Saturday, October 31, 2015

Song of the Week

This was a tough one this week. Between Thank Your Lucky Stars, which is unsurprisingly fantastic, and Divers, which, my goodness, and a few other great songs sprinkled about, it was hard to pick one song to write about. But Divers, wow. I always expect to love whatever Joanna Newsom releases (hey, much like Beach House!) so I shouldn't be shocked but she really expanded her sound and made it accessible (not that I cared if it was accessible, I mean, Ys is my favorite record of hers) and for the first time ever, I want Joanna's songs to be LONGER. But between "Divers" and "Leaving the City" and "Time, a Symptom" and "Sapokanikan," the record is just spectacular. Definitely one of the best releases of 2015. She is truly one of the most consistent artists releasing music right now.

But my song of the week is by Josh Ritter. Now, I love Josh Ritter, and I think he is one of the best lyricists but I don't listen to him as much as I used to. It's my fault really. Josh hasn't changed at all in quality or sound, it's just that I don't listen to as much folk-based music anymore. But his new releases and tour announcements still get all excited. In fact, I just saw him open for Damien Rice this past summer and he was, as always, fantastic. Much like Joanna Newsom, Josh Ritter is very very consistent. And he just released a new record, Sermon on the Rocks. I didn't quite like his last album, The Beast in Its Tracks but again, it was me, Josh, not you. It got lost in the Pedestrian Verse shuffle, and I never really gave it that great of a chance and never revisited. But I am enjoying Sermon so far. Especially "Getting Ready to Get Down." Every lyric is aces. Every line is better than the next one. My favorite? "Eve ate the apple because the apple was sweet/what kind of God would ever keep a girl from getting what she needs." But "to live the way you please doesn't sound like possession" is a very close second. THEY'RE ALL FANTASTIC. I don't want to say this is a return to form for Josh because he never left it but Sermon on the Rocks is my return to Josh Ritter's music.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Song of the Week

There were a lot of big releases this week (Beach House! Josh Ritter! Majical Cloudz!) but I haven't listened to them enough to really develop an opinion yet. But uh, surprise Beach House? What could be better?

No, no, this week's song is from Hamilton. You all know Hamilton. How could you not? Four out of five stories on every theater-related website is about that musical. Now, I don't really love it as much as everyone else does. Or really, I don't love it at all. I haven't seen it yet (has anyone? or is that just an urban myth? Are people actually in the room where it happens?) and I can't find it in me to listen to the whole score in one sitting. Part of it has to do with the fact that I don't like rap at all, and another part is the simple fact that I don't listen to many showtunes these days. Especially new stuff. But I think the opening of the musical is great, really, but the real standout for me (thus far) is "The Room Where It Happens." Talk about a perfect showtune. It has fantastic lyrics (sorry, it's so simple but I'm not over the line "well I arranged the meeting, I arranged the venue, the menu, the seating"), it advances the plot, and Leslie Odom Jr. is so great on it (so is Daveed Diggs.) I am totally in love with the way he sings "hold you nose and close your eyes." But the song is also a great exercise in developing character. Listen to it and you too will be like "GRRR ALEXANDER HAMILTON!" I totally can see why Burr wanted to shoot him.