Posts Tagged: Song of the Day

Song of the Day: “Gin House Blues”

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Today, the so-called British Invasion of the ’60s is remembered primarily for its flagship band, The Beatles. Another English group called The Animals—widely known for their international hit version of the folk song “House of the Rising Sun”—are unfortunately obscured by the long shadow of the former, but their screaming fans knew and loved The Animals’s gritty rock.

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Song of the Day: “Let Me See That Ponytail Run”

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The Defibulators are the rootsiest bluegrass outfit to come stomping out of Brooklyn, New York, in a long time—perhaps ever. Named by VICE Music as “Brooklyn’s kings of alt-country, minus the ‘alt,'” The Defibulators’ sound has been described as truckerpunk, Americana, citibillie… the list goes on.

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Song of the Day: “Have Some Love”

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The diversely talented Donald Glover has gained a following in almost every artistic arena, from stand-up comedy, to sitcoms, to film and music. First making a name for himself as a writer for the smart and funny NBC program 30 Rock, Glover went on to star in Community and the FX series Atlanta.

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Song of the Day: “Paul”

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As 2016 draws to a close, it is a time for both endings and beginnings. The electric folk of Big Thief is well-suited to such introspective moments—tinged with sepia-toned nostalgia and a shy sweetness that suggests hope for the future. Their gentle, unhurried song “Paul”—off their critically welcomed record Masterpiece—perfects the dual flavors of sweetness and bitterness while letting in flashes of self-deprecating humor.

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Song of the Day: “Back Door Santa”

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Soul—that mysterious orientation towards the world that seems to be frequently accompanied by a larger-than-life personality—is probably the first word that comes to mind when one thinks of Clarence Carter, that bombastic and passionate artist whose timeless music still echoes across the airwaves and our collective memory.

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Song of the Day: “The Frim Fram Sauce”

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One of the most entertaining things about the early days of recorded jazz music is the clever way musicians worked around the conservative mores of the time. The well-loved etymologist William Safire, in a 2002 article, diligently attempts to decode the playful gibberish sung so beautifully by Nat King Cole in his suggestive tune, “The Frim Fram Sauce,” only to shrug, in the end, and concede that it’s probably “about sex.” You can almost hear the smirk in Cole’s silky smooth voice as he sings:

I don’t want French fried potatoes, red ripe tomatoes
I’m never satisfied.

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Song of the Day: “We the People”

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If A Tribe Called Quest had to make one final statement, a boisterous, politically conscious, and funky record would be the most fitting way to do so. We Got It from Here… Thank You 4 Your Service was released on November 11, 2016, eighteen years after Tribe’s last album and only a few months after the death of founding member, Malik “Phife Dawg” Taylor.

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Song of the Day: “Lord, Help the Poor and Needy”

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Maybe growing up with a father who was a Jehovah’s Witness caused Charlyn Marie “Chan” Marshall to develop a sensitivity to the plight of the unlucky and underprivileged. Then again, Marshall, who is widely known by her stage name Cat Power, might also have an artist’s innate empathy and receptiveness to others’ pain—something that we, as a nation, could stand to develop ourselves.

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Song of the Day: “Secret Life”

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The passing of songwriter Leonard Cohen last Thursday added another mournful chapter to an already difficult week. The prolific and underrated artist—most famous, perhaps, for his aching ballad “Hallelujah,” popularized by John Cale, Rufus Wainwright, and Jeff Buckley—had a long career of ups and downs.

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Song of the Day: “Helpless”

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Neil Young’s name has become synonymous with a special brand of rock music that came of age in the 60s, matured in the 70s, and burned on well past its contemporaries. From the laid back Buffalo Springfield, to the soaring harmonies of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, to his solo career, his songs and his voice have managed to stand out from some of the most noteworthy moments in music history.

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Song of the Day: “8 (circle)”

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It takes courage and artistic vision to take risks with music that has already won you commercial success, but lasting artists persist in doing just that. Bon Iver’s third album, 22, A Million, supports this view. The familiarly warm and affecting melodies of song writer Justin Vernon’s earlier work are reinvented here, nested in a cocoon of distortion and digital noise that holds listeners at arm’s length, rather than drawing them in close.

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Song of the Day: “When the Tequila Runs Out”

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Dawes is one of a handful of groups, including peers like Wilco and Broken Social Scene, who have undergone personnel changes without losing the essential heart and soul that make them who they are. Their first manifestation in 2006 as the post-punk group Simon Dawes included the multi-talented guitarist and producer Blake Mills.

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Song of the Day: “Black and Blue”

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Given the anarchic, traumatic, and deeply worrying events of recent months, some might begin to lose hope. However, music—and especially jazz, the most particularly American music—never seems to lose its power to soothe and calm us. Louis Armstrong, in a special song that might sound deceptively typical to the hasty listener, made a groundbreaking statement on race relations in his recording of the 1929 Fats Waller tune, “Black and Blue.” Rather than making a misguided apology for his own racial identity, as some have interpreted it, Armstrong’s incomparable dignity transforms the bluesy song into an ageless lament that rivals monumental recordings like Nina Simone’s “Strange Fruit.” Maybe we are all feeling a little black and blue today.

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Song of the Day: “The Heat Is On (Part 1 & 2)”

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Everyone knows funk music reached its heyday in the 1970s, but even legends like James Brown and George Clinton were hard pressed to compete with funk powerhouse The Isley Brothers in 1975. The title track “The Heat Is On (Part 1 & 2),” from their record of the same name, is a hard-driving, wall-shaking revelation that takes this oft-underestimated genre to new heights.

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Song of the Day: “Burn the Witch”

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Radiohead is no stranger to anxiety. A tense tone—like a taut cord reverberating—runs through the high-energy opener “Burn the Witch,” from their latest record, A Moon Shaped Pool. Thom Yorke’s delicate wail floats over the brazen guitar and strings as the tempo speeds up and the anxiety mounts.

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Song of the Day: “I’m Glad You’re Mine”

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The Reverend Al Green’s fifth album, I’m Still In Love With You, appears at the top of many critics’ rankings, including that of the Village Voice‘s longtime writer, Robert Christgau. And for good reason. The second track of this mesmerizing record is the silky smooth, organ-punctuated “I’m Glad You’re Mine.” Green’s drummer, Al Jackson, Jr.—who built his reputation for rhythm as a session musician at Stax Records—holds down a beautifully laconic, almost lazy backbeat, and a rolling Hammond organ helps to show why the song deserves to be known as a staple in the soul canon.

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Song of the Day: “One Mo’ Gin”

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In the pocket. It’s the only way to describe the slithery pulse of the bass and rhythm section in D’Angelo’s slow ballad “One Mo’ Gin,” off his explosive soul album from 2000, Voodoo. D’Angelo—otherwise known as the mild-mannered Michael Eugene Archer—keens with loneliness and nostalgia on “One Mo’ Gin,” layering his buttery falsetto over the heavy groove laid down by Welsh bassist Pino Palladino and drummer extraordinaire, Ahmir “?uestlove” Thompson.

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Song of the Day: “Other People”

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In 2004, the indie group known as Beach House considered calling itself “Wisteria.” But once they “stopped trying,” according to guitarist Alex Scally, their ultimate name choice floated to the top, and “it was perfect.” Scally’s ability to let go and embrace the moment is a vital piece of the dreamy, atmospheric pop that he creates with vocalist and sole bandmate, Victoria LaGrand.

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Song of the Day: “Where Did You Sleep Last Night?”

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Mournful is the best way to describe Leadbelly’s voice in the song popularized by Nirvana on their live album, MTV Unplugged in New York. While Nirvana’s version captured the attention of audiences, the original lament was recorded by a canonized blues artist whose given name was Huddie William Ledbetter.

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Song of the Day: “Sweet Virginia”

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“Tryin’ to stop the waves behind your eyeballs,” Mick Jagger sings on “Sweet Virginia,” a determined country shuffle off their seminal 1972 record, Exile On Main Street, an album frequently mentioned on Best Of lists and widely hailed as one of the most influential of the century.

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Song of the Day: “Luv N’ Haight”

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Sly and the Family Stone’s anarchic album There’s a Riot Goin’ On, released in 1971 following several tumultuous years in America, has been called “blunt and unflinching” and “very much informed by drugs” and “paranoia.” While the funk group’s creative dynamo, Sly Stone, had indeed been sidelined by drug abuse for months, his disillusionment with the failed promise of the 60s permeates the album.

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Song of the Day: “Everything In Its Right Place”

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“Yesterday I woke up sucking on lemon,” sings Thom Yorke in the enthralling first song from Radiohead’s groundbreaking 2000 album, Kid A, which Rolling Stone called the “weirdest Number One album of the year.” Take what you will from Yorke’s reference to lemons—their bitterness, the possibility of making lemonade out of them—but the message in the title of this thrumming, synth-centered single is like an uplifting koan.

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Song of the Day: “Modern Soul”

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James Blake’s voice sounds like it belongs to a man twice his age, with twice the vocal maturity. The 28-year-old’s highly anticipated new album, The Colour in Anything, follows a series of atmospheric and haunting singles, beginning with 2011’s head-turner “The Wilhelm Scream,” found on Blake’s self-titled debut album. 

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