• Quick takes on recent impulse purchases.
Barely Listening • Pilot Speed // This "alternative" track burrows into the subconscious quite like "Munich" by the Editors, although it's not as good as that.
Hourglass • Squeeze // "Takeittothebridge, throwitoverboard, seeifitcanswim …" I became acquainted with Squeeze songs somewhat in reverse, first hearing the top 40 hits "Hourglass" and "853-5937" (no one but me seems to remember this "other" phone number song) in 1987-88 and later the lovely 1981 story-song "Tempted," their only other U.S. chart hit, when it had a mild radio resurgence somewhere around 1993-1995.
In the Morning • Junior Boys // A deliciously layered electronica track spiked with a bit of guitar and the insanely catchy refrain of "Do ya" throughout [Misheard lyric alert: It's "too young," not "do ya," but I'll leave my gaffe here for everyone's amusement]. It bubbles on for about five minutes with no verses, per se, but it doesn't need them. Synthpop fans should investigate.
Apocalypso • Mew // I wouldn't normally download this kind of music, but I like the big sound and brooding melody of this dense rocker. At times, the drama and vocal delivery make me think of Europe's "The Final Countdown," which either delights you or sends you running and screaming from the room.
The Maker Makes • Rufus Wainwright // My interest in Wainwright was piqued by his excellent performance of PSB's "Casanova in Hell," and this gospel-tinged balled is another winner. It's wrought with sorrow, and there's something about that key/melody change on the "Get along little doggies" part that slays me.
Under Pressure (Rah Mix) • Queen and David Bowie // Found on Queen's Greatest Hits Volume III, this nicely juiced dance mix of the classic "Under Pressure" sounds like something that should have been a hit circa 1997 (it was actually released in 1999).
The Bad Touch • Bloodhound Gang // Is it clever or merely juvenile? "Let's do it like they do on the Discovery Channel" may not be poetry, but it makes this a fun — if somewhat generic — dance track.
Winter Wonderland • Eurythmics // Dave and Annie's synthpop could sound ever so chilly, but that voice, warm as rays of sunlight (although she can turn on the chill), is the perfect counterpoint. There's no skating on thin ice here — just perfectly chilled blips and bleeps and a glistening vocal delivery of the Christmas standard.