Another post with singles, some newly released (Tom Petty, The Roots) and some recommendations that have (apparently) been around for a while. As a busy working music mom, there are occasional songs that slip through the cracks, and I’m always grateful when people bring those to my attention in the form of recommendations. As usual, it’s a mixed bag of singles, which always keeps me on my toes. I’m kicking it off with two Tom Petty songs. I would say in general I’m a bit neutral on the subject of Tom Perry; I used to be a big fan but haven’t really kept up with him for years. However, Rolling Stone gave his new album a really good rating, so here we are.
· Running Man’s Bible (Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers) – For the second week in a row, I did the first listen of my new music while doing my weekly long run for marathon training (Week 2 of 18- yay!). I became particularly excited when I noticed the name of the first song on my playlist: Running Man’s Bible- how apropos! I had no idea Tom Petty was a runner- perhaps he is also training for a marathon! I pictured myself passing him on the running trail with his blond hair and buck teeth; we’d give each other a little nod (due to lack of excess oxygen we would not actually speak). Alas, in this song the context of running is more like on the run, Thelma and Louise style. I began to become suspicious that Tom has actually been a fugitive while I haven’t been paying attention to him when the second song started:
· First Flash of Freedom (Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers) – Okay, Tom, what’s up with the jailbreak business? Both of these songs are similar in that they have a bit of a bluesy feel to them and both take their time, clocking in at almost 13 minutes between them. I kind of like the sound and you have to admire his staying power, but I think overall I’m going to maintain my fairly neutral Tom Petty stance.
· Dear God 2.0 (The Roots & Monsters of Folk) – I wouldn’t say I’m super familiar with The Roots having only one other song by them on my iPod. I bought this song again based on a RS recommendation (Running Woman’s Bible, you could say) and it is a really intriguing song. It starts with a very soulful sound and the words, “Dear God, I’m trying hard to reach you,” and when you start to think you might be headed toward Christian rock, the rapping starts with lyrics (are they lyrics when it’s a rap or is it just rap? Not cool enough to know) that questions all the “bad” things wrong in the world, ultimately asking God why there is suffering. I really like the juxtaposition between the lyrics, which are pretty heavy, and the rapping. Rappers have feelings, too! Good song from a brand new album.
· Clemantine (Sarah Jaffe) – This was a recommendation, but it happens to be from a new(er) album (April). I’m not familiar with Sarah Jaffe, but I like this first try with her. Clementine has a haunting sound to it and her album is called Suburban Nature, which is endearing. Her sound reminds me a bit of Ani DiFranco; I’d be willing to try more from her.
· Again & Again (The Bird and the Bee) – This group was actually recommended to me in the form of an album they did covering Hall & Oats songs (???). Since that seemed like it might be for a more hardcore fan and this was my foray into The Bird and the Bee, I opted for the most popular song on iTunes. The lyrics are really repetitive (again and again and again and again), and it seems pretty inane the first few times, but it’s strangely addictive. I even caught my 14-year old son singing it around the house. The female vocalist has a pretty voice, which gives it some legitimacy.
· I’d Rather Be With You (Joshua Radin) – Again, a recommendation of someone I’m not familiar with. Joshua Radin is similar to Jack Johnson or James Taylor: very sweet lyrics and pleasant melody, but not necessarily the song you’ll be singing to yourself (a very unscientific standard that I keep referring to, but it’s an indicator to me that it’s either different somehow or strikes a chord somewhere in my subconscience).
· Boys With Girlfriends (Meiko) – This song is supposedly one of Meiko’s (a female) more popular hits, although I wasn’t familiar with it. It’s a good song, though: “I know better not to be friends with boys with girlfriends”. Words to live by, Meiko! Not necessarily something Suburban Music Mom needs to ascribe to frequently, but perceptive nonetheless. Using my previously described method of evaluating a song, this one will stick with you, and her sound reminds me of early Liz Phair (a good sound, if you wondered whether that was good or bad).
· Grace Kelly (Mika) – It was confusing to get recommendations from the same person, one being Meiko and another being Mika, neither familiar to me. This song sounds to me at times like Franz Ferdinand and at other times like Queen (I know, weird). The title of the song comes from the singer’s desire to try to be like Grace Kelly and lamenting, “Why don’t you like me?” Great song!
· Catch My Disease (Ben Lee) – Although I didn’t think I was familiar with Ben Lee (possibly due to his generic name), I bought his most popular song on iTunes and realized that I have heard this song and like it. I’m a sucker for catchy lyrics and this delivers: “Open your heart and catch my disease”. It’s hard to actually recommend this song since it’s several years old, but it’s one I’m happy to have (accidentally) added to my library.
Sorry, none of the new songs seem to have videos yet. To recap, none of the songs in this group were duds, but the ones I particularly liked were (bolded indicates my top pick):
· Dear God 2.0 (The Roots & Monsters of Folk)
· Boys With Girlfriends (Meiko)
· Grace Kelly (Mika)
· Catch My Disease (Ben Lee)
Incidentally, if it seems that I recommend a high percentage of the songs I review, it’s partly because I really try to just listen to songs and albums I think I have a high likelihood of liking, although sometimes I’ll take a risk (Grace Potter & The Nocturnals). Enjoy!