Songs You May Have Missed #614

Steven Wilson: “The Day Before You Came” (2014)

Steven Wilson doesn’t exactly specialize in the straight-ahead love song. The Porcupine Tree mastermind and frontman is not typically prone to a tendency to deal in anything so treacly as a lyric that extolls a lover’s positive influence on one’s life.

So it makes sense it would appeal to him to tell the love story in a more emotionally subtle and artistically subversive way–in this case by painting a picture of the dreary routine of life prior to “the day before you came”.

Yep, it suits the melancholy Wilson to a T. Except he didn’t write the song. It’s from his 2014 album of cover tunes. So who is responsible for this devastating examination of an empty existence?

Why, ABBA of course. And it’s not as inconsistent as one may at first think. With hits like “Knowing Me, Knowing You” and “S.O.S.” and especially album track “My Love, My Life”, those lovable bejumpsuited Swedes routinely created dichotomous musical clashes of emotional turmoil and musical glee, something Elvis Costello celebrated as he paid unlikely tribute with “Oliver’s Army” in 1979.

Wilson’s reading of the minor key meditation takes it into darker territory indeed.

Songs You May Have Missed #613

Until June: “Baby” (2009)

“When planes fly away, do you feel left behind?”

Just as they do in “Sleepless”, another song we’ve featured here, Until June tug at the heartstrings in the song’s first line.

If you like the sound of this one, check out Dan Ballard’s solo project My Dead Air, also recommended and represented among the links below.

See also: https://edcyphers.com/2012/03/15/songs-you-may-have-missed-54/

See also: https://edcyphers.com/2013/02/07/songs-you-may-have-missed-323/

See also: https://edcyphers.com/2013/04/16/recommended-albums-44/

See also: https://edcyphers.com/2015/12/30/songs-you-may-have-missed-561/

Songs You May Have Missed #612

melody

Bee Gees: “Morning of My Life (In the Morning)” (1971)

For such an obscure song, the Bee Gees’ “Morning of My Life” has quite a long history in the Gibb family. It was first recorded by the band in 1966 during sessions for their debut Spicks and Specks album. During the period when Robin Gibb left to pursue a solo career, Barry and Maurice performed the song acoustically with their sister Lesley on a BBC-TV special. And the group recorded the song once again with Robin during the sessions for their 2 Years On reunion LP.

bee-geesWhile the song was ultimately left off that album it appeared a short time later on the soundtrack to the 1971 film Melody. It has appeared on Bee Gees compilations and box sets but never on an official Bee Gees album. Andy Gibb too recorded a version that was never released.

As a Moody Blues fan, when I first heard “Morning of My Life” I thought the similarities to the Moodies’ 1971 “Emily’s Song” were striking. Since the Bee Gees song has origins half a decade previous, if one song influenced the other it was certainly the Bee Gees tune that inspired the one by the Moody Blues, and this seems fairly likely to me.

Take note not only of the common lyrical threads but of the general similarity in feel between the song Barry Gibb seems to have aimed at a young child and the composition John Lodge of the Moody Blues wrote for his newborn daughter Emily (and which parenthetically inspired the naming of my own daughter Emily):

 

See also: https://edcyphers.com/2012/03/22/songs-you-may-have-missed-58/

Songs You May Have Missed #611

mika

Mika (featuring Ariana Grande): “Popular Song” (2015)

Cheeky British singer-songwriter Mika sells platinum elsewhere but resides in the musical margins in the U.S.

Here with the help of Ariana Grande he sings a song about fickle popularity, karma and sweet schadenfreude.

La la, la la
You were the popular one, the popular chick
It is what it is, now I’m popular-ish
Standing on the field with your pretty pompom
Now you’re working at the movie selling popular corn
I could have been a mess but I never went wrong
‘Cause I’m putting down my story in a popular song
I said I’m putting down my story in a popular song

[Chorus:]
My problem, I never was a model,
I never was a scholar,
But you were always popular,
You were singing all the songs I don’t know
Now you’re in the front row
‘Cause my song is popular

Popular, I know about popular
It’s not about who you are or your fancy car
You’re only ever who you were
Popular, I know about popular
And all that you have to do is be true to you
That’s all you ever need to know

So catch up ’cause you got an awful long way to go
So catch up ’cause you got an awful long way to go

Always on the lookout for someone to hate,
Picking on me like a dinner plate
You hid during classes, and in between ’em
Dunked me in the toilets, now it’s you that cleans them
You tried to make me feel bad with the things you do
It ain’t so funny when the joke’s on you
Ooh, the joke’s on you
Got everyone laughing, got everyone clapping, asking,
“How come you look so cool?”
‘Cause that’s the only thing that I’ve learned at school, boy (uh huh)
I said that that’s the only thing that I’ve learned at school

[Chorus:]
My problem, I never was a model,
I never was a scholar,
But you were always popular,
You were singing all the songs I don’t know
Now you’re in the front row
‘Cause my song is popular

Popular, I know about popular
It’s not about who you are or your fancy car
You’re only ever who you were
Popular, I know about popular
And all that you have to do is be true to you
That’s all you ever need to know
(that’s all you ever need to know)

So catch up ’cause you got an awful long way to go
So catch up ’cause you got an awful long way to go

See also: https://edcyphers.com/2015/09/02/songs-you-may-have-missed-545/

mika-1

Songs You May Have Missed #610

blue-rodeo

Blue Rodeo: “Long Hard Life” (2016)

From 1000 Arms, the 2016 release by this Canadian roots-rock institution and multiple Juno Award winners.

Blue Rodeo’s two main singers and songwriters, Jim Cuddy and Greg Keelor have been playing together since 1977.

Songs You May Have Missed #609

trapper

Trapper Schoepp: “Ogallala” (2016)

Trapper Schoepp calls his latest album “a reflection of my record collection” as opposed to an album that reflects any particular genre. He also acknowledges it’s his inevitable road album, since he was fresh off of a couple years’ touring when he recorded it.

According to Shoepp, “Ogallala” was a song he dreamed up when he used NyQuil to get to sleep while suffering from a chest cold.

Songs You May Have Missed #608

vague

Nouvelle Vague: “Ever Fallen in Love?” (2006)

Nouvelle Vague, with a new album released just late last year, continue to re-work 80’s new wave in ways that keep its flavor fresh. Here they bossa novatize the Buzzcocks in irresistible fashion from their 2006 album Bande a Part. Reprinted below is what we snarked in a previous post:

French production team Nouvelle Vague’s moniker is well-chosen: it translates into English as “new wave” and means “bossa nova” in Portuguese. And how handy for them, specializing as they do in bringing a beguiling Brazilian sensibility to MTV-chic artists such as Joy Division, Modern English, Echo and the Bunnymen, New Order and the like.

It makes one ponder what a timesaver it’d be if other artists employed the helpful tact of couching their mission statement in their band name.

“The Alan Parsons Project” could have been called “Vangelis with Lyrics”. “Electric Light Orchestra” might have been “Diet Sgt. Pepper”.

Young fans of southern rock (if there were such thing) could have been spared much confusion if “Lynyrd Skynyrd” began calling themselves “A Lynyrd Skynyrd Tribute” after 1977. And how much of your download budget could’ve been better utilized had “Mumford & Sons” given fair warning and called themselves “The Bad Avett Brothers”? Perhaps “The Trans-Siberian Orchestra” might have chosen a name like “Nobody Cared About Us When We Were Savatage, But Hey–Christmas!”

I suppose that last one might not have fit on the music hall marquee.

Anyway, if you’re into Bossa Nova covers of the Clash–or need some ironic dinner music for your next chill party–check out the New Wave Bossa Nova of Nouvelle Vague.

See also: https://edcyphers.com/2015/10/14/songs-you-may-have-missed-551/

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