Sammy the Seal

Archive for January, 2013|Monthly archive page

“No weak heart shall prosper”

In vinyl on Sunday, 27 January, 2013 at 23:23


Song: Hearts Of Oak
Artist: Ted Leo & The Pharmacists
Album: Hearts Of Oak

Aww, this song is so positive! It’s a little bit of a departure for them, in that it features disparate elements such as female vocals, maracas, cowbell, and other assorted percussion, but they all conspire to foster a welcoming,  almost (too) fuzzy atmosphere. (The lyrics are a little hokey as well, in my opinion.) Ted’s lively, life-affirming guitar goes without saying, of course. I like a number of his other songs better than this, but it’s just so warm and friendly, like a hug! Sure it has less edge and punch than his best stuff, but a relaxed, hanging-out vibe is nice now and then. (Uh oh, I sense the cloying approach….)

“(She said, she said!)” Bold, unabashed vocal interjections always welcome.

“I’m pretty sure I wasn’t your first choice”

In vinyl on Sunday, 20 January, 2013 at 11:23


Song: The Weekenders
Artist: The Hold Steady
Album: Heaven Is Whenever

Way too many lines I could’ve used as the title, like every second or third, literally. It sure is hard to do these things with school and work. It’s easy to stay on top of music when you have no life. Things really are different when you have important things to do. But this rousing song, with its embarrassment of lyrical riches, called to me. I have to say, first off, that I’m a little underwhelmed by the solo, it doesn’t feel as cathartic. Part of me thinks I’m just jaded, that it’s somehow my fault. Not everything can be “Lord, I’m Discouraged”, or even “Joke About Jamaica”.

Now that the slightly negative is out of the way, there are the nice backing oh’s under the chorus. Always welcome, made for joining in. And, duh, the rhythm section, great, steady beat. That simple, solitary two-note guitar melody in the verses feels wonderfully lonely and melancholy, which is in the vocals, and probably because I find much of the lyrics a bit poignant and relevant. (Grammar note: I am using “the lyrics” as a collective noun, not plural.) Can’t help but think. Fortunately, it’s still melodic and doesn’t drag, and because of who we’re dealing with, the chorus is pumped up with energy, so there’s little self-pity or mope, and more honesty, reality, and acceptance.

“There was that whole weird thing with the horses
I think they know exactly what happened, I don’t think it needs any explaining
I’m pretty sure I wasn’t your first choice
I think I was the last one remaining
I wish we hadn’t gone and destroyed it, ’cause I was thinking we could pull another weeekender, if you still got a little bit of clairvoyance

I remember the metal bar
I remember the reservoir
You could say our paths had crossed before

So if it has to be a secret, then I guess that I can deal with it
You and I both know it’s a negative thing
In the end, only the girls know the whole truth

There were a couple pretty crass propositions
There were some bugs in the bars, there was a kid camped out by the coat check
She said “the theme of this party’s the industrial age”
And you came in dressed like a train wreck

I remember the O.T.B.
the five-second delivery
You could say our paths have crossed before

So if it has to be a secret, then I guess that I can deal with it
God only knows, it’s not always a positive thing
to see a few seconds into the future
And if you swear to keep it decent, then, yeah, I’ll come and see you,
but it’s not gonna be like in romantic comedies
In the end, I bet no one learns a lesson

So if it has to be a secret, then I guess that I can deal with it
You and I both know it’s a negative thing
In the end, only the girls know the whole truth
And if you swear to keep it decent, then, yeah, I’ll come and see you,
but it’s not gonna be like in romantic comedies
In the end, I bet no one learns a lesson

In the end, only the girls know the whole truth
In the end, I bet no one learns a lesson”

“It’s time we all reach out for something new….that means you too”

In vinyl on Monday, 7 January, 2013 at 21:06


Song: Purple Rain
Artist: Prince & The Revolution
Album: Purple Rain

Wailing, shredding, and more soul than puny you can handle. At  8+ minutes, it’s not really a fair fight, but like it matters: even just 3:40-6:34 will have you in thrall and in tears. He’s a pretty talented guy, you know.

Feel it.