Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The New Music Post

Last Saturday I drudged, cleaning the kitchen, slogging around doing dishes, scuffing across the floor I'd just mopped a few days before, and getting increasingly irritated at the radio. I don't know the stations around here well yet, but everything sounds the same. If there's a classical station, it's never playing music when I flip around the dial. If there's an oldies station, I can't find it. I'm weary of the pop songs that all sound the same, and the easy-listening station that has a rotation of the same 100 tired hits, and the greasy alternative whiners with their canned angst. I wanted something fresh that would get into my blood. More than anything, I wanted to sing.

As I pushed junk around the counters, the DJ crooned, "And here's that number by Adele that's been climbing the charts," and I heard this, and it was as if I suddenly woke up.

I was instantly addicted, and I did something I haven't done in years: I bought a CD. For one song.

And finally it arrived, and I popped it in, and how deflatingly right I was: I bought the CD for one song. I'm not so young and impressionable that any ditty of love and longing can hook me in. I won't fault Adele as a singer: her voice continues to resonate with me. I think it's amazing that she can drive a music video by simply sitting in a chair and singing her heart out. But it's not enough. The producers seemed to know they had a good thing on their hands with "Rolling in the Deep" and poured all their creative powers into that one song, leaving nothing for the rest of the album. Everything else was... kind of boring, frankly.

But now I want more. Where is the good new music? Who are the compelling new singers and songwriters? What is interesting and fresh and compelling? And -- this is key -- what is singable?


Hallie @ Moxie Wife said...

I haven't heard the entire album yet, but I am quite taken with "Someone Like You." Do you have her first album? It's amazing.

Brandon said...

You might like some of the songs of Ivan & Alyosha -- "Easy to Love" is pretty singable. A few of their songs get a bit angsty, though, although usually not whiny-angsty.

mrsdarwin said...

Brandon, it's not angst per se that irks me -- hey, I'm all about that today, in fact -- as the packaged manifestation of angst that shows up in so many pop songs. I want something with some technical virtuosity, both in lyrics and music. And in production values too -- not so many people are good enough to carry off a recorded song with just their guitar and their voice.

MrsDarwin said...

Betty, I haven't heard her first album, but I think I'll listen to selections before I rush out to buy it. I think she has an amazing voice, but I felt she wasn't well served by most of the songs on 21.

Brandon, my daughter was hanging over my shoulder as I was reading your comment, and asked, "Is that Daddy?"
"No, it says 'Brandon'," I said.
"Oh, the guy from the party!" she exclaimed.

So you must have made an impression, and your fame lives on.

Unknown said...

This might be more rock than what you're into...but some recommendations in order of decreasing notoriety, all with albums that have little-to-no filler:

Nickel Creek
King's X
The Ark
Moto Boy
It Bites

Bernard Brandt said...

As a result of a year of my stepdaughter living with me and my wife to get back on her feet (which she has since done, btw), she more than returned the favor by introducing me to the Dave Matthews Band.

Mr. Matthews has done a rather impressive body of songs, most of which are quite worth listening to. He is rather remarkable for the fact of addressing many of his (quite beautiful) love songs to his wife of many years.

Youtube has a number of his songs, but I particularly like this video, for its unadorned beauty and coolness:


BettyDuffy said...

The rest of the album is not great, but I love John Legend's "Ordinary People." I'm not your typical R&B person, but it's not your typical R&B song.

Leo said...

Best album I bought last year was "Volume 2" by She & Him. Good old fashioned pop songs, with a great twangy guitar feel.

Bernard Brandt said...

Oh, and by the bye, one group that I've found, that does an impressive job of crossover between Scots/Irish trad, bluegrass, modern country, and generally beautiful popular music are the Wailin' Jennys. They are both singable and memorable.

For a sampler, I suggest starting with this:

Calah said...

The Ogre and I have fallen head-over-heels for Mumford and Sons. They have some videos on youtube. One of the songs (incidentally, my fave) has the f-word several times but other than that I simply love them. I usually only sing along with the vacuum cleaner, but they have me belting it out, much to my children's chagrin. You might check them out.

Calah said...

Oh yes, I forgot to add that Mumford and Sons use a banjo. Awesome, right?

Skywalker said...

"I just haven't met you yet" by Michael Buble always manages to get me to sing along.

JMB said...

Still a Weirdo by KT Tunstall is a big hit in the under 10 set in my house.

Anonymous said...

Florence and the Machine
She and Him-I personally liked volume 1 better

Morgan said...

90.9 is classical and 103.5 is Oldies. :)

You can't go wrong with:
Joshua Radin
Brandi Carlile
Patty Griffin


MrsDarwin said...


You're right, except that those are Cincinnati stations and I'm north of Columbus. I only wish we got 90.9 up here....

nicole said...

Well, darn, I don't know if I can help because I am in love with Adele. I like the whole album. And I bought her first album too. We just discovered a band called Gungor. It is a Christian band, but not what you hear on the radio. Very mellow but also moving, if that makes any sense. That's all I've got right now.

bibliotecaria said...

Well, instead of a specific band, can I recommend a site to help you find your own choices? -- free account possible over your computer, you type in a song, a band, and they will create a "station" for you based on the musical genome of that particular song. You can then tailor that station to your preferences by clicking on like and dislike for each song. It will undoubtedly introduce you to some new people that you might never have encountered before.

Ashley said...

Two suggestions for you. One from my husband and one from me. My husband loves Lenka, who is a British singer that we stumbled upon through another blog. I like Francesca Battistelli. Right now I can't stop listening to "It's Your Life" and "This is the Stuff."

Brandon said...

MrsD, I take this as a sign that the way to make a name for myself is to attend a lot of parties. I think that's a career plan I like.

I second the Wailin Jennies and Mumford and Sons recommendations above.

Balmes Family said...

I second the Pandora suggestion... I find lots of new artists that way, then make myself a playlist on :) Free exciting music I can sing my heart out to and dance around the room with my kids to!

Also second the KT Tunstall and Wailin' Jennies suggestions, if you like this song by Adele. :D And thanks for this song! I hadn't heard it yet, since I don't pay ANY attention to FM radio.

Jeanninw said...

Band of Horses and the Avett Brothers!

KyCat said...

When I saw that you were looking for music references I had to jump on with Mumford and Sons, it looks like I'm third. I have not historically been a banjo girl but this banjo curls my toes and lights my soul. Here are 2 songs :

As mentioned this song uses the F word repeatedly but it uses it so appropriately that it's beautiful. I do,however, hate that this makes it difficult to just play the album when the kids are running around. Mine are still too little to explain the appropriateness of the usage.

is another great one!

I do not easily recommend music, but I recently bought this album after only hearing one song, and the entire album is such a treat that I have been recommending it to everyone!!!!


Barb said...
Did you try any of these?

Mary said...

Go back and play the Unforgettable Fire by U2...BAD is so powerful.

Try Journey...Steve Perry's voice is perfect
"when the lights go down on the city..."

Morgan said...

Oh, I thought you guys were still in Cincinnati! Sorry I couldn't be more helpful. =/

Anonymous said...

Well, maybe it's not new or singable, but try with:
Connie Dover
Il Divo
Isobel Campbell
Josh Groban
Katie Melua
Laura Pausini
Loreena McKennitt
Rosie Thomas
Ssufjan Stevens

And for soul, fantastic Soeur Marie Keyrouz.

Bernard Brandt said...

Ah, Anonymous. I'm honored by your presence. I've long been a fan of your work, ever since I heard "Sumer is icumin in".

I agree with your appraisal of Il Divo and Josh Groban (that is, if one like sonorous tenors and baritones)

I must say, though, that I am in complete agreement that Loreena McKennitt is way cool.

As a brief example:

(and has the advantage of being Ms. McKennitt's website).

And if one wants to hear the whole of "The Lady of Shalott", well:

And, being a closet Melkite, Soeur Marie is quite a lovely singer as well.

Here is her website:

Cynthia said...

Ok, so I just hopped over from Barefoot and Pregnant and saw this post...and wanted to comment!

Have you ever heard of Ray Lamontagne? Oh my goodness gracious, he's amazing. His genre is more folk-rock. His first album is my favorite, but they all are great. Really. I simply don't joke about music ;^)

Glad I found your blog!

Stuart Buck said...

Deas Vail is an amazing Christian band from Arkansas; they've toured with Mae, Lydia, Switchfoot, Copeland, and Owl City. The lead singer (Wes) has a beautiful tenor voice, and his wife Laura sings backup and plays keyboard.

A couple of samples:
Dance in Perfect Time.