• Quick takes on recent impulse purchases at the iTunes store.
No One Is to Blame • Howard Jones // A hapless music consumer could snag a copy of Howard Jones' The Essentials for $7.97 and think to himself that, if nothing else, there would be a few decent tracks plus Jones' signature hit, "No One Is to Blame." Then said consumer would want to break the CD in half upon listening to it and finding that it includes the original mix of the song, a different beast altogether from the Phil Collins-produced U.S. single/album mix, which adds that ticking percussive bit throughout, as well as lots of other aural flourishes. Whatever your opinion of Collins, there's no denying his crafty production infuses the song with new life. And the hapless consumer goes and downloads that version from iTunes.
Remind Me (Radio Edit) • Royksopp // Deliciously mellow and evocative electronica, "Remind Me" was purchased purely based on that pleasant bit that airs in the Geico commercial while the caveman rides the escalator. Released as a single in 2003, it features a smooth delivery of pensive lines about "another place and time where love that traveled far had found me." Why can't songs like this be hits?
Boys and Girls • Good Charlotte // This song first caught my attention because it begs lyrical comparison to Blur's "Girls and Boys." Good Charlotte has a sort of Blink 182-ish knack for strong pop melodies that helps make them palatable, and this is one of the finest examples. I love how the song changes pace for the fadeout with the lines about all of these boys and all of these girls losing their souls in a material world.
Better off Alone • Alice Deejay // A local radio station played this dance nugget enough in the last couple of years to convince me that it was one of the memorable dance highlights of the mid 2000s. And who couldn't like an album title like Who Needs Guitars Anyway? Turns out it's a 2000 single that defied the odds to climb to number 27 on the Hot 100, but it's no surprise that I never heard it in my radio wasteland.
I'll Fly With You (L'Amour Toujours) • Gigi D'Agostino // Ditto the above, except insert the year 2001 and a Hot 100 peak of 78.
You Know I'm no Good • Amy Winehouse // This was snagged as a free download just before all the press proclaimed her a Next Great Thing. Based on this song alone, I'd say the buzz is somewhat warranted: It's a clever slice of pop, channeling the sound of '60s R&B girls groups and carried by Winehouse's distinctive vocals.
All Along the Wall (Styrofoam Mix) • Leigh Nash // The former Sixpence None the Richer vocalist went the remix route with several of the pop nuggets from her solo debut, and the results are tasty.