I’ve told friends that sometimes I don’t always hear the lyrics of songs and interpret them as words and what their meaning is. A lot of the time when I hear a song, the vocals are, to my ears, another instrument that blends in with the physical instruments to produce a (hopefully) pleasant sound.
Even for songs that I may hear and know the lyrics to and even think of as some of my favorite songs, this doesn’t always mean that I have parsed their meaning and understood the song's meaning.
This isn't just me being weird (which I know I am). This happens a lot, where the lyrics of fun, peppy, upbeat songs like Outkast's "Hey Ya" or Foster the People's "Pumped Up Kicks" don't come through on the first few listens, and it isn't until later that fans discover the true meaning of the song.
My wife is a big Foo Fighters fan. We've seen them in concert a bunch, including in the front row. We have all of their records and listen to them often. We have Foo Fighters art in our music room. We are fans. Recently, Dave Grohl was on the podcast Song Exploder to discuss his song "The Teacher." Most of the album is about Dave losing two important people: his bandmate and best friend, Taylor Hawkins, and his mother. I knew this before we listened to the album a dozen times. I knew it as we were listening, but the words didn't really click until after we listened to this podcast episode. The song became a lot sadder to listen to.
I'm happy to see that I'm not the only one who has these experiences.
This month’s playlist features Kingfisher, Fugazi, Sleater-Kinney, Built to Spill, Widowspeak, Coping, Born Without Bones, and much more!
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Other Links and Listening
Did you guys know that T-Pain can sing? Like, really sing? You can see a longer clip of Black Sabbath's War Pigs here, plus a longer show of covers if you start the YouTube video from the beginning.
Late last year I saw Death Cab for Cutie and The Postal Service playing on their 20th anniversary tour for their albums. It was such a great show, with lots of energy from both bands, and I feel very lucky to have seen the show. They were recently on Song Exploder, where they discussed how they came together as a group and how their hit song "The District Sleeps Alone Tonight" was recorded.
As enshittification of apps, platforms, and websites continues, finding good sources of media becomes harder and harder. Recently there was a shake-up at Condé Nast that will likely shutter the long-time music publication Pitchfork. Investors, venture capitalists, and other rich assholes will stop at nothing to gobble up anything that has the potential to make money, and then bleed it dry and chase the users away.
The above Instagram Reel is of a show where Alice in Chains is performing their song "Man in the Box" when fans rush the stage, while dressed as men in boxes.
A few playlists back, I had a song by the band LAW, and I mentioned how much I thought they sounded like Sublime until I discovered that the lead singer was Bradley's son. Well, he's been performing with the other Sublime guys lately, and it's freaky how much they sound alike.