Music for Your Ears

So I’ve been sick these past few days, ever since Saturday.  I was basically couch-ridden all weekend with aches, chills, fever, coughing, and all manner of plain awfulness.  I blame the ten-year old kid we had with us over the holidays.  So you know…curse you and such for something you couldn’t possibly control.

Being that I am not fully one hundred percent yet I decided to do something a little easier this week (or at the very least simpler).  I originally thought that I would just pull off the top ten most played songs on my Itunes library and list them here, but I realized that Itunes isn’t always accurate with that stuff.  Some of the songs up there I haven’t listened to in years.  So I then decided to just find ten songs I really enjoy and list them for a post in no particular order.  So here goes.

 

1. Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked (Cage the Elephant)

Favorite Lyrics: Oh there ain’t no rest for the wicked

Money don’t grow on trees

I got bills to pay

I got mouths to feed

And ain’t nothing in this world for free…

 

 

I can’t remember when I first heard this song for sure.  I know that with the video game Borderlands using the song in its intro, the song became much more widely known, but I’m certain I had heard the song before that.  In any case the song is a catchy one, starting with just a small twangy guitar before adding in the familiar sounds of the rock genre.  It seems to me like the song speaks to certain shades of morality in the world, that sometimes people do bad things not because they want to, but because they have to.  Then there are people who do bad things simply because they enjoy it.  The song is worth a listen if you’re a fan of rock music.

Gotta say though, their music video is like a major drug trip.

 

 

2. Young Men Dead (The Black Angels)

Favorite LyricsRun for the hills pick up your feet and let’s go

We did our jobs pick up speed now let’s move

The trees can’t grow without the sun in their eyes

And we can’t live if we’re too afraid to die

 

 

Now this one I know exactly where I first heard it.  It was part of the soundtrack for Alan Wake, a game I deeply adore for its story.  In the game there are little radio broadcasts that you can listen to, and at the end of each it plays a song.  This was one of them, but I don’t think I really noticed it until I had already listened to the soundtrack that I got with my collector’s edition of the game (it was only twenty bucks more, and came in this cool case that looked like a book).

I’m not entirely sure what the song is about, but if I had to guess I would say a war or a revolution of some sort.  There are numerous references to soldiers and fighting throughout the song.  War is a common theme for the band, that’s for sure.

 

 

3. How Can I Be Sure (Anomie Belle)

Favorite Lyrics: How can I be sure… (because I can’t understand anything else she says in the song)

 

 

Another song I found through Alan Wake.  This is a really moody, bass heavy song that’s just plain haunting.  I remember the first time I heard it I felt chills go up my spine.  Since I can’t understand about ninety percent of everything else she says in the song, I have no idea what it’s about.  But it’s mesmerizing nonetheless.  Have a listen.  You won’t regret it.

 

 

4. Contact (Daft Punk)

Favorite Lyrics: I like the instrumental part (get it…because it’s almost ALL INSTRUMENTAL!  Sucker….)

 

 

This is one of the bands that I had known about for a long time because they are very popular with my generation in particular.  Daft Punk is an electronic band, and this song is from their most recent album.  It’s a weird song, beginning with a real life audio transcript from one of the Apollo missions (no joke, look it up).  I like this song because it’s epic.  And epic things are always good.

 

 

5. Sorry Go ‘Round (Poets of the Fall)

Favorite Lyrics: Oh the things you see

Make arrogance seem the way to be, yeah

When ignorance spreads comformity

Smiling happily

 

 

Poets of the Fall was one of the first bands I began to pursue on my own (most of my music collection up to then consisted of stuff I got from family and friends, along with soundtracks from various movies).  I first discovered them from the end credits song to the video game Max Payne 2.  I like this song a lot.  It has a good beat, and the chorus is catchy.  It’s also one of the few songs by the band that isn’t a love song of some sort.  I’m not entirely sure what it’s talking about, but I could see it being political in nature.  I really enjoy this band.  They have a way with lyrics that few others do.  They can make really mundane songs about love sound absolutely fantastic.

 

 

6. Machine Gun (Portishead)

Favorite Lyrics: If only I could see, return myself to me

And recognize the poison in my heart

There is no other place, no one else I face

The remedy will agree with how I feel

 

 

God I really do like the dark songs don’t I?

This is another song I discovered from a video game, specifically the trailer for Metro: Last Light.  It’s beautifully dark, and the singer is absolutely powerful.  She has such emotion in her voice when she sings, which is one of the reasons I really like the band.

I think the song deals with the concept of suicide, or at least that’s what I read about it.  It would make sense though.  The song seems to be speaking to the slow inner decay of the singer, and the worlds “the remedy will agree with how I feel” makes me think that she’s equating the coldness of suicide with the coldness of her own heart.  It’s definitely not a happy song, but not all songs need to be happy.  Its power lies in its bleakness.

 

 

7. Tears (Health)

Favorite Lyrics: Love, save us once

We’ll fall from where we crawled

Love, save us once

Beware what you want

 

 

You can thank Max Payne 3 for this one (I sure do find a lot of good songs in video games).  This song was originally used in a trailer and the TV commercials for the game, but it shows up during the climactic chapter as the main hero fights his way through the concourse of an airport as about two dozen private military goons rain lead down on him.  So yeah, it’s pretty epic.  And you know what my stance on epic things is (read number four).

It seems to me like the song might be about letting go of the past, which would make a lot of sense.  The game deals a lot with Max Payne’s fixation on the past, on the death of his wife and infant child.  It dulls him, so he keeps throwing himself into dangerous situations with little to no regard for his own well-being.  I feel like the song captures that despair very well.

 

 

8. More (Poets of the Fall)

Favorite Lyrics: You know it isn’t particularly funny

Killjoy walks in just when it’s turning sunny

Killjoy lives like it’s all about the money

It’s all about the money, it’s all about the money

It’s all about the money, it’s all about the money

 

 

Another Poets of the Fall song, this one obviously dealing with greed.  It’s also one of their more raw sounding songs, to the point of sounding angry (the whole album this song sits in is very raw too, which is quite a shift from their more melodic, softer sound that they normally have).  The whole point of the song to me is that living life like it’s all about money is the wrong way to live, which is something I wholeheartedly agree with.

 

 

9. The Night Before (Hooverphonic)

Favorite Lyrics: You are lying on the floor

Trying to remember,

What happened the night before

You, are you really that sure,

That I’m the prince who’ll wake you

 

 

Hooverphonic is a band that I’m betting few have heard of (I didn’t even know about them until Pandora spat out one of their songs to me, and I decided to investigate further).  They’re a Belgian band that started as a Trip Hop group (stuff like Anomie Belle, listed earlier), but quickly branched out.  Each of their albums sounds different, which is something I like a lot.

This song is particularly moody, and makes me think of either coming to the scene of a crime, or the aftermath of a drunken party.  I usually end up listening to this song right after the next one on this list, because they’re the first two songs of the album.

 

 

10. Anger Never Dies (Hooverphonic)

Favorite Lyrics: Anger never dies

It’s part of life, it’s part of you

The end will cease the fire

And make us accept we tend to lose

 

 

I know I said that I wasn’t placing these in a particular order, but I would be lying if I said that this was probably my favorite Hooverphonic song.  It has this epic quality to it that absolutely captivates me, not to mention that the title makes it sound perfect for a James Bond film (007: Anger Never Dies anyone?)  It just might be my favorite song on the list.

I’m not sure what it’s about, but it would be the perfect end song to a revenge movie don’t you think?

 

Well that’s all I have for you this week.  I hope you enjoyed this music sampling.  I felt like doing something a little more personal this week since I haven’t been feeling too hot recently.  Next week’s post will probably be more thought-provoking (I mean, as thought-provoking as you can get from a twenty-something guy who lives in Duluth, Minnesota).  Tune in next Wednesday at noon, and as always, have a wonderful week.

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