Not the Fall as in Mark E. Smith, but fall as in the season. This week, Jennifer shares some thoughts on her current favorite tunes.
School foiled my concert-attending plans last week, so today you get a selection of things currently in heavy rotation on my iPod, along with some pictures from my recent travels.
1. Love Hurts, Grievous Angel, Gram Parsons feat. Emmylou Harris – Yes, it’s that “Love Hurts.” You may be more familiar with the Nazareth version — I was — but this one is 90% less cheesy and ridiculous. The song is infinitely better as a country love song than as a heavy metal power ballad. The lyrics have a lot more oomph now that I can listen to them without laughing.
2. Slink (A Hymn), Theme song for The Good Guys, Locksley – This band signs off all of their news emails with a cheery “Be in love” which makes me both grin and half-roll my eyes every time. Oh, babies. I’ll work on it, okay? I’m a cranky old lady, though, so you have to give me a running start. Meanwhile: this song is a delightful story about falling in love with someone else’s lady on the dancefloor, or maybe just about flirting via dancing. I’m not quite sure. But it’s definitely a whole lot of fun, and never fails to pull me out of the end-of-a-12-hour-day dumps.
Waterfire, Providence, Rhode Island, October 2010
3. Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas, Flamingo, Brandon Flowers – This song should be the first thing travelers hear upon deplaning at McCarren Airport. And it should be turned up loud enough to drown out the sound of the slot machines. (I was sure “slot machines at the airport” was an urban legend until I walked off the plane and saw them, and the lights of the Strip flickering in the distance.) There are a lot of love songs on this record; this one is for Las Vegas herself.
4. Cheat on Your New Lover With Me, Inconvenient Dreams, Jail Weddings – From what I can gather from the Internet, there’s a kind of ’60s revival going on in certain circles of the Los Angeles music scene. There’s the mods ( The Like), the surf-pop (The Young Veins), and then there’s the rockers: Jail Weddings. If I was put in charge of remaking Grease, Frenchie and the rest of the Pink Ladies would totally get down to Jail Weddings’ grooves. I think of this one as Rizzo’s song. It’s a filthy, irresistable suggestion, the kind of thing one would whisper to a hot boy in a fast car before hopping in and putting your feet up on the dash while he guns it for the state line. I like to listen to it while I walk to the train in the morning. True confessions: I had the whole five song EP on repeat for a while. It really is that good.
A seabird @ Asbury Park, New Jersey, September 2010
5. Blackhawk, Wrecking Ball, Emmylou Harris : Listening to Grievous Angel and Wrecking Ball on shuffle will break your heart, because when she comes up on her own, her sweet clear voice sounds so lonely without his warmer tones harmonizing. Blackhawk is a requiem for a love story — though not theirs, necessarily — and it is a gem. Also beautiful: Wrecking Ball, the title track, and Waltz Across Texas Tonight.
6. Brian Eno, Congratulations, MGMT – I’m so late to the MGMT party that everyone who’s already there is at the “sitting on the front stoop looking mournfully at empty solo cups” stage of the evening. Okay, I’m not going to abuse that metaphor any further. I love their second record, and this song in particular, because it sounds like Scooby Doo. If I was making videos for them, there’d be lots of cartoony effects and “RUT ROH!” thought bubbles. Also possibly willowy boys in miniskirts and go-go boots chasing a caped miscreant through a candy-colored dreamscape.
Lion statue, Washington Heights, September 2010
7. Love Drunk, Love Drunk, Boys Like Girls – The first and so far only time I have seen Boys Like Girls live was in the summer of 2009, at the (unintentionally hilariously misnamed) MTV Sunblock Fest, on a miserable, wet, cold July day at Jones Beach. It was raining so hard there was water whipping across the stage in sheets, and the crowd was huddled in hoodies and ponchos, sipping hot chocolate. I had gotten good and mostly-soaked watching the opening bands I had come to see (Gym Class Heroes and The Academy Is . . .) but for whatever reason – curiosity or cussedness – I stuck around for Boys Like Girls. This song is one of the many reasons I was glad I did. It’s a classic break-up song of the “Don’t let the door hit you on the behind on the way out!” variety, and it’s got a satisfyingly bouncy melody as well as entertaining lyrics.
8. Na Na Na, Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys, My Chemical Romance – I did not want to like this song, or their new record. I was fully prepared to be sulky and cross about their metamorphasis into brightly-colored dance punk being broadcast from 2019. (I like brightly colored dance-punk and post-apocalyptic futures, mind, but we had been teased with early reports of a gimmick-free punk rock record.) I may have done some grumbling about too much California sun rotting their brains. And then somewhere between a killer opening guitar riff, eight legs to the wall/hit the gas/and the wall/and we crawl and let me tell you ’bout the sad man/shut up and let me see your jazz hands, I caved, and now I’m hooked. I take it back, My Chemical Romance; I’m in. Bring on the candy-colored cap guns and awe-inspiringly ridiculous stage costumes. If you’re ready to dance, I’ll pogo with you.
Cactus from Brown University greenhouse, October 2010
9. Club Can’t Even Handle Me Right Now, Step Up 3D (soundtrack), Flo Rida , feat. David Guetta – This song is ridiculous and I love it. It’s bubblegum pop from a movie whose main conflict resolution device is dance-batttles and I can’t stop listening to it. I suggest you put this one on if you have a tedious chore to do and need something fun to ease the pain and/or pass the time.
10. Record Collection,Record Collection, Mark Ronson and The Business Intl. , feat. Nick Rhodes, Simon Le Bon and Wiley – Part of the peculiar alchemy of this record, and also this song, is how many people Ronson has brought in to share
the singing duties; the overall effect is of a big game of vocal pick-up sticks. This particular track, sung by Mark Ronson, Simon Le Bon and Wiley is a sweet synth-pop confection of a tune that is mainly about the perks, trials and tribulations of being a pop star. Sample lyrics: I drive ’round cities in a chariot, I get preferential treatment at the Marriott, but if the truth be told I’m naked under all these clothes. I’ll tell you what it is on my mind, I only want to be in your record collection.