Thursday, January 17, 2008

GREAT SONGS FROM 2007 - part 4

The Afghan Whigs: "I'm A Soldier" Who would have thunk that these guys would even have a new song in 2007? But they agreed to get back together to record some tracks for their best-of. Too bad they didn't do any shows, they were a great band. They should have been huge, and yet, weren't. In the '90s, after all the "alternative" bands like Jane's Addiction, Nirvana, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Soundgarden, et al, got huge, it would have been great for these guys to have been next. Instead, "alternative radio" stuck with safer, bands that sounded like Jane's Addiction, Nirvana, et al. I remember reading an interview with frontman Greg Dulli where he talked abot not relating to indie rock bands, because most of them are guys who would go up to a girl they liked and be like, "Um, uh... like, I like you?" Dulli was influenced by great soul singers, who would be like "Baby yeah! Baby please! I NEED you!" etc. The timidness and lack of sexiness that infects most indie music didn't come into play with The Afghan Whigs. Anyway, I'm really looking forward to Greg's collaboration with former Screaming Trees singer Mark Lanegan, The Gutter Twins. It's one of the albums I'm looking forward to the most in 2008.

Mark Ronson: "Stop Me" I've written a bit about Mark Ronson, I've really liked his production on Amy Winehouse's Back To Black album, and his remix of Bob Dylan's "Most Likely You'll Go Your Way (And I'll Go Mine)." "Stop Me" is a Smiths cover from Ronson's solo album, Version. It features a singer named Daniel Merriweather. It's a great re-imagining of the song that also uses a bit of the Motown classic, "You Keep Me Hangin' On." Version was actually pretty cool: it had a really fun cover of Britney Spears' "Toxic" (a great song, in my opinion) that featured Ol' Dirty Bastard, an instrumental version of Coldplay's "God Put A Smile On Your Face" featuring the horn section from The Daptones (Sharon Jones' backing band who Ronson uses on most of his productions) and a cover of Radiohead's "Just" with the members of Phantom Planet.

Paul McCartney: "Dance Tonight" Of course you want a Paul McCartney album to be great, but the best you can really expect for is a few good songs. This is one of those songs. I think it's the first time Paul has played a mandolin on a record. It's just lighthearted and fun. When you consider how bitter/angry his latest album could have been, you gotta give the guy credit for kicking off the album with this song.

Randy Newman: "A Few Words In Defense Of Our Country" He released the lyrics to The New York Times as an opinion piece before releasing the song. I wish it had a happier ending.

R.E.M.: "#9 Dream" Like Green Day's "Working Class Hero," this is from the Instant Karma John Lennon tribute album. It had it's own excitement around it, as it featured the band's original drummer, Bill Berry. Too bad the rumors of Bill rejoining the band were untrue. Anyway, I'm really looking forward to the new R.E.M. album, due out this year.

U2: "Instant Karma" Also from Instant Karma. It's almost surprising that they hadn't recorded this before, it almost sounds like it was written for U2 somehow. I'm totally looking forward to U2's album, also due out this year. They're working with Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois, who of course worked with them on The Unforgettable Fire and The Joshua Tree.

Bono and Secret Machines: "I Am The Walrus" Not only did U2 cover a Lennon song, but Bono covered a Beatles song. This is from the film Across The Universe, which I also need to see.

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