I don’t know what the name of this week’s Song of the Week is. It might seem weird to see someone recommending a song when they don’t know the title, however, the payoff will be there.
The artist responsible for this piece of work is Ben Folds. Some of you may know him as the judge of an acapella singing show. Others may know him from his single Brick with Ben Folds Five. Or maybe might know his song from that bank ad.
The really intelligent people who listen to Ben Folds, however understand the depths of his talent. Anyone who has heard Ben Folds Five’s Army compared with his solo acoustic version does. (compare horns in original with audience in acoustic version).
The Song of the Week is a clip of him composing a track for the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center in 10 minutes, whose lyrics come from a quote a random audience member contributed. Not only does he compose the track in 10 minutes, but he also manages to come up with an arrangement as well. So check out this work from the artistic advisor of the National Symphony Orchestra.
In memory of the late Charles Bradley, I offer up his cover of a Black Sabbath song, Changes. It’s a stunningly soulful cover of an overlooked plaintive ballad. His voice nails the passion of the song and the bands arrangement is just beautiful.
Over the weekend we lost Charles Bradley, the “Screaming Eagle of Soul”. After playing in bars as a James Brown impersonator, his career finally started to gain some traction towards the end of his life. It’s a shame he did not break out sooner.
Check out this retrospective on him at World Cafe
The other night, I had the privilege of seeing Fitz & the Tantrums. Several years ago their song “Moneygrabber” was played regularly at my gym, and the strength of that song inspired me to pick up their first album, Picking Up The Pieces.
Back then, they were more of a soul oriented band. Despite clearly having influences in old soul, they were able to create their own sound. Too many bands try to show their love for Motown by putting out tracks that were ripoffs of “You Can’t Hurry Love” (such as Phil Collins’ nearly karaoke version) or “Tears of a Clown”. Fitz and the Tantrums, show their love of soul with tracks like “We Don’t Gotta Work It Out” or the song of the week, “L.O.V.”.
If you like that, you might also want to check out their appearance on Live from Daryl’s House, which features a sweet performance by Noell Scaggs on Sara Smile.
Today’s term owes its name from science fiction writer Theodore Sturgeon. He faced ridicule for being a science fiction writer from critics who would say that 90% of science fiction was crud. His response was to point out that for any grouping of anything, 90% was crap. This has been referred to as Sturgeon’s Law.
This brings up the question, “What if there is a genre where much more than 90% was crap?” The answer is that one should call such a genre hypersturgeonic.
One might argue against the utility of this word. A few examples might argue for it.
Suppose we have someone who really doesn’t like rap music. They could say something like “Between 95-99% of rap is crap”. That’s a bit too wordy. They could be direct and say “Rap sucks”. That might leave the door open to a response of “But have you ever listened to…?”. It implies that maybe the decision is not fully informed.
However, if our rap hater says that rap is hypersturgeonic, it implies that he has heard various examples of the genre and decided the odds of finding something he likes to be low. If he had said “rap sucks” only to be caught listening to MC 900 FT Jesus, awkwardness ensues. But if he had said rap was hypersturgeonic, that song simply becomes the exception that proves the rule.
Conversely, a genre which isn’t mostly crappy could be called hyposturgeonic. I have a friend who could listen to pretty much any chillout music, and he would definitely call chillout hyposturgeonic.
There aren’t that many vocalists that can be truly fearsome on a rock song yet be sweet and sultry on a torch song, let alone be doing it in their fifties. It also seems, within current pop radio, that there aren’t that many vocalists who are truly engaging. I don’t hear very many songs where I feel any connection to the singer. Instead, my reactions are more like “Oh, someone’s having a pity party again” or “yeah, every one else around you is the one that sucks… nothing to do with you”.
Shirley Manson, on the other hand is one such singer who can sing everything and nail it. In addition, she has a degree of honesty and originality that you don’t hear a lot of in today’s environment. While she has a fair amount of technique, she doesn’t come across like a finalist on American Idol. Even if she had been on that show, she would have been the one who listened to the guest coach who said “You’ve got to concentrate on getting the feeling of the song across” instead of going for the glory note.
Her band Garbage created a unique sound by fusing alternative rock and electronica. Their name was typical 90s irony, as they married a Grammy winning production team with one of the best vocalists to come out of that period.
As per the title, this weeks song is “Only Happy When It Rains” by Garbage.
Do you think rickrolling has been played out? As if it was ever funny to click on a link and find out that you’ve been directed to this song.
Well then, its time for you to make room for the new trend: Nickrolling.
What is this new thing? Instead of tricking someone into going to a link featuring Rick Astley, you send them to a link to a band that Canadian police would play for drunk drivers to punish them.
That’s right, instead of sending someone to “Never Gonna Give You Up” you send them to “This Is How You Remind Me”.
Sadly I don’t make this stuff up.
On a completely related note, investigators have found some devastating evidence of collusion with Russia during the election.