Sufjan Stevens is an incredible artist who takes common experiences and cracks them open, showing the beating heart of emotion within. “Pleasure Principle” is a song about a relationship where one partner wants so much more, while the other merely wants pleasure. It’s beautiful and heartbreaking. Enjoy!
I See Fire
The Hobbit movies were regrettable. How someone who did such a great job with the Lord of the Rings movies so completely screw up The Hobbit is beyond me. Wait…no, no its not, because I’ve seen the Star Wars prequels. Ah, Peter Jackson, you just went full-on George Lucas, didn’t you? What a shame.
Indeed, for my money there were only two good things about those movies. One is the awesome Smaug voiced by the inimitable Benedict Cumberbatch (yes, I know, I’d listen to Cumberbatch read the phone book). The other is this song. Ed Sheeran really knocked it out of the park. When it reaches its climax, it gives me chills.
All you 90’s kids out there will remember Right Said Fred and his one hit wonder “I’m Too Sexy.” I’m always reminded of waiting for a table at the Hard Rock Cafe in Paris in 1996, and watching the guy behind the souvenir counter dancing every time this song came around on the music loop. Even though he had doubtless already heard it hundreds of times that day, it still brought him joy. High praise for a bit of 90’s fluff. Enjoy!
Rockin’ Friday and Dancing On My Own
Here’s Robyn with her fantastic anthem for all you lonely dancers out there. Enjoy!
I’m fond of the practice of adapting a previously existing work of art in such a way that it becomes something unique, expressing truths that were not present in the original. For instance, while there is certainly room for faithful adaptations of books to the screen, I’m a fan of the adaptations that take the original as a jumping off point, then goes in a different direction. Kubrick’s The Shining resembles King’s work in little more than the basic premise, and has an entirely different message, one of inescapable and elemental evil. Bryan Fuller’s television adaptation of Thomas Harris’s Hannibal Lecter takes the plots and characters from the books and twists them to communicate Fuller’s own unique vision.
Musical adaptation can be more subtle, yet just as satisfying. Shortly after Taylor Swift released her album 1989, Ryan Adams released his own album with the same title that contained covers of all of Swift’s songs. And it’s fascinating to listen to one in the light of the other, seeing how the same words and the same melodies can, in the hands of two different artists, make us feel completely different emotions. In the case of “Bad Blood,” what plays as anger in Swift’s version turns to heartbreak with Adams’s aching vocals.
ACTUAL CANNIBAL SHIA LeBEOUF
Well, that escalated quickly. This video does nothing by halves. It gets in there, elbows deep into the horror that is…actor Shia LeBeouf. Watch it, it will make sense.
(Well, no. No it won’t. But you should watch it anyway.)
Only a Fool Gives It Away
I adore Deathcab for Cutie. Their music is beautiful and their lyrics heartbreaking, exploring such topics as losing a loved one, inevitable doom, crazy stalkers, and Donald Trump (yes, I’m serious. It’s called “Million Dollar Loan” and you should check it out). This song is about trying to be special, to be unique, to be something of value in a world where anything new can be imitated to worthlessness. The animation is poignant in its simplicity. Enjoy!
And I Want You
I adore this mash-up. The perkiness of Taylor Swift meets the darkness of Nine Inch Nails like a warm front meets a cold front, and the resulting tornado is quite a sight to behold. This song that far exceeds the sum of its parts. Enjoy!
It’s HOT This Season!
I’m typically not one for rap, but I love Tim Fite. I’ve been a fan ever since I found out about him via the radio show/podcast Sound Opinions. One thing that I love about him is that he plays no favorites in his cutting social commentary. The above video is for “Camouflage,” from his album Over the Counter Culture. In it he takes the American war hawks to task for fighting a war for colonialism and oil while pushing it on the American people like a fashion trend. The song and the video are both jarring at times, and they should be, because there’s a great deal of cognitive dissonance related to the wars America waged (and is waging) in the Middle East. It’s a clear jab at George W. Bush and his supporters. In a later album, Under the Table Tennis, he takes on the economic bust of 2008, and the song “Oversight” features a sample of Obama promising exactly that “every step of the way,” while another voice yells “BAILOUT! BAILOUT! BAILOUT! BAILOUT!” Obama promised to act tough on the banks, but what wound up happening was something quite different.
If you’d like to find out more about Tim Fite and download some awesome free music, check him out at TimFite.com.
Those Great Whites, They Have Big Teeth
I adore Lorde. She’s dark and fierce, and that is on beautiful display in her live performances. She sings with such intensity that every word rings as truth. Here’s her performance of “Green Light” on Saturday Night Live. Enjoy!