A certain number of big names and kinda-big names made their way onto this month’s list, and yet it still feels quirky and off-center to me somehow. And just so it’s clear: I have nothing against big, “popular” names; I just feel they should arrive in sprinkles rather than floods. I would have little interest in listening to a playlist that was all Led Zeppelin but getting one well-chosen Led Zep song in a multi-decade mix? That’s what I’m here for. You too?
And I have to say, while I obviously have no objective perspective at all here, this playlist makes me particularly happy in some elusive way. A few of the segues are inadvertently awesome (Snider to Radiohead, Ace Spectrum to Poliça, to name two), and it always seems to be a bit special when They Might Be Giants show up, especially the disconcertingly metaphysical “Where Your Eyes Don’t Go,” a perennial personal favorite.
But what do I know? I keep making these very humanly curated lists, and if a few of you kind folks show up and listen, I’m happy. In some elusive way.
Other random notes:
* “The Lotus Eaters”: As gorgeous and effecting an amalgam of contemporary classical and non-classical music as I have heard.
* “Pyramid Song”: Forget all the internet explanations as to this song’s time signature. My ears tell me there is precisely no time signature at all for this song, which adds to its subtle miraculousness.
* “Don’t Send Nobody Else”: The half a hit from the one-half-hit wonder Ace Spectrum, this song was written by Ashford and Simpson, for those keeping score at home. Never all that popular during their recorded lifespan (1974-1976), Ace Spectrum have had a second life in the world of Northern Soul, which has rescued untold numbers of great songs from semi- and/or complete obscurity.
* “Troubles Won’t Stay”: The great Sam Phillips remains great.
* “St Agnes and the Burning Train”: This is a Sting song, so allow me briefly to defend Sting against his many and varied detractors. Whatever his personal and interpersonal flaws might (or might not) be, there is a talented musician and composer at least sometimes alive in this man. I think he has often let lazy Sting do the work but when he’s on his game he can be brilliant. Thanks to Radio Paradise for alerting me to this particular version, which isn’t that different from the original, but the strings add some oomph, and the cover version will allow me to offer up the Stingster himself later in the year here if I so choose.
Full playlist below the widget.
“Quick Painless and Easy” – Ivy (Apartment Life, 1997)
“I Surrender” – Eddie Holman (b-side, 1969)
“Both Ends Burning” – Roxy Music (Siren, 1975)
“She Turns to Flowers” – The Salvation Army (The Salvation Army, 1982)
“The Lotus Eaters” – Sarah Kirkland Snider feat. Shara Worden (Penelope, 2010)
“Pyramid Song” – Radiohead (Amnesiac, 2001)
“La Dolce Vita” – Sparks (No. 1 in Heaven, 1979)
“Speed the Collapse” – Metric (Synthetica, 2012)
“See a Little Light” – Bob Mould (Workbook, 1989)
“Amanhã” – Luciana Souza (Brazilian Duos, 2002)
“Don’t Send Nobody Else” – Ace Spectrum (Inner Spectrum, 1974)
“Lime Habit” – Poliça (United Crushers, 2016)
“Where Your Eyes Don’t Go” – They Might Be Giants (Lincoln, 1988)
“Hard Lesson” – Suddenly, Tammy! (We Get There When We Do, 1995)
“I Got Love” – Viola Wills (single, 1966)
“All These Things That I’ve Done” – The Killers (Hot Fuss, 2004)
“Troubles Won’t Stay” – Sam Phillips (Human Contact is Never Easy EP, 2016)
“St Agnes and the Burning Train” – Soweto String Quartet (Zebra Crossing, 1994)
“D’yer Mak’er” – Led Zeppelin (Houses of the Holy, 1973)
“Tres Cosas” – Juana Molina (Tres Cosas, 2004)