September is the melancholy part of the summer, the summertime we never remember or conjure when we use the word “summertime.” It’s either still too warm for all the things we now have to do or abruptly too cool when we’re not quite ready for it. For no reason I can quite put my finger on this is a playlist for this time of year, and for 2016 in particular, when we are collectively holding our breath to see which way we’ll go, what new world awaits us. Be brave while acting breezy. Beware of snakes. Believe in miracles. Etc.
As for specifics, we begin with a song from the 1958 album that is generally credited with being the first bossa nova album, Canção do Amor Demais, and a song that features the guitar work of João Gilberto, who almost single-handedly created the bossa nova sound. Consider it here a fond if complicated post-Olympics farewell. If you haven’t previously come across Chris von Sneidern, purveyor of power-pop-oriented indie rock before anyone called it indie rock, there is a 2009 documentary called Why Isn’t Chris von Sneidern Famous? that makes an effort to understand why mainstream success can elude very talented musicians. Not that we needed a movie to alert us to that particular news flash. Then, the other side of the coin—the musical recluse, two of whom populate the playlist this month: the semi-legendary Canadian songstress Mary Margaret O’Hara, who recorded one album in 1988 and pretty much left it at that, and the anonymous Swedish singer who took the pseudonym Sally Shapiro. The singer’s musical partner, Johan Agebjörn, acknowledged “Sally”‘s disinclination for the business in 2009, writing in a blog post, “What if you just want to be a normal person with a normal job, record songs in the weekends, and spend the holidays picking blueberries instead of going on tour?” After 10 years of intermittent music, Sally Shapiro quit once and for all.
And then, somewhere in between famous and reclusive we have Look Park, which is the name Chris Collingwood has given to his solo project. For at least some of you, Collingwood’s voice should be easily identifiable as the long-time lead singer for Fountains of Wayne. But the man has had a checkered history of being ready and willing to record. You can’t rush things, or force them onto the right track. In the end, you have to do what you want to do, and the trick isn’t that it always comes easily but that it should always sound like it does.
“Outra Vez” – Elizete Cardoso (Canção do Amor Demais, 1958)
“Open Wide” – Chris von Sneidern (Sight & Sound, 1993)
“If You Should See” – Wye Oak (Tween, 2016)
“Tales of Brave Ulysses” – Cream (Disraeli Gears, 1967)
“Anything, Anything (I’ll Give You)” – Dramarama (Cinéma Vérité, 1985)
“Benton Harbor Blues” – The Fiery Furnaces (Bitter Tea, 2006)
“Betcha By Golly, Wow” – The Stylistics (The Stylistics, 1971)
“Breezy” – Look Park (Look Park, 2016)
“Tony Adams” – Joe Strummer & the Mescaleros (Rock Art & The X-Ray Style, 1999)
“Anew Day” – Mary Margaret O’Hara (Miss America, 1988)
“Divers of the Dust” – Marissa Nadler (Strangers, 2016)
“Right Track” – Billy Butler (single, 1972)
“Love Doesn’t Just Stop” – Standard Fare (The Noyelle Beat, 2010)
“Rattlesnakes” – Lloyd Cole (Rattlesnakes, 1984)
“Which Way” – The Sorrows (single, 1968)
“Slow Dog” – Belly (Star, 1993)
“Miracle” – Sally Shapiro (My Guilty Pleasure, 2009)
“Any Way That You Want Me” – Evie Sands (Any Way That You Want Me, 1969)
“Do Anything You Wanna Do” – Eddie & The Hot Rods (Life on the Line, 1977)
“New World” – Björk (Selmasongs, 2000)