On Repeat – the five tracks you should listen to this week if you want your life to be just a little bit better.
Look at the Fool – Tim Buckley (1974)
So, it’s not one of his best. Ok, if pushed, it probably wouldn’t make the top 10. It’s the opening track of an album of the same name, his 9th and last before his death. The composition is somewhat ‘paint-by-numbers’ and, for a 28 year old, Buckley sounds tired and not at his best. Have I sold you on it yet?
Buckley did folk much better than he did soul. But; it is a catchy tune and it has plenty of ‘soul’ both musically and lyrically. He manages to capture the absolute shame of redundant love, mournfully poured out in the ‘look at the fool that love brings me’ lament. And there are flashes, brief moments, of that wonderful voice that makes Buckley unique and the phenomenal range that, to the benefit of us all, he bestowed upon his son Jeff.
Best lyric: ‘I love you more than I care about myself, I love you hate you for what you’re doing to my health’
Peach Fuzz – Caamp (2019)
You can be forgiven for being lifted out of the room and dropped smack, bang into the middle of the 90s as the guitar riff through most of the song sounds almost exactly like ‘Brimful of Asha’. The whole album is an essential listen if you are a fan of indie/folk, but ‘Peach Fuzz’ manages to sneak it’s way through as a stand out song.
It captures almost perfectly the mundane moments in which you can discover that you are in love, the pulsating excitement of the early memories shared and the little things that make a relationship special. It’s one of those songs you’ll be humming all day and dancing to all night.
Best lyric: ‘Hey little mumma when you talk back, I see your eyes light up and I love that’
Losst and Founnd – Harry Nilsson (2019)
I should declare a clear bias when it comes to believing that Nilsson is one of the greatest and most under-rated musicians of all time. Dead, Harry Nilsson makes a substantially better musician than most do alive. ‘Losst and Founnd’ is an upbeat little number and not one that delves into the deeper, self-loathing and painfully self-aware parts of his mind that made him such an exceptional lyricist. But there are still beautiful lines thrown in that have you ingesting something good for you without even realising. It’s the musical equivalent of a parent flying a plane full of broccoli into an unwilling child’s mouth.
Posthumous albums are always something to be a little wary of. ‘Losst and Founnd’ may be no exception for some, but the title track, and a few others, are vintage Nilsson and everyone needs that in their life.
Best lyric: ‘Did you come from market or the heavenly place? God must have loved your face’.
Cleveland County Blues – John Moreland (2015)
‘High on Tulsa Heat’ is a spectacular album. Moreland has one of those voices that has been soaked in agony and restored again, only to have it’s heart broken. There are so many songs on this album that make it the perfect soundtrack for the utter misery that is 90% of human existence.
‘Cleveland County Blues’ sounds like loss, it wraps its arms around your heart and tells you that it may never be OK again, but at least you might be able to write a kick-ass song about it one day. If you want something a little more upbeat but still ultimately very depressing, try ‘White Flag’ from the same album.
Best lyric: can’t pick one I’m afraid. It’s pure poetry.
Mr. Tillman – Father John Misty (2018)
The first time that I heard this song I was struck by how different it was to everything that I had been listening to at the time. ‘Don’t be alarmed, this is just my vibe’ Father John sings to us as the music slinks and slides around, not really quite hitting any one distinct sound in a way that is quite unsettling. The song has the kind of quality that suggests it’s best enjoyed the evening after downing one too many Malibu and cokes. Which I get is the point, but it is an impressive sensation to invoke.
The song follows a conversation between a receptionist and a dysfunctional hotel guest that stirs both amusement and sympathy in equal measure. The plodding beat is offset by the continuous flow of lyrics, accompanied by swirling backing vocals and the song places you in the role of antagonist just by submitting you to its composition.
Best lyric: ‘Ok dear, you and your guests have a pleasant stay, what a beautiful tattoo that young man had on his face’