Songs You May Have Missed #616

Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real: “Find Yourself” (2017)

Self-described “cowboy hippie surf rocker” Lukas Nelson and his band Promise of the Real have frequently opened for Lukas’ father Willie Nelson, and Lukas follows his own live set by playing in dad’s band.

Here he duets with none other than Lady Gaga on the roots rocker “Find Yourself”, with Gaga channeling Bonnie Raitt to deliver exactly the type of muscular performance the song requires.

On a personal note, this song, like others I’ve posted here, came to me at the exact moment–literally the very hour–when its message was most pertinent in my life:

I know the love that I deserve

I hope you find yourself before I find somebody else to be my lover

Songs You May Have Missed #615

Karl Jenkins: “Introit” (2005)

Karl Jenkins’ contemporary requiem combines Eastern and Western traditions–with text in Latin, Japanese and Welsh–for an uplifting and melodically memorable work that deals with the cyclical nature of life, death and rebirth.

“Introit”, which begins the album, is a gorgeously rendered full-choir highlight.

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.

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