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1412 tracks from USA have been recommended.
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Wonderful  performed by The Beach Boys  1966
Recommended by Yammer [profile]

By 1965, Brian Wilson's professional and personal lives were in such a state of constant panic that it was almost inevitable that he would turn to readily available forms of rock star relief. While his self-medication (and underlying mental illness) would ultimately render him into a poster boy for an imaginary DARE campaign, the early, merely marijuanic phase of his regimen yielded a brief but vivid string of almost absurdly gorgeous pop masterpieces. While a couple of these are permanently stamped into the forebrains of all radio listeners over a certain age ("God Only Knows," "Good Vibrations"), some remain almost unknown. Which brings us to "Wonderful," found on the Beach Boys box set, and remade a few years ago as part of the Don Was hagiography. It is a curious, brief (2 minutes) tune, austere in production (harpsichord and vocal) but staggeringly rich in harmonic interest. The melody evokes pure serenity and has no noticeable roots in any previous American pop style. Van Dyke Park's lyric is typically insane; what little one can make of it seems to dovetail with Wilson's growing religiousity, yet feels entirely physical, even pagan -- a sort of boy-loves-wood sprite nature idyll making the first movement of a really great ballet with set design by Maurice Sendak. Or something.


available on CD - Good Vibrations: Thirty Years of the Beach Boys (Capitol)


What You Don’t Want To Hear  performed by Sam Phillips  1992
Recommended by Yammer [profile]

The former Leslie Phillips once recorded songs sold in Christian supply stores, disguising (presumably) the moist, carnal, and otherwise unholy drives behind The Indescribable Wow, her first release on the in-retrospect-mildly-ironic Virgin label. At a time when those of us with unslaked appetites for well-crafted Beatlesque pop were having to suck it up and try to get into rap or grunge, The Indescribable Wow appeared like a shimmering beacon of joy. This track's music is as perky and sunny as the beginning of a summertime fling, while Phillips's yearning voice and cutting lyrics have the sad truthfulness of the ending of a summertime fling.

from The Indescribable Wow (Virgin)


Noah’s Dove  performed by 10,000 Maniacs  1992
Recommended by Yammer [profile]

For admirers of classic pop song construction, production, and performance, Noah's Dove is jaw-dropping in its perfection. The subtle piano hook, deep and dark chord changes, and the warm, dry-eyed, heartbreakingly acute singing grab your ears, while the lyrics (an unhurried, unsparing epitaph to a relationship with a cheating scumbag) clench your heart. The best part may be that it introduces Our Time In Eden, a collection of finely-crafted folk-pop songs that served as a worthy finale for the Maniacs.

from Our Time In Eden


Rhode Island Is Famous For You  performed by Blossom Dearie  1960
Recommended by FlyingDutchman1971 [profile]

A cute and amusing song from the 1948 musical, 'Inside USA', this song is perfect for Ms. Dearie's adorable voice. She swings thru a state-by-state list, hilighting what each state is famous for, at first on a factual basis, then going off in a whimsical frenzy with such phrases as, "Pencils, come from Pencil-vania, vests from Vest Virginia, and tents from Tent-essee, they know mink where they grow mink, in Wyomink, a camp chair in New Hampchair, that's for me!" I'm amazed that the Farelly Brothers haven't gotten this one to use in one of their films yet!

from Blossom Dearie, Soubrette, Sings Hit Broadway Songs (Verve MGV 2133)
available on CD - Blossom Dearie - Verve Jazz Masters 51 (Verve/Polygram 529906)


Slipping Through Your Fingertips  performed by The Saturday People  2001
Recommended by LawrenceM [profile]

A brilliant pop song which reminds me in equal parts of the 60s pop of The Zombies or The Lovin' Spoonful, and also of 80s indie like New Zealand's Sneaky Feelings and Scotland's Orange Juice.

from The Saturday People, available on CD


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