Tunes From ITunes: 10.11.11

Ah October…how I love thee! The leaves change colors, the weather gets cooler, it stays darker later & longer. Halloween is around the corner and there are so many options. What should I be this year? A sexy pirate? A sexy caveman? A sexy nerd? How about a zombie? Yeah…THAT will work. Speaking of zombies, I’ve been ambling along, being somewhat despondent about highlighting new songs from ITunes that I buy every week. So I’ve created the “Featured Singles” to allow for me to highlight at least one song a week for anyone who might be interested. Anyway, here are some tracks that I’ve downloaded over the past month or so. Let me know what you think!

NEEDTOBREATHE – “Keep Your Eyes Open”  (rock)
With 4 studio albums in their arsenal, this Christian rock band from South Carolina have a polished pop/rock sound and this track has a simple & familiar sound to it. Not gonna say I LOVE it but it certainly has a message and I would have to imagine there will be at least 1 track off this new album (The Reckoning) that will find its way to pop radio. Dunno if this will be it but it has potential.

Pearl Jam – “Ole”  (rock)
A freebie on ITunes and it rocks! I’m a big PJ fan and considering the other option (which is Vedder doing ukele songs), I’ll take this! Is it fresh & different? For PJ, no. But it gave me a good kick in the butt this morning and I’ll be putting it in my workout mix now, thank you very much!

James Morrison feat. Jessie J – “Up”  (pop)
Simple & soulful, I really like this track and with Jessie J’s soulful vocal powering this to “above average” status, I have to imagine this one will hit on adult contemporary radio at some point! This is easily the best track on the album (from what I heard).

Joe Jonas – “Fastlife” (pop)
So Justin Timberlake is hanging up his pop cleats, huh? Well…seems he may have already been replaced. One of the 3 Jonas brothers, this kid has got it firing on all cylinders. With his hit “See No More” and his latest release, “Just In Love,” Jonas is moving into Timberlake territory. This track is the jam!

Manchester Orchestra – “Leave It Alone”  (rock)
A lovely mellow rock track from this Atlanta band. Reminds me of Pink Floyd a bit and the lyrics of a broken relationship are true. Love this one!

Mayer Hawthorne – “No Strings” (R&B)
This has a traditional R&B sound with a modern pop twist. Suggestive lyrics and Hawthorne’s smooth vocal make this an excellent choice for anyone who likes a little music for their bow-chicka-bow-wow…

Dum Dum Girls – “Coming Down”  (rock)
Lead singer Dee Dee has a similar vocal style of Annie Lennox and this track sounds a LOT like Mazzy Star with fuzzy guitars and reverb. I imagine it being played in one of those old desert town bar jukeboxes. It has a sexy edge and makes me want to drink my sorrows away. I recommend this one! I also HIGHLY recommend “Bedroom Eyes” and “Wasted Away” from their album “Only In Dreams.”

Blink 182 – “Wishing Well”  (rock)
8 years since releasing their last album, this punk pop band have returned with a decent effort and this track has a familiar sound as Tom DeLonge brings his best Angels & Airwaves impersonation to the Blink reunion. I love A&A and this track sounds like just about everything else on that bands’ albums…so that means it’s good!

Benjamin Francis Leftwich – “Atlas Hands”  (adult contemporary)
Mellow and beautiful, I can’t say it’s original but I love the lyrics and it IS refreshingly simple. Think The Weepies. If you like them, you’ll LOVE this.

David Nail – “Let It Rain”  (country)
Guilt is a very strong emotion and this song conveys that to a tee. Originally released in February, I recently heard it while in Nashville. Love it!

The Kooks – “Rosie”  (pop rock)
Not sure how to define this track. If you liked their hit single “She Moves In Her Own Way” from their 2006 album, “Inside In/Inside Out,” then you will probably like this track. I REALLY like it and it will probably be one of my favorite tracks from this year!

Bush – “Red Light”  (rock)
For whatever reason, this doesn’t sound like Bush at all to me. And that’s a good thing (I think). This is ultimately a generic pop rock song but I kinda dig it and I would recommend checking it out if you like Top 40 rock artists like Daughtry or David Cook.

Wild Flag – “Romance”  (rock)
This all-girl, all-star band featuring rockers from Sleater-Kinney and the Minders show they can hang with the big boys and crank out a guitar-laced homage to love & romance…hence the name, I suppose…

Lights – “Peace Sign”  (pop)
Generic dance pop that my kids tend to love. It has a catchy refrain and kept me interested for a few listens but for the most part, it’s average at best.

ALBUM OF THE MONTH THAT DOESN’T QUITE LIVE UP TO THE PREVIOUS ALBUM BUT I LIKE IT ANYWAY:

Mute Math – “Odd Soul”  (alternative)
Oh how I wanted to say that this one is as good if not better than the band’s previous album, “Armistice,” nut unfortunately I can’t. It does start out very strong with songs like “Prytania” and “Tell Your Heart Heads Up” (my personal favorite), but it drifts into experimental rock territory in the latter half of the album and never seems to recover. Songs like “Quarantine” and “Walking Paranoia” have a jam band quality to them, featuring distorted vocals and 70’s flavored tempos that just don’t gel with me. It’s funky in places but never quite reaches the potential that it strives for. That being said, it DOES have several strong tracks and I wouldn’t call it a disappointment at all, it’s just not as good as “Armistice.”

Recommended Tracks: Tell Your Heart Heads Up, Sun Ray (instrumental), All Or Nothing, Prytania, Odd Soul

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30 Day Song Challenge: A Song I Want Played At My Funeral

DAY 24: A Song I Want Played At My Funeral

What a morbid sort of category but I guess it’s gonna happen sometime…so if I were to pick a song that I would want played in celebration of my untimely death, I would have to pick “Dead Man’s Party” by Oingo Boingo.

Just kidding.

In order to keep in perspective that a funeral is truly a celebration of one’s life, I think I will go with something that is quiet yet has big meaning. Pearl Jam’s “Man of the Hour” was written for the 2003 Tim Burton film, “Big Fish.” Although it’s told from a son’s perspective on his father’s death, it still holds true for almost any man and Eddie Vedder pretty much nails the emotional aspect of losing someone close.

“Man Of the Hour”
by Pearl Jam

Tidal waves don’t beg forgiveness
Crashed and on their way
Father he enjoyed collisions; others walked away
A snowflake falls in may.
And the doors are open now as the bells are ringing out
Cause the man of the hour is taking his final bow
Goodbye for now.

Nature has its own religion; gospel from the land
Father ruled by long division, young men they pretend
Old men comprehend.

And the sky breaks at dawn; shedding light upon this town
They’ll all come round
Cause the man of the hour is taking his final bow
G’bye for now.

And the road
The old man paved
The broken seems along the way
The rusted signs, left just for me
He was guiding me, love, his own way
Now the man of the hour is taking his final bow
As the curtain comes down
I feel that this is just g’bye for now.

Pearl Jam (Columbus, OH – 5/6/10)


Nationwide Arena – Section 209, Row Q, Seat 4

20 years. That’s how long it’s taken me to finally see one of the greatest rock bands live & in person. I have so many memories that are attached to Pearl Jam’s music so it was almost like seeing them live was a closing of a book for me. When they first appeared on the scene, I was just out of college, working a television job in Zanesville, OH. I remember listening to “Ten” constantly back in those days. “Alive” & “Evenflow” were ALWAYS being played on the radio and I think I speak for everyone when I say that there was no inclination that PJ would still be around 20 years later. Add to the fact that when the “grunge” movement started to deflate, so did most of the bands of that time period. But Pearl Jam continued on. Past the death of Kurt Cobain, the crown prince of grunge, and past the insurgence of rap as the dominate genre on pop radio.

9 albums, a gazillion bootlegs & 60 million units sold worldwide later…Pearl Jam rocks on and they’ve never wavered from their sense of what rock can be. Through all the political leanings and the environmental posturing, lead singer Eddie Vedder has taken on the mantra of rock icon and guitarist Mike McCready is quietly considered one of the great rock guitarists of this day & age. Last year they released what I consider to be one of their best albums in their collection. “Backspacer” was loaded with rock anthems and acoustic ponderings and was a mainstay in my car stereo all year round. After 2 previous attempts to see them live through the years failed, I finally had the chance to see them live in Columbus, OH at Nationwide Arena and I’m happy to report they didn’t disappoint.

Here’s the thing about rock bands…they only go as far as their lead singer takes them. 95% of the time, if the lead singer isn’t charismatic or has some stage presence, the band falters and never becomes anything other than a band playing songs. But like so many great lead singers, Vedder knows how to command attention onstage and he is still as active and energetic as I imagine he was back in the early 90’s. Unlike some acts out there who fill their stage show with monitors and lights and props, Pearl Jam had none of that. They came out onstage with a simple backdrop and some colorful lights and proceeded to rip into a 2+ hour setlist that included their hits from their early days to songs off their latest. Vedder talked casually to the audience, reminiscing about the first time they were in Columbus in 1992. They played a meager 10 songs. Obviously, with their catalogue they were gonna play a few more this night…and they did. The highlights for me from the setlist include “Evenflow” with McCready playing his guitar solo with his guitar behind his head and “Amongst The Waves”, which just sounded amazing in the arena. At some point, Vedder started in on religion stating he and his band were starting their own…

“It has one commandment,” he said. “Don’t be an asshole.”

Sounds good to me Eddie. And just so ya know…I’ve given up on Twitter also. Hate that shit. Thanks for the great show!

1. Oceans
2. Given To Fly
3. Corduroy
4. Got Some
5. World Wide Suicide
6. Faithful
7. Elderly Woman Behind The Counter In A Small Town
8. Amongst The Waves
9. Even Flow
10. Comatose
11. Marker In The Sand
12. Unthought Known
13. Grievance
14. Alone
15. The Fixer
16. Do The Evolution

ENCORE 1
17. Just Breathe
18. Black
19. State Of Love & Trust
20. Spin The Black Circle
21. Go

ENCORE 2
22. Come Back
23. Once
24. Hail Hail
25. Crazy Mary
26. Alive
27. Yellow Ledbetter

Lyrics You Should Know: “Just Breathe” By Pearl Jam

Tonight a friend and I are going to see Pearl Jam (and Band Of Horses) in Columbus, OH. Since their appearance in 1990 as one of the premier grunge bands, Pearl Jam has gone on to be THE standard by which most rock bands wish to aspire, with the exception of only a few (such as U2 and Green Day). I can’t believe it has taken me this long to finally see them live but the last 2 times I bought tickets I had to give them away due to work conflicts. So tonight…nothing is gonna stop me! Here is one of my favorite tracks from their last album. It’s not a rocker by any means, but I love the subtleness of the song and I certainly appreciate the lyrics.

“Just Breathe”
by Pearl Jam

Yes I understand that every life must end, aw huh,..
As we sit alone, I know someday we must go, aw huh,..
I’m a lucky man to count on both hands
The ones I love.

Some folks just have one,
Others they got none, uh huh…

Stay with me…
Let’s just breathe.

Practiced are my sins,
Never gonna let me win, uh huh,..
Under everything, just another human being, uh huh,..
Yeh, I don’t wanna hurt, there’s so much in this world
To make me bleed.

Stay with me…
You’re all I see.

Did I say that I need you?
Did I say that I want you?
Oh, if I didn’t now I’m a fool you see…
No one knows this more than me.
As I come clean.

I wonder everyday
as I look upon your face, uh huh…
Everything you gave
And nothing you would take, uh huh…
Nothing you would take…
Everything you gave.

Did I say that I need you?
Oh, Did I say that I want you?
Oh, if I didn’t now I’m a fool you see…
No one know this more than me.
As I come clean.

Nothing you would take…
everything you gave.
Hold me till I die…
Meet you on the other side.