Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Blog This! Best of 2006 - Further Listening

*NOTE* This was originally published at my old site under the former name in December, 2006.

First - a word about the title phrase “further listening”. I stole it. And where did I get it? From the Pet Shop Boys, who inspired this post and the subsequent volume to the Blog This! Best of 2006.

Some years ago, the Pet Shop Boys reissued all of their albums and added “Further Listening” to all of the titles. The reissues included a second disc with remixes, b-sides, and songs from the recording sessions that didn’t make it onto the album.

Then, a few days ago, I was listening to the opening track of this collection, “Numb”, and thought to myself that it should have been included on my first collection, and alas, an idea was born.

So here it is - the second disc of “further listening” to the Blog This! Best of 2006.

As you recall, lyrics were a significant determining factor in the original volume. The same holds true here, because life is too short to listen to songs with stupid, shitty, and meaningless lyrics. Five minutes of Black Eyed Peas or Danity Kane is five minutes you’ll never get back, and it all adds up. Think about that.

1. “Numb” by Pet Shop Boys, from Fundamental
“I want the world to leave me alone”

This is one of those rare Pet Shop Boys tracks that’s straight ahead - no quirky synth fills or pseudo-disco rhythms or odd titles like 1999’s “You Only Tell Me You Love Me When You’re Drunk”. It’s simple, lush, and undeniably miserable.

2. “Maybe Someday” by Richard Butler, from Richard Butler
“Half the time, don’t know if awake or I’m asleep. Half the time, I don’t even care.”

My life in the opening line of the song - why say anything more?

3. “Lesson Learned” by Ray LaMontagne, from Till The Sun Turns Black
“All those lies were truth, and all that was false was fact”

Been there. Done that. ‘Nuff said.

4. “You Could Be Happy” by Snow Patrol, from Eyes Open
“. . . all the things that I wished I had not said . . .”

Unfortunately, life is full of regrets. Snow Patrol wrote an amazing song about them. The same phrasing in 8 verses with no chorus makes this song unique.

5. “They Sail Away” by Sean Watkins, from Blinders On
“But moments, they sail away and never come back”

Sean Watkins wrote this song to be used in the final episode of the TV show “Friends” - and they didn’t use it. Just goes to prove that it really was a stupid show all along.

6. “Hotel Fire” by Hem, from Funnel Cloud
“a broken home, a hotel fire”

Dan Messe of Hem said “I always feel like being in love is like being in a room on fire. If the love lasts, it’s like being in a room on fire. If it doesn’t last, it’s like being in a hotel on fire. So ‘Hotel Fire’ seemed like a good divorce song title.” Don't I know it.

7. “Funnel Cloud” by Hem, from Funnel Cloud

“Until a painted back drop rises up and . . . blows your world away”

Hem creates absolute beauty and meaning in every song. Every moment of your life is meant to pick you up and carry you forward - whether you want to go with it or not.

8. “Hang On” by Guster, from Ganging Up On The Sun
“Maybe someone’s writing chapters for us while we sleep”

A song about how no matter how much we think we have under our control, its what we don’t know that sneaks up and kicks us right square in the ass.

9. “Pendulum” by Garrison Starr, from The Sound Of You & Me
“You’re a hard brick wall, baby tell me did I break through at all?”

The percussion is a constant “tick tock” and lends vivid imagery to a beautiful track - a song about lost love and the constant back and forth of human emotion.

10. “Rootless Tree” by Damien Rice, from 9
“We go blind when we needed to see”

Damien Rice’s voice adds an element of rage to a string and guitar arrangement that waivers between the calm and the storm - a powerful song about one who surrenders but can’t escape.

11. “Maybe You’re Right” by Barenaked Ladies, from Barenaked Ladies Are Me
“Shall I take back everything I’ve ever said and live my whole life in silence instead?”

A catharsis, like watching 2 of your friends have a bitter fight but letting it go because it needs to happen.

12. “Shout Out Loud” by Amos Lee, from Supply & Demand
“. . . everybody’s got somebody to blame, but we all must find our own way”

In spite of appearances, everyone goes through periods when they feel like they are lost and all alone.

13. “Start The Machine” by Angels & Airwaves, from We Don’t Need To Whisper
“I laid them out in stone in case they need to last forever”

The child-like piano adds an element of innocence to an emotion that even adults can’t understand. Love is nothing without risk, and here, the relationship is doomed to failure from the beginning.

14. “Hymn” by Duncan Sheik, from White Limousine
“All the storms and oceans, all the sheltering sky, all this earth and she and I”

The instances in life that seem the most insignificant are often the most important. This song is utterly atmospheric - ethereal without being empty.

15. ”Nothing But Time” by Brian Vander Ark, from Angel, Put Your Face On
“There was one heartbreak that led to a hundred little mistakes”

The end is merely the beginning of the downward spiral that inevitably follows . . .

I’m out-