While I can’t claim it as a longtime love, this track by the Conway-based singer-songwriter at least deserves to be this week’s current crush.
The CCU grad’s heartfelt lyrics serve as a great thank you to the lover who puts up with all the things that come with caring for the song’s rock-loving drifter protagonist, while the guitars and vocals carry a distinctly old-school vibe that reminds me of an old Jimi Hendrix song.
One of the things that never ceases to amaze me about listening to music is the ability a song can have to evoke a very specific feeling in a listener.
Whether it’s remembering the lovestruck joy of a first kiss and the jittery anticipation of things to come, or the painful despair of a heart-wrenching breakup, songs about love can be some of the most powerfully emotional of all.
It seems that nearly everyone who has ever picked up a six-string or belted out a few notes has done a song about love. The crazy thing about the 10 bazillion love songs ever made – you may want to check my math on that – is that each one manages to put their own spin on what it means to experience this uniquely personal act.
When you really think about it, isn’t falling in love with a song much the same as falling in love with a person? You never know when it’s going to strike.
It may be obvious – a new hit by your favorite band, or it may be unexpected – a classic tune you didn’t know existed – but once it hits, you cannot get the thought of it out of your head.
And like great loves, great songs may come and go, but you never really forget them.
That said, here’s a sample of some of the love songs I’ve loved over the years.
Chances are, you have a long list of your own favorites, but if you find yourself in a bind for Valentine’s Day date music, these might be worth a try.
Honestly, I don’t think anyone can rival the Rev. Green when it comes to making love songs. Many have tried to match the smooth soul sounds of the many hits this man produced over the years, but none seem to nail the lyrical sincerity or the warm textured voice of this musical legend.
Sure, it’s a bit cheesy, but as an artist, I’ve always been a sucker for the metaphors used in this country classic. Plus, the lyrics are just a such as beautiful depiction of what love is all about.
Dean Martin, “You’re Nobody ’Til Somebody Loves You”
There’s not much to be said about the song that can’t be summed up by the title, but there’s definitely something undeniable about it’s big sound, earnest message, and Martin’s velvety voice delivering the command “So find yourself somebody to love.”
This song says a lot about the insecurities of love with some of the most amazing, understated piano riffs. There’s some debate about its true meaning, but to me it seems to talk about the defenses we put up to keep people from seeing our true natures and the amazing yet terrifying feel you get when you let your defenses down for someone you love.
If I had to survive on one power ballad for the rest of my life, this would be it. Almost the opposite of the Crows’ previous track, this tale of love lost and found and giving yourself fully to one another is one of the most touchingly theatric pieces of rock music ever made.
I’m generally annoyed by Dylan – so sue me! – but this is an amazingly soulful track. Its touching lyrics are so great that it’s been covered by everyone from Billy Joel to Garth Brooks to Adele, but Dylan’s nasal rasp delivers lines like “There ain’t nothing that I wouldn’t do/To make you feel my love” better than anybody.
This sweet Southern tune is a beautiful description of the feeling a woman’s love can bring a man. It’s a bit unclear, but it seems to me as though he’s referring about being alone and seeking the same feelings of love and comfort from another woman as he had from his mother as a child.
LL Cool J, “Hey Lover”
Although it’s really about stealing a girl away from her boyfriend – romantic, huh? – you gotta give this rap legend some credit for being the first to get out there and make love songs while still trying to look hard. From the get-go, LL was making hits off of love songs like “I Can Give You More” and “I Need Love,” but for me, adding in love song veterans Boyz II Men on the hook puts this song above the rest.
This guy has been all sorts of smooth since coming up as a young R&B prodigy in the mid ’90s and has made plenty of love-worthy hits. I chose this partially for its powerful refrain “I’m your man/You’re my girl/ I’m gonna tell it to the whole wide world” and partially on sentimental value – it was “our” song for my wife and me in college and the first dance at our wedding.
These rockers have a nice set of soft songs scattered among their more bombastic catalog, but this ranks among the best. With lead singer Brandon Boyd’s vocals ranging from a an ethereal whisper to a desperate wail, he brings to life a great description of a man willing to do anything to get a woman he sees his one-in-a-million match.
You gotta love awards shows with all the glitz and glamour, the showmanship and the celebrities hamming it up.
And the awards … wait. Where did all the awards go?
It’s no secret that the Grammys show is no longer really about giving out gold gramophones as much as it’s a showcase for larger-than-life performances and once-in-a-lifetime collaborations.
In theory, I don’t have a problem with this. It keeps viewers engaged and gives gossip bloggers something to talk about Monday morning. Sure, it produces its own share of hits (Lady Gaga and Elton John) and misses (Beyonce desecrating Alanis Morisette’s “You Oughtta Know”), but in general this genre-bending mashup of top talent is a must-see TV for music fans.
The problem comes, however, when the Recording Industry Association of American spends 5 minutes to trot out its fearless leader Neil Portnoy who blabs on about how artists need compensation for their product — basically saying digital music is killing, not expanding the industry. Not only is this message misguided and a bit shortsighted, but it also takes up precious time in which they could be giving out more awards.
I’m not talking about some of these bottom-tier awards given out at the pre-Grammy ceremony, things like Best Album Notes, Best Historical Album or Best Recording Packaging. I’m talking about awards the RIAA should be giving out, ones that represent the real future of music and honor digital downloads instead of dismissing them as a detriment to the business of music.
Here’s some ideas:
Digital Download of the Year
Of course, the Black Eyed Peas DID actually win a Grammy for their hit song “Boom Boom Pow” (Best Short Form Music Video), but not one that represents just how dominant this dance anthem was on the charts this year. It’s 12-week run atop the Billboard Hot 100 was only eclipsed by the band’s other huge hit “I Gotta Feeling” which was No. 1 for 14 weeks in 2009.
Coming in as the year’s most downloaded single with more than 4.25 million units sold, it became the fastest-selling digital track ever, topping the 4-million mark in just 23 weeks, beating out Flo Rida’s “Low” and rightfully earning its spot among Grammy-winning tracks. Ringtone of the Year
This much-maligned form of cellular self expression has become a scapegoat for what’s wrong with music these days. But no awards list would be complete without at least a mention of these tiny tunes which account for billions of dollars in sales each year.
According to the Nielsen RingScan, “Kiss Me Through The Phone” by Soulja Boy was the top downloaded ringtone of 2009, but I’m convinced that a Grammy winner deserves this award away as well. I know my sample size is a bit small and unscientific, but a few months back I experienced my wife’s boss, her co-worker, the co-worker’s sister-in-law and some college girl at a bar all using Best Rap Song winner “Run This Town” by Jay-Z feat, Rihanna and Kanye West as their ringtone in the same night. Like I said, it’s more of a hunch than anything but when I see a song that can bridge age barriers to function as a personal theme song for so many, I think it deserves some notice.
Best Grammy Cover
Sure, Beyonce deserves some credit for making her power ballad “Halo” a Grammy winning Record of the Year, but it may be that the best version of this track has yet to be heard.
Shortly after Sunday night’s ceremony, former Grammy nominee Diplo (nominated in 2009 for producing on M.I.A.’s “Paper Planes”) posted a shot at the diva on Twitter, claiming his group Major Lazer had recorded a better version of the song featuring dancehall legend Elephant Man.
While it’s hard to call a winner in this battle - it likely comes down to whether you prefer Reggae over R&B - the Major Lazer version is definitely worth a listen, as Elephant Man’s cagey Jamaican growl gives the song a decidedly different feel. Check out the freely available song at http://tinyurl.com/majorhalo.
Most in the recording industry would say leaks are a bad thing. There are endless examples of song leaks which impact album sales, such as those which forced Jay-Z to push up the release of his chart-topping “Blueprint 3” album.
However, this year, there was one specific leak that had success without breaking any copyright laws. The album titled “Internet Leaks” was an EP by novelty song master Wierd Al Yankovic.
This collection of singles from the past two years and a new track entitled “Ringtone” — about the perils of having an annoying ringtone — was released digitally in August and ended up nominated for Best Comedy Album at the Grammys. Yankovic didn’t bring home the gold Sunday, losing out to S.C. native Stephen Colbert’s “Colbert Christmas: The Greatest Gift of All!”, but he should have been recognized for his ability to make his past digital releases chart like a real album.
Best YouTube Spoof
The creators of this ubiquitous video site will surely tell you something different, but I believe spoofing popular music videos is more or less the main objective of 90 percent of YouTube users. That said, there are almost too many nominees for this award to count. I’m taking the easy way out and agree with the infamous Kanye West in choosing the winner here, by saying “Beyonce had one of the best videos of ALL TIME!”
The number of views on a single spoof of Beyonce’s “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)” video are staggering enough — more than 12 million views to watch cute little Arianna do the video’s dance moves. But when you consider the sheer number of consequent spoofs, including entries from Barack Obama (impersonator), Jonas Brothers frontman Joe Jonas, and the Detroit Pistons mascot, no other meme compares to mimicking the Grammy winner.
The coldest days of the year may have passed us by, but there’s a good chance we still have quite a bit of undesirable weather coming before spring brings us the beach-worthy temps and sunny skies we’ve come to love.
And although this edition of Kicks is all about getting out and enjoying the winter, I’m willing to bet there’s a good portion of our readers who – like myself – would rather ride out the rest of this chilly, rainy season indoors enjoying some great tunes.
Whether that means holing up in a local venue for a live show or just staying home and discovering some new music, there’s plenty of good stuff to be heard. Here’s 10 great ways to get your music fix this winter:
1. Villanova (Feb. 10 at Hot Fish Club, March 12 Beaver Bar)
Mark my words, you need to catch this Columbia-based rock band playing local bars, because sooner or later these guys are going to be playing packed arenas.
Their sound is an amazingly catchy mix of substance and style that is relentlessly hard hitting and soulfully melodic.
They put together an amazing debut called “Make Noise” in 2007 (available on iTunes) that I haven’t been able to stop listening to since discovering it last summer, and tracks such as “Memory” have gained plenty of airplay on S.C. radio stations.
Although not yet signed to a major deal, the band spent the fall recording with producer Rick Beato (Shinedown, Creed, Trey Anastasio) in New York and is currently working on finishing a new album for release this spring.
2. Alice in Chains with Middle Class Rut (Feb. 27 at House of Blues)
After regrouping from the loss of their lead singer Layne Staley in 2002, alternative stalwarts Alice in Chains are back to making new music and will stop in North Myrtle Beach to promote their 2009 album, “Black Gives Way to Blue.”
Fronted by new singer William Duvall, the band still carries the same hard rock/acoustic sound they made famous in the ’90s and will surely mix in classic hits such as “Would?” “Rooster” and “Man in the Box” among their new material.
3. Marley Gras (Feb. 6, The Boathouse)
This fourth annual show is the perfect way for fans to pay tribute to musical legend Bob Marley on what would have been his 65th birthday.
Featuring music by Mystic Vibrations, this will be a mellow evening of classics such as “Is This Love,” “Jamming” and “Buffalo Soldier,” not to mention it’ll help hold over fans of The Boathouse’s outdoor concert series until summer.
4. The Ultimate Elvis Tribute Contest (March 20, Legends in Concert)
You likely don’t need me to tell you whether or not you will love this show.
But even as just a casual fan of The King, there’s something oddly intriguing to me about watching a dozen or so grown men run around trying to act like a dead rock star. It’s kind of like “American Idol” with jumpsuits.
5. Kiss Kiss, The Venetia Fair and From the Heart (Feb. 12 at Drink!)
Featuring a couple of up-and-coming East Coast bands and an appearance from Myrtle Beach native Nick Allen (From the Heart), this show is a must-see for those looking for something different.
New York-based indie rockers Kiss Kiss lead the way with a standout live show that features their experimental yet accessible tunes with an electric violinist and multiple synthesizers. They gained a good deal of buzz on the indie scene with their 2007 debut “Reality vs. The Optimist” and have continued to record and tour the country the past few years, releasing “The Meek Shall Inherit What’s Left” last year.
In addition, The Venetia Fair is a three-ring circus of theatrical rock – which rivals that of My Chemical Romance or Panic at the Disco – with an over-the-top vocals and crashing piano riffs. But don’t take my word for it, check them out yourself by downloading their full-length album “The Circus” online (www.purevolume.com/thevenetiafair).
6. Internet radio apps:
Listening to streaming music online is nothing new for most folks. Internet radio sites like Pandora (www.pandora.com) and Last.fm (www.last.fm) have become popular over the past few years, providing millions of users with personalized stations based on their likes and dislikes.
The breakthrough, however, is that these once-struggling streaming services now offer “apps” that can be downloaded to mobile devices. These little programs, combined with the explosion of smart phones, MP3 players and other always-online devices, mean more and more people are gaining access to an ever-expanding library of on demand tunes from their pocket.
This instant gratification may sound unnecessary to some, but trust me, it’s an amazing feeling to be able to instantly look up that bad ’80s song that’s been stuck in your head all day.
Apple’s iTunes may grab all the headlines, but its America’s biggest online retailer, Amazon.com, that offers the best deals in online music. The usability and “wow factor” of buying on Amazon may not stack up against iTunes, but these days it’s hard to argue against lower prices, especially when it comes to feeding disposable desires like your music collection.
Amazon has grown its selection to more than 10 million tunes and routinely goes out of its way to give you a reason to check there first, offering downloads of newly released albums for $7.99 – as opposed to most of iTunes’ new releases at $9.99. In addition, it offers lots of well-known albums at $5 each, a daily MP3 deal that serves up current albums as low as $2.99 and still offers some tracks at 79 cents each.
Want to bone up on this year’s biggest songs, but don’t have time to listen to all those albums before Sunday’s Grammy Awards? That’s OK: Mashup master DJ Earworm has got you covered with the latest in his series of year-end wrap ups.
This downloadable track combines the 25 top songs of the past year, according to Billboard, and mixes them down into one five-minute blast of pure pop goodness. From Black Eyed Peas and Lady Gaga to Taylor Swift and Kings of Leon, this high-energy MP3 and accompanying video are something you have to hear to believe.
Not to be confused with The Myrtle Beach Underground Web site, this show is a couple of local song spinners, Paul Inman and Matt Sellers, talking about music and more from Sellers’ currently under-construction facility, Stone Clover Studios. Although releases of the show have been a bit sporadic, the content is top-notch. With segments that range from informational – rundowns of upcoming shows and interviews with local artists – to ridiculous – “Hey, I know a guy!” jokes and Ye Olde Guitar tips – the show is definitely worth a listen.
While this may not be for everyone, anyone who likes to dabble in making music will love the idea behind Indaba. The site is a social networking site, stripped down of all the cuteness and silly games of Facebook and MySpace, where musicians can get together and collaborate. You can use online mixing tools to take others’ creations and combine them with your own ideas or simply interact with like-minded individuals from all over. Even if you’re just looking to make connections locally, there are a fair number of folks from the area using the service.
As a full-time journalist and parent, part-time Internet enthusiast and TV addict, it can be tough to drag myself out long enough to actually experience this place that so many consider to be a highly-entertaining vacation destination.
While I’m no recluse, I do tend to stick with the familiar when I go out. This often means hitting up a local sports bar such as Buffalo Wild Wings, King Street Grille or Dagwood’s to catch some football and grab a brew. However, with the college season behind us and NFL winding down - though not quite over (Go Colts!) - I figure it’s about time to break the oh-so-powerful grasp of the sports season and try something different.
Why not get out and actually experience this local music scene I’ve been writing about for the past few weeks? From what I’ve heard of local bands so far I’m really impressed with the music, but how do these guys sound live? Are the folks friendly or is the scene filled with cooler-than-thou hipsters who think everyone is a poser?
All these questions must be answered if I’m ever going to be able to get a feel for what the Grand Strand music scene is all about.
But before I head out I wanted to do a quick preview of couple of the shows I’m considering attending by checking out the music online. Here’s what I found:
The Basement at Crayz J’s, 819 Main St., 8 p.m., Friday:
Richard Bacchus & the Luckiest girls
This Raleigh, N.C.-based group’s unique qualities are pretty evident right off the bat. They mix the twangy and driving guitars of a rockabilly band with more traditional southern rock sensibilities and Bacchus’ vocals, which can range from soulful and melodic to a melancholy monotone similar to Interpol or She Wants Revenge.
The sound varies from song to song, so you may want to sample a few from their site (myspace.com/richardbacchus) before making a judgment on the band as a whole. Don’t miss: “Terrible Love”
talked about this band’s great song “Sidewalk Dave” last week, so I won’t get into it again other than to say I’m still listening to it and that they definitely have other songs worth checking out online (myspace.com/thesharklegs).
If you have ever been into Motley Crue or Iron Maiden these guys have that old-school rock god feel nailed. Don’t miss: “Too Young to Die”
This Myrtle Beach four-piece has the energy of a much bigger band and has a catchy, | accessible sound that seems poised to appeal to a broader audience.
It’s more or less just standard indie pop/rock, but there’s something intangible about their sound that kept me flipping through their many online offerings (myspace.com/wondershakedownband). Not to mention, you’re not going to hear anything negative from this journalist about a band who has an entire song devoted to front page headlines. Don’t miss: “BREAKING NEWS: It’s a Catastrophe!”
Drink!, 503 8th Ave. N., Jess’ Getting’ Gone show at 8 p.m. Friday. It features:
Saturday night’s show is in honor of the band’s bass player moving back to Ohio, so this will likely be Some Ambulance’s last show in Myrtle Beach.
It’s actually kind of sad, because their sound is probably the most original, if not the most polished, of all the bands on this list. Still, if you don’t mind the woulda-coulda vibe of checking out a disbanding band, check out their Web site (myspace.com/someambulance) for what they call “Synthy pop goodness with catchy lyrics and awesome hooks.” Don’t miss: “We Drink!”
These guys play hard rock with a familiar sound, but an added energy with great tempo and thoughtful lyrics bring an original feel to their stuff.
Their site (myspace.com/theizmband) features three solid rockers and an acoustic track that almost seems out of place until you realize it may be the most well-rounded of their online offerings. Also, it’s a bit silly, but I have to give them props for having ringtones of their songs available for download. Don’t miss: “GOT acoustic”
I was sold on this Wilmington, N.C., trio before I even heard a track, due to their creative, crayon-drawn Web site (www.ponchosfromperu.com).
From there I downloaded their free CD, “Friendship and Other Mistakes,” and was not at all surprised to find a sort of offbeat sound that’s a bit whimsical, but very crisp and polished, like a toned down version of indie pop darlings Vampire Weekend. Don’t’ miss: “Personification of Light”
Oh, and if you happen to be at one of these shows this weekend and you see a guy with a press pass looking really out of place, please feel free to come say hi. I’m eager to learn more about what’s really going on in local music.
Streaming Sounds, is an exploration of music culture — both locally and globally — seen through the lens of the digital downloading revolution which is changing the way we receive and listen to music on a daily basis.
It can be seen as a weekly column in the Kicks! entertainment guide published by The Sun News (Myrtle Beach, SC) or right here online.
About the author:
Chris Mowder has been a graphic artist for The Sun News since 2006 and a obsessive music fan since being exposed to heavy doses of Hall & Oates and Madonna at an early age.
He prides himself on knowing a very little about a very large range of musical styles, but his heart lies mostly in the rock and hip-hop realms, nestled somewhere between Incubus and The Roots (The two best bands on the planet).
Send us your sounds!
Streaming Sounds is dedicated to finding new music in the community and online. If you’ve got something people need to hear or would like to see your band featured, drop a line to firstname.lastname@example.org with the name of the band and a link to where you can find their music online and we will feature them in an upcoming column.