Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Peter, Bjorn & John :: Let's Call It Off

When you decided to knock on my door
Did you remember what happened before?
It just didn't sparkle, it just didn't grow
Some things are better to leave unexplored

Peter, Bjorn & John, "Let's Call It Off"

Time for some Swedish boy pop, replete with handclaps. In spite of being about a break-up, this should pick you up out of the doldrums of yesterday's rock-bottom desperation. In fact it's got quite a little kick for being a song about ending it all. These boys often wear suits and ties, dance-cute and make likeable pop that you can shake your hips to. They're touring the States right now and are joined by ex-Concretes singer Victoria Bergsman who awkwardly coos some back-up. They've been around awhile, this may be their 3rd CD? Anywho, it's a kick. Their initials are PBJ, which just makes me hungry for a sandwich. There is also an almost 8 minute-long dance remix of the song floating about on the internet now, if that's your sort of thing. One thing though: I thought that line from the song that goes "Some things are better to leave unexplored" was in fact: "Somethings look better inside of the store" — and I like my version better.

More about Peter, Bjorn & John :: Full lyrics to this song

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Ryan Adams :: Come Pick Me Up

Come pick me up - Take me out
F&*k me up
- Steal my records
Screw all my friends - They're all full of s&*t
With a smile on your face - And then do it again

Ryan Adams, "Come Pick Me Up"

The best Ryan Adams song, ever, in my opinion. A break-up song? I could be stretching the boundaries of the definition. But still, to me, it's a song about how someone has done him wrong, so very goddamn wrong. The aching pain in his voice, echoed by the innate pain of the harmonica, it all adds up to a fairly devastating ride. The record was called Heartbreaker after all. I don't know if this song will make you feel better after a break-up, it could make you feel a whole lot worse and perhaps even force you on a bender. It has that sort of bend. God, it hurts and I'm happy.

Ryan Adams :: Full lyrics to this song :: Video of Ryan performing it on Letterman

Monday, January 29, 2007

Caetano Veloso: Cry Me A River

You drove me, nearly drove me, out of my head
While you never shed a tear

Remember, I remember, all that you said

You told me love was too plebian

Told me you were through with me and...

Caetano Veloso, "Cry Me A River"

This song was the only hit for both songwriter Arthur Hamilton and the original singer, the wonderful Julie London. It's a goody, even if it does use the word plebian (or maybe because it uses the word plebian?) Lots of people have sung it since: Mari Wilson, Diana Krall, Diana Washington, Ray Charles, Shirley Bassey and, yes, the bearers of torchy goodness, Aerosmith.

This version, by popular Brazillian composer Caetano Veloso, is rich and thick and gorgeous and full of sophisticated contempt! Listen to how he says the word "loathe." Ohhh-wee. This man has recorded 50+ records, did the soundtracks for Almodovar's Talk to Her and the biopic movie Frida. In 2004 he released an all-English CD, his first, called A Foreign Sound, and this track is from that. The CD also contains some other gorgeous covers of old standards. As for this song: Well he's been dumped and now the dumper wants him back. His response? Go cry me a freaking river. Such a succinct sentiment.

The photo, above, is Caetano many years ago. Now he is a silver fox, no less hot, just wiser.

More about Caetano Veloso :: Buy this CD

Thursday, January 25, 2007

The Bird and the Bee: I'm A Broken Heart

All of our moments
have just become ailments
I'm haunted all of every day

The Bird and The Bee, "I'm A Broken Heart"

The title says it all, no? A lush lament for a love lost. The Bird and The Bee are Inara George on vocals Greg Kurstin on everything else. It's got Bacharach-like production with the gorgeous and ever-so-slightly slightly off-kilter vocals just round and full and pillowly. It's got pop-jazz horns and cling clang tambourine. This is from a brand new self-titled CD out on Blue Note. I highly recommend it and have to admit, most of it is applicable to Getting Over the Dork, with lots of tales of lost loves and missed steps.

The Bird and The Bee's MySpace page :: Buy the CD

Monday, January 22, 2007

Fiona Apple: Paper Bag

Hunger hurts, And I want him, so bad, oh it kills
Cause I know I'm a mess that he don't want to clean up
I got to fold because these hands are just too shaky to hold
Hunger hurts, starving works, when it costs too much to love

Fiona Apple, "Paper Bag" Live on VH1, 2006

We're doing video today. When she was nineteen and crawling around on the floor unhappily in her undies, I wasn't really a fan. And then I went to one of her shows (free tickets, wanted to see the opening band) and I heard this song and I was hooked. The longing in her voice is unmatched. You just know she's feeling everything she sings and then some. This particular song about wanting someone so badly can feel hot and bubbly in the gut if you are in fact feeling the same way at the time. This song starts so good: I was having a sweet fix of a daydream of a boy... And I love the line about the dove making a downward slope and how she thought it was a bird but crap, it's just a paper bag and poof! all her hope is dashed. File this in the "excrutiatingly painful wallowing of unrequitedness" category. This song is originally from 1999's When the Pawn... CD.

Here is a link to one more video of the same song, this one stripped down, just Fiona singing with Jon Brion on guitar. It's of good quality and just loverly.

Fiona Apple's official site :: Full lyrics to this song :: Her MySpace page

Friday, January 12, 2007

Jenny Owen Youngs: F*!k Was I

Love grows in me like a tumor
Parasite bent on devouring its host

I'm developing my sense of humor
Till I can laugh at my heart between your teeth

Till I can laugh at my face beneath your feet

Jenny Owen Youngs, "F*!k Was I"

You could look up "break-up song" in the encyclopedia and it wouldn't be unheard of to think there could be a picture of Jenny Owen Youngs. Her song, "F*!k was I," is a somber delight of wonderfully self-loathing lyrics, the kind we internalize in times of heartache, but don't say out loud. Everyone has asked themselves this question at some point or another, right? Jenny Owen Youngs also does this song with a little electronic beat in her other band, The Robot Explosion. I highly recommend this tune, even though it casually throws out the F-bomb every three seconds. Eh, it's just a word. This song was on the Showtime series "Weeds" and she has gotten herself a little record deal so you can't even buy her Batten The Hatches CD now, you're gonna have to wait till it comes out big time. She's a clever gal this one.

More about her :: Her MySpace Page

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Joni Mitchell: A Case of You

Oh you are in my blood like holy wine

Oh and you taste so bitter
but you taste so sweet

Oh I could drink a case of you

Joni Mitchell, "A Case of You"

One from the vault. Say what you will about Joni Mitchell (Hippie? Looney? Dated?) the woman could write a song with lyrics that stung in places that you didn't know were bit. I love how the title of this particular track implies she's got a problem, as in a case, of the guy in question, but when you hear the chorus she's intending case to be like a case of beer. Or rather both. And many more meanings. This song really represents a certain brand of heartache and longing you get from an unrequited love or casual relationship gone sour, but far more maturely than I ever could dream of. This particular song comes from the 1971 LP, Blue, arguably one of her best.

Other things you should know about Joni Mitchell: she's an accomplished painter, Led Zeppelin's "Going to California" is supposedly about Joni Mitchell, one of my favorite clothing lines is named for her album Ladies of the Canyon, Prince has expressed his extreme admiration for her (as has Bob Dylan, Mingus and a zillion others), she's an awesome guitarist in her own right, and she had um, relations, with many of the undeniably hot musical icons of the 70s. Hey, and she's a Canadian which has become an inadvertent theme to this blog.

All the lyrics to "Case of You" :: More about Joni Mitchell :: Buy Blue ::
Affairs Uglier Than Your Own

First off, I will give kudos to the painting, which I believe Brian did paint. But um, yuck! What is seemingly smart and very talented Evan Rachel Wood (who is 19!) doing with Manson and so quickly after he is served divorce papers? This is all kinds of wrong.

You know what else is all kinds of wrong? I know here I go on the gossip tip again, but ugh. Several years back Billy Crudup left his then- seven- months- pregnant girlfriend (the very cool Mary Louise Parker or Weeds) for much-younger-than-he, Stage Beauty co-star Claire Danes (who was attached to singer Ben Lee at the time). Now it appears the Crudup thing has cracked because she was caught messing with her Evening co-star Hugh Dancy (Prince Char of Ella Enchanted, at right), who is mega-cute and closer to her age, but according to reports, a big ol' boy-slut. Wow, when I gossip, I go off.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Tiga: (Far From) Home

My heart takes a hit,

And then my heart hits back

And each day I find comfort in the fact

I listen to my friends when they say
Man just relax, cause it's all a game

Tiga, "(Far From) Home"

Time for a little empowering dance music. This track from Tiga's May '06 release isn't a break-up song, exactly. But it is a call to believe in yourself, to muster up some self-importance, even when you're not totally feeling it. His reasoning? Because hey, you've always got a place called home. And by the by, I don't think "home" here has to mean that place you reside, although it could be. It's just talking about a center: your friends, your family, anything that makes you feel comfort and real and genuine and a-ok. This is ideal for mornings when you're hurting but you have to go on. You spin this tune, put on a little make-up and all the while you'll feel your spine straightening, your chin lifting. It will just put you in that can-do mood. Oh and this boy is from Canada— how I love the Canucks!

Buy the CD :: Full lyrics to "(Far From) Home"

Friday, January 05, 2007

Dita Kicks Marilyn to the Curb?

You know I have mixed feelings on the gossip. I wish I didn't enjoy hearing about other people's lives, but I kind of do. Honestly I don't wanna hear about the misery part of anyone's life at this point, but I don't think this is misery, I think this is just plain smart. Dita Von Teeze has come across, to me, as fairly intelligent, someone who has crafted a little niche for herself. Even if she did guest on Top Model this year. So, if this report is true, and she has walked out on creepy Brian Walker, well I say, hallelujah! Now go listen to some happy pop music Dita...

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Camera Obscura: Lloyd, I'm Ready To Be Heartbroken

Jealousy is more than a word now -- I understand

I know you can stay a girl by holding a boy’s hand

Camera Obscura, "Lloyd, I'm Ready To Be Heartbroken"

Back in 1984, British singer Lloyd Cole sang the question, "Are you ready to be heartbroken?" Fast forward many years and Glasgow band Camera Obscura replies with bittersweet joy and lithe layered girl vocals! The rest of this CD "Let's Get Out of This Country" is also sad sugar pop with jangly guitars and overly lush strings and the lyrics are sly and heart-breaking and funny, too. Anyway, despite it not being exactly a break-up song, it is a song about the power of music, which I think is just as applicable here and now as any kiss-off song.

All the lyrics :: Lloyd Cole lyrics :: More about Camera Obscura