Song Roundup 7: Revisiting Old Friends

A few weeks is quite a long time in modern musical terms.  In that time span, countless albums will have surfaced (legally or otherwise) and artists will be shifting and working to get your attention.  The internet is rather to blame.

When I ignore a song for months this is like an eon.  Music can go away so quickly, forgotten in favor of the “next best thing.”  I’m glad to say I occasionally go through my collection on random or on Genius from iTunes (a lovely feature) to see how it all comes together.  Here are a few songs I’m glad to be hearing again.

Losing My Edge” by LCD Soundsystem

I hold a deep respect for what LCD Soundsystem does.  They manage to bring dance music into my life without letting me realize such an intrusion.  The dance-as-rock idea has shown up through the guise of semi-disco before, but I don’t think anybody executes the trick as well as this band.

The best trick in thrown out in this song is the drumming.  About a third of the way through, the drums just explode with crashing cymbals, but only briefly.  The bass carries on with this heavier tone, but you’re left wanting more, like the Dance Police caught you in banging your head in some rock show.

LCD Soundsystem rewards your patience by bringing the drums back around a few more times, but only after getting you totally hooked on the groove build from that booming bass.  Finally, by the third time through, you can stop anticipating the drums quite as much, and appreciate the great lyrics.

But they’ve still got you by your rock-ears.

The Engine Driver” by The Decemberists

Colin Meloy has a distinctive voice, seemingly built to tell stories.  Here, Meloy carries you through a light melody of false love and regret.  The song really hits you in the refrain, as he becomes a “writer of fictions.”

The description is apt, fitting the band’s act perfectly.  But this gem doesn’t just stand tall through personal observation.  The instrumentation fully supports the melancholy verses by offering introspective guitars, accordions and brilliant backing vocals.

The Decemberists had many great tunes on Picaresque, but this stands one of the most memorable, leaving the listener with a yearning for Meloy’s lost love.  Yes – he brings you into the character.

“Short Fuse Burning” by Less Than Jake

The song bursts right at you and lacks a large number of the lovely horns of most great Less Than Jake songs.  But “Short Fuse Burning” is among my favorite from the band because of the drums.

It’s such a derivative punk song: take a few chords, play it fast, make it short, and talk about some sort of angst.  But it works so well here.

That fast drum part as they sing “So I’m looking tonight / For some peace of mind” just sends the punk fan in me over the edge.  If I had a pogo stick, I’d be bouncing off the walls during that phrase.

Nothing about this song is overly special, but it’s just so immediate that you can’t help but fall for the hooks.  Take a listen to this song and you will also become a fish.  Even without the amazing horns!

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