HEY THERE DELILAH

Artist: Plain White T’s

Genre: Alternative soft rock

Notable lyrics:

Hey there, Delilah
What’s it like in New York city?
I’m a thousand miles away
But, girl, tonight you look so pretty
Yes, you do
Times Square can’t shine as bright as you
I swear, it’s true
Hey there, Delilah
Don’t you worry about the distance
I’m right there if you get lonely
Give this song another listen
Close your eyes
Listen to my voice, it’s my disguise
I’m by your side
Oh, it’s what you do to me

What you do to me
Hey there, Delilah
I know times are gettin’ hard
But just believe me, girl
Someday I’ll pay the bills with this guitar
We’ll have it good
We’ll have the life we knew we would
My word is good
Hey there, Delilah
I’ve got so much left to say
If every simple song I wrote to you
Would take your breath away
I’d write it all
Even more in love with me you’d fall
We’d have it all
Oh, it’s what you do to me

A thousand miles seems pretty far
But they’ve got planes and trains and cars
I’d walk to you if I had no other way
Our friends would all make fun of us
And we’d just laugh along because we’d know
That none of them have felt this way
Delilah, I can promise you
That by the time that we get through
The world will never ever be the same
And you’re to blame
Hey there, Delilah
You be good, and don’t you miss me
Two more years and you’ll be done with school
And I’ll be makin’ history like I do
You know it’s all because of you
We can do whatever we want to
Hey there, Delilah, here’s to you
This one’s for you
Oh, it’s what you do to me

This song has to be one of the best love songs in existence. To be fair, the whole song is a dream; the back story, the lyrics, the music, the voice, everything about the song is so pristine and priceless!

Here’s the back story: Tom Higgenson, the lead singer of the band met with the American distance runner Delilah Discenzo through a mutual friend and was so infatuated with her that he decided to pen these wonderful lyrics. Surprisingly, they’re not married. If I was as lucky to have a beautiful love song written about me, I’d have married the person with 3 dogs and a few cats, trust me. Also, how in love must you be to write such soul-stirring lyrics about another human being? Sadly, it’s all his ill-luck that she didn’t end up dating him.

‘Plain White T’s’, a pop-punk band formed in Illinois, 1997, has taken a different route with this song. Basically a slow ballad, the song has an acoustic guitar and a violin playing the background, making it more of a serenade than ever. Additionally, Tom’s lovely, raspy, flawless is so convenient for the song that there’s absolutely nothing you could do to make it a tad better; it’s perfect.

The context of this song is a long distance relationship, where the girl goes to a distant university, seemingly in New York, and the boy stays back in the hopes of making it big as a music artist. He aspires to excel and possibly build a happy future for the both of them, all of which is possible because of her (all his songs revolve around her). Moreover, he tells her not to worry about the distance, because that isn’t when he still loves her very much and has faith in her. ‘A thousand miles seems pretty far, but they’ve got trains and planes and cars, I’d walk to you if I had no other way’; lyrics like these are what makes music an essential form of art. Every line in the song is written with such tenderness, innocence, discretion and sensitivity that it’s almost too good of a song to exist. Songs like these are why the art of music is still afloat. If it doesn’t appear in the ‘most beautiful love songs of all time’, I’ll be shattered.

P.S., doesn’t Tom Higginson look like a love child of Eminem and Alex Turner?

 

 

THE LESS I KNOW THE BETTER

Artist: Tame Impala

Genre: Psychedelic pop

Notable lyrics:

Someone said they live together
I ran out the door to get her
She was holding hands with Trevor
Not the greatest feeling ever
Said pull yourself together
You should try your luck with Heather
And I hope they slept together
Oh the less I know the better
The less I know the better

In a weird, ultra dimensional way, I feel a strong connection to this band since the songs are so akin to the stories of my life.

Tame Impala happen to be one of the most sought-after indie rock bands, right beside the Arctic Monkeys, Vampire Weekend, et al. The band is distinctive due to its psychedelic style of making music. Formed in Perth, Australia in 2007, the band has risen to fame in the realms of unconventional music.

The song is highly illusionary, complete with an eccentric music video which is a perfect duo of weird, hallucinogenic music that pieces through your ears and the rest of your senses. Highly creative and artistic, the video fits in perfectly with the rest of their projects. Psychedelic music traces ts origin back to the 70’s, with its cosmopolitan hippies and hallucinogens. Seemingly, the band has drawn influences from several low-lying, homemade music from the 70’s; a slightly inane comparison to Pink Floyd won’t be too unassuming either. Here’s a little fact file about the song:

Anchoring itself thematically from the synth-washing “Gossip”, “The Less I Know the Better” mixes lyrics describing the painful moment of a Bermuda love triangle, with a groovy bass-line and 80’s Napoleon Dynamite’s synths.

Tame Impala lead-singer Kevin Parker said that the song doesn’t belong on the album “because it has this dorky, white disco funk.” However, using “Gossip” as a prelude to this, it is highly needed.

To be fair, it does sound a lot like a disco song, albeit a brilliant one with its funky beats and groovy music. The song is basically about a love triangle, as described, from the perspective of the hopeless romantic that yearns after a girl who no longer or never belonged to him. Essentially, Trevor is the hopeless romantic, the blonde is his object of affection and the gorilla hers. Basically capturing the essence of most normal love stories, the gorilla is a metaphor for the standards constructed by a person when they think their love interest is out of their league. ‘The less I know the better’ is a common phrase used by a person while refraining from gathering information about a crush’s romantic affairs. The song is a clever anecdote about countless relationships that happen to be along the lines of having low-self esteem and considering oneself luckier to have another.

Everything about this song is mesmerizing and dazzling. Evidently, a lot of effort goes into composing a tune of such complexity. Only after deconstructing a song will you discover the layers that have been merged to form an extraordinary product. Further, a lot of effort goes into making the music video, with the insanely vivid colors and razzmatazz. The true value of art always lies within its tiniest components because they form the big picture.

AIN’T NO MOUNTAIN HIGH ENOUGH

Artist: Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell

Genre: Soul

Notable lyrics: 

My love is alive
Way down in my heart
Although we are miles apart
If you ever need a helping hand
I’ll be there on the double
Just as fast as I can
Don’t you know that there

Ain’t no mountain high enough
Ain’t no valley low enough
Ain’t no river wide enough
To keep me from getting to you babe

Firstly, I am obliged pay homage to the late ‘queen of soul’, Aretha Franklin, who has passed away yesterday, the 16th of August. Aretha was one of the first ever influential black women in the music industry, rising to the top of her game in the 60’s. Here’s a video of an older Aretha, soulfully covering ‘Rolling in the deep/Ain’t no mountain high enough‘.

‘Ain’t no mountain high enough’, a song by Marvin Gaye, conveniently the king of soul, and Tammi Terrell, who he happened to sing a lot of songs with, is a delightful duet later covered by the great Diana Ross. In a way, it was made famous by Ms. Ross and was later used as an OST in the famous 90’s blockbuster ‘stepmom’; the song is claimed as ‘one of the most overplayed songs in movies’. If anything, the song is also acclaimed as one of the best mood-lifters ever created.

Released in the 1967, the song happens to be one of the best soul songs in existence. The vocals sound as fresh as ever, with a tinge of that vintage magic. In the era where black Americans were still denied equality, wonderful music like this was responsible for fixing the gap between the two bridges. To see and analyse what prominence music has held in bringing about equality is indeed heart-warmingly beautiful.

Not necessarily a love song, the tune revolves around everlasting relationships and how all the impediments in the world can pose no threat to the stability of a well-founded relationship. Indeed a touching tribute to the strength of love and its acquaintances, the song has set high standards for the coming-of-age artists. The level of excellency covered here has remained intact over the past few decades and still happens to be the favorite song of many a people, from all walks of life and of all ages. The refreshing, profound voice of Gaye complemented by Terrell’s strong, pronounced voice has given the song its marvellous attributes. The drums, the instrumental framework are simply all too brilliant.

The song happens to be one of my favorites (yes, I do have a lot of favorites) because of its radiant magnetism, its ability to sweep the listener’s feet off the ground and this time, none of this is an exaggeration.

 

 

FAVORITE PART

Artist: Mac Miller (and Ariana Grande)

Genre: Hip-hop/soul

Notable lyrics: 

Said, you know I know who you really are, ain’t need to lie
Said, the universe couldn’t keep us apart
Why would it even try?

A few weeks ago, I played a less popular ‘pop’ song, when in the car with my mother, and she was surprised after learning that the song was a very famous artists’, because it was particularly great. When I told her that the song wasn’t all that famous, she was taken aback with the mediocrity of people’s likes and dislikes and how they want all their songs to be similar. Her argument was that ‘some people weren’t lucky enough to identify good music and appreciate them’. Now, this woman isn’t a huge fan of western music at all, but she’s got the concept of choosing great music, with some discretion right.

Speaking about the song, it isn’t all that spectacular or ostentatious, in comparison to the best songs to ever exist (I’m not talking about ‘hit me baby one more time’ for Christ’s sake). What I really appreciate is the effort to deviate from the conventions of making music video and actually produce something fairly rich, once in a while. For once, they’ve actually created a good piece for the sake of art and not business. This can create a whole revolution within the industry of ‘pop’ music. I can’t begin to explain how this particular gem can change the entire face of the music venture:                                         The song has credited 3 writers, 2 of which are the actual artists, as opposed to the 8 usual writers required to write a song. Now, the lyrics aren’t really sensational, but aren’t as bland or gaudy as the rest of mainstream pop songs. The setting is very intimate and the lyrics are well-crafted accordingly. Kudos to that. Moreover, the background music, even if electrically produced, isn’t too clumsy. As a matter of fact, it is a rather alluring tune and the music video has been designed appropriately. The aesthetics of the music video and the color tones are particularly pleasing. There isn’t any nudity or unsettling content in the music video, which works out all too well for me and most people (don’t mistake me for a prude, but some pop music videos are highly explicit. After all, sex sells). The best and the most evident part is the lack of voice manipulation of any kind. Every emotion, every imperfection, has been delivered the way it is, the way it’s meant to be. To be fair, it’s too good a ‘pop’ or hip-hop song to be true.

I wouldn’t really credit Ariana here because a few incoherent mumbles and giggles won’t make a song. However, I really appreciate Mac Miller in the song, he’s simply proficient in this particular song. The R&B aspect of the entire song is ridiculously magnificent. If this is post-modern jazz, I’m definitely impressed.

Just when you think things couldn’t get any better, the live performance proved it wrong. The jazz instrumentals are mind-blowing. Accurate, professional and seductive, the perfect song for a night-ride. So much talent has been used up in the song, it’s actually unthinkable of a proper ‘pop’ song. Now, here’s the sad part: the music video has only 37 million views and that’s a tiny amount when compared to most pop songs. The YouTube section is filled with comments related to their break-up and what not. Why does their relationship matter so much to you? Just enjoy the good music and forget everything else. If you can’t identify a gem when you come across one, you’re doing everything wrong.

MARDY BUM

Artist: Arctic Monkeys

Genre: Alternative Rock

Notable lyrics: 

Well can’t we just laugh and joke around
Remember cuddles in the kitchen
Yeah, to get things off the ground
And it was up, up and away
Oh, but it’s right hard to remember
That on a day like today when you’re all argumentative
And you’ve got the face on

And yeah I’m sorry I was late
But I missed the train
And then the traffic was a state
And I can’t be arsed to carry on in this debate that reoccurs,
Oh, when you say I don’t care
But of course I do, yeah, I clearly do!

Here’s a fun fact about me: when I first saw the album cover, I thought the man on it was the lead singer, with the rugged look and all that. But when I saw Alex for the first time, I was skeptical, because ‘how can such a wiry dude have a sturdy voice?’. Looks can be very deceiving, my mates.

You’re a blithering fool if you have a music blog/ call yourself a music fanatic and haven’t ever mentioned or heard of this phenomenal band. Being one of the very best bands this century has witnessed,  The ‘Arctic Monkeys’ continue to deliver mind-blowing, jaw-dropping songs till date.  The band, a garage project, was founded in 2002, in Sheffield, England; Alex Turner, the lead singer, happens to be one of the more talented song-writers today. With chart-busting singles like ‘Do I wanna know’ and ‘R U Mine’, the band has maintained a very prominent image in the post-rock revival industry. With their ‘The Smiths meets The Cure’ (Morrissey won’t be pleased) style of music, at least most of them, they’ve established a whole new meaning to alternative/indie rock. If indie rock is at all, a popular genre in the 21st century, this band deserves most of the credit.

Mardy Bum, one of my favorite works by the band, happens to be a very happy-go-lucky song, disguised as an apology to the livid missus. The song has been beautifully crafted, with a very first-hand remorse, explaining the reasons for him being late.  A ‘Mardy Bum’ is someone very unhappy with the way things happen; a moaner, basically (no, not like THAT). What I much prefer is the acoustic version; it sounds more appealing and casual, unlike the energetic album recording. The band’s signature use of electric guitars and lively drums are also very evident. Alex’s heavy, North England accent adds more charm to it than necessary. Released 11 years ago, this has to still be one of their very best, authentic songs. The British roots are so very evident, it’s almost too surreal to take in. I’m just really glad to see that Brit Rock hasn’t become completely obsolete.

Also, if you follow the band closely, there’s always a change of trends in their style of music, with every successive album. The new album, ‘tranquility base hotel and casino’ has failed to meet the expectations of many-a-persons, me included. Hopefully, Arctic Monkeys won’t fade away into the shadowy world of mediocrity and loss of self-recognition, like most bands have. Fame and money does that to people, getting into their heads and whispering gibberish. Alex better turn around and chase his humility, before it’s all too late. The Beatles were a disaster in the later years and we can’t afford to let another mastermind go berserk.

 

 

FLIGHTLESS BIRD, AMERICAN MOUTH

Artist: Iron and Wine

Genre: Neo-folk

Notable lyrics: 

I was a quick wet boy
Diving too deep for coins
All of your straight blind eyes
Wide on my plastic toys
Then when the cops closed the fair
I cut my long baby hair
Stole me a dog-eared map
And called for you everywhere
Have I found you?
Flightless bird, jealous, weeping
Or lost you?
American mouth
Big bill looming

‘Neofolk, also known as post-folk, apocalyptic folk or dark folk, is a music genre that emerged in the mid-1980’s as an outgrowth of post-punk and post-industrial music, blending acoustic instruments such as guitar and snare drum with elements of industrial music. Neofolk may either be solely acoustic or combine acoustic folk instrumentation with various other sounds.’

It’s been a while since I’ve written about a folk song and this one happens to be an excellent specimen of the kind. The song sounds fairly familiar because it was used as a sound-track in the very infamous vampire-obsession movie, ‘Twilight’.  Guess the sound tracks were one reason to not hate the movie altogether, innit?

Slow and smooth as ever, with an overwhelming tender voice, the song manages to stand apart from general songs like a Holmes signal amidst the vast expanse of the black sea. To be completely fair, the lyrics have certain discrepancies between them; they seem to have been written as different sentences with no correlation, whatsoever, but when merged, it forms a brilliant song. According to genius lyrics,

‘“Flightless Bird, American Mouth” could be about someone who tries to find a lost love. When he finds her, she has become a flightless bird, meant to fly high but grounded, fulfilling none of her youth dreams. Instead, she’s become another pill-wasted American housewife while he’s also a cliché of a fat couch potato watching passively as his life goes by.’

Makes sense doesn’t it? Something written so ordinarily and simple, turns into an extra ordinary and a beautiful song. The tepid and fragile music encapsulates the song and leaves it in a warm little bubble, waiting to bless the ears of another person. The power of supple and wholesome music never fails to release its hold on me and that’s one place I hope to be completely vulnerable, for as long as I breathe.

河童 (KAPPA)

Sa Yuu (Left and Right)

Genre: Alternative rock (Japanese)

Lyrics: 

My toes are getting chilly

My feelings are dying

My toes are getting chilly

My feelings are dying

A house has built up in the inside of me

He’s living in the inside of me

He’s calling in the inside of me

He’s calling my evil inside me

A house has built up on the inside of me

He’s living in the inside of me

He’s eating in the inside of me

He’s eating my goodness inside me

My toes are getting swollen

My feelings are dying

My toes are getting swollen

My feelings are dying

My air bladder

The air bladder I don’t need

I wanna sink down

I wanna sink down calmly

My toes are getting chilly

My feelings are dying

My toes are getting chilly

My feelings are dying

The things that you want to see are always looks boring but the every things that obsesses you are really great so I’m not gonna like you.

The Japanese version of the lyrics isn’t available and the google translator isn’t of much help, even with the camera recognition software. The aforementioned lyrics are a rough translation of the song.                                                                                                      Weeaboos, rejoice, for I have found this anime-perfect song after digging through the depths of YouTube. Well, it was actually recommended to me because I’ve watched tons of anime. Hey, they’re awesome and I highly recommend ‘The daily lives of Highschool boys’.

The song is so awesome, I’m not even guilty about the pleasure it provides me with (no, not THAT way). It’s both wonderfully weird and artistic, with quirky, debatable lyrics and an unconventional voice. Being miles away from typical J-pop or K-pop, for that matter, the song is mitigating in its own eccentric way. The electric guitar gives in an in-your-face edge and the cute midget woman with her screechy voice adds a surprising element of twist to the entire song.

‘A kappa also known as kawatarō (川太郎), komahiki (駒引, horse puller), or kawatora (川虎, river tiger) is an amphibious yōkai demon or imp found in traditional Japanese folklore’. The music video is a minimalist one, with a small cameo/documentary of gorillas from nowhere, but somehow belongs there, amidst all the confusion. Evidently, the video was recorded in the living room of the band members. Also, the band is an incipient one, with 50,000 views on their songs, at the most. Their music is available on iTunes and Amazon, so dear rich kids (or people who diligently invest in good music), fetch a copy now. We can’t afford to let more artists go extinct. Dear dedicated weeaboos, your time has also come, good fellas.

 

 

 

 

WE’RE NOT JUST FRIENDS

Artist: Parks, Squares and Alleys

Genre: Dream-pop

Notable lyrics: 

We don’t need nothing, except each other

But there’s no reason to say it out loud

The moon is there for you tonight

I feel the beating of your heart

You should forget it for a while,

We’re not just friends I know you want me to stop the time.

Yes, most of us have been here, feeling the same about a friend. It’s almost inevitable, I presume. But here underlies a certain beauty, almost too incoherent to be expressed in words. For now, I’ll let it be.

This particular song is a very lucky find, a result of an adventurous YouTube spree. The music is so surreal, the guitar strokes capable of inducing a psychedelic effect on you and the voice equally delightful. It’s almost too complex, to comprehend the musical structure of the sound. Per se,  it’s hard to believe that something like this tune is hand-made and not mechanically fabricated. I’m not denying that editing is an essential process while composing a song, but how does something as outlandish as this music just drop onto your head, out of nowhere? It’s hard, even for a pioneer in the music industry, to intricately produce such tasteful instrumentals. I can’t imagine how hard and meticulous it must’ve been, giving birth to an idea for something beyond the ordinary, with less or no professional help (The band isn’t well-known so professional help can be pretty expensive).

The lyrics are very unpretentious, unambiguous and mellow, thereby maintaining an easy balance within the song so as to not make it seem too ostentatious. A clever stitch in time saves 9, doesn’t it?

If this is what hipsters these days are listening to, I must appreciate their prudence.

Bonus video:

 

 

MUSIC SOUNDS BETTER WITH YOU

Artist: Stardust

Genre: French house (Disco)

Notable lyrics: (these are the only lyrics, might I add)

I feel like

The music sounds better with you

Love might

Bring us back together

I feel so good

Pardon me for my lack of expertise in the genre of Electronic music. I’ve been meaning to write about an EDM song for very long now and a groovy disco track WITH lyrics is as far as I could extend my flexibility.

Allegedly, ‘music sounds better with you’ is a cult classic and was one of the highest-selling singles of 1998, in the UK. It was also called ‘one of the most irresistible, sublime dance singles of the decade’ by the critiques and received an average overall of 4.5 for 5. Not too clumsy for a 90’s disco song, eh?                                                                                      Stardust were a one-time musical collaborative effort consisting of producers Thomas Bangalter, Alan Braxe, and vocalist Benjamin Diamond. That’s unfortunate because producing a number of tasteful Electronic Dance songs would’ve hurt nobody.

Evidently, producing a Disco song wasn’t as easy as pressing a couple of buttons on your computer. These old-timey DJ’s knew their way around the DJ mixer and could account for the credibility of their music being genuine. The song is indeed very enthusiastic and almost psychedelic (that’s dream trance for you), there’s just something about it that’s so catchy and fabulous. The absence of a ‘drop’ makes it all the more appealing; the band goes easy on the excessive use of computer-generated bass beats and resorts to mellower, pleasant music that simultaneously makes it akin to mainstream music and a million times more superb. I mean, it’s been 20 years. Surely, hoping for progress in the quality of music isn’t unintelligible.

The video is oh-so-peculiar and screams the 90’s craze for experimenting with other-worldly visuals. It revolves around an aerophile little boy who’s hard-set on building his first toy plane and here’s the insane part: the music video might seem irrelevant at first but the band has been genius-ly incorporated into it, with no room for talking. And hey, what’s a better song you can think of than this, to play while constructing a model aero plane?

 

SLOW DANCING IN A BURNING ROOM

Artist: John Mayer

Genre: Blues/Soul (Acoustic)

Notable lyrics:

I was the one you always dreamed of

You were the one I tried to draw

How dare you say it’s nothing to me

Baby you’re the only light I think I ever saw

I make the most of all sadness

You be a bitch because you can

The acoustic version is much better than the album version, take my word for it.

I don’t know where to begin or where to end, with the blissful experience this song imparts. It’s like you’re being encircled with a faint warmth of John’s voice and the guitar tune, whenever you listen to it. Writing this song definitely wasn’t a piece of cake, it speaks for itself. Only a professional song-writer can put words together and add such beautiful sense and elegance to it.

The burning room is simply a metaphor for a worn-out relationship where all you do is tear each other apart and the slow dancing signifies the torture one endures while falling apart completely. The song is all about finding beauty within the chaos itself and finally letting the inevitable happen: letting go; ‘Nothing is permanent but change’, as Heraclitus originally said.

While penning down such original and heart-felt lyrics, John has also made shewed use of his guitar skills, his fondness for some great Blues and make the absolute best craft out of it. What is considered to be one of his most emotional song, the tune is a favorite among the fans and is hailed as a significant milestone in his career of making music; this level of excellence has remained almost unachievable by modern blues artists (there aren’t many). What I fear is that faulty collaborations and a plethora of impure genres have resulted in the dying out of the once highly regarded genre of blues, and I can’t stress that enough. While John Mayer has been a dedicated Blues fan and keeps bestowing upon us, beautiful tunes, a vast number of other Blues artists remain unrecognised, something we shouldn’t be entirely proud of. While most popular artists long after abstract versatility, they corrupt their songs with insincere and physical versatility, which isn’t always compatible with all genres.

The song is recorded in an intimate setting with just the enchanting vocals and acoustic guitar, miles away from the album recording. John remains to be enthralled by Soul music till date and delivers consistent performances with each album, a popular reason you should start listening to the fairly popular artist. Also, addressing the elephant in the room – the infamous controversial interviews, I suggest you learn the difference between a person’s personal and professional life and LET IT GO (I will admit to my indiscreet predilection for Mayer, at this point). This song is proof enough to highlight what an excellent artist and a brilliant performer he is (here’s a few pictures to prove his dedication to playing his guitar), and I HOPE he’ll be a noted member of the Rock ‘n Roll hall of fame in the nearby future.