Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Musical Musings

It's been ten months since my last Musical Musings column which may be the blink of an eye on the geological scale, but is an eternity on the celebrity marriages scale (this scale is much more scientific and applicable in everyday life. Incidentally, ever since Rob confessed that "everyday" versus "every day" was his pet peeve, I have been careful to use the appropriate terminology).

  • I'm currently listening to A Camp, a solo album by Nina Persson of The Cardigans. Despite the ambiguous title, the CD is an interesting piece of work -- a mix of country-tinged ballads and hard-rock creations. Though jarring at first, the change actually makes sense with the change in Persson's voice (she can no longer do the coy, innocent tone she had six years earlier, and she's smartly changed the musical style to fit her voice. I still will never be able to reconcile this Swedish singer singing about Texas though.
    • Gordon's Gardenparty (1994)
      Bluest Eyes in Texas (2001)
  • The musical score to The Illusionist was written by Phillip Glass, which is not an unusual thing. However, five minutes into it, any musician familiar with his piece, Facades, would realize that he just wrote three or four variations on that work and played them in various permutations throughout the entire movie. (Some listeners would argue that that's how he wrote his entire songbook, but that's neither here nor there).

  • "We're not dealing with Philip Glass here; we're dealing with someone who can write music." - Dr. Peter Spencer

  • The last "hometown" act I plugged was Preston Grey featuring Dave McGarry, and now I've got another one for anyone who likes to spice up their day with acoustic acts:. Rebecca Berlin went to my high school several years after I graduated. I first came across her music (composed and sung by her) when I worked as a composer/arranger for the band director back in 2000, and found one of her high school songs in my files during last week's cleanup session. Relying on the Google workhorse, I found that she's still writing and has some decent samples up on her page. I'm also a sucker for artistic lyrics that aren't just "I went to the store / and bought me a door / make that four / four doors" and female vocalists with a clear timbre (see also, Nina Persson, Natalie Imbruglia, Sita, and Tracy Shayne).

  • Here are ten bite-sized examples of "that's neat!" moments from music I listen to:
    • Nina Persson says "Bubbles" in Happy Meal
      The Hi-Lo's become a musical saw in Italian Street Song
      Bobby McFerrin vocalizes Spain with Chick Corea
      The Tonight Show band does a bloated round in Jumpin' at the Woodside
      Kansas destroys the barline yet again in Journey from Mariabronn
      KT Tunstall builds up to beat the crap out of the high note but then jukes into prettiness in Universe and You
      Muse dabbles in twelve-tone disco music in Space Dementia
      Scissor Sisters dabbles in Pink Floyd disco music in Comfortably Numb
  • To continue with the disco theme, this month's Funny Song of the Moment is "Bra Size 45" by Ivor Biggun .

  • I had the pleasure of hearing the greatest song ever written on XM last week -- it's a shame it doesn't get more air time, considering that it was essentially the theme song for the URI! Zone in 2005.

  • I've recently heard a good bit of Rhythms Del Mundo on XM Radio -- remixes of popular works by groups like Coldplay and Arctic Monkeys against Cuban rhythms and instrumentations. Not all of them are successfully, but they're definitely an interesting take on the songs. The songs are at their worst when it becomes apparent that the original singers weren't singing in tune (but then again Franz Ferdinand never sings in tune).

  • You can HAVIDOL
    Dad tackles wrestler
    iTunes fingers piano fraud

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