#116 – Vincent

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Artist – Don McLean
Album – American Pie
Year – 1971
Genre – Folk Rock/Acoustic

I’ve been feeling pretty artsy this weekend, so I figured what better way to cap it off than with a beautiful and emotional song about a famous artist. Don McLean is perhaps best known for “American Pie,” but “Vincent” is a much more powerful and engrossing song to me, as well as being much shorter and simpler.

“Starry, starry night.” These are the first words you hear in the song, and an homage to Van Gogh already. The song is McLean, his guitar, some background atmospheric keyboard, and strings. That’s it. But that’s all he needs to tug at your heartstrings. The guitar is crisp and clear, and as McLean’s soft and gentle voice sings of the imagery created by Van Gogh, the guitar seems to paint right along with the artist himself. I guess the best way to describe it would be musical brushstrokes. The song often slows and speeds up just like an artist painting. It’s a neat effect that fits the subject matter perfectly.

McLean’s gentility and sensitivity give the impression of a lullaby, but still a great deal of sadness and pain. You can truly feel his connection and channeling of the mental and emotional anguish that Van Gogh must have felt throughout his life. The melody is dreamlike and melancholic, but very simple and pleasing to hear. McLean sings especially well during each chorus and the bridge, which is where the song really gains emotional resonance and passion.

The lyrics in this song are gorgeous. Each verse recreates the vibrancy and emotion of Van Gogh’s paintings, and also shows how prolific the artist really was during his life. This goes in direct contrast with the chorus, which speaks of the lack of recognition that Van Gogh had throughout his life, and yet the incredible fame he has in today’s art world. McLean also touches on the mental illness and suffering that Vincent endured and struggled with. It’s a poignant look at a man who was misunderstood in his own time, and still not completely understood now.

Even more poignant is the bridge, in which McLean sings of Van Gogh’s suicide. Even though the man had so much ambition and passion, his life was hard and often miserable, and it was too much for him to bear. But the world itself was hard on him, and it certainly was not Van Gogh’s fault. Perhaps in this day and age, his cry for help would have been heard, but back then:

This world was never meant for one as beautiful as you

The song’s closing is filled with strings and the hope that maybe someday we’ll understand more about Vincent’s art and why took his life, but maybe we never will understand. However, his art remains a fixture of beauty and emotion that the world can appreciate each and every day.

I myself am not a huge fan of impressionism, but I certainly can find the beauty in Van Gogh’s work, and also his words. He once said, “the diseases that we civilized people labor under most are melancholy and pessimism.” These are wise words. We often have everything we need, but still we suffer with our own problems and sadness. It’s those very emotions, but also the hope that always remains that McLean captures so well in “Vincent.”

Thanks for reading, and you too can appreciate this great work of art by liking, commenting, following, or sharing this blog! You all are the best!

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#115 – Breaking the Habit

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Artist – Linkin Park
Album – Meteora
Year – 2003
Genre – Alternative Metal/ Nu-Metal

Known as one of the main torchbearers of the rap-rock/nu-metal movement of the early 2000’s, Linkin Park has been a continuous voice in the realm of modern rock radio. But it’s time to stop casting this band off to the land of angsty teens and immaturity. The band consistently creates rock records that manage to make the rap-rock sound become fresh and new, and their lyrics are often very well written and cut to the core of our emotions. There’s so much more to this band that at first listen, and “Breaking the Habit” is one of their best to prove this.

First off, the musical production throughout the entire track is absolutely outstanding. From the opening chilling synth line to the electronic glitches and stutters that fill in the cracks between instruments, the song sounds great. The simple guitar picking underneath lead vocalist Chester Bennington’s anguished vocals add layers of drama and the tone makes the guitar slick and almost like a completely different instrument. That, mixed with the powerful sounds from the turntables, the sadness from the live strings, and all the extra effects the band applies: echoes, clicks, pops, and stutters make the sound one extremely well constructed and well layered piece.

This song in particular is so good because it breaks from a lot of the constraints that have defined Linkin Park over the years. There’s no rapping, and Bennington’s vocals, except for the bridge, are softer and actually much more emotionally potent. After seeing Mike Shinoda’s lyrics, it’s said that Bennington broke down and had a hard time performing this song live for years afterward because of how close to home these lyrics were for him. And you can absolutely feel that from beginning to end.

He sings in a sense of quiet desperation and most certainly a plea for help. The melodies written for both verse and chorus in this song are stunning, and Bennington’s voice twists and turns around every note. All you can hear is pain and sadness in his voice, which is exactly what the song is conveying. The vocals in this track could not be better, and by the time you get to the bridge, Bennington lets it all out in his trademark screams of rage. The song covers all the bases of mental suffering, but don’t call it teen angst. These are feelings and emotions we all feel throughout our lives. It’s a common human experience.

Tying right in with that experience are Mike Shinoda’s lyrics. The song itself deals with the struggle with drug addiction, and speaks of a life ultimately ending, but thanks to the beauty of personal interpretation, you can pull so much more out of the lyrics.

Memories consume
Like opening the wound
I’m picking me apart again
You all assume
I’m safe here in my room
Unless I try to start again

This first verse really touches to the heart of internal suffering that we don’t want others to see, but that we often silently need help overcoming. It’s a beautiful lyrical recreation of emotions we don’t often like to openly discuss.

And then there’s this chorus:

I don’t know what’s worth fighting for
Or why I have to scream.
I don’t know why I instigate
And say what I don’t mean.
I don’t know how I got this way
I know it’s not alright.
So I’m breaking the habit,
I’m breaking the habit
Tonight

This could obviously be interpreted as having a pessimistic ending, but I rather choose to view it as finding a second chance to better yourself. The opening lines are another poignant look at our own internal struggles and questions about ourselves, and especially when we break down and lash out at loved ones, or even have a hard time finding things to live for. We have these moments, but “Breaking the Habit” to me is about rising again and gaining the strength for another shot at living life. Shinoda’s lyrics are a true success and really do hit close to that part of ourselves we bury deep down.

With incredible production, an out of this world catchy and cathartic melody, and outstanding lyrics and vocals, this is without a doubt Linkin Park’s greatest triumph. This is not a song for teen angst. This is a song about human pain and inner suffering. And who doesn’t go through that at some point in their lives? If you just take the time to put preconceived notions aside and really listen, you too will see the beauty in it.

Thanks for reading, and keep spreading this blog like wildfire! I have some new, big opportunities coming up in my life I’m excited to share with you all, so leave a like, comment, follow me, or share this page to your friends to stay up to date on all the big stuff on the road ahead!

#114 – Gold on the Ceiling

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Artist – The Black Keys
Album – El Camino
Year – 2011
Genre – Garage Rock/Blues Rock

Sometimes in life, you need to get your funk on. Sometimes, that’s all the time. Enter The Black Keys. They are here to help you with that. Duo Patrick Carney and Dan Auerbach solidified their place as masters of bluesy, old school rock and roll with “Gold on the Ceiling” in 2011. If my own father says that this song takes him back to the late 60’s and early 70’s, then I’m pretty sure this song can firmly rooted in all that made rock and roll so great.

Right from Auerbach’s opening riff, you know this is going to be down and dirty. Sure enough, there it is. The guitar is absolutely filthy, with a super low crunch and a throbbing fuzz bass to back it up. The real treat in this repeated riff is the organ. Its buzz invokes a Norman Greenbaum-esque feel as adds even more grit and soul to the already explosive music.

When Auerbach sings, he yowls like the blues singers of old, and by the time the eerie chorus of voices backs him up at the end of each verse, he’s hooked you with his yearning voice. The drums and guitar continue their grasp over the song as they menace in the background.

Then we get ourselves a hell of a catchy breakdown, with some real cool echoing guitars for added effect, and then we have our chorus. The gospel choir vocals mixed with the funk we heard earlier and a damn smooth melody makes for a good time all around. This is a chorus you’re going to sing. A lot. To cap of this sensational part of the song, Auerbach pulls out a tasty (and very air guitarable) mini solo after each chorus that shows off his blues guitar skills.

Did I mention how big all the instruments sound in this song yet? I did? Well I’ll say it again. The mixing in this song is wonderful, and every part hits you with the force of a speeding train. It’s pounding, thumping, crunching, powerful goodness. And as the song goes along, you really start to hear it more and more. It’s an aspect of the song that has to be appreciated.

I don’t know what it is about the lyrics in this song. I don’t know what they mean, but I know that they’re well written because I find myself singing along every time I hear the chorus. Maybe you all out there have your own interpretation of who’s going to get the “gold” on the ceiling. And maybe even about what the hell gold on the ceiling is.

After a closing run of the fuzz bass and guitar, this song comes to an end, but not without you seriously considering putting it on repeat for the day. If you need to rock out, boom. Get your funk on? Done. These guys know how to make you forget your problems for awhile and just have a good time. Good old fashioned rock can do that to you.

Thanks for reading, and be sure to leave a like, comment, follow me or share this song. But whatever you do, don’t go stealin’ my gold on the ceiling!!

#113 (cont.) Domino – Part 2: The Last Domino

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Artist – Genesis
Album – Invisible Touch
Year – 1986
Genre – Progressive Rock

– Listen from 4:26 to the end for part 2

Continuing right on from Part 1 of “Domino,” which looked at the domino effect on an interpersonal level, part 2 is a look at the domino effect of governments and war and how they affect the lives of the ordinary people that live under them. It’s a poignant look at suffering caused by decisions by people and events that we often have no control over, and many times how often we choose to look the other way from catastrophe.

The opening galloping synth signals that this is going to be a bit darker than the last part. Tony Banks does a wonderful job at adding various synth effects that sound like screams and wails in the background, as Phil Collins absolutely cuts loose on the opening “verse,” which is a nightmarish dream sequence demonstrating the horrors of war. His voice is filled with intensity and as the drums intensify, so does he.

At this point, Mike Rutherford really begins to shine on the guitar. His quick strumming adds a degree of urgency to this part of the song, and as Collins accuses

Now see what you’ve gone and done!

to the world leaders, the guitar adds punch and weight behind each beat and word, and so do the pounding drums.
Banks takes over again for a bit, and his synth solo in the interlude is beautiful and very melodic, however short it may be. Despite its length it really pulls you along and guides you up and down, and prepares you for the message to come.

Now starts the true intensity of this half of the song. Rutherford’s guitar pierces through the song like a gunshot, and the drums pick up the pace. The first verse of this section is brilliant writing from Banks as a snide and biting look at how we see atrocities on TV and yet immediately jump to the conclusion that there’s nothing that can be done about it.

Well now you never did see such a terrible thing
As was seen last night on T.V.
Maybe if we’re lucky, they will show it again
Such a terrible thing to see – oh
But there’s nothing you can do when you’re next in line
You’ve got to go domino

The final two lines are absolutely off the charts thanks to Collins and his amazing voice. All the while these verses are being sung, Rutherford’s quick guitar riffs sound fantastic and add some flair and punch to the music. The next verse contains some more wittiness from Banks about deceiving ourselves:

Play the game of happiness and never let on
That it only lives on in a song

Another blistering chorus and there’s an awesome repetition of the first half of the song, this time put in the context of irresponsible and ignorant leaders and more poignantly, always holding your loved one close and appreciating the safety you have, for you never know if they might be taken from you due to a war or decision made by some degree of authority.

Do you know what you have done?
Do you know what you’ve begun?

In silence and darkness
Hold each other near tonight
For will it last forever?

After this point, the song repeats the short and infectious chorus, and each time just seems to drive the point home more and more. Even in the fade out, absolutely nothing is lost, and the instruments still continue to play in top form and Collins adds some flourishes of his own on the words. By the end of the song, the message hits hard. It’s an aggressive pointing finger towards the disregard for human life from certain leaders, and how selfishness and greed can devastate those who only wish to live a peaceful existence with their friends and family. In an instant, everything they loved can be taken away, all because of usually one person or a group’s selfish ambitions; the domino effect in motion.

The duality of the song is unlike anything I’ve ever heard. The simultaneous analysis of heartbreak and loneliness, as well as war and catastrophe makes for one emotional juxtaposition. The band is truly firing on all cylinders with this one, and I think it’s one of the best musical pieces this already off the chart talented band has ever produced. It hits you from every angle, and pulls no punches on any front. This song is a complete musical and lyrical masterpiece.

Thanks for reading everyone, and let’s start the domino effect for this blog! Be sure to share this page so others can spread the word, and follow me if you already have not for more songs! Likes and comments would be lovely as well!

#113 – Domino – Part 1: In the Glow of the Night

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Artist – Genesis
Album – Invisible Touch
Year – 1986
Genre – Progressive Rock

– listen to 4:26 for part one

I’ve been asked if I could go back in time to see one band or musician, who would it be. The answer is Genesis, without question. Progressive rock is my thing, but Genesis consistently produced music that both had incredible construction and talent behind it, and yet still be insanely pleasing to listen to. Peter Gabriel and Phil Collins were both incredible frontmen, but Phil holds a special place with me due to his pop sensibility and ability to craft songs that appealed to a majority of people, as well as him being one of the greatest pop/rock singers of all time. Genesis’ Invisible Touch album had a huge list of top 10 hits, but “Domino” was not one of them. In fact, the song is the longest song on the album, and despite an album full of pop hits, “Domino” is a full on 10 minute progressive emotional exploration. It’s an absolutely beautiful piece, with incredible lyrics and melodies that hit you like a train on both vocal and musical fronts. It’s a track that deserves to be heard. As you can imagine, a ten minute song will require a bit of a longer review, so bear with me here.

The song itself is actually divided into two distinct parts, so I will divide my reviews as such. As the title implies, the song the “domino effect” in our lives, in which one single event starts a chain reaction and subsequently affects every aspect of a person’s life, or in some cases, many lives. The song’s two parts focus on two different instances of this affect, on two different levels. The first part, “In the Glow of the Night,” focuses on the decision to break up and the loss of love affects us on a deeply emotional level.

The song’s gentle opening is immediately graced with Collins’ impassioned vocals. The delivery of each and every word of the verse is filled with crystallized sadness, and you can trace the arc of feeling throughout. Tony Banks is the man on this half of the song, and his dark and moody synths paint a perfect picture of the atmosphere of loneliness and heartache. His little flourishes and melodies are impeccable and if you really focus on them, have just as much emotion put into them as the singing.

Lyrics and melody have to go hand in hand in this review. Tony Banks also wrote the lyrics to both halves of the song, and oh my God they are stunning. Every line in part 1 is perfectly written and melds poetry and relatable feeling better than most songs about the subject. If you’ve gone through really terrible heartbreak and heartache, please tell that every one of these lines is something you haven’t thought at some point:

Then I reach across to touch her,
But I know that she’s not there

Can’t you see what you are doing to me?
Can’t you see what you have done?
As I try to pass another long and sleepless night,
A hundred crazy voices call my name,
As I try to pass them by,
I almost can believe that she is here

Do you see we shall never be together again?
All of my life

These are the silent thoughts of desperation that remain unsaid to many. We hold these thoughts and feelings in our hearts and they eat away at us. One simple decision to separate leads to feelings of sickness, loneliness, sleepless nights and tears. Thoughts of inferiority, and second chances run rampant in our minds until we reach our lowest point. There is no worse feeling in the human heart than this, and I can see perfectly clear that Tony Banks knows this all too well.

Collins has the most important job of all. As the emotional swings of the song clash back and forth behind him, he wails and weeps, sighs and yearns. He does all this in his beautiful singing and melodies, which capture every nuance that the words put forth. Rising and falling, and building up again, much like we do in our own lives, Collins keeps the song potent and keeps it in our heads. You can feel his resignation to sadness in the beginning of each verse, and feel his anguish swell at the end of each verse. It’s incredible to hear emotional/vocal manipulation of this kind.

All the while, the instrumentation follows suit. Soft and smoky synths and guitar blankets the reflective parts, and intense pulses of keyboard and drums punctuate the anger and frustration. It’s the perfect mirror to the vocals, and the song stays in equilibrium throughout.

The final three lines of this half of the song hit you like nothing else. They perfectly capture the essence of a loving moment, and what the heart truly wants in that moment. Every time I hear them, I can’t help but get a bit emotional:

In silence and darkness
We held each other near that night
We prayed it would last forever

Every single person who has experienced love and the feeling that someone truly accepts you and cares about you for who you are knows this feeling. It’s such a universal statement of emotion, and it’s words like these that are what keep me passionate about music. If you’ve every held someone close at night, you never want to let them go. You want it to last forever. Because you know that in your heart, you’re the happiest you’ve ever been. What Banks and Collins are showing is how in one single moment, it can be taken away, and an emptiness like you’ve never known hits you. It’s a pain that can’t be quelled with medicine, and only time heals. Even then, scars remain.

Collins softly remembers the memory of that night as he sings the words, and he builds up to a final primal outburst of emotion on the last word “forever.” It’s a moment that truly needs to be heard to be understood and felt. Under him, Banks finishes the song with atmospheric synth that floats like a reverie. It’s a show of tenderness and quietude that can be felt both in loneliness and in the arms of a lover.

If there is a song (or a part of one for that matter) that captures what it means to lose love and to truly feel pain, it is this one. This is the “domino effect” on a wholly singular level. One person’s decision affects the other in ways that are hard to fathom until you’ve felt it. After this half of the song, you may be reeling emotionally, but “Domino” has more tricks of its sleeve in Part 2. What are they? Well you’ll have to read my next review to find out. As for this one, I truly hope you all find something special and emotionally potent for you in this piece. That is my fondest hope, because that’s the true power of music. Stay tuned…

Thanks for reading, and as always, I’d love if you guys could leave a like, comment, follow me, or share this page. The truth is that someone out there probably needs a song like this right now…

#112 – The Scorpion

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Artist – Megadeth
Album – The System Has Failed
Year – 2004
Genre – Metal/Thrash Metal

This is the band that single handedly got me into metal music. Megadeth are known as one of the “big four” pioneers of thrash metal, and before you say it, yes I know they have tons of iconic songs I could have chosen first. Choosing the first Megadeth song to review is like choosing which of my children (if I had any) I liked the most. I chose “The Scorpion” off of their 2004 record The System Has Failed because this song is sinister, dark, and heavy, but it’s also a very relatable song with a message about betrayal that everyone can interpret to their own lives. It’s also a song that slows down the typical metal tempo and creates just as hard a song with added tricks and a killer melody.

It’s always nice to start with something different, and the opening riff of this song immediately catches you by surprise. It’s got that Arabian flair to it that makes it sound sinister and insidious, and makes you think of the titular animal crawling across your skin. Then we start to kick it into a higher gear. As the metronome ticks, the drum blasts in and the chugging guitar begins the verse.

As per usual, frontman Dave Mustaine is still his old, snarling self in this song. His trademark vocals are backed by that heavy rhythmic riff. The verses are good on their own with harmonies and simple melody, but they serve as the build up to the incredible chorus. Just for good measure to get you pumped up, Mustaine flexes his guitar muscles and blasts out solo after incredible solo, showing that even after all these years, he’s still got it.

This chorus hits like a ton of bricks. Mustaine actually gets quite melodic here, and his voice fits the aggressive, yet hooky melody perfectly. The subtle harmony is superb, and watch for the way he sings “I will treat you like a dog.” It’s the best part for sure, and really showcases his melding of snarl and singing. The melody is catchy as all hell and proves that metal choruses can just as easily stick in your head.

As the song builds, it only gets better. The solos get better, and the rest of the musicians, including Mustaine, seem to only build in their intensity from verse to chorus. By the end of the song, your hair should be a mess from headbanging, because the whole band just brings it on this one. The song ends with the final verse transitioning back to that uber cool riff, and some false political newscast samples, which is typical of Mustaine’s last few records.

Speaking of words in general, Mustaine may have had a political viewpoint for this song and for the record, but let’s take a closer look at the chorus:

As I climb onto your back, I will promise not to sting
I will tell you what you want to hear and not mean anything
Then I treat you like a dog, as I shoot my venom in
You pretend you didn’t know, that I am a scorpion

For those who didn’t know, the chorus is a retelling of the Aesop fable in which a frog agrees to carry a scorpion across a river who told him he wouldn’t sting him along the way. Half way across, the scorpion stings the frog and when the frog asks why it would do that, since they’ll both be dead, the scorpion replies “It’s in my nature.” I personally take this parable, particularly the way it’s phrased in the chorus, as a message of betrayal. Some people you will encounter in life and love will promise you one thing, and sometimes everything, and then take it all away on a whim, or completely betray you. Many times, we know the person is bad for us, but we’re so blinded by our goals and feelings that we totally disregard their “nature” as they sting us, and yet we still wonder why. For me, I take these words personally, but you certainly can see the nature of betrayal on a political level as well. That’s why this song is so well written. Its clever use of the fable as a means for showing the nature of trust and two-faced people works perfect with the insidious melody and aggressive nature of the track.

Megadeth’s “The Scorpion” wasn’t the most obvious choice for the band that introduced me to metal, but it deserves every ounce of praise it gets. Anyone who loves to rock, and anyone who’s looking for that metal song after a breakup or other such events needs to hear this song. But for you fans of classic Megadeth who are disappointed that I chose this song first…watch this space in the future. More ‘Deth is coming.

Thanks for reading everyone! Let’s all be scorpions and sting that follow button…or the like button…or the keys to type a comment…or the share button. Not each other though. That would be bad.

#111 – Holiday In Cambodia

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Artist – Dead Kennedys
Album – Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables
Year – 1980
Genre – Punk

I was in work today and a woman came up to me in a Rancid T-shirt and thus a conversation was started about punk music and how its evolved over the last 35 or so years. With that in mind, I came home with this song in mind for my next review. The Dead Kennedys were at the forefront of the early hardcore punk movement, so you know this is the real deal. Although “Holiday In Cambodia” is their most popular and arguably “poppy” song, there’s still a huge amount of cynicism and spit-in-your-eye punk in this song. It just happens to be wrapped up in a friendlier, more accessible package than a great many of their other songs.

The opening bass rumblings and the subsequent fast paced buildup of guitar and drums sucks you and gets you ready to rage. The song’s famous riff then begins, and it’s nothing if not iconic and would inspire legions of skater kids for years to come. It also introduces the “surfer guitar” tone that I adore so much. You know the one, the tone that was used on “Wipeout” and whenever someone surfs? It’s that tone. But it works so well for this song! The riff is sinister and dark, and all the while the drums are just blazing like no one’s business. As the song transitions into the verse, the descending notes of bass and guitar form a great chugging backdrop for frontman Jello Biafra’s vocals.

Speaking of Jello, his voice is certainly a unique one in the music world. It’s strange and he seems to jump all over the place as he sings. Despite this, there is a large degree of melody in his voice that keeps him firmly anchored and keeps the attention of the audience. It’s all the “I don’t give a shit” attitude of punk mixed with the hooks of pop melodies.

The coolest parts of the song are the prechoruses for sure. Biafra is in full on sarcasm mode, and the guitar arpeggios with that sweet tone just will stick in your ears for years! The chorus itself is pretty simple, with a hard riff on all fronts and a melody that’ll make you think to yourself, “This is punk? I like this!”

There’s some great quick fretwork that’s shown off in the chorus, as well as some even more furious drumming. The repetition of the prechorus melody is another highlight which sounds great. After one more verse, the song ends quickly and abruptly…which is so punk, dude! It is actually quite fitting however, and I can’t picture a song of this magnitude ending any other way.

The lyrics are worth a whole review on their own, but by contrasting the horrors and atrocities of the Cambodian massacre and crimes against humanity with the laid back, carefree attitude of “first world problems,” Biafra has actually created an incredibly potent and volatile mixture of a song for today’s generation. It’s truly iconic because of its staying power both as a piece of music and as a denunciation of American greed and culture when compared to the sufferings of others around the world.

This is why a song like this is important. It’s a great song, yes, but a punk song like this uses anger, cynicism and sarcasm to show us our own faults and tells us to wake up and take a look at how the rest of the world is faring. For that reason alone, this song demands to be heard by every generation.

Thanks for reading everyone! It would be so punk of you to leave a like or a comment, or even more punk of you to follow me or share this post or blog! Totally rad!

#110 – Nightcall

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Artist – Kavinsky
Album – Nightcall
Year – 2010
Genre – Electro House/Synthpop/Dance

People ask me all the time what my favorite album covers are. I tell them two covers: one has yet to be seen (but you’ll definitely see it in the future), and the other is Kavinsky’s Nightcall. Something about this cover just oozes cool. It’s like every awesome video game/movie character in one dark, moody, and badass package. The song is cool too, by the way. In case you were wondering. “Nightcall” was most prominently featured in the movie “Drive” to set the tone for the opening of the movie. It’s been sampled and covered by many, but the original is just a brilliant piece of retro dance goodness.

Kavinsky (Vincent Belorgey) sets the tone right off the bat with the coin drop, the crickets, the dial tone, and the howling wolf. You can practically feel the night air blowing on you as you hear the opening sound effects. The deep, throbbing bassline and beefy synth harken back to the good old 1980’s, which is exactly his intention. The whole melody line really conjures up images of a brightly lit neon street in the city. The song’s pacing is perfect for cruising in your car and just taking it all in.

The vocals in this song are super cool. Kavinsky’s robotic voice is icy and actually somewhat eerie, but they keep you entranced the whole time. The extra vocals at the end of each line also are a bit chilling, but add a bit of atmosphere to the verse for good measure. The verses sound like a robot talking through a telephone, but honestly, how is that not the coolest thing ever. Also, how do these lyrics not make you want to lurk in the shadows and feel like a villain.

I’m giving you a night call to tell you how I feel
I want to drive you through the night, down the hills
I’m gonna tell you something you don’t want to hear
I’m gonna show you where it’s dark, but have no fear

The chorus is where it gets really catchy. The female vocals (done by Lovefoxxx) are melodic and fit perfectly with the sunny and super 80’s synth notes in the music. The melody is hooky and will grab you during just one listen. The song really gets you with its contrast and atmosphere, and each element is pulled off extremely well in its own right.

Speaking of atmosphere, this song creates so much imagery through its limited beat, its startling. There’s really not too much going on, but Kavinsky uses the right tones, the right vocal effects, and the right changes at the right time to create a song that’s not only perfect for the club, but also for those warm summer nights when you roll your windows down and go for a drive. When you mix moodiness, slick beats and production, and kickass vocals, you get “Nightcall.” I said the song oozes cool, and now its up to you how to use that cool. Once you put it on your playlist/Ipod that is. Just remember, with great power comes…well you know the rest.

Thanks for reading/listening, and if you like this song, be sure to follow me for more cool songs every week! Likes, comments, and shares are also appreciated! Very much so, in fact! Just keep spreading the love, everyone.

#109 – Time In a Bottle

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Artist – Jim Croce
Album – You Don’t Mess Around With Jim
Year – 1972
Genre – Folk/Folk Rock

Thanks to its great deal of recognition in modern pop culture films, such as The Hangover 2 and X-Men Days of Future Past, Jim Croce’s “Time in a Bottle” is a beautiful love song that won’t be lost to time. Reflecting on how we wish we could spend forever with our loved ones is such a commonality in love, and Jim Croce, one of the greatest “common man” songwriters of his time, so wonderfully encapsulates that in this song.

The whole song showcases Croce’s melodic and melancholic fingerpicked guitar, which keeps makes the song flow perfectly from one section to the next and gives it an ethereal quality. Croce’s own voice is the sole other instrument showcased in the song, but make no mistake, it is an instrument of pure emotion. Right from the first word of the first verse to the last word of the final chorus, Croce is pouring his entire soul into every incredible line. It’s understandable too, considering he wrote the song for his unborn son, who unfortunately who grow up without a father. Knowing this, the song becomes even more chillingly beautiful.

There’s a wonderful guitar tone that mimics a chiming bell that appears throughout the second half of the song. Believe me, this adds so much to the song, and adds just that little bit of whimsy and brightness that keeps the song from being dragged down into too much sadness, musically speaking. Lyrically speaking, this song just is…wow. I can really see now what a great treasure we lost when Croce died in 1973. The whole song is just a pure outpouring of love and affection for anyone special that we hope to never lose and who we wish we could spend forever with. Every line is amazing, and it’s really a song that begs to be personally reflected upon and cherished, but there are parts that just have to be called out:

I’ve looked around enough to know
That you’re the one I want to go through time with

I love this line. The fact that he chooses the phrase “go through time with” just adds that sense of true devotion and commitment to the song. It really shows deep and true love.

If I had a box just for wishes
And dreams that had never come true
The box would be empty, except for the memory of how
They were answered by you

This is the third verse, and…it’s just breathtaking. So long in life we pine for love, and how joyful we must feel to have all our dreams and wishes answered by that one (im)perfect person. That sense of seeing the world through the eyes of love and that moment of true bliss…all crystallized in this final verse. No wonder this song is so adored and so special to many.

“Time in a Bottle” may be on the big screens for all to hear, but it’s a song that really needs to be pondered by the single human heart to be fully appreciated. I can guarantee if this song is on your playlist or Ipod, you won’t look at love songs the same way again. It’s that powerful. It’s a shame Croce didn’t live long enough to write more beautiful songs, but at least we’ll always have this one.

Thanks for reading/listening, everyone! If you leave a like, comment, follow me, or share this post, I’ll give you a hug. Seriously. I mean it. Hugs for everyone!