Archive for February 8th, 2011

The Captain Discusses Modern Rock 2010 Part Fünf

Disc 2

1.  Home – Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeroes

Disc two starts out with probably the most universally likeable song of the year.  Shortcake praised this track pretty early last year, but it took me awhile to warm up to it.  This was most mostly due to the ridiculous last verse of the song.  In it, the two singers quit singing and discuss the time he fell out of a window and nearly broke his ass.  It brings the song to a halt. 

After several listens I realized that cutting the last 1½ minutes with the verse off the end of the track makes the song 100 times better.  The short version really highlights the positive message and feelings the song and album are trying to convey.  I’ve played it for numerous people and I have yet to hear a discouraging word.  It’s a cheerful start to what has become by default the laid back disc of the set.

2.  Holiday – Vampire Weekend

Vampire Weekend seemed to be everywhere in 2010, nowhere more so than this peppy little track.  I really liked this track before the end of last year.  But then the dreaded Honda Civic Christmas Commercial did its best to ruin this song.  It almost worked, as it felt like I heard snippets of this track twenty times a day.

Now, I’m not complaining that bands I like sell songs for commercials.  These folks have to make money somehow, and it’s usually not from me anymore.  I only get angry when a particular commercial rams the song into the ground through repetition.  This year saw so many songs from bands I like used in commercials that it actually became a segment on The Colbert Report.

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This bit makes two things clear: Musicians still can’t act, and commercializing songs is here to stay.  So it will probably take some time for me to enjoy this song again, but I still think it’s a great track from a great album.

3.  Tighten Up – The Black Keys

As was just featured by Mr. Colbert, the year’s other commercial standouts were The Black Keys.  They popped up in more places than I can count; including a surprising amount of the Super Bowl pre-game coverage from this past weekend.  As I said on Sunday, everyone seemed to agree that this was a great band this year.  Besides their great album, a good reason for their sudden popularity this was the sly, witty little video for this song.

This video was so charming it managed to pick up a win for Best Breakthrough Video at the VMAs this year1, which used to mean something back when MTV played videos.  The universal sound of the track and universal theme of the video seemed to win over everyone.  Job well done; thanks for keeping rock alive.

4.  Blue Blood Blues – The Dead Weather

This track immediately stood out to me on Sea Of Cowards for two big reasons.  First and most obviously, it’s the only track sung exclusively by Jack White.  Second, it sounds the most like his previous work in The White Stripes more than anything Jack has done recently.  And with the Stripes gone until their inevitable reunion show in five years, this is the most of them I’m gonna get.

Just when I thought I couldn’t like this track anymore, it popped up in 2010’s best comedy, Eastbound and Down.

This scene featuring the one and only Kenny Powers triumphantly returning to his school was an instant classic.  It came in the highly anticipated season finale, and actually caused me to squeal with delight.  Pairing Jack and Kenny is absolutely PERFECT.  Very nice!

5.  Beat the Devil’s Tattoo – Black Rebel Motorcycle Club

The title track from Black Rebel Motorcycle’s magnificent new album is needlessly dark and full of nonsensical lyrics.  No wonder I love it!  I have no idea what the song is about, but hot damn if I didn’t love it.  Luckily I was already really digging this album when BRMC came to The Pageant back in March.  I’ve had several chances to see them in the past, but I always passed.  I figured they’d mostly play new songs in concert, and that was something I had never been interested in until this album.  So I grabbed Eric, my resident expert on all things Jesus and Mary Chain, and rocked out hard at the show2.  Even my buddy Jamie who doesn’t know much about them really dug the show.  I really hope they stick with this return to their classic sound.  With so many good bands disappearing I need BRMC to fill the void!

Ciao,

The Captain

1.  Actually, when the band received the award statue, the plaque was mislabeled as The Black Eyed Peas – “Tighten Up.”  Fail.

2.  Eric and I were DETERMINED to hear BRMC play their best song, Rifles.  We chanted “Play Rifles!” mercilessly throughout the show, and the band actually gave way to our cries and banged out a killer version during the encore.  Win!

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