No long essays about how old music makes me feel this week. I do write a little more about most of these songs than I usually do, though.
“Waste Your Time” – Jackson+Sellers
Jade Jackson says this song is about those final moments of a toxic relationship, when you are reevaluating everything you’ve been through and realize it wasn’t worth it. Me? When I hear the phrase “waste your time,” I think of the conversation S and I had in May 2002. We had been dating nearly two years and had not had a discussion about where we were headed. I had thought about the subject plenty, but was worried about bringing it up. So I figured I’d just avoid it as long as things were going well. But S is not one to avoid things and was fed up with waiting. So she asked me what my thoughts were: did we have a future together, or were we just wasting each other’s time? Two weeks later we were engaged and 19 years later we’re still married. So I guess we did have a future together.
“Sharp” – Livingmore
Lead singer Alex Moore describes this as a “dance your problems away” song. That’s a great description, and fits the song’s feel perfectly.
“Queens” – Aeon Station
In 2003 The Wrens released their cult classic album Meadowlands. I’d almost guarantee most of you have never heard of it. People who fell in love with it really fell in love with it, and it took on a reputation within the music world greater than its sales or airplay would suggest. I’m not going to go into the whole history of the band and their efforts to make a follow-up. It’s been an exceptionally long, frustrating wait for fans, with a couple teases of an imminent album that fell through. There have been health battles within the band, disagreements about if the music was ready, arguments with multiple record labels, fights about money and credit, and other assorted issues that have us still waiting after 19 years. Wrens member Kevin Whelan is apparently fed up and is set to release a solo album under the name Aeon Station. He says that half the album will be songs he wrote and recorded for the Meadowlands follow-up. Apparently this is one of them. Charles Bissell, the Wrens member who has been the main hold up to releasing a new Wrens album, responded by saying new Wrens music will be out soon. We shall see…
“The Spirit of the Radio” – The Polyphonic Spree
Earlier this week I read a piece on Consequence of Sound about whatever happened to the Polyphonic Spree. I had pretty much forgotten about that band, who had a brief moment in the early 2000s. I had also forgotten that the band was started by former Tripping Daisy lead singer Tim DeLaughter. The article mentioned that the Spress is still putting out music, so I scrolled through their most recent albums and found Afflatus from earlier this year, which features a bunch of covers. This cover of the Rush classic honestly made me laugh out loud. I’m not entirely sure why. That’s enough to throw it in this week’s playlist.
“If Not For You” – George Harrison
Isn’t it weird how great songs used to be immediately covered by other artists? Look at the Motown era and songs would be passed from group-to-group, with each taking their own stab at them until someone had a monster hit with it. I still think of this as an Olivia Newton-John song. She hit #25 in the US with it in 1971 and it got airplay throughout her ’70s prime. Technically her version was a cover of this, George Harrison’s arrangement which he included on his 1970 masterpiece All Things Must Pass. But it was Harrison’s buddy Bob Dylan who wrote the original, also in 1970. I can’t imagine three big artists all recording the same song inside 18 months these days.
“Give It Up” – 8MM
A semi-forgotten track I always thought could have been absolutely huge under different circumstances. It might be the sexiest song of the 2000s.