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Hurricane Irene is busy spending the weekend wreaking havoc on entertainments alike. Broadway has locked its doors. One Tree Hill has shut down production—but just for the weekend, people. Music too has not been able to avoid the weather’s thunder. Or its hurricane, if you will. Ted Leo, Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, and The Walkmen have all canceled shows, and even Cee Lo Green won’t get his “fuck you” in this weekend. Let’s forget all of these sad, pain-in-the-ass-to-reschedule cancellations and be comforted in a weekend of games, indoor malaise, and one hell of a soundtrack.
This time around, Weekend Download Recommendations is all torrential rain and hurricanes. Luckily, we’re not expecting a weekend out of a Charley Patton song where 1% of people will be homeless on the morrow. Hopefully no levees will break and no water will done creep through any towns, but we’ll just have to while away our time with some crooning, some CCR, and a little Case. I’ll try to use some considerable words in this article in case any readers are stuck in the middle of a game of scrabble.
Etta James “Stormy Weather”
When Lena Horn first sang “Stormy Weather”, she did it with a never-ending elegance and only a hint of sadness. Etta James’ 1961 cover vocalizes jazz as much as it tosses out blues, a strong misery, and a world-weary acceptance. “Stormy Weather,” the third track on At Last!, her debut album at Chess Records, had already been covered a thousand times by the time James took her turn. Fifty years later, her turn has taken all the marbles.
Jason Isbell “Hurricanes and Hand Grenades”
Jason Isbell’s stab at soul music sounds like a lament over his divorce. Supposedly it’s not. Supposedly it’s about a lonely, lifelong musician just churning out his feelings. The song was written around the time Hurricane Katrina hit, and it’s the perfect tribute for Irene, especially if you’re a lonely dude in an apartment who has a thing for wine and cigarettes. Hold on to your emotion, or grow the fuck up.
Creedence Clearwater Revival “Bad Moon Rising”
With its catchy, bubbly melody and miserable lyrics, “Bad Moon Rising” might prove CCR is at the roots of The Smiths. Still it’s bluegrass band undertones are wholly the band’s own. The Remember the Titans Soundtrack may have missed “Bad Moon Rising”, but there’s nothing I picture more when I hear this song than Ryan Gosling shimmying around in his long johns. That’s more fun to think about than Sonic Youth naming an entire album after the John Fogerty hit.
Air “The Word ‘Hurricane’”
“The Word ‘Hurricane’” is a throwaway song off of one of Air’s worst albums, that is to say the soundtrack for Sofia Coppola’s The Virgin Suicides. If there were ever a more perfect song lyrically though, I’ll be damned. “The Word ‘Hurricane’” goes out of its way to explain exactly what happens with the weather to result in the perfect storm. Wikipedia might be quicker, but Air is a lot more fun.
They Might Be Giants Flood
They Might Be Giants as a whole, and especially the band’s 1990 LP Flood, is known for being a song album rather than the cohesive, flowing type. That’s likely because it birthed such hits as “Birdhouse In Your Soul,” “Particle Man,” and “Istanbul (Not Constantinople).” If you have a spare forty-three minutes, you should check out the whole album and not just its more proliferate spawn. I’m not going to lie to you and say Flood isn’t weird as shit, but be that as it may, it’s a much better option than other grand example of the nineties; see: Jars of Clay.
Neko Case Fox Confessor Brings The Flood
Neko Case has a thing for disasters. One of her other albums is Middle Cyclones, where Case refers to herself again and again as a tornado. It’s an annoying reference in a hurricane, and luckily, Fox Confessor Brings The Flood is the better album. It may not be as overtly about disasters, but it is about heard-earned triumphs. Take a listen. Maybe you’ll find proof whiling away time is occasionally a way to fight the good fight.
The Scorpions “Rock You Like A Hurricane”
The Island Def Jam Music Group video from 1984 has big hair and everything an eighties video might need to be memorable, including but not limited to pulsating orbs, cages with large cats, women with red painted on and around their eyelids. The only thing the video might be missing is Christie Brinkley. If she’s what you really need from an eighties fix, look no further than ex-hubby Billy Joel’s “Uptown Girl.” Forget those uptown girls, The Scorpions have leopards.
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