Female Vocal, Folk, The Beatles

Covers Week: The Beatles/Sarah McLachlan – Blackbird

So a few weeks ago, I heard a song butchered. That’s actually a bad way to put it. I have been to a butcher and I know with what precision he cuts the meat so that you deem it palatable. Rather, its like you gave a three year old a cleaver and a block of meat. Disturbing.

The song in question was Mumford and Sons “The Boxer” which leaves out the iconic “dssssh” part and sounds bad, just bad. The inner hipster in me (which supposed to tell me to love it) still hates this song. I almost cried when I first heard it. It really was so bad. You probably think differently. You’re wrong.

Over the last two weeks, I’ve been on a quest to find songs that are BETTER than the original. I did put in some clauses such as the song had to be recorded and included on a normal album (not a greatest hits) and live versions don’t really count.

That being said, I probably broke this rule already for this cover. As it is Monday, it is Beatles Day so I set myself the task of finding a song that was covered and sounds better than the Beatles. A few years ago, this would be quite easy seeing as though I never truly understood the beauty of the Beatles singing. Their songs lack the slick production of modern music but once you understand it, you cannot get anything better.

Enter the 2001 movie I am Sam starring Sean Penn and Michelle Pfeiffer. Remember how hot she was in the 90s? The movie features a host of songs by The Beatles with the idea that the original recordings would be included. Getting rights to these are a bit of a pain so instead, he recruited some amazing singers to cover these songs. Seeing as the movie was developed using The Beatles songs, the timing and tempo of these songs had to follow the original. Which is a great thing. If you listen to the soundtrack, you can pick out how great some singers are. Even though they were constrained by how they could interpret the song, some of them excelled and still made the song their own.

McCartney does the song beautifully (obviously) n this deep, thoughtful way. The simple acoustic nature heightens the message and makes the song so stunning.

Sarah does the same except she does more. You feel the raw emotion that the song is alluding to. It feels so right. It feels like a down-tempo protest song meant to give people hope after they’ve suffered continuous defeat from their oppressors. Hope still remains. It’s SO hard to admit this but I do believe she may have done a better job with this song…

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EDM, Uncategorized

Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike – Loops & Tings

I want to kick myself for missing this duo this past weekend as they played a set at Nicci Beach next to Wild Waters in Boksburg. The Prodigy gig on Saturday night destroyed my body although this was the best type of destruction you could ask for.

These two artists have come a long way in a rather short time. They’ve done the theme tune to Tomorrowland and well, go search on YouTube for videos from some of their parties – unbelievable.

I am kicking myself for missing out but I’m sure I will see them somewhere around the world. Anyway, this song actually is a bit of a cover version of a song by Jens from 1998. This is significant as this is a nice introduction to Covers Week which starts on Monday. You WILL enjoy it. In the meantime, get ready for the weekend with this tune.

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Jazz

Dave Brubeck – Take Five

Back when I was at the University of KwaZulu Natal, they regularly held these jazz concerts. Getting to these was virtually impossible as every week, these would get sold out. At the head was one Darius Brubeck. Not knowing much about jazz, I schemed he was just a really well locally trained jazz artist.

I recall attending one jazz show which was totally out of this world. I cannot explain how great this concert was. I can’t truly remember the concert itself but I remember that experience as if its embalmed into the essence of my body. Does jazz do this to you?

It’s probably because it was from the school of Dave Brubeck. I’ve only recently discovered the sweet music that he’s gifted us. Darius is his son.

Dave passed away at the age of 92 of 5 December 2012. The world has lost something so special.

Time magazine and The Guardian should run some great obituaries for him soon. Do get hold of these. Till then, just listen to his most famous composition…

RIP Dave

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Female Vocal, Pop, Uncategorized

The Sundays – Summertime

It’s December 🙂

That’s thoroughly fantastic. It really is my favourite time of the year. As a kid, as much as school was fun, the joy, love and togetherness of the endless December held something really special. I’ve always savoured and enjoyed my Decembers. It really is such a happy time.

I think this is the happiest song to welcome in this incredible month. This song was released in 1997 and reached an honourable #15 in the UK. It’s completely happy and fun and smiley and captures the essence of summer better than probably any other song I’ve heard.

The album Static and Silence was much acclaimed as an album to listen to when you want to enjoy the greatness of love. The album has also been described as the epitome of pop music. December is a month of love after all.

For me, this is an introduction to one of my greatest loves – female vocal. Harriet Wheeler is one of the first voices I truly fell in love with. We shall explore this in the coming months. In the meantime, just enjoy this song. Play it a couple of times – you’ll thank me later.

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CSNY, Folk, Rock, Uncategorized

Neil Young – Sugar Mountain

Sugar Mountain” is the one song that pops into my head when the name Neil Young is thrown about. Oddly enough, its a song that’s not on the phenomenal “Harvest” album. It actually was first included on his greatest hits album entitled “Decade.”

Is the song about drugs? Well apparently not. He wrote it when he was 19 and its a lament  to his youth which was fading away. It’s so easy to get into it and make it your own as you remember your sugar mountain.

The song is so gentle and soothing. It just feels great. Even at 19, he showcased this utter brilliance which would last 35 studio albums (yes, he released 35 albums including two in 2012) and beyond…

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EDM

York feat. Jennifer Paige – Lost Under the Sun

This is the reason I started this blog – to rekindle the dormant fire of music that resides within me. Check the About section if you want to know what music once meant to me. Nowadays, I hardly find new music. But this is one of the gems that I just found.

York is one of my favourite dance acts ever. Their song “The Awakening” is probably the most beautiful chilled song that has ever existed. The video for that is UNBELIEVABLE. That will feature somewhere down the line. For now, here’s their new single. It’s from their new album called Islanders which you should own. It takes me back to the beach on Mauritius’ west coast at 3pm just before the sun celebrates its descent.

It’s a collaboration from someone I remember from my Standard 6 year: Jennifer Paige. Her voice is stunning and it still is! This song is phenomenal. It’s everything you want from a song. Yes it is.

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The Beatles

The Beatles – Good Day Sunshine

The Beatles made some awesome happy, summer songs. This one is particularly positive and upbeat. It really is such a happy song!

It’s a song regularly played as a wake-up song on space shuttle missions. Paul McCartney actually sang this song live during a satellite link up to the ISS in 2005.

I dare you to try and sulk after listening to this song. It radiates such happiness and really is one of the best songs to play when you wake up. Even NASA agree about this.

This song is an album track of the Revolver album. Yet its construction is perfect. This is why I love The Beatles and I hope these last few Mondays have made you love them as well…

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The Prodigy

The Prodigy – Breathe

Yes, I said I don’t have a favourite track from “The Fat of the Land” album but this is my favourite single by The Prodigy.

Everything about this single is brilliant. The video is a mindf*ck, the bass line rips into your soul and everything about it screams such that it causes this pleasurable pain. It also characterised the summer of 1996 which was probably the best time for music ever.

So that concludes a week long introduction to the brilliance of The Prodigy. I guess I will see you at Synergy tomorrow at Riversands Farm in Fourways? You know you have to go. Do it. Just do it.

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The Prodigy, Uncategorized

The Prodigy – Mindfields

The Fat of the Land” was The Prodigy’s pinnacle. The album topped the charts on both sides of the Altantic and spawned two HUGE #1 singles. At the time, it was the fastest selling album ever and has since sold around 10 million copies. Yet, the critics loved it. It did not try to fit in. In true Prodigy style, it shone because it was so brash, so harsh yet so polished and so great.

“Firestarter” gave them their first #1 single in the UK. When this happened, they re-released their previous nine singles. The Prodigy littered the Top 200. I thought that was pretty damn cool.

I don’t have a favourite track on the album. I just cannot pick one. I did want to showcase this song. You might remember it from The Matrix. It’s an epic track.

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