Playlist #84: Covers!

Happy Monday! It’s December now, somehow, and as usual I have a new playlist for you. But this one is all cover songs!

  1. The National, “Ashamed Of The Story I Told”: They don’t even really change all that much about the song, except the drum pattern is completely different and it somehow manages to totally change the feel and nature of the song.
  2. Johnny Cash, “Hurt”: It’s downbeat, somber, and a little harrowing. It’s also one of those covers that I would argue is better than the original.
  3. Old 97s, “Mama Tried”: The original Merle Haggard version is damn good (as are most Merle Haggard songs), but this one has the slightest edge on it, I think.
  4. The Byrds, “My Back Pages”: The Byrds could have easily just been a Bob Dylan cover band and I’d have been happy with that. They manage to transform every single Dylan tune they cover into a jangly, poppy slice of ’60s joy.
  5. Pomplamoose, “Maneater”: Watch out, boys, she’ll break your heart, huh? I’m more concerned with being eaten, personally.
  6. Spoon, “Held”: I just love the grit and thump of this song. So good.
  7. The Dirty Knobs, “Rumble”: Mike Campbell (formerly of the Heartbreakers) and some buddies got together to form this band, and they covered Link Wray’s ode to distortion and fuzz here. I love everything about the story of how this song got created, from Wray punching holes in his amplifier’s speaker with a pencil to radio stations refusing to play it because they thought it might incite juvenile delinquency.
  8. Jesse Malin, “You Can Make Them Like You”: Malin has been using this Hold Steady track as his closer for years, usually just him and an acoustic guitar. It’s pretty great.
  9. Tom Waits, “The Return of Jackie And Judy”: The Ramones were pretty ballsy. Case in point: they reference the two main characters in this song going to a Ramones show in the song. The chutzpah.
  10. Creedence Clearwater Revival, “I Put A Spell On You”: Fogerty and Co. had a good ear for an excellent cover song, and this rendition of the Screamin’ Jay Hawkins classic is no exception.

Playlist #63 – Doomed Love

I am returned to the East from my vacation! 5800 miles later and (mostly) none the worse for wear. I am still doing music over on Patreon, where I’ll be unveiling July’s song of the month shortly. Today’s playlist comes courtesy of my brother, Clif, who not only suggested the theme but most of the songs on the list. Let’s jump in!

  1. Bruce Springsteen, “Loose Ends”: Sure, a lot of Springsteen’s songs feature characters stuck in relationships that seem doomed to end in abject failure, but only this one likens the relationship to a tightening noose.
  2. Mo Kenney, “Ahead of Myself”: I don’t know who hurt you, Mo, but you should stay away from them for your own good.
  3. The Fratellis, “For the Girl”: For such an upbeat, poppy band, they sure can turn in a downer of a song.
  4. Goodnight, Texas, “Dearest Sarah”: Based on an actual soldier’s letter to his wife back home, telling her that he felt he was going to die in an upcoming battle and she ought to live out the rest of her life as she would. More than a little dark and sad.
  5. Crowded House, “Don’t Dream It’s Over”: Can you believe some folks play this song at their wedding? That’s almost as weird and disconcerting as playing the Police’s “Every Breath You Take.”
  6. Margot & the Nuclear So and So’s, “Talking In Code”: A relationship ending always strikes me as sad, though a number of relationships are less than stellar and probably shouldn’t have existed in the first place. No one should have to hear someone sing them sad songs to keep them awake.
  7. The Decemberists, “O Valencia!”: There’s always something about the way Colin Meloy sings that always makes a Decemberist song seem like it’s set in the 1860s, even when he makes mention of things like cars.
  8. The Elected, “It Was Love”: As Clif said, “the relationship is probably doomed if you can’t even figure out if you were in love or not.” He ain’t wrong.
  9. The Beatles, “Run For Your Life”: I’m half convinced any relationship involving John Lennon is probably doomed from the start, mostly because of songs like this one.
  10. Old 97s, “The Other Shoe”: If you’re hiding under the bed, waiting for your spouse and her lover, and then you drive out to the central Texas desert to bury their dead bodies, I’m pretty sure that romance is doomed. Very doomed.

Playlist #59

Happy Tuesday, folks! It’s officially summer break time! That doesn’t mean I’ve slacked off over on Patreon, though. There’ll be a new song each month, just like usual. Anyway, here’s this week’s playlist.

  1. Old 97s, “Holy Cross”: It’s just such a bleak song with such a great rhythm.
  2. The Wallflowers, “Sleepwalker”: “Now, Cupid, don’t draw back your bow/Sam Cooke didn’t know what I know.”
  3. The Minus 5, “Wasted Bandage”: Favorite line is, “dear physician, won’t you heal yourself?”
  4. Golden Smog, “Until You Came Along”: Love the jangly twelve string in this one. It’s an alt-country Byrds song, essentially.
  5. Gin Blossoms, “Just South Of Nowhere”: Early Gin Blossoms stuff is just so damn good.
  6. Justin Townes Earle, “Flint City Shake it”: A song that calls GM out on the carpet for its treatment of the auto workers in Flint, Michigan. Gotta love it.
  7. Jesse Malin, “Addicted”: I will never not love Jesse Malin, and this song – about the problems of modern society and its addiction to smart phones and Instagram – hits a lot of good points.
  8. Josh Ritter, “Getting Ready To Get Down”: “If you wanna see a miracle/Watch me get down.”
  9. Glen Phillips, “Men Just Leave”: I will always have a soft spot in my heart for Glen Phillips’ first solo album, and this song – about how men often suck – still hits too real.
  10. Wilco, “You Are My Face”: I love the middle part of this song, where the band really cuts loose. It’s awesome.