I was flying back from Montreal to Toronto yesterday and put my IPod on shuffle all songs (about 6500 of them). When I do this I usually have to forward through various songs I’m not in the mood for. Other times it seems like the IPod knows exactly what you want to hear. I’ve thought about this before and it also could be that sometimes you are in the mood to listen to anything and other times you can’t decide on anything.
I got 4 songs in a row that I love.
First was “Wallflower” by Peter Gabriel. It is the second last song on Peter Gabriel 4 or “Security” or “Mask”, whatever you want to call it. It is one of the first songs that really turned me on to Peter Gabriel. It is also one of his songs that make me want to cry. It is a beautifully melancholy song which I believe is about Nelson Mandela but at the same time is a more general song about struggling to survive in the face of adversity. It always reminds me of the movie “Birdy” with Nicholas Cage and Mathew Modine, which Gabriel also did the soundtrack for. It builds slowly with the drums only coming in during the middle of the first chorus “Hold On” part. One of the things I love about Peter Gabriel is the sounds he uses to evoke emotions. Listen to the Keyboards in “San Jacinto” or the the drum loop in “Mercy Street” and you will know what I mean. “Wallflower” has a bit of the Peter Gabriel 3 sound. That album was created without the use of any cymbols or highhats on the drums. Wallflower only has the faintest hint of highats which I think you need to be wearing headphones to hear.
Next up was “Dream Brother” by Jeff Buckley’s Grace album. This is another song/songwriter who was a master of tension in the same way that Peter Gabriel is. Dream Brother is the pinacle of that tension on the album. It is a beautiful, otherworldly song by a true musical original who died way before his time. Nothing else which was released posthumous comes close to the beauty of Grace. It is an absolute Classic of an album which I never get tired of listening to. “Lover You Should Have Come Over”, “Last Goodbye”, “Lilac Wine”, “Hallelujah”, “Mojo Pin” are some of the other highpoint songs on an album which really has no lows.
Indio was a Canadian band who released one album back in 1989 called Big Harvest. It had one big single from it called “Hard Sun”. Gordon Peterson was the main man in the band along with a whole variety of session players including Joni Mitchell, drummer Manny Elias (Tears For Fears), Larry Klein and David Rhodes from Peter Gabriel’s band and many others. It has beautiful vocal harmonies and is an anthem of a song. Unfortunately the album is no longer in print so check it out here if you want. By the way Eddie Vedder just released a cover of this song which appears on the “Into The Wild” soundtrack. It doesn’t hold a candle to this. Sorry Eddie.
Finally is “Mum’s The Word”. It is not a single or even a well known song by Spirit Of The West. If is from the album Faithlift which is probably their most successful album. Spirit Of The West are an awesome band who seem to have slipped into the backburner of Canadian bands when it comes to people’s perception these days. “Home For A Rest” is their most well known song but they had lots of other great songs. “Political” and “Dark House” from Labour Day, “Save This House” from Save This House, “Scaffolding” and “Tell Me What I Think” from Two Headed. My two favorites are Weights and Measures which had some great songs including “Canadian Skye”, “Armstrong And The Gang”, “Rites Of Man” and “Get Down Tonight”, and Faithlift which should be a Canadian Classic album. It’s tracklisting is
5 Free Minutes
Is This Where I Come In
Bone Of Contention
And if Venice is Sinking
Mum’s the Word
Death on the Beach
Micheal Phillip Wojewoda produced it. He was the last drummer for the Rheostatics and one of the finest music producers to grace the Canadian music scene. His production credits include Barenaked Ladies “Gordon”, Rheostatics “Whale Music”, “Melville”, “Introducing Happiness”, as well as The Waltons, Doughboys, Plasticine Replicas, The Bourbon Tabernacle Choir, Change Of Heart, Ashley MacIsaac and Jane Sibbery. One day he’ll get a lifetime achievement award Juno and 90% of the people will be wondering who he is.Anyhow “Mum’s The Word” is one of my favorites by SOTW. I don’t know what the song is about specifically but it is very powerful. Obviously it is about the death of miners but I don’t know the story.
“And mum’s the only word now
For the children of the dads who will not talk under a million tons of rock
Their lips are sealed and so are yours”
By the way the next song after this was “Hurry Hurry Drive The Fire Truck” by Little People. I skipped it. IPod must have thought my kids were listening.