Starting tomorrow my blog will move. I am going over to my new website: www.aestueve.com, of course, specifically, the blog will be at www.aestueve.com/blog. I’ve been told I have to ‘centralize my Internet presence” and this is a step toward that. If you are one of my faithful followers, feel free to follow my posts some other way. You can go through twitter @aestueve and facebook and whatever else I decide to link to the site. This move has nothing to do with the quality of service I have received from wordpress, it is simply the easiest way for me to maintain that aforementioned ‘centralized presence.’ Wish me luck and come along with me!
Wednesday November 7
Tom Petty – “You Don’t Know How it Feels” from Wildflowers, 1994
Here is a list of what I don’t like in a song:
- Unartistic literalism
- Unartistic realism
- Stupidity (when it is not accompanied by fun)
- Songs that try
- Songs that don’t try
- Songs that lie
- Vapid songs (which probably fall under the banner of “Songs that lie”
- Hateful songs
Well, the list is longer and it makes me sad to think of, so let me explain why I did it. “You Don’t Know How it Feels” is a writer’s song. The lyrics tell the world–and a woman–the teller is strange. No one will ever understand him. But the singer isn’t bitter. No. He’s fine with it.
The world would be a much better place if more people just understood what Tom Petty was getting at with this song. It isn’t a bad thing that no one will understand him. It isn’t a bad thing. It’s in this huge misunderstanding that we all understand each other.
And there we are, right back at the paradox of great art.
Tuesday November 6
Tom Petty – “Wildflowers” from Wildflowers, 1994
Do you ever really like a song and you’re not really sure why? “Wildflowers” is that song for me. It isn’t that it is a bad song. It’s Tom Petty, after all, and I like pretty much everything he does. But this one has a certain something to it that I like. I’m not sure what it’s about exactly . . . the lyrics are . . . fluid.
It is at once a lullaby and a love song, a jilted lover’s lament and new lover’s hope. It’s complex in its simplicity (I know I’ve used this phrase before but that’s only because it’s a commonality in all good art).
It’s much more than it is.
Monday November 5
Dee-Lite – “Groove is in the Heart” from World Clique, 1990
How many of us who grew up in the 90s didn’t either purchase this tape, CD, or single? I know I did. Hell, I bought the whole album. I still have it, more out of sentimentality than anything else though . . . except for when it comes to this song. This song’s success and lasting power is well-deserved.
What does it mean? What do the lyrics mean?
I don’t know.
I don’t care.
It’s a disco, funk, hip hop hodgepodge of awesome. It samples Herbie Hancock’s work (among others), It encompasses what a club song should be. It’s fun to listen to. It’s happy. It’s got an infectious rhythm.
And did I mention Bootsy Collins?
Sunday November 4
A Tribe Called Quest – “I Left My Wallet in El Segundo” from People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm, 1990
This is storyteller rap at its finest. Q-Tip tells the tale of his misadventures. He’s not sure how he arrives in El Segundo, but in El Segundo he does indeed arrive (along with the rest of A Tribe Called Quest). While he’s in this strange, magical little town, Q-Tip pays for lunch and a pretty girl gets his attention, then . . . you guessed it . . . he leaves his wallet there.
And they have to go back.
I’ll let you listen to the song to see what happens after that . . . .
You know what I like most about A Tribe Called Quest? They have fun. You can tell by watching this video and listening to the silly lyrics. These guys aren’t trying to prove anything. This is partly because they don’t have to. They’re good, like, really good. They just write and perform fun hip hop songs and do it right. Sometimes they get political, which is cool, by the way, but they always balance it out with a little bit of the party. As if to emphasize the point, “I Left My Wallet in El Segundo” samples the song “Funky” from The Chambers Brothers. If you know anything about “Funky” you know it’s a song whose main purpose is to make you dance like you’re at a party.
Good times, A Tribe Called Quest, good times.
Friday November 2
Weezer – “Tripping Down the Freeway” from Raditude, 2009
Weezer can do no wrong. Sure, a couple of their albums are better than others (or worse, depending on how you look at things), but all in all, they can do no wrong. “Tripping Down the Freeway” is just another song that proves this point. It’s lyrics are both sweet and sardonic. The music is typical upbeat pop rock Weezer fair (this is a good thing, by the way). It’s a formula that works. It’s been working for years now and I hope it will work for years to come.
But why this song in particular from the great album, Raditude? I don’t know exactly. I can’t rightly put my finger on it. I think it has something to do with the universality of the lyrics. It’s about a relationship, right? It’s about a young relationship and it encompasses the hope that despite slights on either side the couple will never stop loving each other.
Perhaps I’m a softy at heart, but I like that idea.