(Sexy) Song of the Day: Lit “Miserable”

I know, I know. We’re going total guilty pleasure here.

This is not a traditional sexy song in that it’s not the kind that necessarily makes me want to jump on someone’s lap. But it is about sex. It’s about the kind of sex that makes you do stupid things. Like “give up all of (your) plans” and forgetting all about your friends (“who needs them when you mean everything?” the singer bellows). Most if not all of us have been there at some point. We don’t mean to be such slaves to our hormones, but it just happens. And from what it seems, the singer knows that this isn’t necessarily a good thing. He’s in total lust over this person, but he’s also miserable realizing his entire life is now revolving around being “helpless” around this magical vagina (or penis, we don’t judge here). And it totally doesn’t hurt to have former sexkitten Pam Anderson enticing us in her undies throughout the video.

I think of this song every time I get addicted to someone(s body), as it does happen from time to time. This is definitely a song about incredible sex, the kind you’d contemplate chopping your arm off for if it was guaranteed you could fuck this person forever without getting bored. But I suppose that’s never a real guarantee, and so the arm stays put, ready for those lonely nights in, thinking about that bastard that makes you so goddamn Miserable. Sigh.

 

“You make me come, you make me complete, you make me completely miserable….”

Thank you Lit. I’m going to be hormonal the rest of the day thanks to you.

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Song of the Day: Cat Power “He War”

I saw Cat Power about 6 or 7 years ago perform here in Miami at the old I/O Lounge (now The Vagabond). She (Chan Marshall) performed maybe 2 or 3 complete songs during her hour and a half long on-stage breakdown. It was a bizarre thing to witness. My friends and I were big Cat Power fans and we’d heard some vague rumors about Marshall being a bit shy and awkward during performances, but we quickly realized those rumors were fairly downplayed. She started off  alright, but quickly got distracted when she realized/decided that her guitar was out of tune. She asked for help from audience members and a couple of guys went up to help her out. It probably ate up about 30 minutes, the lot of them standing around trying to perfectly tune her guitar strings. Eventually I think she switched over to the piano and had a similar fit about that. She finally began to play again toward the end of her set, when the club actually began playing music over her to stop her from going on. It was pretty unfortunate since it seemed she had finally gotten into her zone. Still, the few songs she did perform to completion were fantastic. I would pay money to see her again.

 

“He War,” off the You Are Free album, was a tune I used to listen to over and over my senior year of high school. I don’t ever listen to enough Cat Power these days.

Compare and Contrast #4: Love Will Tear Us Apart

It’s been a while since I last did one of these compare and contrast segments, but I know it’s time to bring it back. Today, we’re comparing and contrasting one of my favorite songs of all time by one of my favorite bands of all time. The band? Joy Division. The song? Love Will Tear Us Apart.

A little bit about the tune (as yanked from Wikipedia): It was written by Joy Division frontman Ian Curtis between the summer and fall of 1979 and debuted at a show with the Buzzcocks shortly thereafter. It’s said to have been a play on the name of another popular song of the time, Love Will Keep Us Together (Captain & Tenille), and to have come from the depths of Curtis’ crumbling marriage. Sadly, just one month after the release of the song, Ian Curtis hung himself, committing suicide in May of 1980 at the age of 23. It became the band’s first real chart hit, reaching the #13 spot – something Curtis would never get to find out.

I don’t remember exactly when it was that I first heard this song, but I do know that it was one of those songs that just hit me immediately. For the longest time, it became one of my favorite songs to dance to. A 15-year-old version of myself would blast this in her bedroom and dance around in her PJs, arms flailing about. The music itself is easy to lose yourself in and the beat is much too cheerful for what the song is about, but somehow it all works.

It’s only when you read the words that you begin to understand what Curtis must have been feeling at the time when he wrote it. The lyrics knock you out with the brutal truth that hits everyone that’s ever been in a failed relationship. When routine bites hard, and ambitions are low. And resentment runs high, and emotions won’t grow. Curtis doesn’t get overly poetic with this piece. There’s nothing there that is difficult for anyone to understand. There are no hidden meanings, nothing to dig for. He’s describing, word for word, what it’s like to have loved someone, to still care for them, and to be completely and hopelessly stuck. Or perhaps to still love them in some way, but then there’s that point that is so frequently reached, when it’s faded from your significant others’ eyes, when you can tell they’ve just stopped trying, when you both go to bed exhausted from fighting, exhausted from crying, exhausted from ignoring each other, exhausted from being alive. The song is sad. The words are sad. But in their sadness, there’s a bewildering bravery to be found. Externalizing those kinds of emotions must have been terrifying.

The song means many different things to me nowadays. After going through a number of breakups and heartaches, I still sometimes ask myself the same question Curtis does in the song: Why is it something so good just can’t function no more? It’s the kind of question we always ask ourselves when we’re reaching the end of something we were convinced would go on forever, or at least for a long while. It’s a question that no one will ever have a real answer to, but at least we have this song:

 

 

And now, for the covers…

Here’s a little bossa nova style cover of the tune by Nouvelle Vague. It brings a new whimsy to the song that you wouldn’t really guess could happen with such a dark piece. You can hear what sounds like the waves crashing and happy beach goers very faintly in the background. It’s the first (and probably only) time i’ve ever wanted to hear this song while sipping a daiquiri.

 

The Jose Gonzalez cover is simply guitar and vocals. It’s beautiful and I feel it stays true to the original sentiment of the song. There’s no getting fancy here, and that’s a good thing.

 

Simple Minds (of Breakfast Club anthem “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” fame) created this extra dance-y cover of the song. While it loses the original intent of the song, it still holds holds its own. I’ll let you decide.

 

This last cover is by the band Broken Social Scene, and they’ve truly made the song their own. It’s got a whole new, different kind of desperation about it. Slow, rough around the edges, like a bad hangover after a worse breakup. This one almost hits too close to home.

 

Have you heard any other covers of this great song you’d like to share? Which covers do you feel worked better than others? Should the song have just been left alone out of respect for Curtis? Let me know what you think! For now, keep enjoying the music.

(Sexy) Song of the Day: PJ Harvey “Is This Desire”

First, I should preface this with saying that not only is this a sexy song off PJ Harvey‘s album by the same name, but that this entire album exudes sex. Throughout, Ms. Harvey’s voice is heavy with a hunger that we’ve all felt at some point. Initially, I wanted to make the song of the day “The Garden“, which has all this imagery that’s both biblical and blasphemous. However, the simplicity, the honesty of “Is This Desire” is what made me go with it instead.

 

The song begins slowly, with PJ’s raspy vocals poking and prodding you awake. Nothing more than a little drum beat in the background, and then the guitar kicks in, gently pulling you in to the moment. I can feel the warmth coming up around me listening to it, the way my breathing goes in sync with the rising action of the song. It conjures up memories of morning sex, the kind where your body wakes up before you do. The sensation of the other person lying next to you, their skin pressed up against your own, hands slowly exploring, navigating passion. The chorus builds with every kiss shared, tongues and lips and cheeks and teeth, biting down on your lover’s lower lip. Mmph. Yeah, I can’t begin to explain the scenes going on in my head while I listen to this piece of audible seduction. Listen for yourself and you’ll see what I mean. And do yourself a favor, and get the whole album. PJ Harvey’s talent should be shared with and appreciated by the world.

Song of the Day: Neutral Milk Hotel “Three Peaches”

Taken from the Neutral Milk Hotel official website.

If there’s one thing I love about meeting new people, it’s getting into new (or old) music. Last month, I met a pretty fantastic boy that was really in to Neutral Milk Hotel. NMH is one of those bands I had kind of put on the back burner. Not because they’re not an amazing band. in fact, Jeff Mangum’s voice and lyrics have been haunting me for years now. I first heard about them through WVUM 90.5 FM (the radio station that, funny enough, I wound up working for year later) and then later through my friend Hector who put a few NMH songs on a mix cd for me.

From then, i’d kind of forgotten about them until 2005, when I met a boy in California who absolutely loved them. During one of my trips to Los Angeles, he even tried to teach me how to play Two-Headed Boy on the guitar (I got a little of it but have forgotten since). But after I came back to Miami, and after that short-lived romance had ended, I stopped listening to them. Things didn’t work out with the boy and although I wouldn’t admit it in those days, enough time has passed to say that I was really heartbroken.But  It wasn’t their fault that things didn’t work out with that particular boy. The music is never responsible. It only serves as a reminder of things that might have been, things that once were, things that can’t be. And that’s alright. Because it’s making me realize something important.

See, I’ve spent about 3 hours now listening to this song on repeat, going over so many things in my head that might’ve mattered, that could matter, that probably shouldn’t. The great thing about listening to something over and over again is that eventually, the song means something completely different. It’s like when you say a word over and over again until it begins to deconstruct, decompose. It gets pulled apart, shredded, torn, and eventually it’s completely unrecognizable. The same is true for music. You can analyze a song to death, you can cherish it until it’s gone, you hold it close until you can’t remember why you were holding on in the first place.

And so it is with this particular song, Three Peaches, that I’ve gone through all of this, that’s seen me go through this, that continues to exist. I didn’t even bother to look up the words at first, but then I did, and of course it took on more meaning. But the more I listen to it, the less I want to cry and the more I want to be inspired, the more I want to do. It’s the kind of song that shackles you to the bottom of the ocean just long enough for you to find the key and rush back to the top. It resonates- because we’ve all felt that thing that sits in the back of Mangum’s throat. It’s the same thing that’s in the back of our minds and at the bottom of our bellies and hidden deep within the cavity of our chests, a harsh reality that simultaneously slaps you in the face and then cradles you until you’re okay again.

This song isn’t just a song. It means so much in its simplicity. So much emotion in each note. And to me, it means more than that. It means moments, it means history, it means everything i’ve felt for so few, on such rare occasion, when i’ve actually been capable, and it means a fresh start when it’s finally all behind me.

So listen. Just… listen. And if you hear it, if you know what i’m talking about, well.. then that’s all there is to it. That’s all I can say about that.

Compare and Contrast #1 – The Ghost of Tom Joad

Since i’ve been on the road, my dreams have become more and more vivid, and almost always in some way related to travel. Towards the end of last night’s dream, during which I dreamt about catching a train from Kansas City to Denver, I kept hearing the song “The Ghost of Tom Joad,” as covered by Junip (Jose Gonzalez‘s amazing group). When I finally got on my computer, I had to listen to it and when I went to YouTube to share the song, I realized it was a cover of a Rage Against the Machine Song. Digging further still, I found that RATM weren’t even the original creators, but it was in fact a Bruce Springsteen original. Funny too, because yesterday I was having a conversation with my friend Toby/Adam about how I had never really given the Boss much of a chance and how the only songs I knew of his were “Born in the U.S.A.” and “Secret Garden” (thanks to Jerry Maguire). Anyway, the whole thing led me into this spiraling thought process about originals versus covers. And so was born the idea for Compare and Contrast!

Now I’ve known plenty of people to be of the mindset that an original song is always better than any remake, but other times i’ll hear people say the remake is way better. Today’s song, the first challenge, will be The Ghost of Tom Joad, which in my opinion is just an amazing song that I can’t exactly pick a winner for yet as every musician that has touched it has brought something very different to its essence. Here are all three versions for your listening pleasure:

Bruce Springsteen

Rage Against The Machine

Junip

So who would you say is the big winner of all three? Cast your votes now and give me some reasons why this particular rendition is your favorite!