“Cello Song” by The Books, featuring Jose Gonzalez. This song is found on the Dark Was The Night (Red Hot Compilation) album. It is a cover of Nick Drake’s song of the same name. From the first listen I was mesmerized with the mathematical music, the soft vocals, and the beautifully written lyrics. I have heard Drake’s version, but I feel that The Books and Jose Gonzalez took this song to a new level with their reinvention. It opens with the plucking of strings that echo the sound of rain softly pounding outside. As the song continues, the track is backed with the water falling as a cello eerily plays. Jose Gonzalez begins to sing in a quiet, sad voice, which enhances the atmosphere of the song perfectly.
“Very Loud” by Shout Out Louds. Hailing from Stockholm, Sweden, this five piece indie rock group stole my heart earlier this year. The first I ever heard of them was off of Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist soundtrack. Though I haven’t seen the movie, I recognized other bands on the album and decided a purchase was necessary. This song was my first introduction to the band, which led to further purchases of How! How! Gaff Gaff, Our Ill Wills, and Work (all highly recommended, as well). This song opens with a steady drum beat. Then the bass line begins, followed by guitar, and finishes with Adam Olenius’s voice as he sings, “And I build buildings high for you, but the costs, My God, the costs, I can’t afford you, but I always choose another way, and this is why this love can’t stay.”
“Everyone Is My Friend” by Owls. Interesting mathematical rhythm rock, the opening to this song has a unique ability to pull me in and not let go. Upon first listening to it, I was hooked. It introduced me into the world of Mike Kinsella. I had already known about his solo project, Owen, but this opened doors to other more musically prominent associations with him, like American Football, Cap’n Jazz, and Joan of Arc. With intriguing lyrics and warbling vocals, precision drumming and attractive – yes, attractive – guitar riffs, this has become one of my favorites Owls tracks.
“Sleeping Sickness” by City and Colour. I am not sure why I haven’t mentioned this song before. It was introduced to me via my friends last.fm profile in January. I have had it on almost every playlist since that day. For me, the best part of this song is the lyrics. They are simple, truthful, and absolutely heartbreaking. I relate to them better than 99% of the words out there. City and Colour is the solo project of Alexisonfire singer Dallas Green. He has musical chops, a clear, unwavering voice, and poignant lyrics
“Feeling Sorry” by Paramore. I first discovered Paramore in 2005. Their first album had just been released and I had come across the song “Here We Go Again“. It was immediately put on my playlists and repeated ad nauseam. I loved that the band is fronted by a girl, and that she has the vocal chops to put any questions to rest whether that’s her place. All We Know Is Falling became one of the most played albums through my sophomore and junior years of college. Followed by Riot! and then Brand New Eyes, I was true in my adoration of this band. I feel that through the years they have grown both musically and lyrically. Off Brand New Eyes “Feeling Sorry” took the prize of most listened to. I felt it was a perfect culmination of thoughts and emotions that I could associate with. It came at a perfect time in my life when I felt done with where I was and who was around me. One of my favorite moments from the past year was when I was able to see both Paramore and fun. on tour together.