A few things that have caught my ear over the last few months:
1) “Easier Said,” Sunflower Bean
Jangly guitar, wistful vocal, lyric that has something to do with growing up faster than the person you’re in love with but pausing to give them the opportunity to catch up. “Make those moves/I’m not afraid” is the lyric, “Make those words/Another phrase” is what I heard. Use mine if you’d like, songwriters!
2) “Roller,” Quit
Jangly guitar, wistful vocal, lyric that has something to do with being caught in a relationship you know is bad but can’t figure out how to walk away from. What is a “roller”? Someone who rolls with the punches, doesn’t fight back? Your guess is as good as mine. “How can you believe that everyone you meet is just here to/Entertain you,” the singer says, and I immediately know the person she’s talking about. “But honey you’ve been at my throat about it,” she continues in a Belinda Carlisle-ish voice, half coo and half cutting. When she finally makes up her mind, this guy doesn’t stand a chance.
3) “Nobody Wins,” Brian Fallon
Jangly guitar, wistful vocal, lyric about remembering someone you probably should have spent your life with. Yeah, imagining is a lot easier than doing, and there’s not enough detail here to make the sentiment as poignant as the singer wants it to be. But I love that his term of endearment for the woman is the title of a Clash song.
4) “Fill in the Blank,” Car Seat Headrest
Ringing guitar, in-your-face vocal, lyric that reprises Jens Lekman’s wonderful “An Argument with Myself” as the singer splits his consciousness in two in order to give himself a dressing down. “You have no right to be depressed/You haven’t tried hard enough to like it,” he scolds, though he later backs down and allows himself the depression, but only because he’s staring into the eyes of someone he hopes will pull him out of it. I like the whole album, but think I would have become obsessed with it at 18 years old. (I remember thinking the same thing about Bright Eyes “I’m Wide Awake It’s Morning” album.)
5) “Hamilton” Cast Album
As good as everyone says! I haven’t seen it in person (ha!) but was surprised how involved I got (and how easily I could follow the plot) just listening. “It’s Quiet Uptown” destroyed me as I was driving to work at 7:30 in the morning. Hope it wins every Tony award imaginable next week.
And the meta-musical moment of the week: Paul Simon on “Morning Edition” talking about performing at one of the teacher’s funeral after the Sandy Hook shootings. “How do you do that?” the host, David Greene, asked. “It’s hard,” Simon acknowledged. “You take a deep breath, you concentrate, and you sing your song.”