It’s been almost 15 years since Amy Winehouse’s album Black in Black was released, and 9 years since her death. Her cover of Rod Stewart’s Valerie is one of my favorites, and this video of her singing it in a plain room sitting in an oversized chair feels strangely timely in our new era of social distancing.
NPR has been recording Tiny Desk Concerts at All Songs Considered host Bob Boilen’s desk since 2008. The idea was conceived by Boilen and NPR music editor Stephen Thompson after attempting to watch singer Laura Gibson at a bar and leaving because they couldn’t hear her over the crowd noise from the other patrons. The unusual setting is up close and intimate, and the artists featured belong to a wide ranging mix of genres from indie rock, hip hop and pop music. One of my favorite performances is by Chance the Rapper, who wrote a poem just for his appearance and laughs off an interruption from the office PA system mid performance.
Most of the new music I discover is Shazamed off of TV shows (you have no idea how long my True Detective playlist is.) One of my recent discoveries came during an episode of The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina on Netflix. I fell in love with Valerie Broussard‘s booming voice and the lyric’s to her song A Little Wicked, particularly the line “No one calls you honey, when you’re sitting on a throne.” Truer words have never been spoken.
This summer I’ve been locked in a battle of epic proportions with my building’s management company over the air conditioning. Despite the fact that everyone in the office is walking around and sweaters, I can’t get them to raise the temp above 69 degrees. It may not sound very cold, but it feels frigid after sitting at a desk for eight hours! Consequently, I prefer eating my lunch outside on the patio, headphones on, catching up on blogs I follow while I enjoy some fresh air and thaw out. This week I’ve been listing to a witchy playlist inspired by Netflix’s The Chilling Adventure’s of Sabrina, which I’ve been catching up on in the mornings before work. It’s definitely making me pine for fall and Halloween! Check out my playlist, and comment below if you have a witchy song you would add! Witchy Playlist A Little Wicked, Valerie Broussard I Put a Spell on You, Brigitte Wickens Teeth, Lady Gaga Suspiria, Goblin Cry Little Sister, Marilyn Manson Circles Out of Salt, Snow Ghosts Black Magic Woman, VCTRYS The Way That I Feel, Danielle Parente Empire, Shakira Bad Things, Jace …
I love watching videos by 2Cellos anytime I need a pick me up. The Croatian duo is known for reworking pop songs and theme songs into classical music, and have a talent for keeping each piece fresh and entertaining without the benefit of lyrics. Plus they always look like they are having a blast.
I’ve been listening to Sia’s piano recording of Elastic Heart a lot lately. I love this version because it really showcases the raw power of her voice and the emotions she pours into this song. It’s a break up song, but it reminds me a lot of how I feel about the submission process. Most of the time the publications I submit to don’t even respond back, and the perpetual waiting for that response can feel worse than an actual rejection. But I keep pushing forward, hoping that if I keep trying with thick skin and an elastic heart, I can find the right place for my work. Well I’ve got thick skin and an elastic heart But your blade it might be too sharp I’m like a rubber band until you pull too hard But I may snap when I move close But you won’t see me fall apart ‘Cause I’ve got an elastic heart
I wrote last Wednesday about my preference for breaking up Christmas carols with songs that remind me of winter. Toms Mucenieks is well known on YouTube for rearranging sad versions of classic songs, and his morose version of Jingle Bells is another one you can mix in to break up all those cheerful Christmas tunes.
Tori Amos is one of those rare singer songwriters that can truly captivate an audience preforming live all on her own. Here she is performing Winter live in Montreux, Switzerland in 1992, just after the release of her first solo album Little Earthquakes. I just love the lyrics of this song, comparing childhood to a winter that melts away.
In the final stage of his career, Johnny Cash recorded a series of albums covering popular songs from a range of musicians. Arguable the most successful was American IV: The Man Comes around, producing Cash’s final hit song before he passed away on Sept. 12th, 2003. Cash’s cover of Hurt, originally recorded by Nine Inch Nails and written by lead singer Trent Reznor. The song itself is a searing self reflection of the harm a person can cause those around them, and is given another layer of meaning from his own struggles with alcoholism, and drug abuse. The accompanying music video was directed by Mark Romanek, and won a Grammy for best video. It features video from his life, shots of the long abandoned House of Cash museum, and present day footage of both Johnny and his wife, June Carter Cash. June would pass away only three months after filming. Although Trent Reznor initially had some reservations about Cash covering Hurt, he was very moved by the songs video, saying: “I pop the video in, and wow. Tears welling, silence, goose bumps… Wow. [I felt …
I fell in love with Disturbed’s restrained cover of The Sound of Silence the first time I heard it, and they sound just as good performing it live. This appearance on the Conan O’Brian show was so impressive Paul Simon wrote lead singer Draiman an email commending his performance.