- “Jesus Alone” – Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds. An impressive debut song from Nick’s latest album, Skeleton Tree. I think it’s a perfect introduction for the record–but that’s a conversation for another day. With its repetitive, winding instrumentals, more electronic than what Nick Cave is known for, and the second-person point of view, this song is a somber yet hopeful tale. Favorite lyric: “You believe in God, but you get no special dispensation for this belief now / You’re an old man sitting by a fire, hear the mist rolling off the sea / You’re a distant memory in the mind of your creator, don’t you see?”
- “Big TV” – White Lies. This song sounds like an oncoming wave from the Atlantic ocean–it’s in the distance, it’s coming, it’s cold, and then it hits you, and you feel a surge of energy through your body. White Lies reminds me of a mix of Blur and Keane, and they are definitely worth a listen. Favorite lyric: “But why can’t anything be real? / Emotion like the movies feel / A pill to break the drone of reverie.”
- “Toy Boy” – Mika. One thing I really appreciate about Mika is his ability to take a political or social statment and turn it into a flighty, piano-induced little tune. His lyrics are clever and poignant and it’s taken me years of listening to him to dissect them. I love how this song speaks to the issue of same-sex relationships, even in the sense of toys and children. Favorite lyric: “But your momma thought there was something wrong / Didn’t want you sleeping with a boy too long.”
- “Getting Used to Losing You” – Buck Owens. Country music is underrated. That’s just my opinion. If you want to spend a few minutes wallowing in some old (or recent) heartbreak, give this song a chance. Favorite lyric: “I walk down the same old street meeting friends we used to meet / Trying not to let them know that I’m so blue.”
- “I Need You” – Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds. Another gem from Skeleton Tree. It’s so gut-wrenching to hear (and see) the pain in Nick’s voice…I can’t imagine losing a child and then having the strength to write and record and album in the following year. I think this song speaks most directly to his son’s premature death, and its, again, electronic-based instrumentals mingling with the slow drumbeats and harrowed vocals make for a beautiful, if not heartbreaking, song. Favorite lyric: “I’ll miss you when you’re gone away forever / Cause nothing really matters / I thought I knew better, so much better / And I need you, I need you.”
- “When It’s Cold I’d Like To Die” – Moby ft. Annie Lennox. Thank you to Stranger Things for bringing this song to my attention. I’ve been an Annie Lennox fan since I was a child–her voice is truly stunning and totally hypnotic. I’m noticing a theme with these songs for this month…somber and, well, depressing. But sometimes we need to indulge in depression. Favorite lyric: “I don’t want to swim the ocean / I don’t want to fight the tide / I don’t want to swim forever / When it’s cold I’d like to die.”
What have you been listening to?