Tuesday, January 18, 2011

This Week's Playlist

Not that I am casting about for a theme for each week, but I try to have something that links the songs together.  This week, I pulled out the common theme of music I discovered or found in 2010.  That is not to say that every song was released in 2010 (although a majority of them are), but it is music that I got in 2010.  Some of these songs come from the Free Weekly download from iTunes (which I very much encourage).  Most of the stuff on the free download is pretty mainstream, but still worth the fact that some are duds (to me) and some are hidden little gems that I might not have discovered otherwise.

  1. Synchronicity II by Queensryche.  This song is taken from their 2007 album of cover tunes.  The Police classic is a bit harder edge in keeping with their metal roots, but of all the Police songs, this is one that fits a metal band very well.  The guitar work on this song is brilliant and the deeper bass of Geoff Tate deftly replaces Sting's vocal range.
  2. I'm Bad by The Last Vegas.  Straight forward rock and roll with a metal edge.  The chorus rocked me when I first heard the song, but when you listen to the lyrics, you can get a sense that these are not one-dimensional rockers.
  3. The High Road by The Broken Bells.  I love bands that put some thought into their lyrics and they certainly did, but I was torn about including this song because I am not a fan of the instrumentation and arrangement, but it is a solid song from a band that is on the right path musically.
  4. Caravan by Rush.  I have been a Rush fan for, well, decades.  Geddy Lee's singing has matured, Neil Peart can still write the lyrics and Alex Lifson can still make a guitar sing.  Into their fourth decade of music making and the Canadian trio can still deliver.  Not their best song ever, but a very good song.
  5. Behind the Sun by Living Colour.  Vernon Reid and the boys certainly deliver on this disk.  This song stands out a bit more for me because of the guitar riff, which is much cleaner than you often hear from Reid, whose work with Living Colour is often more gravelly.  The melody as sung by Corey Glover delivers as well.
  6. Around My Head by Cage the Elephant.  A retro-punk feel to the music and lyric delivery appeal to me This song is courtesy of the iTunes free download recently.  The song is growing more on me by the listen.
  7. All I Want by A Day to Remember.  The band sounds a bit familiar, kind of like early Offspring with a little less quirkiness. The riff is basic, the drums solid and the melody a little catchy.  They may not fully take off, but A Day to Remember has put together a solid effort.
  8. Run Back To Your Side by Eric Clapton.  The greatness that is Clapton and his blues infused rock is apparent.  He has been doing this so long, it is hard to believe that he can still be so fresh in his work.
  9. Strong Medicine by Patty Reese.  Reese appeared at a free outdoor show at my wife's theater and I was immediately impressed.  Reese brings the blues somewhat like Bonnie Raitt, but without the heavy guitar.
  10. Don't Stop the Music by Jamie Cullum.  If you like your jazz with great lyrics and a fun time apparent in the music, then Cullum is your guy.  The chorus is brilliant and the musicianship classy.  Cullum is crossing a little into the pop side of music and this song will show you why.  
  11. Littleworth Lane by Joe Satriani.  Satriani is by far one of my favorite artists (I think one of his songs has appeared in just about everyone one of my weekly playlists).  On his latest album, Black Swans and Wormhole Wizards, he has really expanded his repetoire of genres and this song is blues guitar through and through.  The song doesn't try to overwhelm you with a flurry of notes and that is teh appeal because blues guitar doesn't either.
  12. Take Off the Blues by the Foreign Exchange (feat. Darien Brockington), another iTunes freebie but this song took a while to grow on me.  The groove is mellow and the feel melodic.  The lyrics are decent but I think it is the rather basic musicianship that bothered me most.  Not quite a guilty pleasure, but pleasurable nonetheless.
  13. Bulletproof by La Roux.  Dance music is not my thing, as I like something more than just a peppy beat or simple lyrics.  But the lyrical quality in this song is truly solid, although La Roux's voice is a little to bright for the song, but I like the melody and the beat is accomplished not through heavy bass, but by the crafty use of synthesizers.
  14. Love is Dead by The Lovemakers.  A surprisingly up tempo song for such a dreary topic.  A duet that melds the two voices together well.  
  15. Animal by Neon Trees.  A stripped down basic beat song with a brilliant melody laid down on top without a lot of flash and over the top arrangement.  The lyrics are not a good as I think they could be, but that is simple a personal taste.
  16. Think Like a Man by Orianthi.  I am a big fan of this woman (maybe it is the guitar or the Aussie accent or both).  While her guitar work is good, this song definitely shows some songwriting chops and a bit of sardonic side as well.
  17. Trinity by Paper Tongues.  The melody caught my attention immediately on hearing this song.  A mesmerizing cycle backed by a chorus that emphasizes rather than clashes with the stanzas by keeping the same kind of familiar melody in place.
  18. Keep on Lovin' You by Steel Magnolia.  Although I have gotten much more country over the past year, this song resonated a bit more than others.  A solid song with  a terrific duet, more of a rock beat that most country.  Although to be fair, country is not a label that really fits this band.
  19. Represent by Weezer.  The unofficial anthem of the U.S. Men's National Team written for the World Cup in South Africa by Rivers Cuomo, I can see the Jonathan Bornstein goal in my head from the lead-in clip and a personal little highlight reel in my head.
  20. Maybe by Sick Puppies.  An inspirational song wrapped in solid rock music, an odd band name and brilliantly delivered.  I just love this song.

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