, up, up).
Lately, I’ve really been needing music to take away my pain.
Top 5 Music Obsessions – March 23-March 24, 2019
Today’s re-launch/birthday Top 5 Music Obsessions feature a set of 5 songs that I’ve been obsessing over all month. The Top 5 starts out with Hatchie’s new track pre-released, and to be included on her upcoming album, Keepsake.
From there the Top 5 slides into another early track from an upcoming release, this time from The National, a favorite band of mine. “You Had Your Soul with You” took a little time to sink in with me, but once it did it moved into heavy “commute to work” rotation.
Phoebe Bridgers comes in next with one of my favorite tracks off of her 2017 album, Stranger in the Alps. Phoebe’s tune flows perfectly into “UFOF” by Big Thief, yet another pre-release from a “coming in 2019” album. I’ve been into Big Thief since I first heard “Shark Smile”, which led me to their 2017 album, Capacity.
And last, but definitely not least, how about we hear one more track/preview from an upcoming album? This time from The Dove and The Wolf, the French duo who I fell in love with back when I saw them open for Butch Walker. Paloma and Louise of The Dove and the Wolf have harmonies that will slay you dead – in the very best of ways. If you haven’t fallen in love with them yet, trust me…you will.
So, are you ready to give these five a listen?
Top 5 Music Obsessions – March 23, 2019
1. “Without a Blush” by Hatchie
from the album, Keepsake (coming in June of 2019)
“If I could kiss you one more time,
would it make everything alright,
or would it just make me a liar?”
Hatchie (Harriette Pilbeam) is an Australian singer-songwriter and musician who I discovered last year when I stumbled on her EP, Sugar and Spice. “Without a Blush” is one of my most played songs (so far) of March 2019. I included the track on a playlist I made for myself, as well as one I recently made for my best friend.
“Without a Blush” was the opening track for both playlists – as well as the opening track to today’s Top 5 Music Obsessions.
I love the dreamy vocals and indie-pop sensibilities of this track. It’s so catchy that I found myself singing-a-long after only a few listens. And before I knew it, I was waking up with it in my head, and seeking it out to play as I’d start my ride to work every morning.
2. “You Had Your Soul with You” by The National
from the album, I Am Easy to Find (coming in May of 2019)
“I had only one thing to do,
and I couldn’t do it yet.
I had only one thing left,
and I couldn’t see it yet.”
I was beyond excited when I saw that there was a new song from The National. I pressed play immediately and was immediately unsure. There was something about the opening sound that threw me off. A different sound then I expected. It was a bit jarring, at first. And, there was also something new about the vocal production that I wasn’t 100% signed on with. And then…and then…and then…after a few plays, and a few more, it got me, and I got it – we musically got each other.
The addition of Gail Ann Dorsey, who previously worked with David Bowie, is a brilliant choice. I hope we hear more of her on other tracks from their upcoming album. Once she started singing I knew I had to hear the song again. Her voice, with Matt Berninger’s, is some kind of magic.
If this song doesn’t hit you immediately, don’t give up on it. Honestly give it a few listens, one of them turned up loud, preferably in your car, at night, if you can. “You Had Your Soul with You” is a grower, but I bet it will get you/get to you quickly, too.
3. “Motion Sickness” by Phoebe Bridgers
from the album, Stranger in the Alps (2017)
“I hate you for what you did,
and I miss you like a little kid.
I faked it every time,
but that’s alright.
I can hardly feel anything.
I hardly feel anything at all.”
I like the concept of emotional motion sickness. I relate to the idea, and I’ve felt that way myself through the start of this year, and during a lot of the last. Sometimes I feel like my emotions have been turned up high, and thrown into a rinse and spin cycle. Or like I’ve been strapped to a never-ending carnival ride, the kind that goes up and down, and around in circles, all at once.
Meditation and mindfulness have helped some. If nothing else I’m becoming more aware of my emotional “Motion Sickness“. I’m trying hard to find, and maintain safety and stability, and master the ability to swim through my feelings. I’m working on my own personal form of Dramamine (motion sickness medicine).
4. “UFOF” by Big Thief
from the album, UFOF (coming in May of 2019)
“Just like a bad dream,
I stumbled on Big Thief, and the song “Shark Smile”, through a Spotify “Discover Weekly” playlist. I obsessed over the track for a while, and then dove head first into their 2017’s Capacity. From there, I music-obsessed over so many Big Thief songs. When I heard recently they had a new track out I couldn’t wait to hear it.
The song, “UFOF”, did not disappoint. I love the intimacy of it. The quiet control, the dreamy-feel, the off-kilter sounds (some of them seeming and feeling alien), and the strong storytelling. Listen carefully to the lyrically told story of alien abduction. It sneaks up to you and sonically abducts you. No, I mean it.
As I listen now I find myself thinking of Agents Mulder and Scully, wondering if I could go back in time and insert this song into one of The X-Files episodes (maybe one involving Mulder’s daughter).
5. “Free Around You” by The Dove and The Wolf
from the album, Conversations (coming in May 2019)
“I feel free.
I feel free around you.”
The Dove and The Wolf’s music makes me sigh in dreamy delight. Their harmonies are angelic, and their overall sound is just so intimate and gorgeous. When I first saw them open for Butch Walker I could not get over how amazing they were (you can read my review here). I’m so glad they are making new music.
At times they remind me of Azure Ray, another duo I have big love for. At other times, its the harmonies of First Aid Kit that I’m reminded of. And then I think of some of the folk albums I used to listen as a young girl. The ones I borrowed from my Mother’s record collection. Albums from Joni Mitchell, Judy Collins, The Mamas and the Papas, Peter Paul and Mary, and even Fleetwood Mac. There’s something in those albums and artists from the ’60s and ’70s that I recognize in “Free Around You”, and in The Dove and The Wolf’s music. Hypnotically beautiful stuff.
If you like this track I encourage you to seek out more from them. I will update the playlists weekly, for your listening obsessing pleasure.
Top 5 Music Obsessions – March 23, 2019
Keeping with my turn back time/nostalgia/’80s unofficial theme, today’s Top 5 Music Obsessions features some of my favorites. These five are leaning into the Goth side of my ’80s past (which also led into my early ’90s past). Those leanings have never left me. I don’t think they ever will. Forever a goth-girl, despite being a grown-up one.
“She” is very much DJ’ing these 5 songs today.
Top 5 Music Obsessions – Tuesday, January 15, 2019
1. “All We Ever Wanted Was Everything” by Bauhaus
from the album, The Sky’s Gone Out (1982)
“All we ever wanted was everything.
All we ever got was cold.”
By far, my favorite Bauhaus song.
Though it has changed through the years, this track has always been in my Top 5, and over the years has settled into that #1 position. Haunting, mysterious, melancholic, and yet there is something in the lyrics that is laced with hope. I feel like its a snapshot of a lonely, suburban adolescence, one that is misunderstood, and yet not all that uncommon.
The Bowie/Man Who Fell to Earth inclusion in the music video above is really cool.
“All We Ever Wanted Was Everything” (live) by Bauhaus
2. “Marquee Moon” by Television
from the album, Marquee Moon (1977)
ooo how the darkness doubled.
lightning struck itself.
I was listening,
listening to the rain.
I was hearing,
hearing something else.”
Though not really from the ’80s (1977, actually) “Marquee Moon” has the sound, style, and sentiment that my past goth-girl self embraced (and still does).
10:38 minute long song, veering into jam-band territory while in the dark making out with punk and goth, this song, and band, fits into that catch-all of First Wave. Bands like this I’m always puzzled by when asked what music style/genre/category they fit into. I’m still not sure.
I do know that for me they fit perfectly into today’s Top 5.
“Marquee Moon” (live) by Television
3. “A Strange Kind of Love (version One)” by Peter Murphy
from the album, Deep (1989)
“A strange kind of love.
A strange kind of feeling.
Swims through your eyes.”
Peter Murphy, this album, and this year in my life. Unforgettable.
So many good things happened. So many bad things happened. So much living. So much life. There are particular years that change you, make you more of who you are, and have an irreversible impact. 1989 was that year for me. My 19th year.
This song was one of many that was everything to me, at 19.
“Strange Kind of Love” (live) by Peter Murphy, featuring Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross, and Jeordie White
4. “Marian” by Sisters of Mercy
from the album, First and Last and Always (1985)
“I hear you calling Marian.
Across the water,
across the wave.”
Haunting. Gorgeous. Perfectly representative of the music I was listening, and dancing to, in the late ’80s (though this track came out in 1985, which is more mid-’80s).
I would see them live much later. In the ’90s. They still gave me those haunting, gorgeous chills that their music always has/always does. “Marian” is my #2 favorite Sisters of Mercy, coming in just barely below “Black Planet”.
“Marian” (live) by Sisters of Mercy
5. “Spellbound” by Siouxsie and the Banshees
from the album, Juju (1981)
“Following the footsteps,
of a rag doll dance,
we are entranced –
To me, the lyrics above describe perfectly how dancing at underground clubs in 1988-1990 looked and felt like. At least the ones I frequented.
“Spellbound” was written by Siouxsie and the Banshees, the full band, and co-produced with Nigel Gray. It was released in 1981 by record label Polydor as the first single from the band’s fourth studio album, Juju. (from Wikipedia)
The guitar work on the song has garnered a lot of praise, including from The Smiths’ beyond stellar guitarist, Johnny Marr, who said this about The Banshees’ John McGeoch’s guitar on the song:
“It’s so clever. He’s got this really good picky thing going on which is very un-rock’n’roll and this actual tune he’s playing is really quite mysterious”.
“Spellbound” (live) by Siouxsie and the Banshees
Top 5 Music Obsessions – Week of January 14, 2019
Today’s Top 5 Music Obsessions are almost all from this week’s Discovery Playlist from Spotify. So far, the playlist has been stellar. All of these songs (the 4 from the Discovery Playlist and 1 that I woke with, playing in my head) feel curated for the rain, or at least that’s how it seemed while they played in my car in the downpour, my windshield wipers keeping time as they kept my view clear.
Listening to these five tracks now, warm in my office with reports running, they remind me that today is pretty good, even if it started out challenging. I’m feeling very lucky right now. Lucky to be living, to be listening to great music, to have a family who I love (and who love me right back), and to have a wonderful love in my life. One I waited all my life to find. It’s good to be me, even with my anxieties, money worries, stresses, flat tires in the rain, and all my failures. Despite all that, I feel really damn lucky.
Top 5 Music Obsessions – Monday, January 14, 2019
1. “A Certain Kind of Memory” by Kacy and Clayton
from the album, The Siren’s Song (2017)
“It’s a memory,
a certain kind of memory,
that you cling to ’til you’re dead and gone.
I try my best to forget,
but I just can’t shake it.
I didn’t give you my heart just to break it.”
A new discovery for me, both the song and the singers.
Kacy’s voice reminds me of the women in First Aid Kit and The Dove and the Wolf. Indie-Country-Alt-Country-Folk is a favorite genre/sub-genre of mine. Singer-songwriters get to me big time. I’m looking forward to digging into this album – The Siren’s Song – and find more tracks on it that I love as much as this one.
“A Certain Kind of Memory” (live) by Kacy and Clayton
2. “Save It For a Rainy Day” by The Jayhawks
from the album, Rainy Day Music (2003)
“Waiting for a breakthrough.
What will you set your mind to?
We stood outside the Chinese restaurant in the rain.”
I woke up with “Save It For a Rainy Day” in my head, while the rainy day outside made its presence known with the drip-drip greetings of drops on the window glass.
Ever since my boyfriend and I went to San Francisco together, and picked up a Jayhawks CD, The Jayhawks remind me of the city by the bay, and the love of my life right there with me. It seems fitting to be playing an album called Rainy Day Music while outside it is so rainy and cold.
I love the Summer-warmth in this rainy day song. The juxtaposition works perfectly and has me embracing hope, and a positive mood, even amidst this “the universe wants to make it all so hard on me”.
“Save It For a Rainy Day” (live) by The Jayhawks
3. “There Must Be a Place” (Naive Melody version) by Shawn Colvin
from the album, Cover Girl (1994)
is where I want to be.
Pick me up and turn me ’round.”
I don’t think I’ve ever heard this track until today (thank you, Spotify Discover Weekly).
It’s really resonating with me right now, especially in regards to “home”. One of my goals for the month is to put some work into our home to make it feel more like “home”. We’ve been there since late July, but it still feels temporary to me, a limbo-house, and it’s hard for me to live like that. I want and need it to feel more like our home, even if we don’t stay forever. Even if we don’t stay past this year.
This past weekend I hung up twinkle lights in the kitchen. They make me happy every time I see them. My boyfriend helped me hang a picture, and some antique plates from Belgium that once belonged to my Grandparents (unfortunately a lot of their china I inherited got shattered in the move – boxes must’ve been dropped). I also cleaned our room and organized my spaces in the room.
I’ve rarely felt “home” anywhere. Well, I’ve always felt it with my kids, but not in a certain place. My kids still feel like home (they always will), and my love feels like home, too (especially when I’m laying with my head on his chest). But, I’d like our space to feel like it, too. I’ll keep trying to make it feel that way. Hopefully, everyone else will try to, as well – it would mean a lot to me if they did.
“This Must Be the Place” (live) by Shawn Colvin
4. “Wild Imagination” by Kurt Vile
from the album, b’lieve i’m goin down… (2015)
“I’m laughing out loud,
so much it appears that I’m crying babe, yes.
Come out on the porch, mama.
I’ll tell you about my past.
There’s believers and lovers,
and druggers and dreamers
And drunkards and schemers,
And I’m afraid that I am feeling much too many feelings,
at such a rapid clip.
Give it some time.”
“Wild Imagination” is the last track off of Kurt Vile’s 2015 album, b’lieve i’m goin down…
It is my favorite track from the album, an album I obsessed over back in 2015, the year of its release. The song and the album are both stellar. I’m always looking forward to
what Vile releases next.
What do you think of the song? The album?
“Wild Imagination (live) by Kurt Vile
5. “Hello In There” by John Prine
from the album, self-titled (1971)
“Ya’ know that old trees just grow stronger,
and old rivers grow wilder ev’ry day,
old people just grow lonesome,
waiting for someone to say,
‘Hello in there, hello'”
My favorite John Prine song.
It was a nice musical reminder to hear this track in this week’s Spotify Discovery Playlist. It had been years since I heard it. I love the story in this, the songwriting, the emotional weight, and the chorus – about trees and rivers and people, and how we can sometimes forget the people around us, especially with time and age.
Another song that sounds perfect on a rainy day like this one.
“Hello In There” (live) by John Prine
Top 5 Music Obsessions – Week of January 14, 2019
Today’s been a challenge. Each step a detour needed, a wedge in-between, or a mountain to climb over. I feel the exhaustion setting in. Not sleeping much last night isn’t helping that part. Not at all. Being this tired and overwhelmed makes me feel emotional and rough. Raw. And far too vulnerable. I’m trying to push past those feelings. Facing them head-on and recognizing why they are here. I’m trying to keep my perspective in place. But, it’s hard. I need some strength today. Some warmth and love. A bit more than I typically need. But, those kind of things are hard to ask for. Most of my life they are not things I could ask for, or if I did, I’d either get no response, or the person I needed it most from wouldn’t be able to give it to me. Usually, because they were dealing with their own detours, wedges, and mountains. I’m more used to being the one there for other people or shutting down into myself. But, it’s hard doing it alone all the time.
Music is always there though. It never disappoints. Never judges. Always shows up. Never wavers or wanes. Music responds. Or at least plays.
That’s part of what writing about music has done for me. Besides my love and obsessions to songs and bands, artists and albums, leaning into music, digging in deep to it, and putting time, energy, and words into it helps me. This is me giving back to the music, but this is also me taking something from it to help me keep going. Music is so vital to me.
Top 5 Music Obsessions – Tuesday, January 8, 2019
1. “Homesick” by The Cure
from the album, Disintegration (1989)
“Just one more and I’ll walk away,
all the everything you win,
turns to nothing today.
And, I forget how to move,
when my mouth is this dry.
And, my eyes are bursting hearts,
in a blood-stained sky.”
The Disintegration album is my favorite by The Cure.
All the songs are steeped in meaning and memory. So much emotion is embedded in track-after-track.
“Homesick” always makes me cry. Today is no exception. It’s so full of pain and pathos, and that feeling of loss coming to take a swing. It also reminds me of coping skills, the not so good ones, and how they don’t really take anything away. Just dry mouths, bursting hearts, and teary-eyes looking up at the sky, sleepless, waiting for the sun to come.
“Homesick” (live) by The Cure
2. “Avalon” by Roxy Music
from the album Avalon (1982)
“Now the party’s over,
I’m so tired.
Then I see you coming,
out of nowhere.
in a motion.
or a notion –
One of my all-time favorite songs.
“Avalon” is one of the most beautiful and desirous songs I’ve ever heard. It seems ready-made to fall in love to, and/or fall into someone’s arms to. It is a song meant for making love. Don’t you think?
“Avalon” (live) by Roxy Music
3. “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers” by Barbra Streisand and Neil Diamond
Duets (2002) by Barbra Streisand and You Don’t Bring Me Flowers (1978) by Neil Diamond
“I remember when…
you couldn’t wait to love me,
used to hate to leave me.
Now after lovin’ me late at night…
When it’s good for you, babe,
and you’re feeling alright…
Well, you just roll over,
and you turn out the light.”
Another song that makes me cry.
Though when I first heard the song, learned it, and sang-a-long to it, I was about nine years old. I don’t think I got the real sentiment. Not really. I knew it was a break-up song, or a nearing a break-up song, but I didn’t understand all the complexities to the song, or to adult relationships. I understand it now, but then, not so much.
I remember though, either that year, or soon after, Barbra and Neil performed on the Grammy’s, and almost kissed at the end. Was it an act? Did they get swept up in the song? Or was that a moment of actual feeling between them? Hard to know. But, I remember watching it and hoping for that kiss that never came.
“You Don’t Bring Me Flowers” (live) by Barbra Streisand and Neil Diamond
4. “Come With Me” by Gold Star
from the album, Big Blue (2017)
“Tell me what were you dreaming.
Tell me who were you trying to reach.”
Another Spotify Discover Weekly discovery.
This song, and Gold Star’s full album, Big Blue, reminds me of The Jayhawks and Wilco. That New Country/Americana/Indie Folk that I love so much. I’m going to have to dig into the entire album in the coming weeks.
5. “Seventeen” by Sharon Van Etten
from the upcoming album, Remind Me Tomorrow (2019)
“I used to be seventeen.”
I’ve been a fan of Sharon Van Etten for quite some time now.
This new track, “Seventeen”, from her upcoming album, was released today and I can’t get enough of it. It showcases her vocal range and sound so perfectly. It is making me even more anxious for the full album.
“Comeback Kid” is great, too.
“Comeback Kid” by Sharon Van Etten
Top 5 Music Obsessions – Week of January 7, 2019
Monday came quickly. The weekend just sped by. But, there were bright moments and things accomplished. Some of the highlights was visiting Half Off Books in the rain, playing UNO and Gin Rummy while listening to music with my boyfriend, getting the house un-holiday-fied, making lasagna, writing, and kisses and cuddling up while watching the not-so-great Golden Globes with love. I would have liked more time to relax, more time to spend with my boyfriend, and with my kids. I would have liked Saturday not to have been so fraught with anxiety and issues. But, honestly, on the whole, it was a good weekend.
Today has been good. I had some Indian food for lunch while reading a few chapters in An Anonymous Girl (Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen). I did some writing and made a playlist. I did some meal planning, and had possibly too many cups of coffee, and started setting up my daily planner (with budget), which is part of my 2019 goals. My anxiety is still too high and my worries still too big, but I’m trying to find some life balance, breathe more, and find some grace for myself along the way. There are some things I need to find time for that I haven’t sorted out yet. Some things I need to do for myself, which is hard for me. I tend to do for everyone else first and run out of time and resources for me. But, that whole life balance thing? I need to be part of that.
Music has been good to me today. Spotify introduced me to a few new-to-me artists and songs which made it onto today’s Top 5 Music Obsessions list. Two favorites made the cut, too. I’d love to know what your listening to/obsessing over today. If you are willing, please share in the comments below.
Top 5 Music Obsessions – Monday, January 7, 2019
1. “La Lune” by Billie Marten
from the album, Writing of Blues and Yellows (2016)
“Swallow me whole with the moon on my back.
One side is pink and the other is black.
I’m good at hiding in the dead and grey.”
A new-to-me discovery, thanks to Spotify.
Indie folk goodness from a young singer-songwriter. Billie is one to watch, I think. Her debut album, which “La Lune” is track one of, came out in 2016. I look forward to hearing what she does next.
The whole album is definitely worth checking-out.
“La Lune” (live) by Billie Marten
2. “Almanac” by The Acorn
from the album, No Ghost (2010)
“You could talk a walk,
through the mines,
or you could spend all your days,
just waiting for the night.”
I heard this song for the first time this morning.
It was one of the first songs to play on this week’s Spotify Discover Weekly. I immediately started to obsess over it and played it over a few times during my morning commute.
At first listen the singer reminds me of Pete Yorn. A favorite of mine.
In looking further into the song, and The Acorn, I see that this track was featured in the movie Crazy Stupid Love – which I did see, but I don’t recall this song or honestly much of the soundtrack.
I’m going to check out more of their music this week.
3. “San Diego Serenade” by Tom Waits
from the album, The Heart of Saturday Night (1974)
“I never saw the mornin’ ’til I stayed up all night.
I never saw the sunshine ’til you turned out your love light, babe.
I never saw my hometown until I stayed away too long.
I never heard the melody until I needed the song.”
I forgot how much I love this song, and the album it comes from (The Heart of Saturday Night).
I love how this song, and all the others on the album, sing like a story, or like poetry. Reminds me of Jack Kerouac and Charles Bukowski and Henry Miller – set to music. I know the album title, and the title song from it is a tribute to Kerouac.
“San Diego Serenade” (live) by Tom Waits
4. “How to Forget” by Jason Isbell
from the album, Something More Than Free (2015)
“Give her space, give her speed,
give her anything she needs –
Get her out of here.
Give her weed, give her wine,
give her anything but time –
get her out of here.”
One of my favorite live shows last year was Jason Isbell’s.
This track is one of my favorites from Jason’s 2015 solo album, Something More Than Free. Like the song before, I love the story in the song. I love what is told, and what is not revealed. The way this allows for each listener to fill in the blanks, imagine some of the details and make it their own.
I know I was doing that this morning, with this song, while I drove to work.
“How to Forget” (live) by Jason Isbell
5. “Houses” by Elyse, featuring Neil Young
from the album, Self-Titled (2004)
“I could never make it in your house.
You could never make it in mine.
Even if we were both well meant and ,
high born in another time.
Just like a circle ’round the sun.”
How have I never heard this song before?
How have I never heard of Elyse Weinberg before either? This track, featuring Neil Young, is fantastic. It’s been covered by a few people, too. Most recently by Courtney Barnett, an artist whose been featured here a few times.
Thank you, Spotify, for introducing this song to me this morning. I’m going to be digging into the whole album this week.
“Houses” (live) by Courtney Barnett and Waxahatchee
Top 5 Music Obsessions – Week of January 7, 2019