Thursday, April 9, 2009

He Said, She Said

I wanted to include Weezer’s “I Just Threw Out the Love of My Dreams” and the Lost Patrol’s “Alright” but they simply don’t apply to the rules. Nor do any songs by the Raveonettes or Mates of State. And this has to be the first time I sat down with all the songs and took another listen to the actual lyrics (I’m actually looking at individual lines and not necessarily how everything pieces together – which doesn’t make sense, I know).


Crooked Fingers - "Call To Love" (2005) [with Lara Meyerratken]
Like Matt Sharp, Eric Bachmann is not the purest singer in the world, so he knows to surround himself with ladies who can pretty things up, and Meyerratken's contributions on Dignity and Shame are superb. Her first verse is colorfully direct and awesome (great lyrics in general though):

It's true I heard a birdy say your name
But I'm a straight-talk woman, got no time for games
Don't need my heart kicked around the block no more

u may be a smooth-talking daddy, but I've heard it all before

Jason Collett - "Hangover Days" (2005) [with Emily Haines]
Anything with Emily Haines is gold, so the fetching bass line just adds to this song's luster. It's rare to find bass parts that stay continually interesting throughout, but there's a real sense of whimsy that, even as the notes fade, I begin to miss already. Totally agree with Hobag's "vacationing in Mexico" description. If you like pina coladas...!

The Jesus & Mary Chain - "Sometimes Always" (1994) [with Hope Sandoval]
As far as I'm concerned, THE archetype for the he said/she said genre. Great contrast between the 2 leads: Reid's conversational style and Sandoval's melancholy cooing. Though the song is rather upbeat in pace, there's a certain gloominess in both voices that make them a perfect match. She HAD to take him back... who else could stand them?

The Postal Service - "Nothing Better" (2003) [Ben Gibbard & Jen Wood]

Props to Jen Wood for a fantastic vocal showing on record, but I saw this performed live at The Parish in Austin with Gibbard and Jenny Lewis struttin' around onstage like a modern-day Travolta and Newton-John that totally ruled. I do think that Wood's voice, pretty but sharp and straightforward - as opposed to Lewis's lush, romantic pipes - suits the song better. Nice imagery, with my faves being:

And I will block the door like a goalie tending the net
In the third quarter of a tie game rivalry

I've made charts and graphs that should finally make it clear
Prepared a lecture on why I had to leave

Stars - "Your Ex-Lover Is Dead" (2005)
I forgot about this song until Hobag brought it up and was all set to use Smashing Pumpkins' "...Said Sadly" with James Iha and Nina Gordon (super-underrated), but in the end felt Iha's elementary school lyrics really hurt it. "Your Ex-Lover..." on the other hand, with its strings, whispered "live through this" refrain, and guitar-driven ending is dramatic without crushing the story they're telling. They will attempt to repeat the formula on 2007's "Personal." Quite apt that Millan sings about being porcelain since that's how I'd describe her singing: bright and pristine.


The Blood Arm – "Do I Have Your Attention?" (2007) [with Anais]
I think I originally heard this off of Cloverfield with just the lead singer singing. But now check out the duet – with Anais singing in French and wha-la! It’s now 100x better. Actually, it’s the piano that drives this song.

Lush – "Ciao!" (1996) [with Jarvis Cocker]
I love it: Hate is in the air! From the album Lovelife, which also featured the Matt Sharp-referenced “Ladykillers” and the bouncy “500”. I like the way Miki sings this song, with such conviction. You get a feeling she really hates this bastard (oh snap). Check out how she sings:

Well, I've felt better since I slammed that door
You always cramped my style, I never noticed before

It's been a non-stop party since I flew the coop

can't believe I fell for such a loser like you

Good luck, mister, do you think I care?
Since you've been gone the offers have been everywhere

I've got a million guys just lining up for me
I've turned a corner, boy, my life is ecstasy, well

By the way, is that a harmonica or an accordion? I say harmonica but not entirely sure. And here's an old clip of Miki B
erenyi showing she's got some stage presence.

Jesus and Mary Chain – "Sometimes Always" (1994) [with Hope Sandoval]
Hmm, Jim Reid sounds kinda like J Mascis from Dinosaur Jr on this song. When this originally song came out (I was a freshman in Austin – was I listening to K-NACK? can’t seem to remember), but I think I was more familiar with Mazzy Star with “Fade into You”, “Halah”, “Flowers in December”. Their songs can only be described as lazy but I mean that in a good way. But anyways, here in the end, the guy gets the break, but not always…keep reading.

Postal Service – "Nothing Better" (2003) [Ben Gibbard and Jen Wood]
I’ll be the first to say again that I typically don’t listen to the lyrics in a song. But now thinking back, Gibbard wrote 2 memorable opening lines to 2 great songs on Give Up:

Will someone please call a surgeon
Who can crack my ribs

And repair this broken heart

I am thinking it's a sign
That the freckles in our eyes

Are mirror images and when we kiss

They're perfectly aligned

Ok wait a minute, maybe it’s a little too saccharine. But anyways, this time the girl (Jen Wood, not to be confused with Jenny Lewis) gets the last laugh in the end.

Stars – "Your Ex-Lover is Dead" (2005)
When coming up with this list initially, I had it ranked as the weakest but now I think it stands out alone. I like how they sing about a moment they are physically sharing together but they are really internalizing their thoughts or actually externalizing since they are singing, wait...nevermind. I really like the way Amy sings her first line: This scar is a fleck on my porcelain skin. In the end, when the guitars kick in and then the two sing: There's one thing I have to say so I'll be brave - really adds weight to what they finally have to say to each other. I really see it as a happy ending, because at least the feeling is mutual, so no one gets hurt in the end, right? Their video was shot with a nod towards Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

Tally of the winners:
Nathaniel vs Anais: ?
Jarvis vs Miki: Miki by a landslide
Jim vs Hope: Jim by default because Hope is so meek
Ben vs Jen: Jen rocks
Torquil vs Amy: even stevens

Honorable Mention:
Positive K - "I Got a Man"

1 comment:

  1. you guys both picked all the same that allowed?! do we wear matching outfits too?