Monday, August 13, 2007

Five Songs, Chapter Twenty-Two

"Plus Ones" by Okkervil River

After a couple of listens to this band's latest, The Stage Names, it's pretty much what I expected it to be -- a strong mid-year contender for the best of '07.

"String of Racehorses" by Hotel Lights

I've written about this band a couple of times before, including here. This song is off a six-song ep, goodnightgoodmorning. It's great, and before you go making connections to the post below, this song seems to have nothing to do with actual horse racing.

"Downhill Racer" by Everything But the Girl

It's been nearly eight years since this band released its last record, Temperamental, which includes this song. That's way too long. Tracey Thorn has released solo material, but it's not quite the same. The band's appeal is in the sophistication of Ben Watt's beats married to Thorn's silky vocals, but she's also an underrated lyricist, as when she sings in this song: "I know how hard it is to watch it go, and all the effort that it took to get here in the first place, and all the effort not to let the effort show."

"Atlanta" by Centro-matic

I've been throwing away a great number of CD cases to prepare for a move, but I'm keeping a couple of hundred for old time's sake, including everything by this band, to which I have a sentimental attachment. Unfortunately, I don't even buy their discs anymore -- I downloaded the latest, an ep called Operation Motorcide, and this is my favorite song on it.

"This Can't Be Love" by Ella Fitzgerald

Because the first four here don't reflect how much older stuff I've been listening to, and because I know that even Thorn and the rest could learn something from Lorenz Hart:
This can't be love, because I feel so well,
No sobs, no sorrows, no sighs.
This can't be love; I get no dizzy spells,
My head is not in the skies.



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