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Showing posts from 2021

12 More by Death Cab for Cutie

Sometimes and artist needs 12 more songs to summarize their career. Case in point...  If you stopped paying attention to Death Cab for Cutie around the same time The O.C. went off the air, you should do yourself a favor and take some time to catch up. Before you go on, you might want to check out the original 12 by Death Cab for Cutie . 1. "Little Bribes" (from the  Open Door EP , 2009) A tune exploring the fact that there's a depressing side to "What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas." 2. "Doors Unlocked and Open" (from  Codes & Keys , 2011) Hypnotic, driving, mysterious. 3. "You Are a Tourist" (from  Codes & Keys , 2011) Melodically rich song full of wisdom about listening to what your heart is telling you. 4. "Unobstructed Views" (from  Codes & Keys , 2011) There are two atheist anthems on Codes & Keys , this and "St. Peter's Cathedral." But while that song focuses on a downer death-is-the-end message,

12 More By Wilco

  Sometimes and artist needs 12  more  songs to summarize their career. Case in point... The Wilco of the '10s was pretty befuddling, honestly. While on one hand the line-up that has been together since 2007's Sky Blue Sky contains the best and most stable group of musicians the band has ever had, their albums have swung wildly in style, from pop traditionalism to experimental maximalism to hushed minimalism. Once again, I've avoided any tracks which were on What's Your 20? (1994 - 2014), which kept "You and I," "Wilco (The Song)," "You Never Know," and "I Might" off this list.  Before diving in, give a look at the original 12 by Wilco .  1. "Bull Black Nova" (from Wilco (The Album) , 2009) Why not start off with a weird one? When I saw them in concert recently, the band played this song, and a fan in the front row held up a handwritten sign with the song's title on it and showed it to the audience. I hadn't see

12 by Wilco

Here's the drill: 12 songs to summarize an artist's career, in chronological order (of course). This week features... When I first took a crack at creating a 12 by Wilco (see the end of this post), I said they were overdue for a "best of." Well, they rectified that in 2014 with What's Your 20? (1994-2014) . And it's pretty darn comprehensive and well-curated.  So instead of replicating that work, I've chosen 12 songs that are not on that complication but that still provide a good picture of who Wilco are as a band. 1. "Pick Up the Change" (from  A.M. , 1995)  This one is pretty but inscrutable. I like the use of "pick up the change" as referencing the changes we go through in life, and that the narrator is asking  2. " That's Not the Issue"  (from  A.M. , 1995)  The banjo-driven first half is as purely country as Wilco gets, but in the middle some downbeat shifts throw things off-kilter until they become the defining part

12 More by Beck

Sometimes an artist just needs 12  more  songs to summarize their career. Case in point... Nearly 30 years into his career, Beck continues to be a chameleon, though I will say since 2008 he's pretty much made records that were stylistically consistent within themselves, if not with what came before and after. It seems to me he's another "anything goes" album like Odelay , Guero , and  The Information . You might want to check out the original  12 by Beck to relive the first part of his career. 1. "Think I'm In Love" (from The Information , 2006)  Here's the culmination, a stylistically diverse Beck song with straight-forward lyrics. Strange how when you've made off-kilter your status quo, conventionality is it's own form of rebellion and innovation! 2. "Cellphone's Dead" (from The Information , 2006) Beck in full hip-hop mode. Worth it just for the "one by one I'll knock ya out" sample. 3. Profanity Prayers (from

12 More by Foo Fighters

Sometimes an artist just needs 12 more songs to summarize their career. Case in point... One of the most consistent and enduring bands of the 1990s, you can count on the Foo Fighters for a sturdy new album every three-to-four years. Their 2021 release, Medicine at Midnight , shows they've still got the ability to surprise us, too. You might want to check out the 12 by Foo Fighters list to relive the first part of their career. 1. " The Pretender"  ( Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace , 2007)  Nothing like the Jackson Browne song of the same name, and it doesn't sound like The Pretenders, either. It's just a quiet/loud screamer with a great chorus. 2. "But, Honestly" (from Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace , 2007) Starts out as a pleasant strummer, then gradually gathers intensity until it becomes a full-on head-banger. 3. "Wheels" (from Greatest Hits , 2009) So, yeah, I'm not supposed to do "12 by..." features on bands with

12 More by Jimmy Eat World

Sometimes an artist just needs 12  more  songs to summarize their career. Case in point... Sometimes your favorite band sneaks up on you. I'd been a Jimmy Eat World fan since the late 1990s, and never missed one of their albums. But they didn't become my favorite band until a 2013 concert at First Avenue, where I found myself singing along with every single song by heart. It was then that I realized that for every single phase of my adult life, Jimmy Eat World has been there to soundtrack it. As I hope this list attests, they continue to make vital and compelling music. You definitely want to check out the  12 by Jimmy Eat World  list to relive the first part of their career. 1. "Big Casino" (from Chase This Light , 2007) A highly caffeinated tune that contains one of my top ten all-time Jimmy Eat World lyrics: "Well there's lots of smart ideas in books I've never read / When the girls come talk to me I wish to hell I had." 2. "Always Be" (

The Return of 12 By...

  If you were to time travel back to 2008, I'm sure one of the first things you'd do, besides voting for Obama again, is to visit your favorite blog, 3 Minutes and 49 Seconds . And what you'd find there are a bunch of entries in a feature called " 12 by... ".  The idea behind "12 by..." was to distill a musical artist's career into 12 songs. Usually these were artists who had released a few albums but hadn't yet put out a greatest hits. And why did it have to be 12 songs, specifically? Well, James Taylor's 1976 Greatest Hits album, which so perfectly captured his career to that point, had exactly 12 songs.   I wrote 26 "12 by" entries in 2008, and three more at various times since. It recently struck me just how out-of-date many of those lists are. It's been 13 years, after all, and as you might guess, in that time, most of the artists I wrote about have released more music. In fact, on average they've released around 4 new

Why Weezer is the Definitive Gen X Band

I’ve been thinkin’ ‘bout my g-g-g-generation.   One of the more fascinating side effects of the ever-intensifying culture wars is the emergence of generational mud-slinging battle between Baby Boomers and Millennials. Social media has played the role of both venue and promotor, and news outlets have done their best to cheer it on. As a member of the cohort that's situated between the two factions - Generation X - and thus removed from the fray, I've regarded this as an amusing sideshow in the never-ending circus of nauseating Internet discourse. The most illuminating part to me is how the conflict, and various reports about it, consistently omits the existence the generation between these two, and how very appropriate that is.   Now I'll start with the disclaimer that I'm well aware that no group of people is homogeneous. Generation X encompasses many different personality types, cultural experiences, economic realities, and a possible 15-year age difference (Gen Xers