This list will probably include some of my all-time favorite songs but the truth is this week I was lazy and didn’t feel up to or really had the time to write a proper post so instead I compiled a brief off-the-top-of-my-head list of songs whose lyrics stay in my head long after the song has stopped playing. I also probably should mention who the songwriters are, but maybe at some point I’ll come by and add that info. There are many more songs like this spanning most genres but I gave myself 15 minutes to write down whatever came to my head and here you have it:
The Box Tops – “Whiter Shade of Pale”
I know Procul Harem popularized this song, but I much prefer the Box Tops version (I’ll almost always prefer Alex Chilton’s version of anything). Their version makes it one of the most perfect songs ever written/composed in my book.
“We skipped the light fandango
Turned cartwheels ‘cross the floor
I was feeling kinda seasick
But the crowd called out for more
The room was humming harder
As the ceiling flew away”
The Rainman Suite – “59 Days”
This song belongs to a time that I have fond memories of. Times when the songs were all about either each other or people we knew. It’s the perfect example of how relationships can suffer when constant touring is involved. Josh Robinson is one of my favorite people and favorite songwriters. If you never listened to this local band when they were playing out you should check out some of their other songs like “Cahuenga Blvd” and really listen to the lyrics.
“Tell me one more time how I’ve gone astray, by this time tomorrow I’ll be two states away”
“My poster’s hanging lonely on your wall. You’d take it down, but you’d rather see it fall.”
The Replacements – “We Know the Night”
Paul Westerberg is one of the most perfect un-perfect individuals in my book. I’d definitely consider him one of the genius songwriters of our time. So many lyrics he’s penned get stuck in my head upon hearing his songs.
“With scissors and a comb I cut my lawn
And there’s no one in the world I’m counting on
There’s a war ragin’ outside – I hope my grass stays green”
“Best things always come when your mind’s at rest
In the afternoon, my mind ain’t sleepy, it’s preoccupied
Till the day is late and we let out a sigh
‘Cause we know the night could fall at any time”
Garth Brooks – “Much Too Young (To Feel this Damn Old)”
I don’t get a lot of sleep. I used to say that I was too busy to sleep but the truth is I’m just a night owl who somehow manages to function semi-efficiently during the day. Even being as young as I was when this song hit the airwaves I could still relate.
Also, I grew up on the late Chris LeDoux (when I was little I really gravitated towards the more upbeat Western/Texas Swing styles of LeDoux and George Strait’s music) so I have a soft spot for any song that mentions his name as he was a “Cowboy” who not only sang the songs of that lifestyle but also lived it with his Rodeo Cowboy background.
“Sleep would be best, but I just can’t afford the rest”
“The worn out tape of Chris LeDoux, lonely women, and bad booze
Seem to be the only friends I’ve left at all”
Chris LeDoux and Garth Brooks collaborated in the early 90’s on a track called “Whatcha Gonna Do With a Cowboy”
However, here’s Chris LeDoux with “Country Star”
Trisha Yearwood – “Sleep While I Drive”
I like this version better than Melissa Etheridge’s original. I find this song to be so sad. For some reason this part of the song is what always lingers in my head.
“I’ll buy you boots down in Texas, a hat from New Orleans
And in the morning you can tell me your dreams”
The Randies – “Wrecking Ball (The Shovel Song)”
Again, a band from another time, when the songs were about us. Also great songwriters especially with their early stuff like “Hyperion” and “Boys in Stereo”
“I tried to build a strong foundation based on moral fabric, but then I met someone whose image fit the shape of my bad habit. And like construction in reverse I’m taking down the timbers one by one they come undone…the thrill of demolition.”
Camera Obscura – “The Sweetest Thing”
This is L.A. Half of the people we know or have dated have been in a magazine or on T.V.
“My love, you’re in a magazine
My love, you’re doing fine, you’re on TV”
“On the bus radio, “Fifty ways to leave your lover alone”
I laughed at the irony
But life is stupid, the irony’s all lost on me”
Talking Heads “Uh-Oh, Love Comes to Town”
This line always makes me laugh.
“I’ve been to college, I’ve been to school
I’ve met the people that you read about in books”
Devendra Banhart – “Queen Bee”
I just really like this song and for some reason this is what sticks.
“I saw everything I’ve seen
And I meant everything I mean”
Of Montreal – “A Sentence of Sorts in Kongsvinger“
“I spent the winter with my nose buried in a book (more…)
all photos by Jessy Plume for TRAffIK
The darlings of our Summer Soundtrack, Silverlake based Robotanists enjoyed a whirlwind season full of sunshine, radio airplay (KCRW), and lots of new friends. Two of the band members Sarah Ellquist and Daniel de Blanke have taken a few moments to bring you firsthand some of the highlights of their summer, as well as how they feel they’ve grown as a band. They even let you us in on what songs they wish they had written.
Daniel de Blanke – guitars, keys, songwriting
Sarah Ellquist – vocals, keys, songwriting
Preston Scott Phillips – percussion, drums, iphone
Keith Boyarsky – bass
TRAffIK: Where can we learn more about your band?
DANIEL: Google “robotanists” or go to http://robotanists.com
TRAffIK: How did you come together?
DANIEL: We were all in other bands, and then left those bands and formed this one. The social lubricant was alcohol and a fondness for screaming at the television. That, and Dostoevsky.
TRAffIK: How would you describe your sound?
DANIEL: Up-tempo sad music for amoral intellectuals
SARAH: Make-up sex
TRAffIK: How does the songwriting process work for you? Where does the inspiration come from?
SARAH: Dan and I are a song writing team, but every song is born in a different way, from a different place. I write all of the lyrics, but sometimes, I write the melody and Dan builds harmony from there, or vice versa. If either of us ever thinks that we’ve written a complete song, the other is there to edit and refine. We take everything to the rhythm section for the final seal of approval… and the rest is history. Lyrics come from a very personal place, but I try to craft them in a way that the listener can interpret as they choose. Music is a personal thing, I want listeners to make our music theirs.
DANIEL: I have three thousand song ideas that are half crafted at any given time. I generally force Sarah to listen to them until she starts singing melodic material.
TRAffIK: Lately you’ve been performing acoustically a lot more than we’d seen previously. Do you have a preference for either performing unplugged or plugged in?
SARAH: I think we all prefer the energy of playing as a full band, but performing with just an acoustic guitar is a great way to really showcase our songwriting. It’s liberating to strip things down and just let the melody and harmony dance with each other.
TRAffIK: What started this trend for you?
SARAH: I suppose you could say that most of our music starts out “acoustic” during the demo phase, but we started performing them that way after some friends of ours (the band Vanaprasta) asked us to come to the Bond St. Lounge at the Thompson Hotel in Beverly Hills over the summer and play a few songs. The next thing we knew we were getting weekly invites to perform all over LA. (more…)