Track of the Day Fiona Apple – Not About Love (original version)

Don’t get me wrong, the proper re-recorded version is good. If I never heard the original, I’d surely like it more, however since the original is out there, it is a different story.

Reason being I prefer is the cello work in the original is outstanding, and works unbelievably well. Coupled with the piano intro (and throughout), it has me nodding my head to a relatively mid tempo track.

The re-recorded version loses the cello altogether and emphasises more on drums, performed by Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson. It still has the piano in the track, however I don’t feel it works as well without the cello.

Seattle Weekly critic Neal Schindler disagrees, “After the piano intro, Brion adds a baroque cello counterpoint before the vocals come in. Fine. But then Brion’s busy cello keeps hounding Apple, getting in your ear while you’re trying to figure out what the poor girl’s trying to say.”

If I want to hear what she is singing, I’ll follow along with the lyrics. Otherwise, it is all about the music. The re-recorded version also feels like it drags on just a bit long, however the bridge/breakdown is still present. Again, though I still prefer the original, the cello gives the song its feel. And I think more popular music should have cello in them, assuming it is done correctly, not haphazardly.

So this is entry one in a series I hope to keep going everyday, or close enough, even if it is a short entry. Additional information on “Not About Love” can be found at Wikipedia.


A Few Thoughts on Music Videos

I am a fan of music videos. They create visual accompaniment to go along with the music.

I do get the chance to see a fair number of them, however specific television channels do not air them all. Luckily there is the internet.

The idea for this blog post came after watching the video for Little Boots’ “Remedy”. Her debut album Hands is a very good one, so it was enjoyable to see the video after hearing the song so many times.

The video by itself is not amazing, in that it is not groundbreaking. However it does the job. Visually it is pleasurable. After seeing it, I had it stuck in my head a few times, in this case, that is a good thing! And since Victoria Hesketh, a.k.a. Little Boots is in it, all the better. Therefore being able to better associate a face to the music. Oh, and she is easy on the eyes too!

So anyway, here is the video for your convenience.

Bad Religion – The Process of Belief (LP of the Week)

Bad Religion’s twelfth long player, The Process of Belief heralded the return of Brett Gurewitz, and also the return to indie label Epitaph (I say indie to differentiate from independent, although really the same, however sometime around the mid 2000s or thereabouts I believe Epitaph had some sort of deal that linked them with major labels. Not sure how it worked, but thought I would mention it).

The return of Brett in the band made this a very much anticipated Bad Religion release for me, and surely plenty of other punk rock fans.

Brett Gurewitz co-wrote “Believe It” from the previous Bad Religion release, The New America. That was of course before he was a member of the band again, at least officially.

The Process of Belief definitely feels like it brought new energy into Bad Religion. Surely thanks to Brett rejoining the band and adding a third guitar player! I am not sure if there are any tracks with all three guitarists (Brett, Brian Baker, Greg Hetson), however sonically it feels like it. It is a throwback album to their heyday, while still remaining relevant today.

The Process of Belief starts off with a bang, and keeps it up until track four, “Broken”, when it slows the tempo down.

“Supersonic”, the aptly titled track starts off the album, in it Greg sings, “what’s time but a thing to kill or keep or buy or lose or live in”

Next track, “Prove it”, just about as fast, however changing the timing up, to me is fairly obvious for the most part how it is not necessary for him to have to prove himself to anyone.

My heart is not a cold cauldron of proof.
I don’t ever need to prove myself to you.

Looking back I’m off the tracks
More times than I recognize.
Mistakes are another opportunity to refine.

The latter showing how mistakes are human, and we learn from them.

Another line I like, “there’s no such thing as hell, but you can make it if you try.” Possibly tying to the atheist nature of Bad Religion, not to mention optimism. It continues “There might come a day when emotion can be quantified. But as of now there’s no proof necessary, it’s only in your mind.”

Track three keeps the fast temp up with “Can’t Stop”. I can’t really quantify this song, however a good line to make you ponder, as well as illustrate, and add to, the Bad Religion vocabulary, “gratification, well, I lack that affectation.”

“Destined For Nothing” track five starts off with the trademark Greg Graffin Yeah Hey! I take this song as being one that ties in to religion, and how it is useless, and or being ignorant and seeing things as they believe things to be, or hope to be, even though it is obviously not the case. “Ancient people succumbed to it, can it happen here?” and “it’s easy to confuse grand design with life’s repercussions, lament not your vanquished fantasy”.

Track six, “Materialist”. Prior to this track, I could not give an accurate definition of what a materialist is. However now I can. The Oxford English Dictionary defines materialist, “senses relating to the material nature of things.” Also, “a person who favours material possessions and physical comfort over spiritual things; a person who adopts a materialistic way of life.”

This track ties in with religion as I am not sure if one can be religious and a materialist. I dare say I do agree with this track. Greg later sings “I ain’t no deist”, confirming the religious nature of the track. The album title comes from a line in this song, “the process of belief is an elixir when you’re weak.” I recently thought this could very well refer to the belief in God, as people use religion, and their belief as a means of hope (unrelated, however, the No Fun at All track “Believers” comes to mind).

Track seven, “Kyoto Now!” to me has always related to the Kyoto Protocol. I’d add the entire lyrics, however I’ll just link to them, and quote selectively.

The song starts,

It’s a matter of prescience,
No, not the science fiction kind.
It’s all about ignorance,
And greed and miracles for the blind.
The media parading, disjointed politics
Founded on petrochemical plunder,
And we’re its hostages.

“Don’t allow this mythologic hopeful monster to exact its price.” This could be the oil industry, or anyone against the Kyoto Protocol, and against fighting global warming in general. Someone wrote about George W. Bush and his administraton, “disjointed politics” works well here.

“You might not think it matters now, but what if you are wrong?” More punk rock wisdom, “you might not think there’s any wisdom in a fucked up punk rock song.” “But the way it is cannot persist for long”. Followed by a line I very much like, “A brutal sun is rising on a sick horizon.”

The final lines from the next verse end with “it’s never really what you own, but what you threw away. And how much did you pay?” Clearly referencing, how material our society is. Finally, another good line, “the arid torpor of inaction will be our demise.” Oh, and “Kyoto Now!”.

Refer to “Unacceptable” (from Against the Grain by Bad Religion) for another punk track ahead of its time, and society at large really. Also, No Use for a Name’s 1993 song, “Until It’s Gone.”

Track eight, “Sorrow”, the one that was released as a single, and a video was made for, slows the tempo down again. A very good track. Some noteworthy lines, “what if every living soul could be upright and strong?”. Also

When all soldiers lay their weapons down
Or when all kings and all queens relinquish their crowns.

Skipping to track eleven, “The Defense”, possibly a track relating to the fear placed upon the American society. I just thought of that based on “mass paranoia is a mode, not a malady.” It continues “yeah, I’d like to watch a thousand cable channels but there’s nothing on. And my high speed connection’s monitored daily by the Pentagon.”

Track twelve feels as if it brings the optimism back, after the track about fear, and being a satirical piece how it sucks to be alive with all this fear. The song structure is basically verse, chorus, verse, chorus, chorus, chorus. Of course it does not really matter. My reasoning being how Bad Religion is a huge aspect about the message. Of course the music has to be good for people to pay attention and listen. As this review is a fair amount about lyrics and the messages within.

Track thirteen felt to me like a track penned by Brett, and surely Wikipedia says so. Even though I am not sure their source, aside from perhaps BR fans that scour interviews, and the like for who wrote what (thebrpage also lists who wrote what). As the album liner notes state all songs by Greg Graffin and Brett Gurewitz. Anyway, I find it funny I thought that as I rarely pay attention to who wrote what.

Track fourteen, “Bored & Extremely Dangerous” very well could be about the loners, and folks with too much time on their hands that will eventually explode in one way or another. Think school shootings as well, nerds having their revenge for example.

“Shattered Faith”, which appears on the single for “Broken” in Australia and Japan, is a song I have not heard too much. I find it does not fit too well with the rest of “The Process of Belief”. Possibly since I have heard the album so many times without it, yet I still think it is different. It clocks in at 3:58, so a lot could be said lyrically and musically, but I will not.

To conclude, if you are looking for a fast paced punk rock album, this would definitely be a good choice. If you want to follow along with the lyrics, and think while you are at it, this fits that bill too!

Currently rotating…

I have a couple of albums of the week in the works. In the meantime (remember the Spacehog song?! Good old song, leadoff track from their debut Resident Alien), here is a few albums I have been listening to lately.

July Black – The Black Book
Little Boots – Hands
Bad Religion – The Process of Belief
Kid Sister – Ultraviolet
Lights – The Listening
Fever Ray – s/t

Fefe Dobson – Fefe Dobson (LP of the Week)

Not just a stupid little pop/rock album.

I first heard of Fefe Dobson via the video for her song “Bye Bye Boyfriend”. I think I did not think too much of it at the time, a decent little pop/rock track. Little did I know at the time Fefe Dobson is quite the talented singer/songwriter.

Fefe has writing credits on all tracks, with help from Jay Levine on all tracks, and James Bryan McCollum on a few.

“Take me Away” was a standout track for me when I heard it, and it remains a very good track. The same can be said about “Everything”, the third single, a slower track, yet still catchy and infectious.

“Rock It ’til You Drop It” features none other than Tone Lōc! Before I realised it was Tone Lōc, I did not appreciate it until I did find out it was him. I remember thinking how he should record new material again too!

“Unforgiven” is a good emotional track, assuming it is based on actual events. Fefe’s father (I’d assume) having hurt her in certain ways. “We Went for a Ride” follows, a fairly simple song that manages to work well, as does the quasi hip hop/rock track “Give It Up”.

“Julia” begins with acoustic guitar and piano elements early on that make for a nice touch. I think the track would be interesting if it stayed that way, and did not add any percussion.

The reissue of the album with the fourth single, “Don’t Go (Girls and Boys)”, could also be thought of as a stand out track with its uniqueness. Lyrics that do not always make sense, and retro 80’s pop feel.

As a whole, a very solid debut, that set the table for the never released Sunday Love (thanks major labels! You did not hear it from me, but it is out there.), and the soon to be released Joy, which I discuss in my second podcast.