Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Songs for the Weak

"Reportense" by Don Omar
When I was in Barcelona, people looked at me like I had Down's Syndrome whenever I spoke Spanish. It was kind of depressing considering that I took seven years of it, but sometimes that ineptitude can come in handy. Like when listening to reggaeton music! The only reggaeton song whose lyrics I understand is "Gasolina," and I was really grossed out when I heard girls in New Brunswick, NJ doing double-dutch to it. Not having any idea what Don Omar is singing here lets me focus on the fun beat, which is a lot like the beat in every other reggaeton song.

"Dashboard" by Modest Mouse
Maybe the reason I never got into disco-punk acts like The Rapture and LCD Soundsystem is that the disco part always seemed like some contrived, over-studied afterthought - like dance music for people who would never listen to dance music (and who consequently can't dance). This is the new single from Modest Mouse, and it starts out all jittery and hesitant, like a lot of post-punk music. But then the chorus comes in, and it becomes a cathartic disco song, complete with high-pitched strings that make it sound like a bizarro version of "I Will Survive." They probably didn't set out to write a disco-punk song, and that might be why it's so good.

"Time Is On My Side" by Irma Thomas
Two songs come to mind when I think of Six Feet Under, this one and "Breathe Me" by Sia. They complement each other perfectly: "Breathe Me" plays over the final montage, a torrent of emotion that hovers just this side of cheesy (the song, the montage, and the way I react to each of them). Irma Thomas plays over one of the death sequences and shows the lighter, more ironic side of the show. I love the gospel choir singing back-up in this song - so much better than The Stones' version.

"Guramayle" by Gigi
Amadou (from the group Amadou & Mariam) said that he's a fan of this Ethiopian singer, so I decided to check her out. I didn't expect to become addicted so fast. The hand-drum comes in, and for a second it sounds like the beginning of a 20-minute raga, but then she starts to sing, and before you know it, you're murmuring along in Amharic. My dad is usually pretty good at tuning out whatever I'm listening to, but even he had to ask what this was.

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