Tag Archives: Andy

1000 Minutes: Andy #32

Not feeling particularly creative or attentive apparently, for today’s chapter of my 1000 Minutes Project I chose two songs of exactly the same length.  I’m sure someone with more knowledge of fate/numerology/whatever might have something to say about the meaning of this, but I just kind of figure that when you choose 250 songs or so, two are bound to be the same length.  Anyway, let’s get into it:

65. Amos Lee – Keep It Loose, Keep It Tight (mp3) from Amos Lee (3:08) [Time Remaining: 684:30]

There’s a vein of simple, hopeful sadness running right through the opening track of Amos Lee’s eponymous debut album.  It’s thoughtful about the end of relationships – with a city, with a landlord, with a girlfriend.  While the song is at its most basic about the attempt to achieve a balance in one’s life, it’s also a gentle reminder to appreciate that with which we’ve been blessed.

Often the word home is confused with the structures in which we live; it’s stabilizing to remember that wherever we all end up, it’s our loved ones that are really our homes.  And if nothing else, I can’t get over how perfectly the sentiment conveyed right at the start of the second verse is:

I’m in love with a girl who’s in love with the world; I can’t help but follow.

66. Josh Rouse – Winter in the Hamptons (mp3) from Nashville (3:08) [Time Remaining: 681:22]

There comes a point each year – right around the end of March – when my spring fever really starts to kick in.  The winters around Rochester are long, often severe, and an overall pain in the ass.  (See: Lake-Effect Snow.)  After the Super Bowl, there’s another month and a half (at least) of terrible weather.  It’s enough to affect a person’s sanity.

But, as March draws to a close, things finally start to look up as far as our weather is concerned.  The ground is mostly visible – except for the two-story snow mounds in parking lots around the city, and the constant threat of snow is gone.  Despite the lingering chill in the air, Josh Rouse’s “Winter in the Hamptons” always puts me squarely in the mood for warmer days, as if having my car scraped by snow plows for three months wasn’t enough.

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1000 Minutes: Andy #31

This week’s chapter of my 1000 Minutes Project is far more nostalgic than I intended it to be at the outset, but it’s not a bad place to look back upon.  To see where I’ve been already with this project, check out my full list.

63. Broken Social Scene – 7/4 (Shoreline) (mp3) from Broken Social Scene (4:54) [Time Remaining: 692:49]

While not nearly as affected by it as some, I certainly enjoyed – and even partially identified with – Steven Chbosky’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower.  The most famous line of the novel – “and in that moment, I swear we were infinite” – even has a home on Urban Dictionary as being “one of the greatest lines from the greatest book ever.”  While that definition can almost certainly be classified as hyperbole, the feeling the quote describes is undeniably true.

This song gives me that feeling of the infinite.  It’s a hand outside of the window while on a road trip.  It’s the nervous twinge of excitement about what the next day will bring.  And it’s as unforgettable as any of the experiences that define us.

64. Ben Folds Five – Underground (mp3) from Ben Folds Five (4:11) [Time Remaining: 687:38]

Following close on the heels of The Perks of Being a Wallflower – at least in terms of the teenage need for finding acceptance – is the mid-nineties geek/piano rock of Ben Folds Five.  I’d be lying if I told you that I was up on Ben Folds Five when their eponymous debut was released; like most people, I heard them when I when “Brick” was everywhere.  Saving up my dollars from my teenage job stocking shelves at the local drugstore, I bought Whatever and Ever Amen and then, working backwards, I discovered Ben Folds Five.

When I look back at it today “Underground” was more influential than “Brick” could have been.  The thematic elements of “Brick” were so far removed from my seventeen year old mindset that they simply made for a sad, thoughtful song rather than one upon which I could have any personal claim.  But “Underground,” in all of its rollicking, inclusive glory, was much more my speed – just a little to the left (or right, as it was then) of where I assumed most everyone to be, and completely perfect.

1000 Minutes: Andy #30

Welcome to the unofficial start of fall.  My hours at work are extended by an hour starting today, so I’ll use that as a reason to keep the introduction to the latest installment of my 1000 Minutes project short.  Let’s get into it:

61. The Tragically Hip – Escape Is At Hand For The Travellin’ Man (mp3) from Phantom Power (4:23) [Time Remaining: 700:21]

Now sixty songs in, I’m going to repeat a couple of my favorite bands – starting with the grossly under-appreciated Tragically Hip.  Perhaps it’s that this album came out over a decade ago now, during my late teens when my world was much less in order that the music remains so intriguing to me.  Musically haunting and lyrically vague, “Escape Is At Hand for the Travellin’ Man” tells the story of a missed connection – a cosmic “What if?”  Eleven years later, the song’s taken on new meanings – not ones that are nearly so sad, but ultimately hopeful, thankful.  And aren’t those songs – the ones that grow with us – the best ones anyway?

62. The Black Keys – Meet Me In the City (mp3) from the Chulahoma EP (3:38) [Time Remaining: 696:43]

As a recent convert to The Black Keys, I’ve been making my way through their back catalogue since discovering them with last year’s Attack & Release.  Their Chulahoma EP – a collection of 6 Junior Kimbrough covers – is simply spectacular.  It showcases the band’s blues influence in a different form than the straight-ahead rock that they most often employ.  “Meet Me In the City” is a song that hearkens back to something simpler while The Black Keys make it undoubtedly modern in their take on it.  It’s easy, comfortable – a testament to the song’s creator that it is still as fresh today as it would have been to the song’s intended target.

1000 Minutes: Andy #29

Before I start in on my weekly update of my 1000 Minutes project, I have a couple of brief notes.  In an egregious oversight, I failed to mention in yesterday’s New Releases post that the new David Bazan album – Curse Your Branches – is released today.  In addition, Mayer Hawthorne’s A Strange Arrangement is available exclusively on iTunes a bit earlier than it’s actual release date.

And with those out of the way, let’s get into it:

59. Common – The 6th Sense (mp3) from Like Water for Chocolate (4:10) [Time Remaining: 710:05]

60. Talib Kweli – Get By (mp3) from Quality (3:51) [Time Remaining: 706:14]

I’ve tried, throughout this project, to offer personal anecdotes along with the songs I post in an attempt to give an idea as to the reason the song made my list.  I don’t have one for either of these songs.  The chorus of “The 6th Sense” states quite clearly that the song “…is rap for the black people.”

“The 6th Sense” showcases Common’s perceptive verses over a dense DJ Premier beat; the rapper is always cognizant of the world in which he lives.  “Get By” is a call to personal improvement, and seeks to combat the static nature that we can all easily fall into. While both songs may be meant for an audience quite different than me, I’m easily taken in by them.  The tracks are welcome reminders that I have been blessed, while at the same time, there are many who haven’t been given that which I often take for granted.  In part because of the efforts of the artists, I try to remain mindful that there is something higher to which we should collectively aspire.

1000 Minutes: Andy #28

Due to the fact that my girlfriend and I have been sucked in by the first season of True Blood (pun intended), I don’t have a pithy opening prepared for this morning’s post.  With that said, let’s get after the latest installment of my 1000 Minutes Project.

57. The Cure – Mint Car (Acoustic Version) (mp3) original on Wild Mood Swings (3:30) [Time Remaining: 717:09]

It could be telling that I didn’t choose a song by The Cure from their heyday, but they didn’t enter my consciousness until long after their peak.  The ability to view their career more as a whole than by each release affords a listener a chance to experience a band on individual terms, and “Mint Car” has always been more poignant than their other work.

I have never viewed Robert Smith as a cultish savior of any kind, but I appreciate the description of new love, young love, love of any kind, really.  It’s often the ability to express perfectly that which I’m unable to that makes a song more engaging for me.  Plus, The Format name-dropped the song too, and you can’t go wrong with them either.

58. The Hold Steady – Massive Nights (mp3) from Boys and Girls in America (2:54) [Time Remaining: 714:15]

If I haven’t made it obvious to this point, allow me to make a blanket statement about songs I like: artists that capture an immediacy in their lyrics, and can translate it into the music will always have a special place in my heart.  If you don’t know what the hell I’m talking about, take a listen to The Hold Steady’s “Massive Nights” – a stirring tribute to the confusion and passion of being a teenager.  And while the specific events the song describes are certainly not applicable for everyone, the overall feeling of the song is undoubtedly universal.

1000 Minutes: Andy #27

For today’s installment, my 1000 Minutes Project again skews recent with tracks from two albums from 2008.  If you read my old blog, you’d know they were both in my Top 8 from last year, but since I deleted the actual post, I don’t remember where each fell specifically.  Then again, I suppose that doesn’t really matter.

55. Ra Ra Riot – Each Year (mp3) from The Rhumb Line (3:17) [Time Remaining: 723:18]

There are two songs off of The Rhumb Line that I consider my favorites, and so to avoid making today’s post exclusively about Ra Ra Riot, I chose this one first, and will address the second at a yet-to-be-determined future time.

“Each Year” is the retelling of the retelling of a story – To Kill a Mockingbird, to be exact – and it’s always interesting to hear what other people glean from books.  While the larger thematic elements are generally agreed upon for any novel, what individual readers actually take away from their reading is always different, and Wes Miles’ take is as memorable as the story from which it draws its inspiration.

56. Tokyo Police Club – Tessellate (mp3) from Elephant Shell (2:39) [Time Remaining: 720:39]

While the real meaning of Tokyo Police Club songs may be eternally hidden to the outside world (or maybe they have no discernable meaning at all), the varied interpretations of “Tessellate” run the gamut from politics to drugs.  Personally, the thought of a broken heart finding it’s exact missing piece is what I find most compelling.  Then again, I could just miss Shel Silverstein’s influence on my childhood.

1000 Minutes: Andy #26

Not much to say this morning, so let’s get right into the latest chapter in my 1000 Minutes Project.

53. Ben Kweller – Falling (mp3) from Sha Sha (4:03) [Time Remaining: 730:50]

I saw Ben Kweller live once, and I didn’t see the attraction.  He is a supremely talented artist, as evidenced by his willingness and mastery of many different styles of music – from punk to piano pop.  And while some may view his virtuosity as a positive thing, for me it was a distraction.  Then again, I was there to see Dashboard Confessional, so my judgment was obviously clouded.

Truthfully, I was excited to see Mr. Kweller perform that night.  His EP Phone Home had just been released, and “Falling” was all over local radio.  It’s a perfect song, really – fitting in musical and lyrical content.  And, who am I kidding?  Any song with a sing-a-long, “Hey Jude”-type part is already pretty awesome.  This one built into it especially well.

54. Say Anything – Alive With the Glory of Love (mp3) from …Is a Real Boy (4:15) [Time Remaining: 726:35]

No joke: I’m a sucker for a lot of pop-punk songs.  I’ve never been much of a fan of the neo-punk – or original punk, for that matter – but certain songs burrow their way into my head and stick around.  Say Anything’s atypical tale of ardor in “Alive With the Glory of Love” did just that.

Reminders of the atrocities of the Holocaust make me unfailingly sad (like most normal human beings) – but this simple tale of undying passion works.  Perhaps it’s the blatant contrast that makes it appealing.  Certainly, the inability of such inhumanity to snuff out love makes for an endearing story – and a gifted band to make it into an equally endearing song.