THE ECONOMY joined music down the tubes this week, but that didn’t stop a few tracks from rising out of the refuse of our broken financial futures and sticking to our rapidly filling eardrums. In the face of rising uncertainty and doubt in the coming days, I would like to offer one guarantee that you can rest easy in—Patrol’s weekly musical picks will always be a reliable investment of your Friday mornings.
To thank me for saving your hope in the future of counseling or to recommend different musical strategies for assisting the cold hearted emotionally bankrupt souls of this dying world, or just to tell me what a pretentious bastard I am, just drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’m a sad lonely little man.
Travis, "Something Anything"
I never bought into Travis. Nothing against the long-time Scot-rockers, I’ve just struggled to find something unique and authentic that would catch my eardrums and separate the easily listening musical fare from the rest of the world. “Something Anything” hardly provided that long missing love connection with boys from Glasgow with its two minutes and thirty one seconds of easily digestible, easily forgettable alt-rock. Not to hate on the band, but the entire track drives towards a climatic guitar solo that is beautiful, but hardly memorable.
Wikipedia tells me that these boys helped pave the way for bands like Snow Patrol, Coldplay and Keane—I see that as proof that the process of musical evolution is alive and well. If you love the band, salivation has already commenced in your ear drums but even if you’re like me, this song of the moment is still worth a listen.
Download: Something Anything
The latest creation of Apple’s commercial marketing geniuses pairs the new iPod nano commercial with the synth-pop of Brooklyn’s Chairlift. In the proud tradition of 1-2-3-(4,589) and the other pop songs burned into our sub-conscious by endless repetition and bright colorful images—“Bruises” is short, bouncy and cotton candy sweet.
With an endless supply of easily plagiarized lyrics, “I tried to do headstands for you…I’m permanently black and blue for you,” and Regina Spektor-like vocals, Chairlift has ensured that skinny jeaned boys will be mix taping American Apparel girls with this song for at least the next three months. Rather than sticking this on a disc, I’m waiting for someone to strip out the nearly obnoxious and tiresome bass line, and rework or remix the song around the simple lyrics and the peaceful vocals.
I’m thinking something original, like a cool soft wafting acoustic cover driven by an eclectic smoky voiced folk singer. Maybe throw the song in the background of a pseudo-intellectual existential drama-comedy and change people’s lives through the power of song. People should pay me for this brilliant analysis.
Milow, "AYO Technology (50 Cent)"
How many more of these songs can be made? Find a very possibly perverted popular rap song—strip out the rap, strip out the beat and then stick in a semi-unknown guitar strumming indie-artist with a sensitive soul and raccoon eyes. It’s a simple formula with astonishingly powerful short-term results. Milow becomes the latest addition to this club, with his iTunes chart topping cover of 50 Cent’s “AYO Technology.” There’s nothing surprising, nothing inventive about the cover, but it’s so freaking catchy and will see multiple plays on your computer.
Download: AYO Technology (50 Cent Cover)
The Mountain Goats and Kaki King, “Thank You Mario But Our Princess Is In Another Castle”
On the surface this sounds like one of the most pretentious glue sniffing indie song titles to roll across your computer screen, but take a deep breath and you begin to realize that absolute song writing genius that is John Darnielle. Written from the perspective of Toad, Darnielle manages to craft a simplistically powerful romantic ballad from inside the most popular video game of all-time.
The images and narrative constructed are consistent with the game but manages to take on a level of profundity and beauty with the final whispered harmony of King and Darnielle that hardly could be explained by the best efforts of Nintendo. “I told you the only thing I knew to say/through the bright ringing drone of 8-bit choirs…And when you came in, I could breath again.”
Kanye West, "Love Lockdown"
First impressions can be deceiving—that’s why we have redoes. When Kanye debuted “Love Lockdown” at the VMA’s, I called it a boring attempt at a love ballad. Apparently Kanye reads my brilliant pontificating because, lo and behold, on Tuesday he released a second studio version of the song that’s far more interesting than his tepid VMA performance. Complete with auto-tuner, simple piano chords, a rollicking percussion section and that distinctive bassline—Love Lockdown takes on a degree of urgency and sincerity that the original seemed to lack.
Download: Love Lockdown
In honor of Milow, I’ve compiled a few of my favorite rap songs that have received the acoustic-rock makeover. None of these songs will truly change the world of music (except for maybe Fold’s sadistically satirizing cover) but all of them are catchy, repeatable and will be screamed for at every subsequent concert that the artist is unfortunate enough to play in the next twenty years. Enjoy.
Ben Folds, "B*ches Ain’t Sh*t (Dr. Dre)"
Obadiah Parker, "Hey Ya (Outkast)"
(note: “Crazy” doesn’t count, because that song has been covered so many times, the original basically functions only as a template for covers)
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