Tuesday, August 02, 2011

The Goose Bump Test (A Music Post)

I fumbled on a Twitter response via my (not so) smart phone to @batogato yesterday, who mentioned that The Cave by Mumford & Sons was stuck in his head, in the hopes of echoing his thoughts that it was indeed a good thing to have such a song wormholing through one's noggin. I wasn't ultimately motivated to share my cyber thumbs-up when I returned to my desk. I think yesterday's ambivalence is fueling today's dose of motivation, so I'll dig in on a topic related to that song.

Iit is worth reiterating the comments how fantastic The Cave is. While today's musical landscape is littered with countless folk singers and bands that can impress on some level with their chops and songwriting ability, most show an utter lack of balls, which is my biggest issue with folk music. I believe there is such a thing as folk with edge. Or balls. Steve Earle has that. So do Bob Dylan, Ryan Adams, Neil Young and Loudon Wainwright, among others. To give some context, Jason Mraz most certainly does not have it. Nor do Jack Johnson or Pete Yorn. One band that certainly has this edge is Mumford & Sons. The band plays with an intensity that overpowers most of their peers.

At my desk yesterday, The Cave came on and caught me in a moment in my workday when I was totally in the mood to zone out for three minutes and bask in my enjoyment of something that wasn't related to Microsoft Office. I started thinking about how much I dug the tune, which segued (as it usually does) into wishing I had the ability to compose and/or sing something of an equivalent emotional amplitude. It was at that moment that I got literal goose bumps. I have no idea if this happens to anybody else. It's not something you bring up with a colleague at the water cooler. But there are times when I hear a song for about the 40th time that I officially realize how epic the tune is. I don't know if it's happened for more than a few dozen times in my life, the latent appreciation for a song's true power. But I do know it's a good thing. And it's not a gay thing (I think/hope. Not that there's anything wrong with it).

Other bands have done it for me in recent years with a tune or two. Band of Horses, Kings of Leon, My Morning Jacket, Broken Social Scene, Modest Mouse, Feist and a few others. Hard to remember all of them, but easy to remember if a song makes the leap into Desert Island status.

So with that said, I am now going to be entirely self-indulgent and link this post up to the YouTube machine with a few songs that have hit that mark for me. A couple are well-known, a couple a little more obscure. Some are better when you're drunk and some are better when you're alone and contemplative, but all hit some mark. The reasons why these songs are so meaningful are utterly personal, often partly indecipherable to me, and usually difficult to explain to others. But I think that all in all, they are pretty kick-ass rock and roll songs. I hope you enjoy.


rob said...

this is an excellent post idea. i know exactly what you mean. here are a couple songs right off the top of my head that make me stop what i'm doing:

bob mould, 'see a little light'
sugar, 'favorite thing'
old 97s, 'king of all of the world' and 'buick city complex'
rhcp, 'breaking the girl'
band of horses, 'no one's gonna love you'
the national, 'bloodbuzz ohio'
avett brothers, 'i and love and you'

i could go on for a bit

zman said...

This is indeed a fun post. A few songs that get me are:

"Holland 1945" by Neutral Milk Hotel
"Lover's Day" by TVOTR
"Spaceship" by Kanye West
"All That I Got Is You" by GFK
"I'm Bound To Pack It Up" by the White Stripes
"Sands of Iwo Jima" by The Drive-By Truckers

Dave said...

i woke up this morning and had to listen to "since your gone" by the cars . . . it's by far the best cars song and makes me think epic thoughts about musical composition . . .

i like the cave a lot.

the glass of white wine in the kings of leon video is NOT epic and makes me think of my new favorite show: "bored to death."

Dave said...

and zman, the proper song by neutral milk hotel for this strand is "king of carrot flowers."

you idiot.

zman said...

Dave, you could think that if you want but you'd be wrong.

Danimal said...

The Cars The Cars...my 2nd or 3rd album purchased....Bye Bye Love also on that one.....Red Barchetta on Moving Pictures from those days also....unfamiliar with these young whippersnappers you speak of today

Mark said...

'93 'til Infinity - Souls of Mischief
Richest Man In Babylon - Thievery Corporation
One Armed Scissor - At the Drive-In
Daylight - Aesop Rock
Lonely Soul - UNKLE
T.R.O.Y. _ Pete Rock & CL Smooth

As I'm sure is the case with the rest of you, there are a bunch more. Rob's nomination of "Breaking the Girl" receives a hardy second from me.

rob said...

adam dunn is batting .039 against lefties this season (3 for 77). i really think i could do that.

zman said...

And you'd draw more walks given your miniscule strike zone.

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