All of you music listeners out there may or may not have ever experienced this issue like some of us disc jockeys. Given the advent of the digital age, song titles are a cinch to find thanks to online databases, mp3 tags, and conscientious album rippers. However, for those of us still taking a circular plastic object and sticking it into a piece of technology that may or may not be fussy, we could use a few simple comforts.
One of the things we CD folk take for granted tend to be what side is up. I hate it when artists make both sides look like the data side. Screw you, crafty twits. Color a side, will you? Then I don’t like it when the CD is positively stuck on those plastic teeth that keep the CD in the case/digipak. Hey, if you want me to listen to the album could you at least make it -easy- to take it out of the case, meatheads? But those kinds of things I can get around. I can deal.
The one thing that I can’t stand as a DJ, no matter how relatively infrequent it tends to happen, is when the CD doesn’t display the song titles clearly. You might think, no, this never happens. Why would an artist ever make it difficult for a listener, never mind a DJ trying to promote their record, to find out what song is actually playing? Why would they make it a mystery? Simple. They are dumb.
I have been a fan of nearly everything that Stephin Merritt has put together since the Magnetic Fields’ “69 Love Songs” came out in 1999. I’ve also grown to really like (if not more) their earlier, lo fi stuff on “Holiday”, “Get Lost”, and “The Charm of the Highway Strip”. His gloomy work with his Gothic Archies moniker, as well as the guest singers with the 6ths, have also been very enjoyable to me. Of all the music artists I have enjoyed, I think Merritt’s discography gives me the most satisfaction for any mood.
I think my fandom is mainly because Merritt’s songwriting has the ability to sound cheerful and poppy but has an underlying emotion that may not be as apparent. There are certainly sad-sounding sad songs and happy-sounding happy songs, but the ones that have a story that goes beyond the tones of the synthesizers, cellos, and ukeleles really draw me in. Even as a scraps on the floor, anything off of “Obscurities” was probably going to win me over.
Along with the excellent up-to-date scoop on interesting modern tracks from Ellen with her “Pick of the Week” series, I’ll throw out a few older tunes once in awhile that I have only just heard of recently. Though I tend to spin a lot of rock and punk during the off hours, I am finding that soul music is an absolute mood improver for me. When I listen to some good soul, the easy melodies make me get that slow snap going while the vocalist talents trickle any leftover drama from the day off my back. Soul music is wonderful stuff if you give it a chance, no matter how young, old, or genre specific you may be.
One such track that I recently heard off of Felix Hernandez’s 3-disc “Rhythm Revue” compilation (excellent, by the way) is Billy Stewart’s “I Do Love You”. It is something else. The song begins with a dazzling harmony between a few guys who can hit a shuddering high note. When the back up singers begin their repetition of “I do love you, ooooh oo-ooh ooooh, yes I do girl” the smooth soul is on. You get that feeling that you should go find someone to slow dance with (and that includes you, club footers). Then Stewart spirals in with his scatting vocal approach that is engaging and unpredictable for the rest of the song. At around three minutes, it is one of the most effectively catchy love songs that doesn’t involve a disco ball or synthesizer.
Honestly, it’s a song that every guy should go out and get acquainted with, for it’s gonna win over somebody something easy. All ladies should spin it and recall what a good love song sounds like. You know, one that doesn’t get too chippy with anatomy or intentions. As my first Oldie But Goodie, this one has been getting a lot of play on this end and I hope you might enjoy it as well.
Have a listen on Youtube when you get a chance: Billy Stewart’s “I Do Love You” on Youtube
Hello. I usually write music reviews but, when I’m not writing there or DJing on WMFO, I write here! As one of the cadre of very capable and interesting DJ/Blogger music enthusiasts signed on to dish out some words to the Interworld, I think I’ll start by relating a conversation I had with a friend this past weekend. After a long discussion driving in the rain, we determined that people don’t care about new albums by practically anyone.
But wait, wait, when I say “don’t care” perhaps I should add “nearly enough” to the phrase, because obviously with new music people get quite excited. We all listen to new music whether it be a single, a random track, or a few random tracks. And uh, well wait, people do listen to full albums sure. But c’mon, how many? I’m sure some may disagree, but I think that most people these days might listen to a few songs and quit. Or, if a band is really lucky, someone uses Amazon (ooh, clips!) or Spotify (ooh, free!) to preview an entire record and then quit. A second full spin is unheard of! We are all very busy people, you know.
A new record is like a struggling actor going to audition after audition after audition, only to get lucky with a select few. Even those few may fire the album and send it off the set after a day or two anyway.