Sunday, December 23, 2012

Favorite Songs of 2012 - Songs 11-20

The list continues.

11. Beggar in the Morning by The Barr Brothers.

"I take my medicine on my knee.
Twice a day, but lately three.
Keeps the devil from my door.
And it makes me rich and it makes me poor."

This is kind of a creepy video. You  will either love it or hate it.

12. Get Burned by Sleeper Agent.

"I'm not cold, I'm just a shakin',
And a little of your love keeps me a bakin'.
I'ma get burned (get burned)
I'ma get burned, burned, burned, oh."

A silly but highly infectious song.

13. I Will Wait by Mumford & Sons.

"So break my step.
And relent.
Well, you forgave,
And I won't forget."

This video so makes me regret not seeing more of them at Bonnaroo.

14. State Hospital by Frightened Rabbit.

"And in the limp three years of board schooling,
she's accustomed to hearing that she could never run far.
A slipped disc in the spine of community;
A bloody curse word made pedestrian verse."

A bit of a departure for FR as they look at things from the woman's point of view in this song. Their new album out in February is called "Pedestrian Verse."

15. Lost in My Mind by The Head and The Heart.

"How's that bricklayin' comin'?
How's your engine runnin'?
Is that bridge getting built?
Are your hands getting filled?"

Another great song from their self-titled album (two others were on last year's list).

16. Went Away by The Maccabees.

"So hold me close, don't let me go.
I need you so.
Tell me something I don't know.
That I need to know."

Great guitar work in this song.

17. On Top of the World by Imagine Dragons.

"I've tried to cut these corners.
Tried to take the easy way out.
I kept on falling short of something.
I coulda gave up then,
 but then again I couldn't have 'cause
I've traveled all this way for something."

The only artist with two songs on this year's list, this song has a bouncy island beat. The next one does not.

18. Carried Away by Passion Pit.

"Listen. I don't really know you.
And I don't think I want to.
But I think I can fake it if you can."

My favorite song on their new album.

19. Deconstruction by Fanfarlo.

"So come on, let's dissect it.
Let's cut it up 'til it's gone.
Let's break it up into pieces,
and throw away what we don't understand."

Sometimes Fanfarlo's lyrics are hard to understand, but figuring them out is half the fun.

20. Same Love by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis.

"No law is gonna change us;
We have to change us.
Whatever god we believe in,
We come from the same one.
Strip away the fear,
Underneath it's all the same love.
About time that we raised up."

The first appearance of rap in the countdown, this is definitely not your standard rap song, with its theme of inclusiveness (and pro-same-sex marriage).

Friday, December 14, 2012

Favorite Songs of 2012 - Songs 21-30

Here is the start to my list of favorite songs from 2012. As with last year's posts, and my Facebook posts from 2009-2010, these are songs released either in this year or the past year. A few entries, and a few more artists, appear on some real music critics' lists for 2012, but I assure you that is merely coincidence.

21. Everybody Talks by Neon Trees.

"Hey honey you could be my drug.
You could be my new prescription.
Too much could be an overdose;
All this trash talk make me itchin'."

Close to a guilty pleasure. But a pleasure it is.

22. Gold on the Ceiling by The Black Keys.

"Clouds covered love's barbed-wire snare.
Strung up, strung out, I just can't go without."

A little blues, a little straight-up rock 'n roll (T-Rex, perhaps?).

23. Grand Optimist by City & Colour.

"I fear I'm dying. From complications.
Complications, due to things that I've left undone.
That all my debts will be left unpaid,
feel like a cripple without a cane.
And a jack of all trades
who's a master of none."

I could see that it would suck, growing up a pessimist with an optimistic dad.

24. North Side Gal by J.D. McPherson.

"I got some good talk, but not enough game.
Wooing the sweet thing; oh ain't it a shame.
Every time I try.
Crazy about a north side gal."

The juke joint is rockin'.

24. JERK! by Stephie Coplan and The Pedestrians.

"Cut the small talk, cut to the chase, cut the cord, cut the crap.
Set the mood, set the tone, set the vibe, set the beat, set the trap.
Appear unimpressed with the dress that I bought today just for this.
Think of someone else while you're giving me that half-hearted post-sex kiss."

Stephie sent me a personal note enclosing her cd that I ordered from the band's website. If that doesn't get you on my list, nothing will. 

26. Love Interruption by Jack White.

"I want love to
forget that you offended me;
Or how you have defended me
when everybody tore me down.
Yeah and I want love to
change my friends to enemies;
change my friends to enemies,
and show me how it's all my fault."

A little dark, even by Mr. White's standards.  Love the video -- makes the lyrics seem plaintive rather than angry.

27. Bloody Mary (Nerve Endings) by Silversun Pickups.

"See you laughing in a picture;
but I know it's out of place.
You barely cried.
But you made it out alive."

A perennial list resident. I have no idea what the "artsy" parts of the video symbolize.

28. Hold On by Alabama Shakes.

"So, bless my heart. And bless my mind.
Got so much to do. I ain't got much time.
So, must be someone up above sayin':
C'mon girl. You got to get back up!"

I would love to see them live.

29. Songs for Teenagers by Fake Problems.

"Last night is all a blur to me.
I don't remember anything.
But at vaguely recall
being alone."

Sounds like a happy song. Until you listen to the lyrics.

30. Country Roads by Mike Doughty.

"Almost heaven, West Virginia.
Blue Ridge Mountains, Shenandoah River.
Life is old there, older than the trees.
Younger than the mountains, blowing like a breeze."

One of my favorite artists, singing about my favorite state.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Learning to Live with It

If you follow women's soccer, or the tabloids, you've probably heard about Hope Solo's drunken bachelorette/bachelor party/melee, followed by her appearance at a hearing on domestic battery charges that she brought against her fiancee (now husband), a former NFL player with an impressive history of run-ins with the law including DUI, possession with intent to distribute, and, most disturbingly, sexual assault.

Various folks have weighed in on what should or should not be off limits with regard to Solo and what appear to be some questionable life choices (not that that should be particularly shocking given her public declarations in the past). But my take is a little different. It's about the choices that coaches and teams are sometimes forced to make.

Coaches are fond of saying that they have one set of rules that applies to all players. But they know, and the players know, that that's not always the case.

At any level, coaches have to make adjustments and even exceptions for exceptional players. And they have to depend on the players to understand that it's for the good of the team that they do so, even if  the players that exceptions are made for aren't "team players."

After watching the U.S. Women's team in the Olympics, reading Solo's controversial comments regarding Brandi Chastain's commentary and the lack of public support that she received for those comments from her teammates and coaches, and then watch the last two friendlies that the team played against the Republic of Ireland, I wonder how much tongue biting and eye rolling goes on inside the team when Solo opens her mouth. Because two things are clear: first, Solo, true to her name, is not a team player; and, second, the team really, really needs her.

Um, that look pretty much says it all.

Admittedly, it may not be fair to evaluate based on two halves of two friendlies, but Solo's backup, Nicole Barnhart, looked very shaky in her two appearances. While her decision-making would undoubtedly benefit from more game time, she looked indecisive on crosses and balls in the box.

Keepers are like left-handed pitchers in baseball -- they're often viewed as the odd-balls, marching to the beat of a different drummer (no doubt in part because they are the only players allowed to use their hands). But that doesn't mean they can't or don't have to be good teammates.

It will be interesting to see how the new head coach of the National Team, Tom Sermanni, deals with Solo. Perhaps, like Pia Sundhage before him, he will decide that regardless of the distractions, it's best for the team that he tolerate them as best as he and the team can. But we should also probably hope (pun intended) that somewhere in the program a replacement is being groomed.