#146 – The Last Thing on My Mind

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Artist – Stark Sands and the Punch Brothers (originally written and sung by Tom Paxton)
Album – Inside Llewyn Davis (Original Soundtrack Recording)
Year – 2013
Genre – Folk

Movies that center around music are usually a tricky thing to master in terms of a truly great soundtrack. These films usually tend to have mediocre soundtracks that seem to be forgettable. However, the Coen Brothers are one one team that know how to craft wonderful films and downright astounding soundtracks. Their soundtrack to “Oh Brother Where Art Thou?” was one of the most lauded soundtracks in history, and is almost singlehandedly responsible for bringing bluegrass back into the modern ear. With the soundtrack to “Inside Llewyn Davis,” the Coens are attempting the same feat, only with the folk renaissance of the 1960’s. The result is one of the best soundtracks I’ve heard for some time, and “The Last Thing on My Mind” is the crown jewel.

Originally by Tom Paxton, this song catches your ear immediately. The guitar is rich and deep, and the chord progression is one we all know, but one that’s beautiful all the same. The finger picked intro that leads into strumming is a nice choice, and shows off the nature of what’s to come. Despite the natural tendency towards rough voices in the folk movement, a clean and emotive voice like the voice of Broadway star Stark Sands absolutely is what a song like this needs. He sings in the vein of a singer like John Denver, with a straight voice that just curves around every note so perfectly.

From the moment Sands begins, his voice just reverberates through your head. The sorrowful and lonely melody is handled amazingly by his style. The lows are rich, and the highs are passionate. It’s an emotional roller coaster to listen to, but his voice is so crystal clear that he gives you shivers. That’s what Broadway training gives back I suppose!

If you think the verses sound great, then just wait until the chorus. Sands will knock you flat on you ass with how well he brings the emotion of the song out in his voice. Also, this is a good time to mention the instrumentation of the whole song. The Punch Brothers, led by mandolin whiz Chris Thile, provide the bluegrass/folk band backing. The singing is good, but when you combine it with fiddle, mandolin, string bass, banjo, and that oh so sweet guitar, you have astronomically good results.

Let’s talk about Paxton’s lyrics for a bit. The woeful verses perfectly capture the nature of a lost love, albeit in that way that only folk writing can accomplish. It’s that raw lamenting way that captivates you, and it perfectly shows the nature of a man in shock and pain after realizing his mistakes. He yearns for the one he loves, and you can feel it in the words, the music, and especially in Sands’ voice. Then there’s this chorus, which takes the writing factor to new heights:

Are you going away with no word of farewell
Will there be not a trace left behind
Well, I could’ve loved you better, I didn’t mean to be unkind
You know that was the last thing on my mind

It’s a man at his most vulnerable. A man who knows what he’s done wrong, but who is still kind at heart and who would give his soul, his life to have those moments back. It’s chill inducing, and though it’s an older song, it’s a song that still touches me when I hear words like that. Cherish love with every ounce of kindness in you, or one day it’ll be gone with “not a trace left behind.”

I’m kind of obsessed with this song right now, and I hope after hearing it you are too. It’s simply a beautiful cover and one that takes the message and sound of the original and does exactly what the Coen Brothers intended; brings it to the modern ear with a fresh sound so that folk music can be appreciated once again.

Thanks for listening, as always. Be sure to leave a comment on what you think!

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#145 – 100,000 Fireflies

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Artist – The Magnetic Fields
Album – Distant Plastic Trees
Year – 1991
Genre – Indie Pop

Greetings from my final year at Geneseo! I’ve finally settled in and have finished each class at least once, so I thought I should kick off the first of my senior year college reviews. I wanted a song that’s both happy and melancholic; bittersweet, if you will. A song that reflects the tone and feelings I have going into this final year before the real world. The Magnetic Fields’ “100,000 Fireflies” is a song that has an upbeat and sunny tone, but lyrics about loneliness, and longing for a love that was lost. The package that results is one of pure beauty.

The distinctive, happy piano line that repeats throughout the song is a pleasant way to begin. Instrumentally the song doesn’t get much more complicated. There’s some crashing drum effects to keep the beat, but the piano and the melody that revolves around it are the stars of the show. It’s catchy and despite the repetition, it keeps you firmly surrounded by this lovely texture that it creates.

The vocals are just gorgeous. Susan Anway’s high voice is light and airy, but despite the delicate nature of her voice, there are so many emotions you can sense from her singing. Of course, vocals are just half of the equation in a song of this caliber. Stephin Merritt, the songwriter and creator of The Magnetic Fields, has penned words so simple and beautiful that they fit the nature of the song to a T. Here are a few of my favorite selections that Mr. Merritt has written:

I’m afraid of the dark without you close to me

I went out to the forest and caught
A hundred thousand fireflies
As they ricochet round the room
They remind me of your starry eyes
Someone else’s might not have made me so sad
But this is the worst night I ever had

You won’t be happy with me,
But give me one more chance
You won’t be happy anyway

and of course, the often discussed, gorgeous, and mysterious ending passage:

Why do we keep shrieking,
when we mean soft things?
We should be whispering all the time…

This is the kind of songwriting that just touches me every time I listen. It’s about wishing for a second chance, and how little things remind you a loved one, and how nights are long, painful, and sleepless without that person who completed you by your side. It’s about looking at past mistakes and trying so desperately to figure out how they could have been fixed.

As Anway sings, you can sense that she’s picking up on all of these things. The melody for the “I’m afraid of the dark” line is sensitive and just so well crafted. As the song transitions to that line, the sadness in her voice is so palpable. Every time the melody changes, you can hear the pain that’s buried underneath the pitch of her vocals.

The ending is especially heartbreaking. The piano line here is different. It’s more subtle and haunting. More reflective in a way. The final three stanzas are just so hard to listen to from an emotional standpoint. We all blame ourselves after love is lost, and in that vein we feel every vocal punch that the words and melody throw at us. Those last lines that I posted above can be interpreted any number of ways, but I can say that I think everyone who hears it will put their own memories of past or present love into those words in some way, shape, or form.

This song may be a bit of a downer to start the school year, but sad songs are often the most beautiful, and if you’re looking for a little known and underappreciated gem of a song, then “100,000 Fireflies” will surely fit the bill.

Thanks for reading, as always! This school year will certainly be full of surprises, and I’m sure that will be reflected in the songs that you’ll be seeing. Be sure to leave a like, comment, follow, or share this song. Thanks again!

More Buffalo News Articles

Hey everyone,

I’ve managed to have a few more articles published in the Buffalo News and on their Website! In one, I tackle an interview with a killer band called Pentimento, who I also did an interview with for this blog. I also reviewed one of their songs for #138, so be sure to check that out:

https://merrymuzak.wordpress.com/2014/08/14/138-just-friends/

http://www.buffalonews.com/gusto/concert-previews/edgefest-gig-is-validation-for-buffalo-alt-punk-quartet-pentimento-20140806

Also, I’ve done some little snippet pieces talking about some amazing upcoming Buffalo artists, which can be found here:

http://www.buffalonews.com/gusto/music/band-profile-made-violent-20140813

and here

http://www.buffalonews.com/gusto/music/band-spotlight-thundercloud-kid-20140729

Let me know what you think! Hopefully I’ll have some more huge things coming up soon. If only my editor would get back to me…

#144 – No Sugar Tonight/New Mother Nature

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Artist – The Guess Who
Album – American Woman
Year – 1970
Genre – Classic Rock

The Guess Who? You mean that band who sang that “American Woman” song? Yes, indeed my friend. This superb classic rock outfit from the great white north, which featured the very talented Randy Bachman and Burton Cummings, cranked out hit after hit in the early 70’s. I think their most kickin’ song of all is not “American Woman,” but actually this song, which is really two songs put together. Double the fun, right? Actually, “No Sugar Tonight” was written by Bachman, while “New Mother Nature” was written Cummings, so it’s a super tag team of creativity for the ages, and one that our ears will thank us for.

We start with Bachman’s offering, “No Sugar Tonight,” which is the more rocking and heavy of the two songs. You wouldn’t think that with the soft acoustic strumming and mellow electric solo that kicks the song off, but then the strumming picks up and the drum comes in. Notice the incredible bass sound that gives the whole song a huge atmosphere.

Burton Cummings has a voice unlike any other in classic rock. It’s like an instrument all by itself, and though he keeps it relatively low key during the verses, it’s no holds barred during the chorus. Over the top of the rest of band’s amazing harmonies, Cummings just soars. His voice has grit and power like no other, and he just rocks the fuck out during that chorus. It’s his quick little bursts that show off his true control, and during the “Dow Dow” refrain, he gets even more of a chance to show his stuff. It’s just a treat to listen to, and you don’t hear too many singers like him anymore.

Meanwhile, the guitar sounds great as well, with a heavy two beat crunch during the chorus that just pumps you, and Bachman’s lyrics are just as good as his guitar playing. This section isn’t just about not getting sex, aka “sugar,” but its more about someone who is lonely and knows what he’s missing. He not only misses sex, but also just having someone in his life, hence these two lines:

No sugar to stand beside me
No sugar to run with me

If Bachman brings the rock, then Cummings brings the groove in “New Mother Nature.” Another acoustic/electric interlude leads into a second quick strumming intro and a drum kick in to a repeating keyboard lick that’s funky as hell. There’s definitely a more groovy sense about this section, with Cummings spitting out quick lyrics and quicker strums from the guitar. The melody during the chorus is more subdued and more focused on the subtleties of the harmonies. It lets the notes themselves do the legwork and relies less on Cummings’ power, which totally works.

The coolest part of this section is when the two songs combine, with the first verse of “No Sugar Tonight” being sung before the verse of “New Mother Nature.” Both songs are in the key of F#, so that’s why the two musicians combined them in the first place.

If you were wishing for more “No Sugar Tonight,” then your wish is granted with a final powerhouse chorus of the “Dow Dows” from earlier, and a nice little fade out to the end. You’re not going to listen to this song just once though. Once you hear a rock song like this, there’s no going back. Prepare to tell all your friends about your new favorite classic rock track.

Thanks for reading, everyone! Leaving a like or a comment would be super cool of you, and follows and shares are even more cool! Groovy.

#143 – Biko

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Artist – Peter Gabriel
Album – Peter Gabriel (Melt)
Year – 1980
Genre – Art Rock

This song is due. With the horrifying show of police force coming out of Ferguson, Missouri in the past week, I felt I needed to review a song that deals with same issues of racism and tragic violence used against an unarmed man. Peter Gabriel’s “Biko” is a song written for Stephen Biko, a journalist and anti-Apartheid activist in South Africa who was detained, tortured and beaten to death in jail by the South African police for organizing non-violent protests that led to an uprising within the black populace of South Africa. The parallels of the “big man with a gun” persona of the police in both cases are there. It’s time for a wake up call. Police racism, harassment, and unwarranted violence needs to end, and hopefully the message that this song preaches is one way for me to try and get this across to the world at large.

The incorporation of an African song sung by a crowd at the beginning is only fitting for a song of this subject matter and scope. Then you hear the beat. The beat of the people. The beat of revolution. The beat of a heart. Then, a piercing scream cuts through the song and fades into the rough grunts of a man. Then Gabriel begins to sing, and your jaw drops.

His voice is piercing and he seems impassioned beyond belief as he recounts the details of Stephen Biko’s death. It’s almost as if he’s on the verge of tears, and you can feel it. The vocals soar to the highest heights as Gabriel lets the world know of this atrocity. The chorus is simple, but the melody is just great, and the ending cries of “Yihla Moja” hit you right in the heart. The backing keyboard that follows almost sounds like the bagpipes of a funeral march, and it sounds even more so live, as is the case in the video above. It’s chilling and moving.

The next two verses are where Gabriel drives his point home with absolute ferocity lyric wise. These are chilling words when you put them in the context of the Ferguson events, and really any racial discrimination and violence in our own country:

When I try to sleep at night
I can only dream in red
The outside world is black and white
With only one color dead

You can blow out a candle
But you can’t blow out a fire
Once the flames begin to catch
The wind will blow it higher

And the eyes of the world are
watching now

With the trend of racism and violence in our own country, those lyrics are the truest expressions of racial violence, revolution and change, and how the world is currently viewing the Ferguson situation. Gabriel knew that Biko’s death would bring about a great change in South Africa. It took ten years, but Apartheid eventually ended. It certainly wasn’t solely because of Biko, but the fact that his death sparked a change in the people and spurred them to action is what’s important. It’s a universal message, and one we can apply to the events in our own country.

As these lyrics pass by, Gabriel soaring voice, the tribal beat, and the bag pipe keyboards combine to great effect, and the energy and intensity only seems to build as the song continues. It’s the kind of song that makes you want to do something about the injustices that you see on the news day after day. This is the power of the music. A man like Gabriel, who sings with so much conviction and has crafted a melody and beat that touch you to the very heart, has the power to reveal the world’s problems and stir people to action.

As if the song weren’t already empowering enough, the chanting and vocal climax at the end are simply beautiful. It’s a powerful ending to a song that makes you want to change things. A song that makes you wish things were different. As the voices sing and rise, you want to join in and make the world better for everyone.

This song is mirror to the horrors we see in Missouri, and hopefully reflects many of our own feelings on the matter. I think for this song to gain even more salience and power, everyone reading this should watch this.

http://www.nytimes.com/video/us/100000003055806/standoff-with-police-in-ferguson.html

I can only hope for an end to the violence and discrimination. I hope this song provides a musical way to put things in perspective. Change is possible. I can only hope it happens soon.

Thanks for reading, and please check out the above NY times video in tandem with this song. Share this review around, and spread the message of the words. Show the true power of music.

#142 – Mind Over Matter

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Artist – Young the Giant
Album – Mind Over Matter
Year – 2014
Genre – Alternative Rock

I thought for sure I was going to review “Cough Syrup” as my first Young the Giant song, but no. As soon as I heard this song on the radio. Bam. Over with. Done deal. Mind blown.

Is there any better way to start a song than with a piano glissando? Well, a rumbling bassline is a great place to start, as are great synths and some strings. You know, for that extra touch. After hearing this song, frontman Sameer Gadhia has cemented his place in my mind as a one of the most emotional singers of modern alternative music. His gentleness in the opening lines contrasts so sharply with his vocal jumps and yells that intersperse the song and dominate the chorus. But he’s powerful and his voice hits you like a ton of bricks. Very melodic and pleasing bricks.

As descending strings lead into the chorus, you better batten down the hatches for a hell of a melody and a hell of a delivery. As the lyrics deal with the sadness and frustration of missing your love, Gadhia’s rises and falls in his gritty voice perfectly reflect each line. But I mean, just look at these lyrics for the chorus:

And if the world don’t break
I’ll be shakin’ it
‘Cause I’m a young man after all
And when the seasons change
Will you stand by me?
‘Cause I’m a young man built to fall

It’s an earnest plea for unconditional love in spite of an unstable lifestyle, but Gadhia makes the melody his bitch as he pulls it this way and that. He’s got a hurricane’s gale of a voice, and he blows you away with each falsetto jump and each exhaustive drop. Even the prechorus sucks you right in with his sharp bends and quick vibrato.

The verses are full of twinkling guitar and softness, but the choruses build up with more and more layers each time. Strings, guitars, powerful basses and synths and a beastly drum sound all combine into a wall of glittery goodness that absolutely shines like the sun.

As the song quiets down for a synth light show and Gadhia building up with his suspenseful, quiet vocals, you get a huge sense that something big is coming, and it does. Gadhia explodes, and the song does with him. The whole orchestra is going now, and the bassline is sexy as hell. That chorus melody just gets me though. It’s the passion and absolutely loving nature of it. It’s a song of just giving yourself totally in love to another, and wanting that love in return. You can sense Gadhia truly feels every word of what he sings, and that’s what made me want to review this song first.

I have a feeling that “Cough Syrup” will certainly come down the pipeline in the future because that’s also a damn great song, but this song has been out of this world as of late. I urge all of you into alternative rock to give this one a listen, as it’s a true demonstration of passion and emotion in action. This is proof that you can feel what the voice brings to the lyrics and musical feel of a song, as well as proof that all the members of this band are a bunch of talented gents.

Thanks for reading, and I’d love to hear what you guys think of this song in the comments! Likes, follows, and shares are amazing too, so I’d really appreciate some of those too. Every little bit helps, and thanks for sticking with me.

#141 – Spit It Out

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Artist – IAMX
Album – The Alternative
Year – 2006
Genre – Dark Synthpop

IAMX is a dark synthpop project from former Sneaker Pimps member Chris Corner, and I guarantee it’s going to be one of the coolest bands you’ll have heard in a while. Not only is Corner a fantastic and emotive singer and a charismatic frontman, but also a witty and sharp songwriter and talented producer and musician. When you have that mixed with a genre sometimes described as “dark cabaret,” you know you’re in for a pretty cool ride.

The opening drumbeat will pump you up from the start, and the haunting, echoing piano is a highlight throughout the whole song. However, the real treasure is Corner’s electric singing. His voice is high and his notes soar and resonate with every breath. He’s pitch perfect, and his falsetto will chill you during each verse.

After the first verse, there’s an awesome synth/piano solo with an amazing descending ending which just kills me every time. The next verse leads into the explosive chorus, where all the guns are blazing.

For the chorus, you just want to let yourself go. Corner’s soaring voice and melody is off the charts, and every instrument is playing at full blast and creating a dark, glorious wall of sound and harmony.

The driving bassline and little piano accents prove how good Corner is at constructing a catchy song and and interesting one as well. Each little part is great on it’s own, but put together it sounds like a damn good song. The final chorus is a mind blower. You just want to rock the fuck out and lose yourself in it. This song envelops you and covers you completely in its sound. But it’s an experience you’ll want to repeat many more times.

Not only is the song dark, it’s sexual too. The lyrics deal with sex and friendships and how the nature of love is a blurred line of pleasure and the need to emotionally connect. The melody accentuates this theme with the way Corner bends and twists the melody like the curves of a body or movement in the heat of passion. You can just get these images as he sings, but the song is not without its tenderness. The narrator is kind and understanding, yet wild and feral at the same time. It’s certainly a song of duality, and that’s what makes it so unique. It’s damn catchy too. Did I mention that?

I’ll keep this short. You should listen to this song. A great voice deserves to be heard, and if you haven’t heard Chris Corner, you’re missing out.

Thank you for reading, everyone. I’d love to hear what you guys think of the song/review! Likes, follows, and sharing are all great things too.

#140 – Palo Alto

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Artist – Devonte Hynes
Album – Palo Alto (Music from the Motion Picture)
Year – 2014
Genre – Indie Pop

Trailer music kick part 2! As soon as I heard Devonte Hynes’ “Palo Alto” in the moody, evocative trailer for Gia Coppola’s, yep you guessed it, “Palo Alto,” I was hooked. The sweet and hooky melody over groovy synths and a haunting piano got me from the beginning, and now I’m here to share this indie treat with all you movers and shakers out there. Get ready to make some sweet, sweet love, because this is sex music if I’ve ever heard it.

If the slow, bubbling opening synths don’t get you in the mood right away, the twinkling synths after them will. This is a beginning that just makes you want to slowly say, “Ohhhh baby, you knowwwww I looove you” in your best Barry White baritone. As soon as the drums kick in and Hynes starts singing, his droning, yet melodic voice adds even more sensuality to the song, as does the amazing chorus melody.

The chorus itself is very short, but the melody is actually quite beautiful. It’s certainly the highlight of the whole song, and the harmonies interspersed throughout it gave me shivers. It’s short, sweet, and sexy all at the same time.

When the guitar enters in this song, it just adds that extra cool factor, as well as some cool texturing and jazziness to the second verse and second chorus. Then, you get to feast your ears on the a nice little guitar play/solo that leads into the final, and best chorus.

The final chorus is nothing but piano and Hynes’ melodic, echoing singing. It’s a melody that’s amazingly pleasing to the ears, as well as one that’s sensitive and sensual, and one you want to hear over and over again. Seriously though, tumble into bed with this playing, and it’s going to get quite passionate very fast. Just sayin’.

As for the lyrics, they are very open to different interpretations, obviously, from everyone. However, I think they deal with the complicated nature of love and friendships, and sometimes how they cross over or fall apart. I’ll leave those up to you, but they’re definitely worth looking up if you enjoy the song.

This is one of those rare songs that I like listening to for the feeling it gives me, rather than the message. I love the sexual nature of the melody and instrumentation, and it’s worth checking out for sure! Also, if any of you out there have seen the movie “Palo Alto,” let me know how it was and if this song fit well into the movie!

Thanks for reading, and be sure to leave a comment on your thoughts. Likes, follows, and sharing are always appreciated round these parts!

#139 – The Sun’s Gone Dim and the Sky’s Turned Black

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Artist – Johann Johannsson
Album – The Sun’s Gone Dim and the Sky’s Turned Black – Single
Year – 2006
Genre – Electronic/Orchestral/Avant-Garde

Once in a while, a song comes around that captures a feeling or emotion in such a potent, yet incredibly simple way that you’re speechless. For me, I have never come across a song that captures the complexity and simplicity of heartbreak and loneliness like Icelandic composer Johann Johannsson’s “The Sun’s Gone Dim and the Sky’s Turned Black.” It’s incredibly short, yet immensely potent lyrics mixed with an overwhelming and sweeping orchestral score and haunting robotic vocals make this song a very emotional and moving experience to hear.

The song just starts with Johannsson’s vocals run through a vocoder to create an eerie, robotic sound to his voice. Since we start with that, let’s bring up the lyrics. The words are adapted from a poem by Dorothy Parker, and this one phrase repeats from beginning to end:

The sun’s gone dim
and the sky’s turned black
because I loved her
and she didn’t love back

So simple. So elegant. So beautiful. When you are heartbroken, the whole world just falls into shades of grey, and life loses a lot of the wonder and joy that you feel when you are with a lover or partner. You become a different person with them. A better person. When you lose them, you lose that piece of yourself that made you better, and life starts to fade away for a while. The same goes for the lonely. When you feel as if no one wants your love or sends your affection back at you, you feel that much of the joy of life you could be experiencing with another is lost. There are so many things in life that are happy and wonderful on their own, but are multiplied tenfold when shared with someone special. It’s hard to explain, but the lack of someone in your life can tarnish the brightness of each day that passes. Of course this is not the case for everyone, but for many, including myself, these lyrics hit my nerves full force and resonate through my whole being. I can say that at least where I’m at right now, these lyrics are a spot on reflection of a lot of my days. And I’m willing to bet I’m not the only one.

Phew. Ok, sorry to have gotten a little heavy there, but when I get passionate about great lyrics, I have to tell the world what they mean to me. I can only hope the world finds a little bit of common ground with my interpretation. Anyway, moving on.

The melody in Johannsson’s voice is melancholic and haunting, but subtle and emotional despite the vocoder. You can feel the sadness and desolation in the dragging out of each word and the slow, dragging pace. It’s as if each breath and word is labored and said through tears. Electric tears, but still tears.

The real power of the song lies in the vocals combining with the orchestration. The orchestra is subtle at the beginning to pull you in, and then there’s a gradual crescendo of bells and more strings. After the first passage, there’s a gorgeous choral passage with a repetition in the melody, but this time with a whole string section and wonderful bell accents. It paints a loving picture, but certainly one tinged with sadness.

During the second passage, the strings get louder and the emotional intensity ramps up. It’s here where you really feel each word and grasp the true pain and agony of the lyrics. Then, there’s an out of this world soprano solo over loud and bombastic strings and a sweeping melody that just carries you away. There’s no fighting it now, you’re officially drowning in the beauty at this point.

Johannsson does a brilliant job at capturing both the joy and pain of love as the elation of the soprano fades into a scream, as love often transitions into great despair. This begins my favorite part of the piece, as there begins a descending piano and string melody that just rams your heart full force, and from there a plethora of different strings parts. A quick, urgent rush of violins leads into a final lush blanket of strings that hovers in the air like a mist and closes the song on a positive note. Even though the instruments are sad, the sense that there is always hope for the future is evident in the beauty of it all. It’s a final flip to the two sided coin of life, and it packs a hell of a wallop.

A song like this just resonates on so many levels. It’s an experience that will be different for all who listen, so the most I can say is that you need to listen to know what it means to you. It absolutely is a brilliant piece/song, and it makes me want to hear more of Johannsson’s work in the future. This man knows how to craft a mood piece with the best of them.

Thanks for reading, and I would appreciate any comment you guys have on the song or any interpretations to the lyrics regarding your own lives. Don’t forget to share the music!

#138 – Just Friends

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Artist – Pentimento
Album – Inside the Sea – EP
Year – 2013
Genre – Alternative Punk

C’mon, you knew I had rep the boys in Pentimento after an interview like that! “Just Friends” is definitely one of my favorite songs off of the band’s newest EP, and it packs a huge emotional punch in the gut, if the title didn’t tip you off. It’s a relatable storm of a song with huge performances across the board.

The quiet riffing in the beginning gently accentuates singer Jeremiah Pauly’s restrained vocals, until the song bursts to life, and Pauly brings out the grit in his pained voice, before quickly quieting down and delivering the most potent lines of the song:

And I don’t think before I speak.
What an empty attempt at a personality.

Then, the song explodes. Mike Hansen’s drumming and guitars from all sides just blow up right in your face, and it feels so good. Pauly’s voice is loud and crystal clear. As the chorus comes in, you just feel it right in the heart of you, because chances are the exact thing of which he sings has happened to you once or multiple times:

We’re just friends ’cause that seems to be what makes sense.
Too bad it’s all we’ll ever have.

You can feel the heartbreak in his voice, and the power of the instruments just builds on the whole mood and feel of the song. The band then quiets down and starts to build up again during an extremely melodic and well done bridge section. As Pauly sings, you can’t help but feel empathy for his heartbreak and longing, and the melody simultaneously brings you up and pulls you down. The backing vocals from Hansen add extra punch to this section as well.

The constantly pounding drums and guitar eventually break and give way into a final, cathartic breakdown that ends the song on the most energetic of notes. The ending, which includes gang vocals and an absolutely huge repeated line of “You Always Do!” is one amazing way to finish a song, as sadness gives way to frustration and anger. Most situations like this always do.

Powerful music and kickass singing aside, this song has some really cool wordplay and great lyricism, courtesy of Hansen. Check these out:

Cold like the space between your coat and your clothes.
I’m in between deja vu and delirium,
Remembering things that haven’t happened yet.

It was at that time that I realized that you truly knew me better than I ever knew myself
And as you walked away you said
I had this crazy thought that if I loved you enough you’d see that you deserve it…
And not fuck it up like you always do

These lines will stick in your mind and stay with you long after the song’s over. Once you hear them, you’ll want to sing them the next time you listen. That’s the true power of this song. So if you’re looking for an incredibly emotional, relatable, and catchy song, “Just Friends” is just for you.

Thanks for reading everyone, and we’ll be more than just friends if you decide to follow, leave a comment, like or share this page.