Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas - I've Built My Dreams Around You

I can say with absolute certainty that at least 50% of the Teenage Kicks staff is 100% positive that The Pogues "Fairytale of New York" is better than 99.9 % of all other Christmas songs, and 78% sure that it's almost impossible to ruin. It blends the sweet and sadness of Christmas, gives equal import to both the hope and desperation prevalent during the holidays. It also lends credence to the notion of Shane MacGowan as one of rock's greatest songwriters, as only he could conjure up this mixture of blood, beer, sweat and junk commingling with simple dreams of domestic bliss.

Pogues (with Kirsty MacCool) - Fairytale of New York

Florence And The Machine (with Billy Bragg) - Fairytale of New York

Stars - Fairytale of New York

Jesse Malin (with Bree Sharp) - Fairytale of New York

In-Flight-Safety (with Jenn Grant) - Fairytale of New York

KT Tunstall (with Ed Harcourt) - Fairytale of New York

Cold Blow These Winter Winds - Fairytale of New York

The Scotland Yard Gospel Choir - Fairytale of New York

Yoni Gordon & The Goods - Fairytale of New York

Matthew And The Atlas - Fairytale of New York

Pilate - Fairytale of New York

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 09, 2010

No Time To Cry

Two songs have been sustaining me over the past few weeks. Thanks to all those who have reached out and my apologies to those I have not been able to get back to - I will soon.

"Up above my head, up above my head
I can hear music in the air, I hear music in the air
Up above my head, up above my head
I can hear music in the air, I hear music in the air
Up above my head
I hear music in the air, oh lord.
And I really do believe
I really do believe
There's a heaven somewhere
There's a heaven somewhere"

"Up Above My Head" is a 1940's gospel song by Sister Rosetta Tharpe. It brings together two things that loom large in my life - music and religion. My faith in music never wavers and quite frankly dominates my thoughts. Kicks ass all over my religious faith. Not something I am terribly proud of, although I often wear that dichotomy like a badge of honor. But this old gospel song (brought into my world in the mid-80's in a wondrously upbeat version by alt-country stalwarts The Jayhawks) brings both together in such a simple way that it seems to give ample weight to both faiths. The last few weeks have had these lyrics swirling around and above my head like an oncoming tornado.

"No Time to Cry" by Iris DeMent is a simple portrait of dealing with grief in the most ordinary way, which is really what we do - bills still get paid, phones still ring, children still need help. I guess when the music stops is when things get truly desperate. So I guess the only way to make sure you make it through the tough times is to make sure the music never stops. And to make sure you're making that house a home.

The Jayhawks - "Up Above My Head"

Iris DeMent - "No Time to Cry"

p.s. I promise the next post will bring the rock.