Monthly Archives: December 2011

Merry Christmas. Feed the World.

Do They Know It's Christmas

It’s December 24th. Christmas Eve. Let Them Eat Vinyl headquarters is a lively place tonight. We may or may not be getting drunk. And by that I mean we are. You know what else we are doing? Dancing around our living room, listening to our favourite Christmas song.

There are many great Christmas songs out there, but this one holds a special place in our hearts. The Finn was in high school when it was released, and tells me that everyone loved it — the punks, the headbangers, the new wavers, the rockers. It was a universal song, and those don’t come along too often. I was seven years old and actually living in Africa at the time, and although I was one of the lucky ones who never had to worry about food on my table, it’s important to remember that this is still an all-too-common problem in the world, almost 30 years after this song came out. So let’s continue Bob Geldof’s good works, and try to help out those less fortunate than ourselves, whenever and however we can.

This Christmas, we wish the best to you and your family. We love you, and we hope that you keep visiting our site, because it is our goal to entertain you and hopefully make you think about why you love music. Music is one of the greatest things in the world, and we are all lucky to have it.

So please enjoy our favorite Christmas song, ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas?’:

p.s. How amazing is this song?? Paul Weller! Boy George! Simon Le Bon! Bono! Phil Collins on drums! And I am kind of crushing on a young Sting. Also, how beautiful is Jody Watley? Everyone looks so ’80s and awesome. We love it. Peace, love and joy to you all.

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The Beauty of One Line Songs

pixies

evan dando

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. This might be true, I don’t know. Since I am a writer – rather than, say, a photographer or a painter – I am obviously biased to disagree with this statement. I love words. I am fascinated by them. I studied them in school, and I think about them all the time. Words communicate so much, and, when employed skillfully, are truly breathtaking in their range and ability to convey meaning and expression.

And yet, they can sometimes fall short. So much of what happens in our lives isn’t even expressed in words, from the millions of thoughts we have each day to the extensive forms of non-verbal communication that we use to interact with one another. Often when I sit down to try and write something, I am overwhelmed and stymied by the sheer impossibility of conveying exactly what I want to say, as I see it in my head. Most of the time I feel like I am taking a stab in the dark, and if I manage to capture even some part of what I was striving for, I feel lucky. Obviously some of that can be chalked up to my skill level, rather than a lack on the part of the words themselves, but there are intrinsic limitations to language. How can one ever truly express what it feels like to experience the emotions of joy, grief, despair, or hope? Or describe the experience of falling in love, without sounding like a hopeless sap? Or talk about how a particular song at a particular moment can make you feel like everything is perfect, and why that is. Translating feelings into words is in some ways a loser’s game – you’ll never really be able to do it. But we keep trying – because it’s a challenge, and because it’s fun, and because ultimately we want to connect to something larger than ourselves.

As great as words are, though, sometimes brevity is amazing. Today, I would like to talk about a rarity in music – the One Line Song. There are only two that I can think of off the top of my head, and I appreciate both of them for what they manage to convey with only a limited use of words.

The first is the Pixies’ Stormy Weather. Here is the song:

One line, my friends. “It is time for stormy weather”. That’s it, that’s all. As with a lot of Pixies’ music, sound and feel are given more emphasis here than lyrics, but this is concise even for them. He wields the line in such varied ways, though, that it feels like he’s saying something different with each iteration. I think this is a perfect example of how sometimes tone matters way more than the actual words being used. They’re communicating different moods without changing what’s being said.

Song #2 is Evan Dando’s In the Grass All Wine Colored:

Again, only one line: “I’m in the grass all wine colored”. No further description provided, and yet you can totally see it, can’t you? Do you need any more words than these in order to picture the scene in your head? No, you do not.

Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words. But sometimes one line is worth a thousand pictures.

Are there any other One Line Songs out there? Let me know if you know of any!


Guess It’s Goodbye Again

bangles

It’s been a slow week here at Let Them Eat Vinyl. Our apologies. The Finn is recovering from his prog odyssey, which kept him out until the wee hours of the morning on Sunday. I think he is still collecting his thoughts on the experience. As for me, my day job in magazine publishing works in a cyclical manner, with some weeks being supremely busy. This is one of those weeks, especially since we are putting out two issues at once. So unfortunately, you will have to live without my astute and engaging commentary for the time being. I know, it’s sad. You miss me. I miss you too. Don’t worry though, I’ll be back before you know it.

In the meantime, here is a song for you that I’ve been listening to a lot over the past few days. The Bangles are of course known for hits such as ‘Eternal Flame’ ‘Manic Monday’ and ‘Walk Like an Egyptian’ but I love this short and sweet little tune of theirs, ‘James’. Not only is James one of my favorite names, there is just something super adorable about the way Susanna Hoffs sings this song about an unreliable boy breaking her heart. I think every girl out there has had at least one guy like this in her past (sometimes more than one, ahem). That is, the type of guy who is a total flake but you put up with it because they are super hot, or whatever. You just love them even though you know they’re going to end up letting you down. And when they invariably do, you really only have yourself to blame, for getting involved in the first place. It’s a lesson that every girl must learn — and most of us, if we are lucky, learn it fairly young. With this type of boy, you have to just enjoy the ride and not take things too seriously. You can’t lose your head and start thinking you can change him — that only leads to tears and frustration. Sometimes wisdom is knowing when to walk away. I like how this song captures all of that, while at the same time being pleasingly upbeat and poppy.

Also, I think we need to take a moment to acknowledge the insane hotness of Susanna Hoffs. Seriously, you guys. So ridiculously beautiful. I love her.

susanna hoffs

So here’s my Song of the Day, ‘James’:


Prepare To Prog

genesis

All right, got my ticket to the concert, check the calendar… 3 weeks to go, what’s next? Train man — train hard like Rocky would.

A typical training regime begins with listening to the artist’s latest CD, over and over again. Sometimes it’s easy. The songs come to you and you feel them immediately. Your body and brain react unconsciously, like Neo dodging bullets. You understand, accept and feel the music completely. This is rare. Training is usually difficult because you have your favorites from the artist and when the new stuff is not measuring up, it becomes work — like running in Siberia with a log on your back (Rocky 3).

I have been training very hard over the last few weeks, and at times have felt totally overwhelmed. I feel like I have given myself only 3 weeks to train for a marathon. Sometimes I question myself — do possess the endurance and mental fortitude necessary to rise to the occasion? Self-defeating thoughts have been entering my mind: I should have started training for this years ago (or maybe when I was 14)… it’s too big, too complex…I’ve never been challenged like this before, and I need more experience. But something brings me back each day to listen again and again, and search the interweb for different interpretations of the music. It is exhausting and excruciating, but then I feel my music muscle memory kick in and I’m starting to get the music version of a runner’s high. I just want to keep listening. I think can…I think I can — I just might be able to — get my mind and body in tune for The Musical Box‘s performance of The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway this Saturday at the Danforth Music Hall.

This record is the New York Marathon of progressive rock concept albums. Genesis released the epic double album in 1974, and it is the sprawling storey of Rael, a streetwise kid from Brooklyn and his quest to make a name for himself. Transpose the “a” and “e” and it’s Real — or is it a play on Peter Gabriel? — and that’s just the beginning… I found pages and pages online written by people attempting to deconstruct the plot and explain the symbolism. I feel like I need an English teacher to help me understand this. And this has been the great fun of my current training exercise — remembering the things I love about concept albums. It’s pure escapism, suspension of disbelief, entering Rael’s world and following him along the gritty streets of 1970’s New York and through fantastical magical caves and endless staircases.

Spending time with this album has reignited my interest in revisiting some of my old favorite concept albums and taking a chance on some new ones. Maybe its time for me to give some of the contemporaries a shot – Coheed and Cambria come to mind. I took a break today from training and listened to Arcarde Fire’s concept album The Suburbs. I thought to myself “damn, Rush said all of this in one one song, ‘Subdivsions,’ and also released 3 concepts albums – one about necromancers, one about a dystopian society and one about Greek gods fighting for man’s conscience — and they still didn’t win a Grammy”. Maybe Arcade Fire’s Grammy for The Suburbs was more of a recognition of the brilliance of the concept album. A calling card to other artists to take an idea, add adventurous music, dare to be grandiose, and something special might happen. So special it is still being recreated 37 years after its’ release.

For more on the history of The Musical Box & their collaboration with Genesis, click here.


I Love This Song Like a Lovesong, Baby

selena

We are not music snobs here at LTEV. If someone wants to throw on Britney Spears or Rush*, who are we to judge? (Please see: my embarrassing love for Enrique Iglesias). The point is, when it comes to music, you like what you like and there’s no sense fighting it.

*The Finn is the biggest Rush geek ever.

And yet…every once in a while I find myself totally loving a song that surprises even me. I mean, I know very well the type of ultra-cheesy pop that my taste in music sometimes veers towards (again, may I repeat, Enrique Iglesias) but this one…well, this was unexpected. Given the fact that I am not a tween and all (although I do watch the Disney channel fairly often, so, you know…I guess this actually does kind of make sense).

I blame the video. Sometimes a good video can allow a song to worm its way into your consciousness without you realizing it. I love this video. Selena Gomez is ADORABLE. Like, she looks like a tiny, perfect little doll, doesn’t she? I just want to scoop her up and put her in my pocket. The bit where she channels Max Headroom kills me. Kids these days! She is too cute for words.

selena

Selena is, of course, famously dating Justin Bieber. It would be supergross and pervy to have a crush on either one of them (especially him), but the two of them together are like the walking, talking embodiment of teenage first love & thus they are kind of fascinating to watch. When they break up, I wonder who will be the first to release a song about it. Is it wrong that I am kind of looking forward to finding out? Not to worry, it won’t happen any time soon! For now, their love is still “magical, lyrical, beautiful…” And I keep hitting re-peat-peat-peat-peat-peat-peat…


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