Sunday, March 03, 2019

Weekend Diversion: Random songs I liked

When we like a pop music song, it’s usually first of all because of the music—the sound. We add to our appreciation layers for the vocal performance, the musicianship of the performers, or the lyrics. Sometimes it’s the music video that catches us. Whatever gets us, it all begins with the music. The songs in this Weekend Diversion are no different.

All the songs I’m sharing today are ones I liked first and foremost because of the sound. There was something about them that appealed to me from the first time I heard them, and they still do. But with each of them something else sealed the deal.

First up, is the video up top, Panic! At The Disco’s 2018 hit, “High Hopes”. First, Panic! At The Disco is absolutely my current favourite name for a band (as is its abbreviation, P!ATD). The band is fronted by the only original member, Brendon Urie. The song hit Number 7 in Australia (3x Platinum), 5 on the Canadian Hot 100 (3x Platinum), 16 in New Zealand (Platinum), 12 in the UK (Gold), and 4 on the USA’s Billboard Hot 100 (Platinum).

There are parts of the sound of the song that remind me the sound of Fall Out Boy’s 2015 song, “Uma Thurman” (and to this day I’m still surprised that no mainstream gay bloggers seem to have picked up on the secret message I blogged about at the time). In any event, I like the sound of the song, and I like the video. I also liked Brendon Urie’s look, his hairstyle in particular. Yeah, yeah, it’s shallow. Like I care.

The next song is a song from lovelytheband and released in September 2017: “broken”. The song hit Number 18 on the Canadian Hot 100, 9 on the New Zealand Hot Singles, and 29 on the Billboard Hot 100. It didn’t chart in Australia or the UK.

My appreciation about this song is all about the sound, though the chorus is catchy. It helps that video was in high rotation—well, it was a Top Ten song here.

Finally, something more recent: Weezer’s cover of A-ha’s 1984 hit, “Take On Me”:

Back in the day, I had the original on vinyl, and I loved the song for how catchy it was, and, of course, for the famous video which used the animation technique rotoscoping. It was an amazing video.

The Weezer video (directed by Carrick Moore Gerety) also uses rotoscoping and features Canadian Indie rock band Calpurnia as the young band eventually to be called Weezer. The video features Calpurnia’s 16 year old lead singer, Finn Wolfhand, who may be better known for his acting, especially in Stranger Things. Wolfhand portrays a young Rivers Cuomo, the lead singer of Weezer. Calpurnia lip syncs the song. I like the video because it pays homage to the original without being slavish, and it also is true to the idea of a teenage band making their own music video in 1985. And, Weezer does a good cover, in my opinion.

Now, it would be fair and accurate to say that I’m not exactly a fan of Weezer. However, I like the open lack of pretentiousness the band used on the covers they recorded: They just do them. The songs are on Weezer’s twelfth studio album—and the fifth named “Weezer” (it’s also known as “the teal album”). I really like their audacity in releasing multiple eponymous albums. The album was released without advance publicity on January 24 of this year, about six weeks before their 13th studio album, called—surprise!—Weezer (and known as “the black album").

The song topped out at Number 5 on Billboard’s 200 chart and Number 28 in New Zealand, on the RMNZ chart.

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A lot of the pop songs I like are ones that I first encounter as music videos, as I’ve mentioned before. Even so, it all begins with the music. The songs in this Weekend Diversion are no different.

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