Quick takes on the most recent additions to my iTunes library
He Was a Friend of Mine • Willie Nelson No big fat hooks here -- just Willie Nelson at his plaintive best in a gently strumming ballad that currently enjoys prominent soundtrack placement.
Better Now • Collective Soul Unabashedly fun and upbeat: "Oh, I'm happy as Christmas!" Ed Roland sings. Why wasn't this driving, saxophone-juiced tune a big radio hit? It would've been a welcome counterpoint to all those whiny, grating Avril Lavigne songs. At least someone had the good sense to use it in a Special K (!) commercial. The Collective can be counted on for one great pop rocker from every album -- "Shine," "December" and "Run" being past winners.
Love Song for a Vampire • Annie Lennox This was a single and featured in the 1992 Dracula soundtrack, yet I somehow never heard it until someone sent it to me on a mix tape back in the latter days of something called the cassette. It's a typically devastating Lennox performance and sounds like a late '80s holdover, but in a good way.
No More Drama • Mary J. Blige Mainly because it's based on that hypnotic and moving piano theme from The Young & the Restless, but I've liked Mary J. since "Real Love."
Tear You Apart (Radio Edit) • She Wants Revenge Sounds a bit gothy and perhaps a tad Depeche Mode, but this one is tough to pigeonhole. Think depressing, synthy '80s bands hardened by a bit of Nine Inch Nails sentiment, and you're on the trail. A former free iTunes download that's digging deeper into my brain each time I hear it.
More Shine • Si*Se Another former freebie, this one sounds a bit like Dido by way of The Cardigans, but with more strings and less kitsch. Another catchy tune I never would have heard anywhere else.
Bad Things • Jace Everett Yet another freebie, and this one delivers the line of the year thus far: "When you came in, the air went out." The hook here is "I wanna do bad things with you." It's a sleek country tune somewhat reminiscent of Chris Isaak's poppier "Baby Did a Bad Bad Thing."