Tag Archives: song

Iron Maiden – “The Writing on the Wall”

What? Were they listening to a lot of Bon Jovi during quarantine?  Before the vocals cut in, I was expecting, “I’m a cowboy/On a steel horse I ride/I’m wanted dead or alive …”  I know that’s unfair, because it does have some weird gypsy/folky stuff going on, but my first reaction was “Wanted Dead or Alive,” only a little heavier… Read more »

Low – “Days Like These”

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Low’s first release from their upcoming Hey What, due out in September, is simple and sparse, relying mostly on subtlety to convey its voice. The a capella opening descends at the end of each line with chorus effect that sounds as much like organ as a human voice, yet remains very organic. Around the minute mark, the chorus of voice… Read more »

Combo Qazam – Owls

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Album cover for Combo Qazam "Flight Music"

“Owls” explodes out of the speakers and rushes into your ears. The whole thing moves at about 190 beats per minute. It is exhilarating, yet there is a sense that everything will go terribly wrong if you blink at the incorrect moment. This sounds the way it feels to drive at 100 mph. The intro unfolds over the first minute… Read more »

Illuminati Hotties – “Mmmoooaaaaaayaya”

There is nothing wrong with lo-fi cacophony, but a messy recording today is not quite the same as a messy recording 30 or 40 years ago. Much like a pair of jeans that are bought with holes in them are not the same as ones whose holes were worn into them. “Mmmoooaaaaaayaya” has a catchy hook juxtaposed with a lot… Read more »

Beach Boys – “I Just Wasn’t Made for These Times”

There are two kinds of outsiders: those who reject society and those who find themselves rejected. In pop music, the former can be found in Johnny Cash’s altruistic “Man in Black” or the Clash’s good-hearted “Bankrobber.” The latter produces the betrayed rage of Black Flag’s “My War,” but also the almost sheepish awkwardness of the Beach Boys “I Just Wasn’t… Read more »

Taylor Swift – “‘Tis the Damn Season”

About 25 years ago, the company I was working for turned me into a COBOL programmer. It involved about four months of full time training with a training contractor the company brought on site. The principal trainer owned the contracting company and was significantly more well off than any of us in the class, but he had middle class Baltimore… Read more »

Taylor Swift – “Illicit Affairs”

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Album cover for Folklore by Taylor Swift

Romantic relationships are rarely balanced. Inevitably, one person is more in love and has more to lose than the other. Affairs amplify this imbalance. One person is married and one isn’t, or one recommits to their spouse, or one has no intention of leaving their partner. While unrequited love songs are a dime a dozen, I don’t know many affair… Read more »

Jessica Moss – “Opened Ending”

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Album cover for Opened Endings by Jessica Moss

I’ve been revisiting Entanglement by Jessica Moss. The opening song, “Particles,” is gorgeous, and is what I wanted to hear back in the ‘90s when I was buying and quickly abandoning albums by Rachel’s and the Ordinaires and Tortoise. Unfortunately, the four-song suite, “Fractals,” feels almost academic, an impartial study of interesting ideas. In researching Moss’ work, I stumbled upon… Read more »

John Prine – “Day Is Done”

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“Racing in the Street” is probably my favorite Springsteen song. I have never and likely will never race in the street. I’m not particularly interested in cars. I don’t even like driving. Yet somehow, that song resonates with me. Why? Well, I think racing is a metaphor for restlessness and that is something I understand. John Prine’s “Day Is Done”… Read more »

Naked Raygun – “Living in the Good Times”

The strange confluence of pandemic isolation and political divisiveness has people in general (and Americans in particular) in a strange place. As expected, the impact of these times is felt acutely in music. It seems like its effects are ubiquitous with everyone from the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra who edited at home performances into incredibly creative presentations when they could not… Read more »