I don't know about you, but Songs of the Week is feeling 22. Congratulations to Sean Cox for his Top Contributor status! Submit here and listen here (Article Playlist) and here (Archive and Top Contributors).
3 Doors Down - Let Me Be Myself
This song has a great tune. Although it is rather repetitive it has a good message and has a great upbeat rhythm.
The Fray - How To Save A Life
This song has meaningful lyrics and a catchy tune. I especially like the piano riff and drums :3
Hozier - Work Song
I absolutely love this song. It has a great chorus and is one of Hozier's best.
Aerosmith - Last Child
I think it's an amazing example of making a simple drum beat complex and I think it's also a shining moment for Brad Whitford, who usually is rhythm guitar but plays lead guitar in this song. It's an amazing song and I encourage everyone to listen to it.
Jack Johnson - Banana Pancakes
I've been listening to it on repeat lately because it just makes me so happy. It has such cute lyrics and I love the music itself.
Imagine Dragons - Demons
A great example of a band who can play live just as well as the studio.
Portishead - Roads
This is sort of a coming-of-age (or more accurately coming-into-the-world) song. It's about the crushing agony of seeing everything that's wrong and screaming out for someone to help, to make it better. "Can't anybody see / we've got a war to fight" There's an element of being hopelessly thrown into a raging sea with nothing to hold onto. It captures a feeling that's very hard to express in a very honest way.
Beulah - Emma Blowgun's Last Stand
Starting with tribal sounding drums, possibly to represent the primitive act of conception, followed by a long, slow build from a very simple childlike melody, this song evolves through what seems like the various stages of life. The momentum slows slightly, before picking back up with a trumpet melody, and then flattening out with the three lyrical sections coming in and sort of reflecting on a life and more or less debating whether it was well-lived. It does not, however, seem to be set in the end of a life. It is more likely the period between "the happiest days of your life" or "the good old days" and "getting it together". A very interesting song that I honestly didn't like at all upon first hearing it.
The Drones - Shark Fin Blues
When first hearing that this song was voted "Best Australian Song" by over 70 contemporary Australian musicians, I was a bit skeptical. After listening to it, that skepticism was gone. It uses the metaphor of a doomed sea voyage to describe depression and grief. The waters are filled with bad omens, even the albatross is tired. The ship either is or becomes wrecked in the song, and is slowly sinking. The pieces of the sinking ship are then surrounded by sharks. The ending gives no silver lining, but instead encourages the listener to "Just keep one eye on the horizon man, you best not blink / They're coming fin by fin until the whole boat sinks".
Queens of the Stone Age - 3's & 7's
Era Vulgaris is not the most popular QOTSA album, but it's my favorite, and this track remains by personal favorite by them. Plain and honest solid rock.
Run the Jewels - Run the Jewels
As I said previously, Run the Jewels is known as one of the best rap duo's of all time, up there with OutKast. I personally prefer this duo to the also legendary OutKast.
Pauline Oliveros - Lift*
Lift is two thirds of Pauline Oliveros' Primordial Lift, which is, in my opinion, one of the most ambitious drone albums ever made, if it can even be called "drone" in the first place. Primordial Lift is a commentary on the ever-changing nature of the planet, and its execution is as grand as its subject matter. It's not what you would normally think of when you hear the words "drone music"; Primordial Lift is, in fact, quite active - a low frequency synthesizer acts as the base drone while various other instruments and textures like stringed instruments and singing are layered over and dance on top of it - for that reason, I'm not sure if "drone" does it justice. Some of strings are softer, contributing to the drone, while other strings are more chaotic and frantic, contributing soft yet screeching sounds to the mix.
The premise of Primordial Lift is profound: according to the music magazine Forced Exposure: "Primordial/Lift is based on information concerning the shift in the resonant frequency of the earth from 7.8hz to 13hz given in Awakening to the Zero Point by Gregg Braden, Radio Bookstore Press (1997). According to Braden, the resonant frequency of the earth was measured as 7.8hz in 1960 and by 1994 the measurement was at 8.6hz and it will rise to 13hz by 2010" (http://www.forcedexposure.com/Catalog/oliveros-pauline-primordial-lift-cd/DL.033CD.html). The impact of this observation on Primordial Lift may not become apparent through normal listening, but by skipping through the songs, the very slow and gradual ascension of the base drone becomes observable.
I've been refraining from submitting drone to the songs of the week so far, but the quality of this particular drone piece is a bit too great to be kept away from this forum; the experience of listening to Primordial Lift is as profound as its premise. The omnipresence of the drone synthesizer gives off a very trancelike, hypnotic feeling while the presence of other instruments stave off the popularly experienced boredom typically associated with drone music, making Primordial Lift a continuously evolving piece that always has something to offer. If you have the time and the willpower, be sure to listen to Primordial as well as Lift, as only listening to the latter won't do the piece justice.
Another one of my favorite drones, Cut Joint Sinews & Divided Reincarnation is from Natural Snow Buildings' The Dance of the Moon and the Sun, an album that is perhaps as ambitious as or more ambitious than Primordial Lift, being two and a half hours long and lying at the intersection of drone, folk, ambient, and post-rock music. Like Primordial Lift, the song is always changing: first, it resembles a typical ambient song, albeit with dark undertones; then, it slowly morphs and becomes more abrasive before becoming a tribal-sounding percussion solo backed by drones that gradually increase in volume and intensity until they are equal to that of the percussion; then, the song becomes essentially dark ambient, featuring drones and icy, ominous synths that later dominate the audio landscape; finally, the song becomes a manic field recording of a eerily distorted voice.
Cut Joint Sinews & Divided Reincarnation and the rest of The Dance of the Moon and the Sun are probably best described as cold, ominous, and surreal. It's very long and meandering, and it sort of feels like a horror movie set in the middle of Canada. It's not entirely a drone album, being about only half drone and half folk songs like Breaking Waters and Wandering Souls, with some songs being in lieu of the folky post-rock of Set Fire to Flames. It's definitely a once in a blue moon album and worth checking out if you appreciate more atmospheric music.
Black Horse - Chingges Khaanii Magtaal (With Huumii)*
Before drone music, there was early folk music. Perhaps the quintessential example of Mongolian folk music, Chingges Khaanii Magtaal is a traditional Mongolian song praising the achievements of Genghis Khan. Chingges Khaanii Magtall is a relatively simple song featuring what sounds like two traditional Mongolian stringed instruments, one plucking and the other being bowed, with throat singing (I think) done on top. The instruments and voice spend the vast majority of the song repeating one or two notes, owing to its droney sound.
The Cast of Miss Saigon - I Still Believe A part of this song does spoil part of the musical, but that's what songs in musicals do. I really like this song. It's also really fun to sing. Miss Saigon used to be the musical that I would freak out over (like Hunchback) over the summer. I still love it. This song is sad, though, especially if you know what happens at the end.
The Cast of The Phantom of the Opera - Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again* This song is also sad. It kind of spoils the plot, but it's about something that you learn about early in the show that happened prior to the show's beginning. But it's so pretty. And I love Sierra Boggess's voice so much. And I also try to sing this song, but I'm not a classically trained soprano. It sounds awful at times.
Mark Isham - Once Upon a Time Orchestral Suite* I'm doing this one because I love this music. Plus OUAT comes back again today (Sunday). It's my favorite show and I am PUMPED. And Peter Pan is coming back. I love like any version of Peter Pan. I'm so excited.