Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Five Songs, Chapter Five

"Brickbat" by Billy Bragg

The same way I feel about almost every artist who traffics in both, I like Bragg's personal songs better than his political ones, and this is actually a nice mix of the two, very gently chronicling the domestic transformation of a former rabble-rouser. It has a great chorus:
I used to want to plant bombs at the Last Night of the Proms
but now you'll find me with the baby, in the bathroom,
with that big shell, listening for the sound of the sea,
the baby and me
When I first heard it years ago, it spurred me to investigate the Last Night of the Proms, which was unknown to me. Here's the answer.

"This Woman's Work" by Maxwell (version on MTV Unplugged)

A cover of a Kate Bush song, performed in a falsetto that caused a friend this weekend to ask, after I answered his question about who was singing, "Wait, this is a dude?"

"Nobody Knows Me" by Lyle Lovett

Because no one but Lovett could make the following lyrics quite so genuinely affecting:
And I like cream in my coffee
And I like to sleep late on Sunday
And nobody knows me like my baby
And I like eggs over easy
With flour tortillas
And nobody knows me like my baby
"Angel, Won't You Call Me?" by The Decemberists

Off of an early e.p., and known to me thanks to the recent suggestion of a friend. (Also great on the same record is "Oceanside," which shares its title with my hometown, though it's not about that place. Actually, the whole e.p. is pretty good.)

"Life In a Northern Town" by Dream Academy

Your '80s fix for the day. You're welcome.



Blogger Dezmond said...

"Nobody Knows Me" is incredibly depressing, though. If I remember right, don't the lyrics also hint (or just plain say) that he cheated on this wonderful woman?

12:50 PM  
Blogger JMW said...

I don't know if it implies that or not. You mean the "how could you do it" line? I really don't know. Either way, though, the way he sings the lines I mention is affecting, no?

3:26 PM  
Blogger Dezmond said...

True, but what he is saying actually happened makes all the difference.

8:03 PM  
Blogger JMW said...

OK, but Dezmond, sad things can be affecting. I don't get your point. My point is, it's a sad, affecting song.

11:05 PM  
Blogger Dezmond said...

Right, I don't know what I'm saying either. If interpretation is correct, then the song is even more affecting, because he is saying these things not merely out of deep affection, but with the fear that he might lose it all.

11:13 AM  

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