Archive for ‘My Favorite Songs’

March 26, 2012

Talkin’ bout my generation: A John Hughes Mix

Among the writers and directors that manage to capture the angst and confusion of being a teenager (and a kid, and an adult, and well, life as a whole, actually), John Hughes is arguably one of the best — especially for kids who grew up in the ’80s. Sure, the man’s not infallible. I am not a fan of really anything that he participated in after 1989, but I know plenty of you have affection for Home Alone, and I forgive you for that. Mostly.

But during my John Hughes years, I got to enjoy a bunch of awesome things he wrote, like Vacation, Pretty in Pink, and Some Kind of Wonderful, as well as all the great stuff he directed including Sixteen Candles, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Weird Science, She’s Having a Baby, and of course: The Breakfast Club. And whoever was in charge of the soundtracks for each of those films managed to pick songs that matched Hughes’ kick-ass skills, so naturally I own almost every soundtrack to accompany each DVD in my collection.

And so, I made for you, dear hearingade readers, a mix of some of my favorite John Hughes movie tunes. Please enjoy them while quoting memorable lines and doing the Molly Ringwald dance.

If You Leave – Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (OMD)
Everyone remembers the end of Pretty in Pink: the pivotal moment at the Prom where Andie has to choose between Duckie and “Blaine.” She chooses unwisely, but whatever. Duckie totally ends up with hottie Kristy Swanson — and it’s all set against OMD’s pretty love song.

Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want – The Smiths
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off: For me, this song will always be associated with Cameron and the art museum.

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March 12, 2012

Magic ‘Feathers’ takes Fanfarlo soaring on second album

Back in 2009, I remember somebody on Twitter posted a link to Fanfarlo‘s song “Finish Line,” comparing it to the Talking Heads and something else that I can’t recall. It was enough of an endorsement to make me go listen and I fell majorly head over heels in love with them. The album (Reservoir) wasn’t nearly perfect, but it did have its gems. “Luna” became one of those musical treasures that you cherish for eternity and “Harold T. Wilkins, or How to Wait for a Very Long Time” has a special place in my heart for its sci-fi whimsy.

Understandably, as the band readied release for its sophomore release, Rooms Filled With Light, I was waiting on the edge of my seat to be wowed once again by these London marvels. But even I did not expect to adore the album as much as I have. Only a couple of weeks since its anticipated release, I’m in the fullest depths of swoon over these tunes! Most of all, the bright, sparkling melodies of “Feathers” — over and over again.

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January 16, 2012

My Favorite Songs: The Traveling Wilburys, ‘Not Alone Anymore’

It makes complete sense that “Not Alone Anymore” is my favorite song by The Traveling Wilburys, the best supergroup of all time. It’s one of two songs on the band’s debut album, Traveling Wilburys Vol. 1, that credit Jeff Lynne as chief songwriter, and features the golden voice of Roy Orbison front and center.

From the very first note, “Not Alone Anymore” grabs me and doesn’t let go. The song opens briskly with ELO’s signature rain of electronic keys and an elastic bass incline. As soon as Orbison begins crooning, I’m done for, my heart wrapped up in its velvety bliss.

Not Alone Anymore – The Traveling Wilburys

The remaining Wilburys sing dusty “sha la la la’s” between Orbison’s broken-hearted lyrics: “I let you down, I let you go/ I lost you, how was I to know?” It makes me wish that Orbison sang ALL the songs. It makes me wish Lynne wrote all the songs. Of course, George Harrison, Bob Dylan and Tom Petty provide quite proper guitar work and backing vocals, and Jim Keltner’s drumming is an essential inclusion as the base that sets the sway. The Wilburys’ other songs on the album are ace, but there’s no denying that the formula they cooked up for “Not Alone Anymore” is one of the most fluid and potent in their catalog. It’s got a tone all its own; one that they’ve never repeated, which makes it all the more valuable.

January 9, 2012

My Favorite Songs: Empire of the Sun, ‘Swordfish Hotkiss Night’

I love me some good, ordinary-type music. But there will always be a soft spot in my heart for the weird stuff. My affinity for the musically strange may have been sparked by an introduction in my youth to Frank Zappa’s zany tunes. It’s a love that burns to this day, and I’m still known to every so often drop lines from “Muffin Man” when I get the urge.

When a friend of mine introduced me to Empire of the Sun, I found the band’s upbeat “Walking on a Dream” to be deliciously fun and catchy. The Australian pop duo’s 2008 album of the same name called to me, and I listened. But buried between the disc’s generally conventional electro beats lay one song that stands head and shoulders above the rest in terms of unusualness.

Swordfish Hotkiss Night – Empire of the Sun

It’s not the band’s only foray into Wackytown, but it’s certainly the one that goes deepest. From the dripping synths to the deep vocal bellows that lay down the tempo, this song has the sounds of something conceived under the influence (of what, I dare not hazard a guess). Also, I’m sure you’ve noticed the title, and I’ll bet even Beck Hansen couldn’t decipher most of these lyrics: “Hotdog belt, doughnut melt, magpie knelt by itself, monster goons, magnet moves, diamonds in a harlot douche.” At least that seems to be the consensus.

Imagine if I did that kind of stuff in my writing. Pear sparkle pants bone, kitty bangle soup phone. Tissue glass, mailbox radar floss hair. Yeah, I think I can get into it.

January 2, 2012

Middle Brother’s ‘Someday’ Provides An Anthem For The Commitmentphone In Us All

My name is Amber Valentine and I am a professional commitment-phobe.  I didn’t realize how bad it was until recently when I found myself flying into a panic over the word “date” and its sudden emergence in my life. Nothing scares me more than the idea of someone falling in love with me — and that horrific series of events all starts with a date. Sure, to the male involved it was just going to be time spent with a pretty girl who’d probably make out with him but, to me, that date was a death sentence for my soul. In my mind, my consenting to that date meant giving up my identity. I never realized it until recently but after years spent as the ultimate bachelorette, being single has become such a huge part of my life and of who I am. I like my life. And I like who I am. So why would I want to change that?

I fell in love with Middle Brother‘s self-titled debut before it even came out. It was impossible for me not to love the band. See, Middle Brother is an indie rock supergroup consisting of the frontmen from three tried-and-true Amber favorites (and Daytrotter Barnstormer alums), Deer TickDelta Spirit, and Dawes. I expected, however, to more love the project for the men involved rather than for the music itself. I can’t help but have ill feelings toward most supergroups. I think Monsters of Folk soured me. My problem with most supergroups is the fact that the artists involved always seem to use their material that they’ve deemed not “good enough” for their main band or solo career. With Middle Brother, however, that wasn’t the case. In fact, I’m willing to say that some of Delta Spirit lead singer Matt Vasquez’s best work to date was with Middle Brother and the highlight of that record for me is “Someday.”

Middle Brother – Someday

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December 19, 2011

A Look At Life Across The River With Laura Marling

I’ve never felt like I’ve fit in. I used to be under the delusion that this was a singular feeling, that I was the world’s only misfit. The older I got, the more I realized how presumptuous of me that had been. I felt stupid, sure, for my feelings of isolation, but mostly I felt like I was Lucy discovering Narnia for the first time. I had spent my whole life thinking I was alone but suddenly, one day during my adolescence, I realized there was a whole world of misfits out there! And they wrote songs!

Nothing’s better than the feeling of being completely understood in four minutes or less by some attractive guy or gal with a guitar. I was sitting on the porch at my friend’s house not too long ago and she was playing me music as we chain-smoked cigarettes, something that I’m noticing is a recurring theme in my stories these days. It was one of our first times hanging out one-on-one and it was proving to be a great night because, with her playing DJ, it was very easy for me to judge her based upon her musical tastes and boy, she was busting out some jams. After some Iron Horse and The Hold Steady, she asked me if I’d ever heard of Laura Marling. I had, I said, but what I didn’t say was that I wasn’t that crazy about her. Of course, I hadn’t heard “Alas, I Cannot Swim”.

Laura Marling – Alas, I Cannot Swim (Live)

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