On May 31st of 2011, Eddie Vedder released his second solo album titled “Ukulele Songs”. At first I thought this was a really bad idea and that Eddie was basically….crazy. The reason why I was so skeptic is because the ukulele is a very tricky instrument. It’s sound is simple and plain, and it doesn’t have the dimensionality and layers of sounds a guitar can offer. I don’t have anything against the ukulele, but the thought of listening to 16 songs with just that instrument made me hesitant and, I have to admit it, I doubted Eddie’s ability to pull it off. However, after reading a couple of reviews and preparing myself mentally for a disappointment, I decided to get the album. The fist time I listened to “Ukulele Songs” I was very bored and couldn’t listen to more than 3 songs; I didn’t like it at all. However, the sound got stuck in my head and after a couple of hours, I started to listen to it again. Today, I have to say that I love the album, and that Eddie Vedder is a genius. The songs are beautiful, and even though his amazing voice is only accompanied by a simple ukulele, he was able to create an album with an impressive variety of sounds and rhythms. Bravo Eddie! My daughter loves it too, today she said, “More Ukulele”.
These are my favorite songs from “Ukulele Songs”:
This week I have been obsessed with Eddie Vedder. I must say, however, I wasn’t that interested in his work with Pearl Jam, but in his solo albums and collaborations with other artist. His first solo album, “Into de Wild” (soundtrack, 2007) is fantastic! To me, Eddie is at his best, when he does collaborations with other artists. Lucky me, he has contributed to many albums by other artists and has done guest appearances at shows and festivals. These are my favorite songs:
And a Classic!
Mi Friend Ricardo D, who is an Eddie Vedder nerd, has made some fantastic recommendations for this post! Enjoy,
To be honest, I’m having a hard time keeping with the “Post a Week Challenge”, therefore this post will be short and sweet.
I have been listening to Wilco for a while, but the truth is that I have never been into their music -that much. This week, I discovered their album “Summerteeth” (1999) and I must say, I’m really enjoying it.
Here is one of my favorite tracks of this album,
A couple of years ago, I set up a very high goal for myself; I decided that I would go to a concert at least once a year. This year, the concert season started early; last Sunday I went to the Sweetlife Festival in Columbia MD. It was an all-day concert, with groups such as Ra Ra Riot, Crystal Castles, Walk the Moon and many other bands. My friend and I were mostly interested in the last three shows of the night; Lupe Fiasco, Girl Talk and The Strokes. You see, as you get older, there is so much your body can take, and being aware of that, we decided to prioritize and just watch the groups we really wanted to see. I think we made the right decision, it would have probably been too much for us if we had gone to the concert from beginning to end. It was funny though, by the time we got there, eveybody was… lets say, VERY HAPPY! We had a great time, every show was better than what I expected and to me there is nothing like a life performance from a group you really admire. Life music is the best way of experience music.
These are some of the songs I enjoyed the most at the concert:
Lupe Fiasco is an American rapper from Chicago. Before the concert, I had listen to a couple of his songs, but I wasn’t very familiar with his music. A Couple of weeks ago, I downloaded his latest album “Lasers” and I must say I really enjoyed it. However my favorite song at the concert was Daydreamin‘. This song was originally recorded in 1968 by the Belgian Band Wallace Collection. The most famous version of this song is Draydream in Blue by the english duo I Monster (They are fantastic!). At almost exactly the same time I Monster was releasing Daydream in Blue, The Beta Band were just about to release their single Squares from their album Hot Shots II. Squares has the same lyrics and melody as the song from 1968. Realizing the clash with I Monster, The Beta Band decided to pull the single and released Broke from the same album instead. Lupe Fiascos’s version can be found in the album “Food & Liquor” (2006).
Other favorite songs from Lupe Fiasco:
I haven’t heard of Girl Talk until my friend told me about him. I wasn’t very interested in his music but I have to admit his performance was fantastic, we really enjoyed it! Girl Talk (Gregg Michael Gillis), is famous for producing mashup-style remixes, where he often uses a dozen or more unauthorized samples from different songs to create a new song. The New York Times Magazine has called his music “a lawsuit waiting to happen”1. Aside from the controversy, his mixes are fantastic!
This was my favorite performance of the night!!! I can’t get over Julian Casablancas voice! I have been a fan of the Strokes for a while; their first album “Is This It”(2001) is one of my favorite albums of all times, if you have a chance, I really recommend listening to it. Their new album “Angles” released on March of 2011 is also fantastic!. The Strokes have been one of the most important alternative rock bands of 00′. Their distinctive sound has been compared to The Doors and other bands of the 70’s. As I said before, their performance was amazing, good sound and lighting and even though Casablancas wasn’t very engaging, the songs, guitars and his voice were enough for me.
These were my favorite songs, Enjoy!
Yesterday after I posted “I can’t remember the 90’s”, many songs from that decade started to pop in my head. One song lead to another and millions of memories of friends, places, and stages of my life came to mind. I love remembering and I specially love when the memories are weaved into the music. So here they are, my second batch of songs from the 90’s.
This one is for my friend Melissa F.
Since I started writing this block, I noticed that every time I think of the “good old days”, I always go back to the 80’s. I remember this decade as it had happened yesterday; the fashion, the music, the T.V. shows, everything is vividly inserted in my mind. What is strange about having these clear memories, is that I was only 2-years old in 1980 and 11 in 1989. Most people start building their memories at the age of 3 (on average). If I try really hard, I can remember when I was 4 years-old, but I’m certain I can not remember 1980 and 1981. Even if I was able to remember those years, you are not really aware of a decade’s music, fashion and trends until you are much older. Probably I was only aware of the 80’s culture from 1986 to 1989. So, how come I can remember it so well? And how come the 90’s are only composed of vague images that pop in my head once in a while? From age 11 to 21, technically my golden years, I can’t seem to remember much. After thinking about it, I came up with a couple of theories, actually 2 theories, about the mental tricks my mind is playing with me.
1. A lot of the culture of the 80’s extended into the 90’s. Many important bands like Aerosmith, Bon Jovi, Poison, etc. from the 80’s were still big in the early 90’s. The same goes for the fashion, and TV shows. In general, there is not a clean break between the 80’s and the 90’s; much of what we catalogue as 80’s continued to exist in the early 90’s. I guess, what I’m trying to say is that when you think of big hair, colorful make up and tight pants – mostly on guys, you think of the 80’s, but technically many of these images are also from the early 90’s.
2. In my mind, the 90’s didn’t happened that long ago, I have a hard time telling myself that this decade ended 11 years ago. Maybe it is because since then, life has speed up and it feels like, every thing has happened really fast. What ever the reasons are, in my mind, there is nothing distinctive about the 90’s that would let me separate it from the 00’s and it all blends together in a category I like to call “recent past”. However, I must accept that it has been a while since the 90’s and that there are special memories that should be pulled apart and filed in their own folders. Basically, I need to separate the 90’s from the “recent past”, archive my memories and let it go.
In order to do this, first I have to find out what exactly happened during those years. I did some research and found my favorite TV shows, movies and songs from the 90’s. I think this will help me identify the 90’s with its distinctive memories and at the same time pay tribute, to a fantastic decade!
So here we go:
Seinfeld – This is the best show ever! No other show makes me laugh like Seinfeld
Alley McBeal -“My first, my last, my everything”
Dawson’s Creek – Poor Dawson, he started to lose his hair and at the end, nobody wanted to date him.
Felicity – I Loved this show!
The X Files – Did Mulder and Scully ever got together? I have to admit that these was a very long show and at the end I lost interest.
Beverly Hills 90210 – Classic
Friends – Central Perk
Fraiser – I always thought that Niles – Fraiser’s brother was hilarious
Melrose Place – Classic
3rd Rock from the Sun
Shindler’s List 1993 – I still remember the scene where everything is black and white except for the girl on the red coat
The Usual Suspects 1995 – After this movie I became a big fan of Kevin Spacey
The Sixth Sense 1999 – “I see dead people”
Se7en 1995 – Brad Pitt! – I still remember the guy that die from gluttony – Nasty!
L.A Confidential 1997 – Kevin Spacey I love you!
Pulp Fiction 1994 – Best Soundtrack
The Silence of the Lamps 1991 -” Good evening, Clarice”
Forrest Gump 1994 – “Run Forrest”
Titanic 1997 – “I am the king of the world”
Jerry Macguire 1996 – “Show me the money”
So, these are my favorite songs from the 90’s. It was hard to pick only 10, but I think theses songs have been somehow “Iconic” in my life. Enjoy!
Ok. I like these ones too!
One thing I like about my job is that I can listen to music while I’m working. If it wasn’t the case, I would probably had injured a couple of co-workers and consultants by now. Ok I’m exaggerating, but the truth is that music helps me get through stressful days. That is why I keep handy my “little bit of feel good” playlist, composed of uplifting and happy songs that distract my mind from the daily craziness. I thought I might post some song from that playlist for when you are having a rough day,
The idea of writing a post about cover songs has been on my mind for a while. I’m a big fan of cover songs and lately I have run into a couple of them that, I must say, are not that great. It is really hard to make a cover of a song that is already fantastic; the chances of not getting it right are very high. For instance Mary J Blige, did you really think you could sing One better than Bono? We all have our boundaries, no matter how famous we are. Cover songs are a tricky business; the way I see it, they have to be different enough from the original song to make it memorable, but at the same time, they have to capture its essence and original intent. That is why when you listen to a great cover song, you find new elements and meanings in the same lyrics you have listen to, many times. There are no rules for cover songs, its success only resides on pure talent, and that’s the bottom line.
Since I feel passionate about this topic, I had no option but to create a top 10 of my favorite cover songs, I hope you enjoy it:
10. Everywhere – Vampire Weekend (Fleetwood Mac) : This Fleetwood Mac song from 1988 is found in their album Tango in the Night. I always liked this song and The Vampire Weekend version from 2008 is a great re-make.
9. Dancing in the Dark – Pete Yorn (Bruce Springsteen): Dancing in the Dark from Bruce Springsteen was in the first cassette I ever had. My cousin gave it to my for my birthday in 1985 and every time I listen to this song I remember my younger years. Wake me up before you go-go was also in this cassette. Pete Yorn’s version is more mellow and slow bringing a new dimension to this song.
8. Nobody Does it Better – Radiohead (Carly Simon): I must say I’m not a big Carly Simon fan; I only like her song You’re so Vain. However, the cover of Nobody does it better by Radiohead is fantastic. The transformation of this song into a rock ballad makes it a more interesting song. Thom Yorke’s voice captured my heart and allowed me to enjoy this song.
7. Thank you – Chris Cornell (Led Zeppelin): I’m a big Chris Cornell fan, I like this version of Thank you more than the original. Thank you Chris Conell!
6. Bizarre Love Triangle – Stabbing Westward (New Order): This New Order song was released in 1986. I remember dancing to this song in the 80’s and early 90’s. There have been many covers of Bizarre Love Triangle, but this version by Stabbing Westward adds a rocker side to it that I think is great.
5. Just Like Heaven – The Watson Twins (The Cure): To make a cover of any of The Cure’s songs is a big risk. I think The Watson Twins were smart by transforming this song into a slow ballad. You don’t notice how sad this song is since The Cure’s version has a faster bit and sounds more cheerful.
4. Modern Love – Last Town Chorus (David Bowie): This is a classic example of a great song and a great cover. It is hard to pick one over the other. The David Bowie’s version, released in 1983 has more synthesizers and a faster tempo. The last Town Chorus version transforms this song into a slow, sad but beautiful ballad.
3. High Tide or Low Tide – Jack Johnson and Ben Harper (Bob Marley): Jack Johnson + Ben Harper are a perfect duo. These two individuals can sing anything they want and it will always be beautiful. I discovered this song when my friend posted it on Facebook and since then it has become one of my favorite songs. Unfortunately I have not been able to find it in any album. There is another version of this song by The Belle Islanders that is pretty good too.
2. Sea of Love – Cat Power ( Phil Phillips): This song by Phil Phillips, released in 1959 was a great success in the US. It hit the #1 spot on the Billboard R&B Chart. Its most famous cover was made by The Honeydrippers (1989). The Cat Power version was featured in the film Juno from 2007. This song also appears in the Cat Power’s The Covers Record, I just downloaded it and it is pretty good. There is not much to say about this cover other than it is fantastic!
1. If you Leave – Nada Surf (OMD): This is one of my favorite songs! I love it! The OMD version is great, but the cover by Nada Surf, in my humble opinion is simply amazing.