It was the mid ‘90s saturation of alternative rock bands that allowed this record and this band to really stand out. Poking their way into the lives of the few that understood their artistic vision, Failure had built their sound on mid-tempo hard rock, easily accommodating many metal fans along the way, instigated by their modest hit “Stuck on You”, but like most singles, all it did was bring you in. Just before the single’s appearance on the record, “Another Space Song” gripped right in as the absolutely wonderful textures, and ominous melody that have remained a part of my life.
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Let the summer anthems rule! New tunes by Holy Ghost! and Empire of the Sun pave the way for this latest playlist. Debut albums from the Olms, Palma Violets and Secret Colors are juxtaposed next to the latest from Divine Fits, Portugal. The Man. and Cold War Kids. During the next heat wave, why not cool down by listening to the breezy acoustic strumming of the Olms, ambient music from Eluvium, Bibio’s electronica and more?
This is a literate, emotional song, the kind to get you through bad times. The lyrics, with thoughtful, sisterly Zen advice could possibly make you cry if you’re feeling a little sensitive, but the melody is catchy enough to pull you out of whatever downer I hope you’re not in.
There’s a strong sense of movement, but it’s compactly written, covering a relatively wide narrative and impressive musical ground in only three minutes.
One morning, I finished my announcements and started the track I had loaded up. Suddenly this beautiful, lush, and violent sound filled the studio - pianos and violins played by madmen, yet accompanied by an almost jazzy bass and drum section. And then this voice, haunting, yet mollitious, crooning, “I lay down by the river / Shadows moved across me inch by inch / All that I knew / Was the war between the water and the bridge.”
The best love songs belie their sentimental affection with thinly veiled layers of desperation or obsession. Take Leonard Cohen’s “I’m Your Man”, where the songwriter betrays his creepy devotion with promises like “I’ll examine every inch of you,” or Prince’s “If I Was Ur Girlfriend”, in which the Purple One channels his lovesick obsession into envy of the intimacy his girlfriend shares with her female friends.
The latest entry in this tradition is “Other Boys”, the fantastic climax of Eleanor Friedberger’s aptly titled Personal Record. (The Fiery Furnaces vocalist these days has a knack for moving penultimate tracks—2011’s Last Summer had “Owl’s Head Park”, the singer’s richly woven tribute to the spacious Brooklyn park.) “Other Boys” may well be the world’s (or at least this decade’s) most quietly heartbreaking ode to polyamory, as Friedberger tackles a laundry list of “other girls” her partner is seeing—“the blond who’s in a band with her twin,” “the spider you kissed in her stairwell”—over a sly waltz, her voice growing increasingly desperate during the song’s chorus refrain: “There are other boys, too / But don’t let it worry you.”
// Short Ends and Leader
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