Six Month Stickies # 7

May 31, 2011

As usual the tracks of music that got stuck in my head in the last six months, in order.
* Click image to download a ZIP of the compilation:

Bee Gees – I’ve Gotta Get A Message To You

At the height of my disco obsession I acquired the Bee Gees discography. I allow an album into my library after listening to it uninterrupted two times through, then I decide if it’s worth keeping or not. The Bee Gees discography was so expansive it took me over a week of pure Bee Gees listening to get through it all.

I was surprised that the earlier albums sounded so much like The Beatles. This song in particular infected me much the way a Beatles song might.

Bee Gees – Marley Purt Drive

Another early Bee Gees song. I don’t know what it is, but something about this song is so uplifting, in a lazy smiling sort of way. The restrained banjo strumming, calmly impassioned singing, confusing lyrics, and plodding drums, slide guitar accents, and background strings, combine perfectly.

Joanna Newsom – On a Good Day

A great song to wake up to.

Joanna Newsom – ’81

This song got stuck in my head after I saw a video of her playing it live on some talk show. I love the conversation between the heavy and light strings. Look up the video if you want you to get your heart broken.

Briano Eno & David Byrne – Moonlight in Glory

After having this album for years and hardly listening to it, I suddenly couldn’t get enough.

This song is an interesting mix of visceral percussion, staccato bass line, synthetic stings and augmented samples. So masterfully handled as only Brian Eno can. My favorite is at the end where the woman relates the anecdote about Jack knocking on the door of old-lady house. “Oh yes. Come on in.”

Joanna Newsom – In California

I don’t consider it a point of pride that I don’t cry. I just have a stoic temperament, and tend to internalize feeling. I’ve only cried once as an adult, until one day listening to this song turned me into a blubbering baby. Two parts in particular put a lump in my throat:

Well, I have sown untidy furrows ‘cross my soul
but I am still a coward
content to see my garden grow so sweet
and full of someone else’s flowers

sometimes I can almost feel the power
sometimes I am so in love with you


I don’t belong to anyone
my heart is heavy as an oil drum
and i don’t want to be alone
my heart is yellow as an ear of corn

and I have torn my soul apart
from pulling artlessly with fool commands
some nights I just never go to sleep at all
and I stand
shaking in the doorway like a sentinel, all alone
bracing like the bow upon a ship
and fully abandoning
any thought of anywhere but home
my home
sometimes I can almost feel the power
and I do love you
is it only timing that has made it such a dark hour

The Cranberries – Empty

I’ve been into the Cranberries since elementary school. And always wondered why no one ever agreed with me. Now that nineties music is becoming cool again to teenagers in much the same way 80’s music was rediscovered as cool to my generation, bands like The Cranberries have been allowed to exist again. Unfortunately it’s with a sense of irony or kitsch or something. But I maintain as I always have, that they are a rad band that makes rad music. What’s the problem? Listen to how she controls the way her voice cracks and how un-apologetically she draws out the last syllable of “empty”. PURE RADNESS.

Joni Mitchell – California

I’m so creepily obsessed with Joanna Newsom’s music, and have heard her described so many times as “The new Joni Mitchell” that I figured I might as well cover at least one of my many embarrassing musical blind spots and finally check her out.

To be completely honest, after listening to her discography five times through, I wasn’t as blown away as I expected to be. But I did think the Blue album is amazing on every level. This song is my favorite. “Oh the rouge! The red red rouge!”

If your heart can take it, find the video of her playing this song for the BBC in 1970.

Joni Mitchel – All I Want

I really like the way she paces her singing throughout.

I want to have fun, I want to shine like the sun
I want to be the one that you want to see
I want to knit you a sweater
Want to write you a love letter
I want to make you feel better
I want to make you feel free
I want to make you feel free

Jesu – Tired of Me, We All Faulter, Farewell

Jesu is another band I’ve been listening to for years, before they suddenly took center stage in my music listening. Their music seems impassively dense and heavy at first, but expressive once you become acclimated to it.

I feel vaguely like I’m having a heart attack while being swept under by crashing waves, as lights slowly strobe deep within the dark waters.

Cat Power – Ramblin’ (Wo)man

Well I love you
I love you baby
But you’ve got to understand
When the Lord made me
He made me

Cat Power – Metal Heart (Jukebox version)

Cat power is the master of covers. This cover of her own song is so shockingly different and beautiful it’s almost bewildering. I love listening to both together and marveling at the breadth of her insight and artistic mastery.

Paul Simon – Obvious Child

Figured it was time to finally check out Paul Simone’s other albums, after burning a hole listening to Graceland. This infectious, uplifting, abstractly poignant, sensitive, exhilarating song pretty neatly sums up why Paul is so completely fantastic.

Paul Simon – The Coast

I don’t even know what to say about this. It would have only occurred to Paul Simon to make this. There are so many great ideas here, all astonishingly well conceived and executed throughout. A contemporary singer/songwriter would be lucky if he/she had even one of the thirty ideas packed into this song.


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