That’s what my teenage body felt the first time I heard this song, because not only did the lyrics beg for the female’s love, but I was also positively sure I would marry one of the singers in the group (Wanya).
That’s what I felt shortly after its release when my heart was shattered. I recall the heavy pain taking its toll on my naïve soul as I paced the hallway in my sister’s apartment dramatically gripping my chest as the song looped.
This song is so special that it’s the only slow jam mixed in with my exercise playlist. If I’m riding high the day it comes on, I simply listen to a bit of it and grin. If I find myself in the throes of unrequited love, I push through my workout while tearfully wondering why things went south.
Very few songs have imprinted my heart the way this one has. There’s just something about the way these men are begging for the woman’s return. They are somehow assured she’ll see the light, yet they’re also crooning their despair upon her refusal. I can appreciate the complexity of this. Sometimes, I listen to it and think back on my early years when my best friend Brandy and I would cry over the boys we desperately wanted. Other times, I can hear it and smile at the possibility that new love is coming my way because I am, like the song, ready to boldly love another.
I’ve always loved Sam Cooke. Legend has it that the first song I ever sang along to was “Sixteen.” All grown up now, I like to put on his albums when I’m feeling nostalgic or lonely; Cooke’s smooth tone and melodies always welcome me like an old friend.
You can imagine my excitement, then, when I discovered the magic that is Leon Bridges.
In his song “River,” Bridges offers that same soul and yearning that Cooke gave us in his hits like “Cupid” and “Bring It On Home To Me.”
While Cooke bargains for love in “Cupid,” “River” drifts Bridges through pleas for absolution and hope.
With each chord Bridges wades through, you feel a desperation for change, another motif Cooke beautifully harmonized in his “A Change Is Gonna Come.”
Praying for a cleansing from his tribulations, Bridges lets us listen in as he confesses his burdens and seeks salvation.
With each verse, you can hear gradual empowerment as he inches closer to his “River” and releases his demons in this melodic baptism.
Sons of soul, both Cooke and Bridges embed such a truth and humanity into their lyrics of love and loss that you can’t help but share their need, demanding their choruses with them.
I can really feel for Neil on this track; it hurts when you find yourself on the wrong side of a break up. The blow to your self esteem is almost worse than the whole heart ripped out of your chest thing.
At the same time, I want to give him a friendly slap in the face, tell him to snap out of it, and to buck up the fuck up, buttercup.
The desperate pleading tactic has never worked for anyone, and he’d be a lot better off walking away with some dignity. And, Neil, don’t even think about texting her unless she texts you first.
Nope. Not even if she is hoarding your favorite records. (You know who you are, and I still want my White Album back.)
She’s just not that into you, Neil.
But, on the bright side, you’re a total dreamboat, and I’m sure you can find plenty of gals down at the sock hop who’d consider themselves lucky to be your rebound.
The other day my wife asked me how old I was when my parents stopped going trick-or-treating with me. My response was, “They didn’t stop going with me. I stopped going with them when I was ten so I could stay home and scare trick-or-treaters.”
Candy was fine, but it wasn’t special to me. Getting to shroud myself in black, hiding in trees, and jumping out with a scream to terrify people into running away — now that was special. The mischievous delight I felt at scaring other kids (and some adults!) satisfied me far more than any candy did. If I could, I wanted to send people home a little wary, a little jumpy. I wanted them to go to bed a little haunted by thoughts of that one innocuous, suburban house with the shrieking child who jumped out of the bushes and made them drop their pillow-bag of treats in their panicked flight.
I like my Halloweens to be on the grim side, but as I’ve grown older they’ve grown more boring. They’ve regressed into yet another excuse to go to another party — only this time we’re dressed up in cute costumes!
Halloween is the night when the evil spirits go abroad, god dammit. People should be a little wary. They should be a little jumpy. Halloween should leave people a little haunted.
On this Halloween, what I really want to do is scare you, but it’s hard to do over the Internet (I mean, sure, I could link to some shitty jump-scare video below, but we’re better than that around these parts). Instead, I’ll settle for haunting you with a song. Siouxsie and the Banshees’ Halloween is a jangly, jumpy, unnerving tale of murder. It haunts me by sticking in my brain whenever I hear it. I hope it will do the same to you this day.
Dear readers, you have guilty pleasures. You know it. I know it. Everyone knows it. We all have those pleasures that make us feel guilty and exposed— the things we can’t share for fear of judgment.
Not too long ago your humble editors were discussing guilty pleasure music, and a mutual one both of us had was Incubus. Frankly, though, I’m not sure why we feel guilty about it. Incubus was the hottest fucking fire in the early 2000s. It would have been more lame if either of us didn’t like Incubus, to be honest.
Today, I want to change that line of thinking. I’m here to say fuck the “guilty” part of “guilty pleasure.” Own the music that brings you joy. Have the courage to like what you like. Fuck those who judge you for it.
Incubus’ The Warmth has a blunt, honest message that got me through some tough times when I was an angst-ridden sixteen year old, and it’s a message I’ll share with you now.
Every Fall, as October creeps into the dark and scary territory, I like to reacquaint myself with my favorite stories, movies, and songs of the season. It has become increasingly more difficult to get into the season, with what seems to be the new normal of triple-digit heat waves in what was once the onset of sweater weather. While many of Halloween’s traditions have gone quietly into the night, as temperatures creep up and the inclination to spookify homes dwindles, the spirit lives on in our melancholy little hearts.
What usually hits the spot for those vibes is Timbre Timbre, and nothing does it quite like “Demon Host”, a song about struggling to cope with death and fading faith. It’s just so eerie, and the perfect setting for the macabre table. So, close the blinds, light some candles, and feel the fear.
There are so many things I can say about this song but I’ll keep it short.
When this song comes on, it doesn’t matter what color or race you are, or if you can dance or not; it makes your feet move to the beat and words. I mean, I can be having a bad day, but as soon as this song comes on, joy enters my soul, and I can’t help but smile and dance. I dare you to listen to this and see if you don’t move.
Waylon has been around my life as long as I’ve been alive. When I was little, some of my first memories are driving around in my dad’s pickup (two-toned brown, me without seat-belt) and the song that stands out more than any other is Waylon off of his Waylon Live album doing Jimmie Rodgers’ classic, “T For Texas”. Waylon’s version is a near-magical update, full of all the outlaw spirit: loud guitars, Waylon’s unique lead playing, and a timeless sound that never ages. Now that I’m working on a podcast, Soutee, this song was one of the first I thought of to create that image of late 70s freedom.
Remember in this day of cookie cutter country, Waylon reinvented the genre with a blend of rock sensibility with a deep knowledge of the history of the music. The live album more than any explores that spirit of expanded possibilities that would have seemed impossible just a few years before, when ol’ hoss was about to quit that business until he decided to go for broke with an album that became his biggest hit. He had creative control, and he created something special.
Think of cowboy shirts with wide lapels, green shag carpeting and turning a speaker up too loud, hoping to capture the feeling of being in Texas in those heady mid-70s days. It never gets old to me.