Vienna Teng: The Atheist Christmas Carol
Reading the title, I thought it was "angel-like", i.e. like an angel, but I hear something like "an-jay-lee-kay", i.e. Angelique. I got it from a collection called simply Music from Kenya.
Although it's a straightforward love song with no political, social, or religious content at all, the title of this song caught my eye as somehow appropriate to the political moment. In any case it's a nice '60s-girl-group kind of song.
I discovered more or less by accident, while looking for a video for the song, that A Camp is the solo project of Nina Persson, a member of The Cardigans, a group of whom I've often heard good things but to my knowledge have never actually heard.
I don't know if I would like this song as much if it weren't for those first two drum hits. You may not get it if you're not listening on a good system or with good headphones, but they're HUGE. Not really as huge in the YouTube sound as in the mp3, though.
Warning: the refrain makes prominent use of "g--d---". I doubt they really mean it or understand what it means, as indeed most of us don't most of the time.
See the first comment for a surprising fact about these two young women.
If I had heard this without knowing who it was, I'd have said it was Pentangle (minus Jacqui McShee, plus violin and a bit of piano), or perhaps Bert Jansch on his own.
This one really should have been a hit.
Louder than last week's:
Still another "Samson and Delilah" variant. I love Patty Griffin, but when I first heard this one I didn't like it that much. But it grew on me.
I still like Ashley Cleveland's better, though. Older folks may remember that Peter, Paul, and Mary also recorded the song under the "If I Had My Way" title. To my taste it sounds a little on the awful side now.
I don't care for the video at all--it's not offensive, I just don't like it--but I like the song. Consider hitting play and then walking away from the computer (or putting down the phone).
This is one of those songs that make me think there might be something wrong with anyone who doesn't like it. If there is such a person. I don't even know what she's saying. I get a few words: sunlight, creation, love. I didn't know until I watched the video that the chorus is spelling out "amorcito" ("ah eemay oh..."), which apparently means something like "darling" or "sweetheart." I wonder if she's talking about that child on the bike rather than a lover. It probably wouldn't be too hard to find a translation.
I don't especially recommend the video. The song (?) is featured in the delightful little movie 10 Items Or Less.
Unlike most of the songs in this series, this one is from an album I've purchased. If I remember correctly, this was a freebie, and I bought the album on the strength of it. And while this did turn out to be my favorite song on the album, most of the rest is very good, too.
I've been a subscriber to eMusic.com for a ridiculous length of time--close to 15 years. For much of that time the company has offered a free download every day. And for much of that time I downloaded every one without listening to the samples first, missing only the days that I happened not to be online for some reason. This quickly got out of control, as they accumulated much faster than I could listen to them and decide whether I liked them or not.
A few years ago I got more selective, and listened to the samples first, skipping those which didn't seem like my sort of thing. That reduced the influx greatly. At the same time, I made an effort to listen to them within a few weeks of acquiring them, and flagged the ones I really liked with four stars in the program I use for listening to music on the computer (JRiver's Media Center). Media Center's ratings actually go from one to five stars. Four stars mean I like it a lot. The five-star rating is reserved for the really great. I haven't used it very much.
I put these tracks in a playlist called Four-Star Singles. I call them singles because I acquired them as single tracks, and for the most part never bought the album from which they're taken, so they play the role of the 45rpm singles of old, and also because many of them are catchy in the way that singles were supposed to be. Others just happen to fit some quirk of my taste. I have hundreds of them.
That song I posted last week, "Calvary" by Chris Bathgate, is a recent addition to the four-star list, and it occurred to me that I should pass along more of them. That bit of extra publicity is the least I can do in return for the enjoyment they've given me. I'll try to do this on the weekends, as I have something of a tradition of posting music on weekends.
I'm sorry to say that in very few of these instances have I sought out more music by the artists. There's just too much of it. I often hear people, most often nostalgic baby-boomers, complain that there's no good pop music being made today. There's actually quite a lot, more than anyone except a music journalist can keep up with. You just don't hear it all over the place the way you used to (unless, I suppose, you live in some ultra-hip place like Austin). I was about to say you have to seek it out, but it's not that you have to work at it, really. Just keep an eye on publications where it's discussed, like, for instance, American Songwriter. Despite its name, it's really more of a music-fan magazine than a how-to for songwriters, but its emphasis is very much on artists who write good songs, not the garish pop stars who get the mainstream attention.
I like the big Phil-Spector-ish sound of this one.
I mean, doesn't that really deserve to be on the radio? Is there still radio?