Showing posts with label Inspired Singles. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Inspired Singles. Show all posts

Mar 15, 2014

Say Something by Pentatonix

This cover of Say Something by a cappella group, Pentatonix is another example of their incredible vocal ability. If you haven't yet discovered this group, they have an amazing library of covers and original material to explore on YouTube. I've been a big fan for several years now, and I'm continually surprised by how they can reinvent pop songs and make them seem original. Say Something is further proof of this. 

Mar 15, 2012

Inspired Singles: Some Nights

Issue 29: Some Nights by Fun

If the upbeat energy of Fun doesn't immediately win you over, maybe the epic drum beats of Some Nights will. Having just discovered their music earlier this year, what really won me over with their songs like Some Nights, We Are Young, and All Right is the scope, personality, and harmonies of each track.  In Some Nights specifically, the drum beats really create a grand backdrop for what almost sounds like an homage to Freddie Mercury.  Plain and simple, Fun lives up to their name.

Dec 15, 2011

Inspired Singles: Call Your Girlfriend

Issue 28: Call Your Girlfriend by Robyn

Robyn's awesome album, Body Talk was released late last year and since then I've found myself continually adding a few of her songs into my rotation (notably Dancing on My Own, Indestructible, and Hang With Me).  It was then an awesome surprise to see Robyn on Saturday Night Live this last weekend singing Call Your Girlfriend.  

As far as high-energy electronic pop is concerned, Robyn is among the best out there in my opinion.  Listen to a few of her latest tracks and tell me you don't feel like moving. You might not agree right away, but after listening to a few of her albums you really have to give this Swedish import credit for bringing something fresh to what's become an incredibly over-saturated genre.

Nov 16, 2011

Inspired Singles: Just Stay Here Tonight

Issue 27: Just Stay Here Tonight by Augustana

This is one of those songs that I've loved listening to lately because it makes me think about fresh starts and old friends.  I've seen this as a challenging year with mixed pay offs, but songs like this help to put me in the right head space.  Time will continue to pass, some things will get better and some will get worse, but that's why you have people to lean on.  Just Stay Here Tonight by Augustana is the perfect blend of folksy alt-rock and is going to be on rotation for a good while.

Nov 6, 2011

Inspired Singles: Who Says

Issue 26: Who Says by John Mayer

There are some tracks that when you hear them you instantly connect with the story that they present.  Who Says by John Mayer is one of those tunes for me.  I actually find the whole album, Battle Studies to be that way.  Call it selfish or even a bit shallow, I call it an appreciation for single life and short term relationships.

It's what I like about this song in particular, it always reminds me of those late nights when I'm busy working or after I've just come home from an evening with friends and just feel like chilling out at my place.  I like feeling like there's still a lot of potential out there and that it's cool for me to do what makes me happy even if it's not what others expect or would do themselves.  I'm an independent guy and this is an independent guys song.   

Oct 24, 2011

Inspired Singles: Paradise

Issue 25: Paradise by Coldplay

Today is the release date for Coldplay's brand new album, Mylo Xyloto.  To be perfectly honest, it's one of the few albums that I'm going out of my way to pick up a hard copy of this year because I'm just that pumped about it!

The single, Paradise embodies that signature Coldplay sound; ambient, driving, enthusiastic, thoughtful, poetic.  It, along with Every Teardrop is a Waterfall, have been perfect lead ins to what is sure to be another monumental album for the group.  It's been a while since I've been this charged about a release date, but it feels good to be so excited. 

When Viva la Vida was released in 2008 it felt significant because I had just started working with Stream Media (had really just got out of university) and went with my friend Julie to pick up the album.  In 2005 I remember going to get X&Y after listening to it constantly while I was driving around on my forklift as SF Scotts - a summer job I had between semesters at film school.  The stories continue, but I feel like I can remember going to get every Coldplay album and what I had going on at the time.

This is going to be a great week!

Sep 8, 2011

Inspired Singles: Black Sand

Issue 24: Black Sand by Applause

A little bit of attitude, a mellow beat, and a chic conceptual music video all work to the benefit of Applause's track Black Sand.  If there's anything I can thank iTunes for, it's creating a chain of linked artists so that I can explore and search until I come across hundreds of groups that I've never even heard of before.  I love stumbling onto stuff like this and then exploring who the artists really are.

Jul 14, 2011

Inspired Singles: Play

Issue 23: Play by Flunk

This track by Flunk is particularly airy and light, like an audio parachute that leaves you floating aimlessly through your own moments of euphoria and reflection.  This is the kind of track that you'd find playing on my iPod on an evening around the campfire or lazing around my apartment with friends while we discuss past highs and future ambitions.  If there's anything you could say about Play by Flunk, it's that it creates an atmosphere that the philosophers in your group will be quick to latch on to.

May 24, 2011

Inspired Singles: Specks

Issue 22: Specks by Matt Pond PA

Some songs take you on a ride, and Specks is definitely one of them.  It's easy to picture the landscape rolling by my window as a drive down the highway with this track.  It's light and folksy, played with rootsy abandon, and gives your mind space to wander.  At the moment, I can't ask for much more.

May 9, 2011

Inspired Singles: Could It Be

Issue 21: Could It Be by Mackintosh Braun

Sometimes my connection to what I consider an inspired single comes from how the song fits with what I'm feeling when I first discover it.  This couldn't be more true than with Mackintosh Braun's relatively recent track, Could It Be off of their latest album Where We Are

It seems this year has been a mix of trying to balance my desire to grow and feel challenged with the reality that last year I managed to achieve a lot of the things I had been working towards since film school.  In short I've spent a lot of time brainstorming and trying to figure out what I want to do next.  The process sometimes adds more stress than anything, and then I'm left wondering why I'm purposefully frustrating myself.

The chorus of Could It Be echoes my sentiments perfectly - "could it be enough to only stay right here, could it be enough never needing more"?  The truth is that it's probably not, but that doesn't mean that I can't appreciate where I'm at for the time being.  It's the great dilemma we all face, to continue seeking new adventures or to be satisfied with the ones we've already had.  This is a great single to get lost in.

Apr 13, 2011

Inspired Singles: Detroit '67

Issue 20: Detroit '67 by Sam Roberts

Take a bit of history, some classic vintage footage, throw in some jaunty piano with a carefree bar crowd, and you've got Detroit '67 by Sam Roberts.  This isn't the first time that Sam has popped up in my Inspired Singles or on this blog - I saw him in Regina a few times, and he performed at the university for welcome week one year. 

With his signature folk rock sound, Roberts tells a story of Detroit in its heyday with almost care-free poetics that make you revel in both the history of Motown and the song itself.  Love at the End of the World is the third studio album from Roberts, and quickly became one of my favorites when it came out in 2008.  With Detroit having faced such a dramatic economic shift, more on that here, I just love the nostalgia and optimism of this track - that, and the music video is a work of editing art.

Mar 26, 2011

Inspired Singles: Don't Haunt This Place

Issue 19: Don't Haunt This Place by the Rural Alberta Advantage

I remember in 2009 falling for the RAA when I came across their album, Hometowns.  Their music is a raw blend of indie rock, pop, and prairie sentiment.  With track titles like, The Dethbridge in Lethbridge and Edmonton I was intrigued (as an Albertan) before I even knew much about them.

It's not often that I come across music that mentions places I have a close connection to that isn't country music.  That's not to say it isn't there - and the Rural Alberta Advantage is the proof.  

Don't Haunt This Place is one of my favorite songs of theirs, but truthfully, I'm still hooked on the entire album.  A choppy drum beat, raw harmonies, and expressive lyrics pull you in from the start and charm you with their unassuming simplicity.  The Rural Alberta Advantage is a must have. 

Feb 25, 2011

Inspired Singles: Lay Lady Lay

Issue 18: Lay Lady Lay by Magnet Feat. Gemma Hayes

Written and made popular by Bob Dylan, this cover of Lay Lady Lay by Magnet and Gemma Hayes was enough to encourage me to buy their entire album On Your Side.  What I love about the song in general is how it floats from chord to chord.  There's a relaxed groove about it, perfect for . . . well, you know.  

The cover really plays up the weight of the song while replacing Dylan's raspy style with a smooth and more ambient interpretation.  Don't get me wrong, I like both versions.  This one just doesn't remind me of my parents generation as much - given the subject matter that's a huge plus.

Feb 12, 2011

Inspired Singles: Your Mother Should Know

Issue 17: Your Mother Should Know by The Beatles

While it's tough for me to talk about any Beatles tune like it's a hidden gem, Your Mother Should Know is perhaps one of their lesser known successes that I always get a kick out of.  I love the weight and jaunty tone of this track in particular.  It remains upbeat but restrained from the rambunctious style that highlights so many other Beatles hits.

The Magical Mystery Tour is one of my favorite albums of all time!  But look at the tracks listed on the cover art - they could all be considered inspired singles for numerous reasons.

Jan 28, 2011

Inspired Singles: Hard Times

Issue 16: Hard Times by Eastmountainsouth

This is a relaxed selection with a country/folk vibe.  It's the kind of song that I'd be listening to on a Sunday afternoon while I cleaned my place up.  That's to say that the tracks somber tone is ideal for thinking, adding a bit of color to the otherwise mundane, and chilling out.

To be honest, I've never been a fan of country music but I do appreciate hints of it to remind me of where I am in the world (Western Canada).  It's just the right mix of earthy twang with an edge of alternative weight behind it.  If you're anything like me, you'll find Eastmountainsouth is an easy addition to most playlists.

Jan 13, 2011

Inspired Singles: I'm Running

Issue 15: I'm Running by Misstress Barbara (feat. Sam Roberts)

This track has been a regular favorite for the last year, and usually ends up in various playlists that I like to listen to while driving.  An enthusiastic beat accompanies forward thinking lyrics - it's tough to listen to it and not think about moving. 

Sam Roberts has been a favorite of mine since I was first introduced to his music back in high school.  I've seen him in concert a couple of times, and actually met him in person once when a couple of friends and I were hanging out at the Arts Centre in Regina.  His presence here is why I discovered the track in the first place and then came to explore the electronic musings of Misstress Barbara.

I always like learning about new Canadian artists as it makes me feel more connected to what's going on in my own backyard.  Check out the music video to see this duo run around Toronto.

Dec 13, 2010

Inspired Singles: What is Happening

Issue 14: What is Happening by Alphabeat

This was one of those songs that I fell in love with after following a chain of videos on YouTube. Once I got hooked on Alphabeat's videos, I realized how much I loved their songs too when they'd be stuck in my head in the middle of the afternoon.

Alphabeat is a Danish pop group and they embody the best elements of the genre. Spirited, high energy, great chorus' and hooks, the way Alphabeat mixes a lot of electro-synth into many of their songs is so current that in 10 years it'll be ideal kitsch. The point is you can tell they're having fun with their music, and for kicking back that's the kind of thing I like to listen to.

What is Happening is a more mainstream track for the group, but it's a nice introduction if you've never heard of them before. Personally, I find a lot of the remixes to be absolutely stellar and perfect for dancing in your computer chair if you're into that kind of thing - I'm not ashamed to say that I am. Have a listen below and search out Alphabeat for more.

Nov 24, 2010

Inspired Singles: Sunlight

Issue 13: Sunlight by Harlem Shakes

This was a rare find for me. The kind of song you think you might like just by the cover art, but end up discovering entirely by accident while clicking through a chain of recommendations on iTunes. It's now been on regular rotation for the last month.

Sunlight kicks off with an almost predictable sound. I would mistake it for the wrong song when I first heard it, but when the chorus came I was amazed I hadn't heard this sooner. Crisp, heavy, and with a lyrical rhythm that'll stick in your head all afternoon, Sunlight is like a friendlier cousin of an MGMT t

From Harlem Shakes first debut album, Technicolor Health, I think this is an inspired single that you'll want to have on repeat too. If you're anything like me, you're bound to appreciate how happy it makes you feel.

Nov 4, 2010

Inspired Singles: Gimme Shelter

Issue 12: Gimme Shelter by the Rolling Stones

This notable track from the Stones' 1969 album, Let it Bleed is fueled with a distinctly urban and raw sound. I always think of a 70's era cop drama when I hear it - it may have also been in a Scorsese movie (the Departed?).

To me this is a quintessential Rolling Stones track, in that it seems almost improvised, slightly chaotic, with a great hook and a lot of energy. I've had the pleasure of seeing the Rolling Stones twice in concert and that has pretty much solidified my appreciation for the group's iconic status. Gimme Shelter, and the entire album for that matter, is required listening for anyone with an interest in rock music. It pulls you in, tells a story, and has you singing along even when you don't know the words.

You don't have to take my word for it though. Rolling Stone magazine placed Gimme Shelter at #38 on their list of the 500 greatest songs of all time.