New friends and old friends…
- “Faraway Look,” Yola.
Dusty Springfield lives! This British neo-Soul artist had the requisite smoky voice and equally requisite retro arrangement courtesy of ‘I’m Everywhere!” producer Dan Auerbach. At a birthday party, the singer notices a faraway look in the eyes of a…lover? Family member? Friend? My first thought was prospective lover (the singer want to cure the faraway look) but I think the song is far more interesting as an account of the drift between old friends, the inability to fix someone’s life for them, and how heartbreaking that can feel. Second verse on noticing the faraway look again in a supermarket seems a little off (the subtle sadness of picking out a ripe advocado?) but supports the everyday nature of the friendship angle.
- “Your Last Forever After,” Chris Stamey, Cailin Cary vocal.
ex-dB’s Chris Stamey (I was never a fan) crafts an album of 26 new songs supposed to song like old Great American Songbook songs. Credible job, though someone should have stopped him at 10. I frankly haven’t made it through the whole thing, which clocks in at like two hours, but this one sticks out so far because of 1) ex-Whiskeytown Caitlin Cary’s wonderful voice, which I’ve pontificated on before and 2) cryptic lyric that seems to be sung from the point of view of one member of a truncated love affair to the other. Or it could be a ghost. “I am your last forever after/I was your first glimpse of the moon.” Modern lyrical content, old sound, always interesting.
- “Hard to Believe,” Charly Bliss.
Okay, here’s something a bit more rocking! Awesome riff, outfront guitars, singer with a voice that can range from little girl to tough moll in a single line. “I’m kissing everything that moves/I’m kissing anything that takes me far away from you.” What does the singer find it hard to believe? That she’s still so in love with her ex, that her new love is real, that she’s let herself get into this situation at all. The heart wants what it wants, which can be a real pain in the ass.
- “Hello Sunshine,” Bruce Springsteen.
The first Bruce song in a long time that I’ve wanted to sing along with. It has a melody! He doesn’t sing it with the hated (by me) Woody Guthrie drawl! The lyrics use familiar images but recontextualizes them just enough: “Bye Bye Blackbird” as a Glen Campbell song! (Though I suppose Glen could have done a fine job on the original.) Rest of the album? Not so much, though a lot of it sounds great. That old movie actors have sad post-fame lives has a limited poignance already well-covered in other venues. I suppose Bruce has to write about something.
- “This Life,” Vampire Weekend.
Or “Married in a Gold Rush.” Or “Hold You Now.” Or “Rich Man,” which Paul Simon should cover (if he had a sense of humor and wasn’t such a jerk). Album of the year so far for me. Marriage as a metaphor for general political and social engagement? I could make a case. “Baby I was told of war since we landed on these shores/I just thought the drums of war beat louder warnings,” should be part of every best man’s toast from this day forward. (Lyric slightly altered but mine’s better than Ezra’s, thanks.)