Here's another iTunes' shuffle for this week:
"Ode to Manheim Steamroller" by Reggie & the Full Effect
I think my father has every Manheim Steamroller Christmas CD, but I don't think he has any of their non-holiday releases. The music was fun to hear when I was young, but I find much less favor with them now. I think I've heard their version of "Joy to the World" enough times in my life, but it's not about to be removed from retail outlets' holiday music rotation. Oh well, but this Reggie track is a lot of fun.
"Both Sides Now" by Judy Collins
A favorite of mine growing up. Joni Mitchell wrote it, but Ms. Collins hit this version on the head. The keyboard hook is pure candy and it's never lost any flavor with me. It's one of those songs that means more than just the sum of its parts as I age. I've always thought the lyrics are about seeing life from both sides of a coin and realizing that you're just on the tip of the iceberg.
"In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3" by Coheed and Cambria
As much as I think the whole sci-fi story about Coheed and Cambria is a bunch of nonsense, I do like a few of their songs. Even though I think the band is ushering a new era of unnecessary theatrical excess, they have some good rockin' songs. This is a good track, but "Blood Red Summer" and "A Favor House Atlantic" are more favored.
"Underneath the Waves" by the Twilight Singers
I'm still sifting through Greg Dulli's work with Afghan Whigs and without them. Gentlemen and 1965 are getting a lot of play as of late, but Black Love and Powder Burns are getting there. This track, along with "Bonnie Brae," merits more listens to the whole Powder Burns album.
"Light & Day/Reach for the Sun" by the Polyphonic Spree
My favorite Polyphonic Spree song. Maybe that's because I've heard it more than their others, but every time I hear that flute, those strings and that guitar in the intro, I have to listen to this all the way to the end. The chorus is great and just keeps going. However, I'm still not sold on the Spree as a whole. I'm still a huge fan of Tripping Daisy's Jesus Hits Like the Atom Bomb, an album I aruge was the transition for Tim DeLaughter going from goofy alternarock into something deeper.
"The Mumbling Years" by Hotel Lights
When Darren Jessee harmonized with Ben Folds in Ben Folds Five, they sounded so similar. Hearing them separately, they don't sound anything alike. That's OK because Jessee has a fine voice himself. Hotel Lights is the band that he fronts and their songs are laid back, but not sleep-inducing. This is a great introductory track.
"Wonderful People" by Q and Not U
From Q and Not U's final album, Power. A nice dancey track, but it's still weird to be reminded that this is the same band that put out the stellar post-hardcore release, No Kill No Beep Beep. Maybe this band progressed too fast for people. Now that they're broken up we can catch up.
"Eddie Walker" by Ben Folds Five
Another slice of somber pop from the Five. This time it's a b-side from the their debut album. The line about the trees getting cut down after the aunt dies really gets to me. For some reason I think about my family in Selma whenever I hear this song.
"Your Red Hand" by the New Amsterdams
I gotta credit the Get Up Kids for being so pro about downloading MP3s. At a time when major labels were freaking out about peer-to-peer networks, Napster sponsored a Get Up Kids tour through the US. MP3s were a major source of the band's popularity, so I thought it was very cool that Matt uploaded Killed or Cured, a discarded New Amsterdams album, on his website for free.
"Adhesive" by Stone Temple Pilots
Stone Temple Pilots started out as a hard-rockin' band but they morphed into a melodic alternarock band without losing a lot of fans. Honestly, I find Purple and Tiny Music as incredible records because of tracks like this, "Lady Picture Show" and "Kitchenware and Candy Bars." The trumpet solo is a really nice touch.
"Goodnight, Hollywood Blvd." by Ryan Adams
The quiet finale to Adams' powerful sophomore album. After all the rocking and sad songs, this song is a perfect way of ending an album that begins with "New York, New York."
"Move Out, Move On" by Koufax
A bouncy little ditty from this underrated keyboards/guitar pop outfit. I've always interpreted this song as being about maturing and getting on with your life. Just like "Adhesive," the trumpet part is also a nice touch.