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You searched for ‘lyrical’, which matched 62 songs.
click - person recommending, year, performer, songtitle - to see more recommendations.
6060-842  performed by The B-52s  1979
Recommended by rum [profile]

The lyrical theme of ‘6060-842’ seems pretty mundane for the B-52s. Tina goes to the ladies room, sees a phone number scrawled on the wall, and so decides to ring it. Hmm… doesn’t sound like it’s gonna be a tale the measure of “the time our car was hijacked by the devil” and the like. Still this IS the B-52s, and recognisably so, “if you’d like a very nice time, just give this number a call” reads the unlikely graffiti. So something must happen. The band are optimistic too, bouncing along excitedly on a jumpy new wave rhythm. Tina, we reckon, is much like the band. She lives for wild parties and crazy adventures. This 6060-842 could be just the ticket. “Oh my gawd! I’m gonna give that there number a ring. You see if I don’t!” So she drops a dime in the phone slot and, “prays she gets the line.” She’s biting her lip, stabbing her nails into her finger tips, “come on… come ON!!!”

But pause a moment. Is she really so naïve? Does she really think a “really nice time” awaits her? In the gnarled and weather beaten hands of a social realist singer-songwriter, the number 6060-842 would lead to abuse, to prostitution, and ultimately, to death. In the hands of the B-52s? I don’t know, you tell me. A debauched toga party in a 1950s vision of the future…? Well, it’s neither. It’s just a brilliant anti-climax. You see Tina and the B-52a might be deranged, but the world they live in is not. It’s bloody typical. She dials 6060-842, and can’t get through! “The number’s been disconnected…” monotones the operator. But Tina won’t accept this, no, and neither will the band. They can’t end the track with Tina accepting the disappointment with a sigh of weary resignation, “ah well, nevermind… maybe next time.” No, no, this anti-climax has worked them up into an angry frenzy. Ricky Wilson vents his frustration with viscious slashes of electric guitar whilst Tina just keeps dialing and dialing, and getting rebuffed and rebuffed, “HELLO!!!” “sorry…” The track probably ends with them all smashing up the phone box. A superb, and much over-looked track.

from The B-52s, available on CD


America  performed by Simon & Garfunkel  1968
Recommended by LawrenceM [profile]

In my opinion, the best S&G song, from their '68 masterpiece "Bookends". Lyrically beautiful, with a haunting melody and beautiful vocals care of Artie and Paul. A beautiful, soothing song for a turbulant time.

from Bookends, available on CD (Columbia)




  phil: DEFINITELY the best Simon and Garfunkel song - Paul at last raises himself to some excellent lyrics , and the singing is just sensational - when they sing 'so I looked at the scenery/ she read her magazines/ and the moon rose over an open field' tears spring to my eyes.

Seriously, people diss Art Garfunkel, but the man is truly a singing genius. It's all very well to go on about the importance of writing blah blah blah second most talented member of Simon and Garfunkel blah blah blah, but when you can sing as well as Art, what does it matter? He adds so much to their songs just with the beauty of his voice. Paul should never have got rid of him.

  G400 Custom: Nice to see someone standing up for Art Garfunkel's often wonderful singing. His 1978 album 'Watermark' is largely composed of Jimmy Webb songs and is well worth a listen, particularly 'Mr Shuck'n'Jive' and 'Shine It On Me'.
Amoureuse  performed by Kiki Dee  1973
Recommended by john_l [profile]

This is a fabulous, lush, orchestrated ballad sung from the point of view of a woman who is totally in love ... the only unusual thing is that it is very serious and sombre, rather in opposition to the lyrical intent. Vastly superior to her forgettable mid-'70s pop hits like "I've Got The Music In Me". Oh, and a different set of lyrics by somebody named Dahlstrom enabled the wretched Helen Reddy to have another hit named "Emotion" -- same melody, but an absolute piece of rubbish. This just proves that a song's worth comes from the arrangement more than anything else ...

There are a number of CDs available which contain this song.


available on CD - Greatest Hits


Areas  performed by New Musik  1981
Recommended by Mike [profile]

A song about personal body space. I know that this doesn't exactly sound electrifying, but the song itself does. In fact the whole album this is from is filled with fantastic lyrically unorthodox songs, most of which are extremely good.

During this very skilfully constructed song, we hear some of the most lyrical, expressive sounds ever to be played on synths. We hear that slightly strange vocal performance style that makes a virtue out of sounding uncool - but it's always very musical.

Tony Mansfield is an absolute musical genius and innovator. After the three new Musik albums, he went on to produce A-ha's first album and a few records for other artists, but never seems to have had the recognition Trevor Horn recieved. I wonder what he's doing now...

from Anywhere, available on CD


Blues Jumped A Rabbit  performed by Bonnie Dobson  196?
Recommended by jeanette [profile]

Not usually a great folk lover but this has such a beauty to it. In terms of texture its flawless, swinging between the fluctuating notes of Dobson and two guitars. A very pure sound darkened in a positive way by Dobson's lyrical treatments.

Certainly one to put on if you wake up in the middle of the night.

from Dear Companion (Prestige 14007)



Boogaloo Baby  performed by Johnny Zamot and his Latinos  1965
Recommended by delicado [profile]

My experience of Boogaloo, a style to which I'm quite new, has been varied. In short, I love some of it and don't quite get the rest. The key to me seems to be the right instrumental and percussive blend, and vocals that don't dominate too much.

Although it sounds quite generic, this track manages to satisfy me on the criteria above. From a very lucky thrift store find (this album is up there with James Brown's 'Black Caesar' among my top bargains ever), this opens with a nice solid groove, featuring saxophone, brass and layered, relentless percussion. The vocals seem pretty much off-the-cuff - the main 'Boogaloo baby - baby baby do the boogaloo' is joined by a mixture of muttered Spanish and screaming. The attraction of this song is really the texture - it can't really claim any musical or lyrical sophistication. But the instrumentation and groove are really first rate.

from The Latin Soul of... (Decca DL-74838)



Champagne And Caviar  performed by Elegant Taste  1975
Recommended by DJJimmyBee [profile]

Lush, with strings, mid 70's sweet soul group ballad...Lyrically about the proverbial lunch box/hard hat guy on the job singin' 'bout the love he's gonna bring home to his gyrrrrl

from only on 45



clair  performed by Singers Unlimited  1975
Recommended by klatu [profile]

A nice a capella version of my favorite Gilbert O'Sullivan song, in a very full arrangement reminiscent of the Swingle Singers, with whom they share a member. Lyrically, the song is an antidote to the sleazy feeling I get from Rod Stewart's "tonight's the night". I used to think they shared a theme of pedophilia until I listened closer. I got this on a Japanese collection put together by Toru Hashimoto, probably the greatest compiler ever. He puts together all the Cafe Apres Midi (perfect!) and Free Soul (quite nice) collections. They can be had for $25 a pop from the Dusty Groove site, which seems high for a single disc, but they are all close to eighty minutes and packed with great songs which have lead me to several thousands of dollars worth of related purchases in the last few years. Gilbert O'Sullivan's stuff is worth looking into if you have an ear for it, and there is a nice cheap two disc collection on JVC Japan.

from A Capella II (MPS)
available on CD - MPS for Apres-midi Grand Cru (MPS/Jasrac (Japan))


Dance Girl Dance  performed by Cinerama  1998
Recommended by john_l [profile]

Dave Gedge, main man in long-time British alternative band The Wedding Present, decided to do something a bit different in the latter part of the 1990s, so he enlisted girlfriend Sally Murrell and a number of musical friends and put out some really good material under the name Cinerama. The purpose was to do some less noisy, more classic-pop oriented tunes, and it worked like a charm! This track, their second single, is a sprightly '60s-influenced number, which means it's mega-tightly produced and has the rhythm guitars at the back of the mix where they belong. It also has a nifty string and piano arrangement. Lyrically it's a fantasy about a girl he wants very badly (not in real life presumably). The song is on my '90s top ten list for sure!


available on CD - Va Va Voom (spinART)


Darby And Joan  performed by Twinkle  1969
Recommended by jeanette [profile]

It's a situation we can all imagine ourselves in - an ex-partner is getting married, we're invited, we get drunk and embarrassing at the reception. Twinkle, aka posh girl Lynn Ripley (who went to school with Camilla Parker-Bowles!) is a lyrical genius and this unbelievably good little number was relegated to the B-side of her final 60's single, Micky.

This song contains one of my favourite song lyrics ever. Pondering why they split up, Twinkle admits it was because she wouldn't have sex with him until they were married and says "it was a woman that he wanted, not a lady". How great is that? I thought she was going to say "...not a girl" first time I heard it and was taken aback by the simple brilliance of that turnaround.

Plus, well an American friend has nicknamed me Twinkle because I'm her favourite Brit-girl and I can live with that.

from B side to 'Micky' 45 (Instant IN 005)
available on CD - Golden Lights (RPM)



  skippedparts: Wow. I really want to find this song now. Great recommendation!
Didn’t Know The Time  performed by The Staccatos  1968
Recommended by john_l [profile]

From Ottawa, the Staccatos were Canada's best pop band of the 1960s and, with the possible exception of Strange Advance, still their best ever. This song is a bit of a clone of their biggest hit, 1967's "Half Past Midnight", right down to the lyrical preoccupation with time, but it's still worth a listen if you like that late-'60s "summer pop" sound, because its production is pretty tight and it has several neat little tricks like the best pop songs do. The flip side is called "We Go Together Well" and it's pretty good too, with its fuzzy guitars (or is it the bass?) ...

All of these tracks mentioned here were found on a 1969 LP called "Five Man Electrical Band", which is what the Staccatos had changed their name to. The LP contains both sides of the "It Never Rains On Maple Lane" / "Private Train" release which was the first under that name, but subsequent material followed a musical change of direction to what I would call "swamp rock" after that ghastly "Joy To The World" by Three Dog Night (ugh!), although "Signs" and "I'm A Stranger Here" at least had some lyrical smarts ... a CD of this stuff has been released but unfortunately the Staccatos material has not, apart from "Half Past Midnight" which showed up on a best-of-Canadian compilation.

from Five Man Electrical Band (Capitol)


Do I Scare You  performed by Shakespear’s Sister  1996
Recommended by OneCharmingBastard [profile]

One of the finest moments of she-glam ever, Siobhan Fahey's long-buried-but-about-to-be-unearthed-for-reconsideration third Shakespear's Sister record has many harrowing moments of brilliance, but none moreso than "Do I Scare You". Opening with a swirl of Eastern-cum-goth keyboards, boasting "there goes the year/in doctors bills and sleeping pills", Fahey's voice squeaks, snipes, and snarls throughout, ultimately climaxing on the verge of pumping lyrical lead into a deserving partner (and listener) by the final bridge. I can't think of a celebrity meltdown on disc that was ever this catchy.

from Shakespear's Sister (SF)
available on CD - The Best Of Shakespear's Sister (London/Warner)


dry drunk emperor  performed by TV on the Radio  2005
Recommended by stoneworks [profile]

This song makes me want to be a proud american. It's definitely the finest antiwar song I've ever heard. It perfectly sums up my feelings about the bush administration and it conjures up the revolutionary spirit that must have been swirling around before the birth of our country.
That being said, I'm not usually that drawn towards protest songs per se. But this one grabs my attention with its drumcorps-like rhythm and its chanted vocal delivery with many layered voices. The guitar work is incredibly moving dynamic and textural. The meandering flute soloing echoes the lyrical call to "grab your fife and drum!" and then carries the song off into the sunset.
Of course, the lyrics are the most mind-blowing element when you pick them apart. After two poetically scathing verses describing the idiocy of empire, the third verse imagines the unapologetic uprising of the people. I highly recommend downloading the lyrics and getting familiar on that level. Powerful song!!!!

from released as single (Interscope)


Duel  performed by Propaganda  1984
Recommended by Mike [profile]

More first rate synthesizer music from the 1980s. The album also features a remixed/re-recorded version "Jewel". Catchy. Unfortunately this line-up only recorded this one "proper" album plus an album of remixes before splitting up. The album is excellent almost throughout, the band's slightly artsy aesthetic conveyed lyrically and through mixing atmospheric chordal writing, inventive instrumentation/production and some almost industrial-sounding beats. Kraftwerk were never remotely this musically interesting. Propaganda were also better looking...

from A Secret Wish, available on CD (ZTT)



  audioadventures: Another one of my all time favourites. The extended 12" is outstanding.
English Sunset  performed by The Moody Blues  1999
Recommended by elfslut [profile]

The opening track to 1999's Strange Times CD. Justin Hayward lyrically explores what it means to be British.

from Strange Times


Everyday I Write the Book  performed by Elvis Costello  1983
Recommended by geezer [profile]

In which Costello lands the role of Smokey Robinson,a bittersweet lament to the unluckiest man in love in the style of The Miracles at their best,the usual lyrical brilliance assisted by the wonderfully eclectic Attractions,a pop masterpiece in the form of homage to one of his own idols

from Punch The Clock
available on CD - Punch the Clock


Fato Consumado  performed by Djavan  1976
Recommended by PappaWheelie [profile]

Samba do Brasil that demonstrates how 3 different lyrical rhythms can make a wonderful tapestry.

from A Voz e o Violão (Gala)
available on CD - Flor de Lis (Warner)



friends of mine  performed by adam green  2002
Recommended by olli [profile]

uplifting, string-laden, lyrically abstract modern indie-pop. i think adam green`s strenght as a songwriter lies in his ability to combine bizarre random lines of text and catchy, but sophisticated melodies to something that`s bigger than the sum of its parts. that`s why i prefer his latest work to what he did back in the moldy peaches, the more well-produced sound really helps to balance out things. the strings on this song, for instance, is what makes it a slice of near-perfect sunshine pop. i really need to get around to actually buying this album soon..

from friends of mine


granite state destroyer  performed by scissorfight  1999
Recommended by angelica [profile]

scissorfight are probably the heaviest band i've ever seen... their songs are incredibly intense, with deep, grinding bass lines, slow, thundering drums and aggressive vocals. granite state destroyer could be their theme song - it embodies both their musical aesthetic and their lyrical philosophy...

"weed, guns and axes / we don't pay our taxes / 'cause we don't exist / on any government list / ... / our battle cry / live free or die"

this is the song that hooked me on the band, and every time i hear the heavy yet pared-down opening riffs my tailbone starts shakin' and i can't stop.

from New Hampshire, available on CD


Here I Dreamt I Was An Architect  performed by The Decemberists
Recommended by karismaklysm [profile]

Its a great track to introduce you to this band with their lyrical flourish and amazing images.




Hey  performed by Julio Iglesisas  1982
Recommended by geezer [profile]

Ive only ever heard this sung in spanish and lyrically this beautiful piece of orchestrated balladry means nothing,However its hard not to be touched by the emotion of his frail almost thin voice .A friend of my wife heard this once and exclaimed "i dont know what the F--k he singing about but its so beautiful!!.As concise and accurate description if ever i heard one .

from Hey!, available on CD


Home Of The Brave  performed by Bonnie & The Treasures  1963
Recommended by john_l [profile]

The best of the lesser-known "wall of sound" productions from ace producer Phil Spector in the early 1960s. Many people think it's Veronica singing, and indeed it does sound most like the Ronettes, although it's not quite as awe-inspiring as their strongest track "Baby I Love You". I do love the rising strings in the background on the way into the chorus. Lyrically, it's in the "He's A Rebel" vein.


available on CD - Phil Spector's Flips And Rarities



  kwan_dk: Indeed a great song and a terriffic production. The only problem is that it's supposedly not produced by Spector, but by a young aspiring songwriter/producer named Jerry Riopelle who was assigned to Philles Records at the time. Riopelle himself has acknowledged this and other evidence seems to indicate he's right. As for Veronica singin lead, it has been established that the girl in question was a singer called Charlotte O'Hara, as far as I recall...
Indian Ocean  performed by Field Mice  1990
Recommended by delicado [profile]

A beautiful guitar pop track, with superbly recorded 12 string and electric guitars, and an immaculately serious, yet shy vocal. Hearing it now, I'm amazed at how well this track has aged. To me, the beauty of the song lies more in the intricacy of its guitar parts than any musical or lyrical innovation. The guitar playing recalls the best indie guitar music of the 80s, particularly Johnny Marr. I remember seeing the band not long after this record came out. The guitarist seemed very shy, and faced the side of the stage, staring into his Rickenbacker. To cap all of this brilliance, this song features a superb fake ending, after which the instrumental refrain comes back in for a final few glorious moments.

from So Said Kay (Sarah Records SARAH 38)
available on CD - Where'd You Learn To Kiss That Way? (Shinkansen Recordings)




  farawayfriend: The field mice are one of the great unknown pop bands... a truly gorgeous song by an amazing artist.
Isadora  performed by Illusion  1977
Recommended by john_l [profile]

This track kicks off the first album by the Jane Relf - Jim McCarty - John Hawken group which arose from the ashes of Renaissance when the latter was taken over by the Camp / Dunford / Thatcher cabal after a couple of LPs (that's not a knock at Renaissance by the way!). "Isadora" is interesting because although it's almost seven minutes long and doesn't have a great deal of lyrical content, it does have a wonderfully frosty mood to it (all those minor chords will do that) and I love some of the piano riffs that fall in behind the lines of singing. And its frostiness makes a remarkable contrast to the sultry "Face Of Yesterday" (q.v.) from the same album!

from Out Of The Mist, available on CD


It’s Cool Not To Care  performed by Mark and the No-Marks  1988
Recommended by rum [profile]

The late eighties wasn’t the ideal time for Mark & The No-Marks’ deranged hybrid of English folk, free jazz and ghost puppetry, but there never has been an ideal time. Exclamation Mark, dressed up in his ridiculous David Crosby-esque green cape, refused to pander to contemporary fashions and trends, and even seem to resent any acclaim or approval, as if it was a sign that he was doing something wrong. This may explain why he hated this live favourite, scornfully introducing it at shows as “our sell-out”.

I chose the track not only because it’s the only thing that was ever officially released (along with its b-side, an utterly spastic reworking of the Monkees’ Theme called ‘March of the No-Marks’ replete with Tube station announcements- “this is the Bakerloo line service to Elephant & Castle”- and girls yelling, “Mark NO! No MARK!!!” at the singer) but it is also by far the best thing they ever did. And it was still far, far from sell-out material (it barely sold any). It is the only No-Mark record you need to hear. All of their less grating eccentricities are here, the schizophrenic dialogues, the lyrical obsessions with pylons and German bunkers, the shoddy jazz drumming, the demonic chanting, the cackling, the mewing (!), but this time it’s all held together by an ace nagging riff, and a supremely warped and swashbuckling chorus where an increasingly unhinged mark sneers, “it’s cooool not to care, sooo cooool not to care…” before he eventually loses all sense entirely and barks breathlessly, “NOT NOT, it’s not sooo care! COOL!!!”

Mark of course was incensed that their label released it as a single and vowed never to “bow to the pound” again. And as a result retired to his studio cave, muttering that their forthcoming album, “a didactic concept album about animal reincarnation” would be their most progressive work yet. And disastrous. If the rumours are true ‘My Family Are Other Animals’ was abandoned after a record company executive visited the studio, described the tapes as “utter utter shit”, and then tried to throttle Mark with a microphone cable.





  n-jeff: This would be your band perhaps?
I think I recognise the attempt to write about ones own music.

  rum: good guess, but not my band no. i'm much too young. just used know a couple of No-Marks. local heroes/weirdos about town. they were very resentful of the whole experience, so i thought i'd give them their small dues.
  Gnasher: Was this the same Mark from 'Mark and the Monsters' infamy? I saw them once, in a mirror. Their sound made me want to pull my brain out through my ears and beat myself about the head with it. Shame, really, they looked really mad.
  rum: No, Gnasher, what you see in a mirror is a very troubled and confused soul, who needs alot of care and attention. Unfortunately musicaltaste.com is not the place.
  gnasher: Be nice!
Just for a moment  performed by Aqualung  2002
Recommended by Mike [profile]

Beautiful and intense song, musically and lyrically. The breathy and sometimes nasal vocal sound won't suit everyone, but the melody itself is of undoubted beauty, and the arpeggiated piano backing (shades of Bach and Chopin at times) contains a good dose of this writer's usual harmonic subtlety.

from Aqualung, available on CD


Just Melancholy  performed by Roy Montgomery  1994
Recommended by LawrenceM [profile]

A beautiful, melodic ode to sadness, from reclusive New Zealand guitar genius Roy Montgomery. (His first band, The Pin Group, released the first ever single on the now-legendary Flying Nun Records.) Lyrically and melodicly, this song would fit neatly into the canon of either Joy Division or The Smiths, although Monthgomery's beautiful guitar playing owes more to Tom Verlaine than Johnny Marr. Probably the best sad song ever written by a New Zealander .... maybe anyone.

from 324 E. 13th Street #7, available on CD


Lark’s tongues in aspic parts 1 & 2  performed by King Crimson  1974
Recommended by Maximum_Bygraves [profile]

ok, so it's two tracks, and can't really be called a song, very prog in its construction, real whisper to a scream stuff and some of Robert Fripps finest work, lyrical and savage. Fantasticaly clean production as well. Reminds me of slint. the marimba intro to the first track's a bit unneccesary though.

from Larks tongues in aspic


Liberation  performed by Pet Shop Boys  1993
Recommended by Mike [profile]

Lush electronica from the masters of the art. In the early 1990s, the Pet Shop Boys produced some of the finest electronic pop ever heard. This lyrical, optimistic song is a superb example. "Your love is liberation".

from Very, available on CD


Lost  performed by Morrissey  1997
Recommended by MickeyPeas [profile]

"Jet trails in the sky, leave one word behind". This amazing Morrissey track is the "b" side of his "Roy's Keen" single (along with another wonderful track "The Edges Are No Longer Parallel"). Co-written this time with Morrissey's drummer Spencer Cobrin, it's so strong lyrically, and has a wonderful melody it could have been a single in its own right. The only gripe I have about it is the use of a synth rather than real strings to provide the widescreen backdrop, but it's not terribly important. A wonderful torch song from one of the only British singer/songwriters still worth listening to.


available on CD - Roy's Keen (single) (Island)


Love Like Semtex  performed by Rialto  1997
Recommended by Mike [profile]

Masterful. Beautiful arrangement, building up very effectively as the song progresses. Lyrically eloquent, with a brooding anger which betrays the influence of Elvis Costello, and is none the worse for it. Why on earth didn't this band have more commercial impact? The album is very stylistically varied and interesting. (Perhaps I just answered my own question).

from Rialto, available on CD


Maybe After He’s Gone  performed by The Zombies  1968
Recommended by delicado [profile]

'Odessey and Oracle' is an album that lives up to the hype. Of all the brilliant songs it contains, this is probably my favorite.

The basic lyrical idea - the rather pathetic hope that maybe if the guy just waits a while, his lover's new squeeze will leave and she'll take him back - is quite compelling, and the heartfelt vocals are very appealing. It's a short track, miserable as hell, but a winner!

from Odessey and Oracle, available on CD



Minha Gente  performed by Erasmo Carlos  1972
Recommended by gregcaz [profile]

Virtually every song on the utterly incredible parent LP is worthy of a separate entry, but I'll just go with this folksy-cum-spaced-out rumination on the way he identifies with the people he surrounds himself with, musically reminiscent of Pink Floyd in the best possible way. Great playing by various Azymuth and Som Imaginario members.
The dateline in the album's title, by the way, is a reference to the time period Erasmo had experienced from birth up to the album's release, he's fortunately still with us!

from Sonhos e Memorias 1941-1972 (Polydor)


Mr Wilson  performed by John Cale   1975
Recommended by geezer [profile]

The Mr Wilson in question is Beach Boy Brian, a rather obvious lyrical homage,musically speaking its a whole differnt ball game ,a sutle pop song with a great chorus which improves with repeated listens ,its sound is closer to the prog pop of Genesis or Supertramp and of course Brian Eno who aided and assisted on this fine track from a fine album Slow Dazzle.

from Slow Dazle
available on CD - Slow Dazzle


Natural Beauty   performed by Neil Young  1992
Recommended by flange1515 [profile]

Great song from his later years very lyrical




Not the girl you think you are  performed by Crowded House  1996
Recommended by Mike [profile]

A slow waltz which is almost a Lennon pastiche but still a great example of Neil Finn's trademark combination of clever lyric and lyrical melody.

from Recurring Dream, available on CD


Ordinary Joe  performed by Terry Callier  1972
Recommended by bobbyspacetroup [profile]

I came to Callier's music via arranger/producer Charles Stepney and delicado's recommendation of a Stepney-produced Ramsey Lewis track -- "Julia".

Well, Callier's "Ordinary Joe" (produced by Stepney) is a great track which I listen to over and over.

Of all the tracks I've recommended, this is probably the only one I would recommend by virtue of lyrical content alone: "Now politicians all try to speech you / Mad color watchers all try to teach you / Very few will really try to reach you / If you're lost in a stack / That's OK, come on back." Great stuff.

Thankfully the musical content is also very good. Kind of a pop-jazz style tightly arranged from Stepney. I say tightly, but it never really comes across that way. It really has a pretty breezy and organic sound.

Also, look for an earlier version on Callier's "First Light" which is a bit more mellow, but at least as good as the Stepney-produced version. Maybe better in some ways...

from Occasional Rain, available on CD




  konsu: Brilliant! I love his What Color Is Love LP too.
Paper Thin Hotel  performed by Leonard Cohen  1977
Recommended by delicado [profile]

This sounds very different from most of what I've recommended. In fact, there are days when I wouldn't want to listen to this song at all. It is pretty incredible, however. I like it both for its remarkable mood and instrumentation (this is a Phil Spector production), and for its lyrical content (a melancholic but resigned tale, remembering a love affair). Leonard sings 'A heavy burden lifted from my soul/I learned that love was out of my control', with a reverb effect on his voice, accompanied by a sweet string arrangement and a faint, echoey backing choir. His delivery is casual, yet committed - a style that definitely influenced Nick Cave.

from Death of a Ladies' Man, available on CD


Phone Tap  performed by The Firm  1997
Recommended by lionson76 [profile]

Gangsta rap hit its peak in the early 90's on the West Coast with Dr. Dre and Snoop Dee Oh Double Gee. Since then, it's been all downhill for the genre and it's playas. However, while some may say gangsta rap is dead, Dr. Dre and his disciples have managed to keep it alive since the foundation of Deathrow Records began to crumble. For "Phone Tap", Dre laid down yet another phat track this time for the lyrical stylings of Nas Escobar, AZ, and Nature. He even does the vocals for a mad catchy hook: "We got cho' phone tapped. Whachu gon' do? Cuz sooner or lata, we'll have your whole crew. All we need now is the right word or two... To make it all stick like glue, then you through."

from The Firm - The Album, available on CD



Phoney Ladies  performed by Neneh Cherry  1989
Recommended by jeanette [profile]

Great bopping beats and a fantastic chorus. Lyrical content is Neneh's stalwart, female rivalry.

I went to a fancy dress party as Neneh once. Someone told me I looked more like Martika...

from Raw Like Sushi, available on CD



Piazza, New York Catcher  performed by Belle & Sebastian  2003
Recommended by executiveslacks [profile]

This is such a pretty song. With just an acoustic guitar and voice, it could've easily sounded like any other folk song, yet I find something incredibly endearing about it.
Lyrically, it's a love story interrupted with baseball imagery (very strange for a Scotsman to display an understanding of the sport).

from Dear Catastrophe Waitress, available on CD


Presidential Suite  performed by Super Furry Animals  2001
Recommended by delicado [profile]

To be honest, I have little idea of what this song is about, but it certainly sets an intoxicating mood - rather intense and dramatic, but very cool. It's a sprawling, majestic pop song, opening gently with a faint trumpet solo and a picked guitar, and then building up nicely with strings soon after the vocals come in. The chorus is simple and catchy, and the orchestration is lush and beautiful, and the vocals are tender. There is a nice cinematic instrumental section in the middle, with some nods to Burt Bacharach. I don't get the impression this is the most coherent song ever, but there are poignant moments lyrically, such as 'You know that when we met, there were fireworks in the sky...sparkling like dragonflies', set against the moody chorus. It feels kind of nice to be really enjoying a new, 2001 song for once. The new album is really quite good. There are some duff songs, but overall I'd say it deserved better reviews than it received.

Update, ok, I've now figured out this is about the Clinton/Lewinsky furore. I guess I'm just not primarily a lyrics person...

from Rings around the World, available on CD



Running Away  performed by Strange Advance  1985
Recommended by Colinator [profile]

Wonderful lyrically, aswell as a very atmosphere-setting mood in the music.
Here are the lyrics:

Running Away

I've come from a more than human kind
Fugitive child of the human mind
I could run for a thousand miles
It would'nt keep me safe
I search for my soul, you destroy me with fear
Don't want to hurt you
Can we can we ever be together as one
Man what have you done

Chorus

Nowhere to go I've nowhere to stay
I'm running away
I'll hide in the world I can't leave a trace
I'm running away

Danger in every street and every town
A.I screens and hunters abound
I could deceive you live the lie
Plexi-birds and mongrel spies
I could hurt you in the night
Who can I turn to
You tampered with the scheme
And made 'The men who are not'
Man what have you wrought

from 2wo (Capitol)
available on CD - Over 60 Minutes With: Strange Advance


Slowly Surely (Theo Parrish Remix)  performed by Jill Scott + Theo Parrish  2001
Recommended by lil_ze [profile]

Unreal.
First of all, there's Jill Scott. With as much respect I have for her songwriting and singing abilities, I've never thought of her as a musical genius. Her music was, and stays, consistently the best soul music being released. And I'm sure that in twenty years I'll still have great fondness listening to her tunes. Yet, I don't hesitate to state that she is not a genius.

"Slowly Surely" is a great track off Jill Scott's "Who is Jill Scott: Words and Sounds, Vol. 1" album. The track, itself, is a departure from the rest of the album in composition. It is lyrically and melodically experimental, and deosn't perform as a very commercially radio friendly tune. Having said that, this is probably my favorite track on this sublime album.

Theo Parrish is a genius, however. There are no two ways about it. His music is difficult to understand. His path to fame and stardom seems as intentional as Donald Trump's efforts at staying unnoticed. He has a tendency to compose electronic dance music with beats so slow, they'd make Big Daddy Kane half step. This isn't a salmon swimming upstream. This fish is out of the water wondering why he can't fly.

The remix, in the commercial music industry, has been tainted ever since the digital age. Starting off as a tool for DJs in night clubs, a track would have been remixed to have extended beats in the beginning and the end of the track. Thus, early remixes were plainly titled, "Extended Version". However, remixes on commercial radio are merely an effort to milk the popularity of whatever is popular at the moment. These remixes usually include a guest vocalist singing, or rapping, along the original track. Another version of the remix is the time filler. When albums were made with consideration to program times for opposing sides (as well as cassette tapes), remixes were often added when material was scarce. This practice would eventually wipe out the addition of the "Reprise" track. These remix tracks were usually the chosen radio friendly track with extra production on top of the original track.

The remix for "Slowly Surely" is none of the above. It is very unique as it's own being. It pulsates to it's own heartbeat. It moves on it's own, in no predictable direction, as if Theo Parrish had little control over his artistic output. That's his genius. That's his art.

from not available, available on CD


Some Sing, Some Dance  performed by Michel Pagliaro  1971
Recommended by prufrock68 [profile]

One of a handful of Quebec artist Michel Pagliaro's (unsuccessful) stabs at the American charts, "Some Sing, Some Dance" is a breezy, acoustic-led pop trifle, lighter than air, with rudimentary lyrics apparently provided by William Finkelberg. A sample:

Ooh you
How would I know just to hold you
How could I show that I want to
'Cause I do wanna hold you
Yes I do

And the following verses expand ever so slightly on that very simplistic base, except by the 3rd terse verse, Michel has sped along from desiring the girl to doubting she could be true, to realizing she, in fact, WAS untrue. Nothing profound here lyrically (and one wonders how comfortable Pagliaro was in 1971 with the English language to keep things this simple), but no matter: The whole package is wrapped in an upbeat, spare but energetic arrangement featuring Pagliaro's acoustic guitar chording, and nice little touches sprinkled throughout, like castanets, shaken tambourine, echoey hand claps, an elegant string arrangement (by Ben McPeak)providing a wonderful counterpoint, and a flamenco-like guitar figure finishing out the brief chorus:

Some sing, some dance
Some like-a romance
I love lovin'

So, even though Michel's been chastened by his lover, he's still coming back for more and longing to still hold this woman...and he loves lovin'...obviously, the magic's in the music here, instead of the lyrics, and it's a little gem of a song. Listen and see if you aren't charmed as well.

from Pagliaro (OOP) (Much)
available on CD - Hit Parade (D.E.P.)


Soul For Hire  performed by Elvis Costello  2002
Recommended by elfslut [profile]

Here's a great track from last years masterpiece 'When I Was Cruel'. Costello is lyrically at his best on this album and this song about the corruptness of lawyers is no exception.

from When I Was Cruel (Island)


Supergirl  performed by Stereo Total  2003
Recommended by Superchat [profile]

A quick, fun/funny, simple little song that keeps your ears awake. Supergirl... a sweet and twisted lyrical journey about finding that perfect person.

from Monokini (Kill Rock Stars)



  olli: hey supergirl! gotta love stereo total, this is one of my favourites too.
Sympathy For the Devil  performed by The Rolling Stones  1968
Recommended by xfanatic50 [profile]

With the wild African rhythms, yelped back-up vocals and honky-tonk piano, this song is bizarre and crazed and lot of fun. Lyrically it's also very cool with Mick Jagger singing from the persona of a very gentlemanly and straightforward Satan. It's also incredibly timeless and influential. Listen to Outkast's recent album, or the Libertines, or the Music and you can hear shades of this song without a doubt.

from Beggar's Banquet (Abko)


Tales from the Riverbank  performed by The Jam  1981
Recommended by geezer [profile]

Released as a B-side in 1981 ,this group were so prolific at this time vast parts of their output never made it to albums ,turning up ,like this gem as b sides or outakes,This is late period Jam in a wistful jangly mood but with a darker undertone lurking behind the mellowness ,the song ,lyrically,mourns the passing of a way of life sacrificed to progress and declining morals.Has hints of British psychedelica at its most parochial ,The Kinks come to mind as do early Floyd.The almost pastoral feel of this was not out of step with Wellers writing at this time and his finest inspiration often came to fruition on calssic b-sides like this .

from Extras (Polydor)
available on CD - The Jam-Extras


Tear It All Away  performed by The Church  1981
Recommended by dsalmones [profile]

Following shortly on the heels of Of Skins and Heart, "Tear It All Away" still was the picture of a developing band, but one already more comfortable with the studio, able to use subtlety and quiet drama to inform its cool, soothing yet tense take on post-punk filtered through psychedelic touches. The familiar Byrds-derived guitar and Bowie-tinged lyrical regret and sighing crop up as they so often would in the earliest days, but there's a clean, blue tinge to the whole performance, something that feels inexpressively like an eighties recording rather than a sixties throwback. Call it the space in the mix, the gentle keyboards here and there, or the substituting of folk and country roots for something more urban and faster-paced. The lovely mid-song solos show the Marty Willson-Piper/ Peter Koppes team still well within its element, and the whole composition has a rich, lush feeling to it that's most attractive.
(AMG)

from Of Skins and Heart, available on CD


Tereza and Tomas  performed by Bright Eyes  1998
Recommended by two-headed boy [profile]

'Bright Eyes' O'Connor Oberst is a gifted lyricist and probably the best for his age (19 at record release). With his literary references and unconventional recording, listening to Bright Eyes is quite an experience. In this instance we meet the protagonists of the novel, 'The Unberable Lightness of Being,' and find in their weightlessness the desire to escape. Slow acoustic struming by O'Conner steady his intense vocals and between the chimes and reverberating forte piano we experience a disjointing storm used to great effect. The song has us drifting at sea with a delicate melody until we are at last erased like a skeleton in chalk. Bright Eyes sings - 'Let's sail away disappearing in a mist. Let's sail away with a whisper and a kiss. Or vanish from a road somewhere, like Tereza and Tomas, suspended in this bliss.' We feel his expressive words and sound pass through us, and late in the day we find it echoing softly in our heads. Quite an accomplishment for someone who couldn't drink yet, I look forward to following his career.

from Letting Off the Happiness (Saddle Creek Records lbj - 23)



The Damned Don't Cry  performed by Visage  1982
Recommended by robert[o] [profile]

First of all I had to ask myself whether the real reason I really like this song is because the title is cribbed from a movie I love. (An ace bit of film noir from 1950, starring Joan Crawford, that I can't recommend strongly enough.) And yeah, it is rather "Fade to Grey"- Part II, (though I think the melody/mood/dynamics are stronger here.) And yeah, lyrically it’s all a bit John Foxx-light - images of European ennui and dissipation minus the inspiration. And yeah, I'm the first to admit Visage is to great post-punk-electro what Baccara is to prime 1970's disco, but I love "Yes Sir, I Can Boogie" and I love "The Damned Don't Cry" - damn it!

from The Anvil
available on CD - The Damned Don't Cry


The day I see you again  performed by Dubstar  1995
Recommended by Mike [profile]

Masterful. Musically beautiful and inventive from start to finish. Lyrically very clever.

from Disgraceful, available on CD



  delicado: It has been a long time since I heard a track that was more \'Mike\'!
  Mike: Yes. Dubstar had a few Miketastic peaks, particularly during the glory days of their career. This is one of the best examples. There are some gems on their B sides, too.
The Dogs and the Horses (NYC acoustic)  performed by The Divine Comedy  1996
Recommended by Mike [profile]

A very beautiful song musically and lyrically. I much prefer this piano/vocal version from the Becoming more like Alfie CD single to the rather over-orchestrated one on the album "Casanova"

from Becoming more like Alfie


The Most Beautiful Girl (In the Room)  performed by Flight of the Conchords  2008
Recommended by Festy [profile]

Fans of Flight of the Conchords, who bill themselves as "New Zealand's 4th most popular guitar-based digi-bongo acapella-rap-funk-comedy folk duo", will know this track already as it is one of their most popular. Although lyrically clever and funny, I think their music writing is saved a lot by the production, to the point where the songs are very listenable and enjoyable (I wouldn't be recommending other wise, I guess). From their first widely available album (self-titled), this track is a highlight, as is 'Ladies of the World' (especially the shortvocal reprise - hard to believe it's them at times), and 'Business Time'. The second album has some great tracks also. The TV show's worth catching also.

from Flight of the Conchords, available on CD



The Unguarded Moment  performed by The Church  1981
Recommended by dsalmones [profile]

That the Church's initial breakthrough song would yet become a millstone around its neck might not have been clear at the time, but one understands pretty easily why the band was anxious to escape its shadow after subsequent efforts clearly showed the tune as the building block it was. But "The Unguarded Moment" isn't a disaster at all - indeed, for a young band to come up with such a great effort early on and get some airplay and attention for it was as clear a sign as any that something really special could yet result. Marty Willson-Piper's flat out lovely introductory guitar and the sinewy blend of his and Peter Koppes' instrument on the main melody sets the tone, while the stripped down verses and quiet rhythm changes throughout give a great taste of the band's incipient ambitions and tweaking of an established formula. Steve Kilbey's quietly rueful but still clear and strong lead vocal adds a nice air of calm melancholia, while coming up with some fun lyrical images here and there ("Tell those friends with cameras for eyes…").
(AMG)

from Of Skins And Heart, available on CD


Uniform  performed by Bloc Party  2007
Recommended by WhiteRose1919 [profile]

Great Lyrically, a brilliant Bloc Party/Indie Rock Song.

from A Weekend In The City (Witchita)


We Belong Together  performed by Rickie Lee Jones  1981
Recommended by komodo [profile]

An American tale with references to Brando, Dean and Natalie Wood, and characters like "Johnny the King". A series of melancholy snapshots of hope set to a jazz inflected soundtrack. Top-notch, both musically and lyrically.

With the companion piece (in my eyes, anyway) "Living It Up" (introducing us to "Eddie", "C***-finger Louie" & "Zero") which directly follows it on the album, it represents the pinnacle of Rickie Lee Jones career.

The rest of the "Pirates" album has its moments, such as the title track, as well as some less successful songs, and is well worth a listen if you get a chance.

I’ve listened to quite a lot of other stuff by Rickie Lee Jones and sadly it seems she has never come close to reaching the heights achieved by these two fine tracks, IMO.

from Pirates, available on CD


Who Are You Now?  performed by Justin Hayward & John Lodge  1975
Recommended by ChiswickChick [profile]

I can't find enough words to express what I think of this stunning track.

The lead vocals, harmonies and arrangements are as close as you are likely to get to perfection.

Lyrically, it is both cleverly written and emotive, and combined with the beautifully simple melody and Hayward's ethereal vocals, totally heart-rending.

Very very few songs have instantly reduced me to tears (for the right reasons at least!) but this is one of them.

from Blue Jays (Threshold)


who needs forever  performed by astrud gilberto  1966
Recommended by coffman [profile]

This exceptionally haunting and lyrical song by Quincy Jones has received its definitive interpretion by Astrud Gilberto with arrangement and accompaniment by the Brazilian organist Walter Wanderley. The melancholy urgency of the piece resonates well with the dark/sad tonality that pervades so much of Bossa Nova music, though its character is also reminiscent of certain otherwise very different pieces from the bebop era, which had a formative influence on Quincy Jones' music. There is definitely the remote influence of Charlie Parker and especially Dizzy Gillespie. It's truly a completely unique piece. The drifting melody which seems to skirt over the chord changes has a beautiful inevitability. Only a very gifted and skilled musician could have contrived such a beautiful work. So Quincy Jones deserves especial credit for crafting this song from the film "The Deadly Affair."

Astrud's delivery, so typically limpid and restrained, only serves to heighten the intensity of this darkly passionate song. The subtle but somehow fierce organ playing of Walter Wanderley acheives a sizzling romanticism that perfectly complements the reading of Astrud's apparently detached fatalism.

In my opinion, this track is a true musical masterpiece. Its remarkable economy of means is a testament to the skill of the composer as well as the artistry of the performers. In fact, it's a nearly perfect combination of expressive means and poetic intent. The beautiful resolution, with Astrud's perfect striking of the high B-flat over the half-diminished F-minor seventh, is a moment of sublime dramatic intensity, though profoundly understated, as is typical of her finest artistic moments. One is reminded of Miles Davis. Her poetic skill is rooted in subtlety.

I have listened to this extraordinary track hundreds of times, and always experienced chills rising up on the back of my neck. How amazing that this incredible musical gem was omitted from the original album A Certain Smile, A Certain Sadness. Perhaps it was too intense, too heavy; whatever the case, it's a truly remarkable piece of music.

I'm truly grateful to have discovered this great albeit minor musical masterpiece. There's really nothing else quite like it! The sizzling but subtle sensitivity of the rhythm section (Claudio Slon on drums, possibly Joao Gilberto on guitar and Jose Marino on bass) adds an intensity to the piece which helps project the almost existential tone of the song.

I'm really swept away by this obscure and neglected work, which attains -- for me at least -- to a peak of poetic intensity really rare in music. As is usual with Astrud at her best, it accomplishes its artistic ends with what seems like the most minimal of means. But subtlety is always the avenue to the most profound of artistic experiences. I think this is a remarkable example -- one of the greatest -- of the wedding of popular music and high art. It is a truly perfect performance. In my opinion, its greatness increases rather than diminshes with repeated listenings. There is only one word for that -- it's magic!

from A Certain Smile, A Certain Sadness, available on CD



  rio: you must pick-up the quincy jones soundtrack (released with the score to "the pawnbroker") with astrud singing "who needs forever". The lush quincy jones score is hauntingly beautiful, and astrud never sounded better. This version is the real deal for me..
  rferus: Amazing guitar on this piece.
You Get What you Give  performed by New Radicals  1998
Recommended by Mike [profile]

Probably the only anthemic pop song I will ever choose to listen to. Was drawn to it the first time I heard it, as a piece of chart music at the end of the 1990s.

The first two chords of the verse are audacious, most unusual in pop music, and are what makes the song for me. Without them, or with conventional choices, the song would lose its tension and power. The lyric can be considered cheesy, but it kind of aims high in searching out some kind of universal truth, and it works. When in the right mood, it is even elevating. The last part is lyrically very pathetic, a lame series of insulting name drops. But it probably got the record heard - this was their first single.

I recently read that this song was much admired by U2, and I'm not surprised as I can hear them striving for something like this. But they never get anywhere even slightly close.





  Mike: An opera singer included this in her \"Desert Island Discs\" selection last week.
You, Assassin  performed by San Serac  2004
Recommended by delicado [profile]

Another shock modern recommendation! San Serac's second album, 'Ice Age', came out earlier in the year, and I had the pleasure of touring with the band. I got to be a big fan of several of their songs, but I think this one is the best. The singer describes the lyrical content as 'paranoid bullshit', but I find it quite compelling.

Musically, this is very percussive electronic music with a very fresh sounding 80s influence. It's atmospheric and relentlessly beaty. More info is available at http://www.frogmanjake.com/iceageinfo.html.

from Ice Age, available on CD



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