The Uberpop

Weekly Mixtape for 11/22-11/28

Posted in Weekly Mixtape by theuberpop on November 23, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving everybody!  Here’s some Non-Christmas music for you…enjoy.

1) “Radio Radio” Elvis Costello, This Year’s Model (1978, Elvis Costello): Why not, right?  This guy is arguably one of the best songwriters of the last 30 years, was responsible for one of the best moments in any era of Saturday Night Live and married jazz/easy-listening piano cutie Diana Krall (but don’t be deceived, she can play circles around most of her contemporaries)…what’s next on the “bucket list” Elvis?  Swimming with 17 of the rarest dolphins and a talking whale in a pool of the world’s finest ginger ale?  Probably.

2) “Fight Test” The Flaming Lips, Yoshimi Battle the Pink Robots (2002, Warner Bros.): This selection achieves a tongue-in-cheek sonic landscape of pseudo-alt-country swagger with vibrant synthesizers bouncing in and out and lyrics about learning “to be a man” and how “to stand and fight” all in the presence of a studio engineered “live crowd.”  I’ll bite Mr. Coyne, I’ll bite.

3) “How To Be Dead” Snow Patrol, Final Straw (2004, Polydor): I understand that artists have to grow beyond what people expect of them, and I understand that sometimes this means tailoring your sound into something more commercially viable…this seems to be the way of the world.  It appears (from an outsider’s perspective) that Snow Patrol has taken the later route with the albums following their mainstream breakthrough, Final Straw.  I’d like to submit that the track (and album) in question are Snow Patrol’s creative peak [to date], blending post-Coldplay Brit-pop snark and the electronic savvy of producer Jacknife Lee with an end result that simultaneously had undeniable pop sensibility and real sonic grit without being overblown or pretentious.  It’s not quite lightning in a bottle, but it’s a more interesting pop record than most “Top 40” records cranked out since its release.

4) “Quiet Houses” Fleet Foxes, Fleet Foxes (2008, Sub Pop): Beautiful, hypnotic, pastoral…maybe don’t get to invested in this song – or the record in its entirety, for that matter – while driving.  I’d love to think that people still know something well-crafted when they hear it, and this band’s recent blip on the national attention screen (ie. a performance on Saturday Night Live) last year did more than blow me away, it gave me hope for all humanity.  I’m psyched for the followup.

5) “Stars” Hum, You’d Prefer and Astronaut (1995, BMG): Cadillac commercials aside, this song is much bigger than the riff that launched a thousand imitators.  Dynamically, this song explores the extremes of “quiet-loud-quiet-loud” almost to a fault.  It’s refreshing to sit back and listen to something that demands a little effort to listen to, something that jumps out and scares the pee-pee out of you with the click of a distortion pedal.

6) “Bad” U2, The Unforgettable Fire (1984, Island): Yep, this record is 25 years old.  We can’t go back.  Because of this record and it’s followup The Joshua Tree every commercial on television and every song in the “Contemporary Christian” canon features a digital delay-ridden guitar and some hack trying to own Bono’s strained high C#.  I can’t bring myself to listen to it very often anymore (mainly because of the previously mentioned imitators), but it’s worth revisiting for the sake of reminding oneself why they’re the “biggest band in the world”…even after that record they put out in March.

7) “Maps” Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Fever to Tell (2003, Interscope/Geffen): The final note in this end-of-playlist string of startlingly good songs that will continue to be imitated for the next 20 years is a sensitive moment from 2003’s smart and abrasive (and I mean the best kind of abrasive) Fever to Tell, which boasts more soul and pure longing than any current pop starlet could ever halfway exude.  I’d encourage you to kick back, relax and forget that a certain “American Idol” (rather the people who wrote for a certain “American Idol”) flat out stole the bridge to this song and just enjoy it for what it is.


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