5 Songs… Matthew Zeltzer (The American West)
In der Rubrik „5 Songs” erzählen uns Musiker von Songs, die einen großen Einfluss auf ihr musikalisches Schaffen hatten bzw. haben. Nach The Posies-Drummer Frankie Siragusa und Kevin Devine haben wir Matthew Zeltzer von The American West nach seinen fünf Lieblingsliedern gefragt.
It truly is impossible to pick 5 of my all time favorites, but here are a few songs that came to mind, for whatever reason, in absolutely no order of preference.
Feist – Anti-Pioneer
I was initially attracted to this song by its slow, waltzing beat and raw, bluesy guitar line. As I dug into the tune, I learned that it took Feist 10 years to write it. This speaks to the process of slowly getting over grief, ringing of isolation. Even the arrangement mirrors the slow, lurching writing process, as well as its subject, as the drums and bass cut out on changes, slowly urged forward by the piano and Feist’s delicate vocal. In our modern world, it seems that we are always on to the „next thing,“ when in fact, the best thing for our health might be to ruminate in the mess for a while, to soak up the pain, and then come out on the other side having processed a difficult, but worthwhile experience.
Father John Misty – True Affection
Maria and I listened to Father John Misty’s „I Love you, Honeybear“ album almost too many times last year. I tend to listen to my favorite albums almost compulsively, until I think I’ve memorized every word and every note. Then I forget about it for 6 months or more, listen to it again, and find something new. This album came out in 2015, and really captures the malaise of being a millennial. „True Affection“ popped out at me, because it is the only electronic based track on the album- and again, the production and the structure mirror the subject matter- synthesizers, cheesy triggered drums, and often repeated lyrics place us in a digital world of truncated mis-communication. The song serves as a commentary on the rise of texting as a primary form of communication, and how it both ruins the intimate and philosophical aspects of conversation, as we deny ourselves to have meaningful interactions with one another (and the world around us).
Alabama Shakes – Sound and Color
Not only is this song the title track off the latest release from Alabama Shakes, but it is also the first song on the album. It begins with a slow, dramatic Wurlitzer electric piano part, complete with amp buzz and the squeak of old keys being pushed. Yet when the drums kick in, the song has an incredibly high audio quality. It juxtaposes rawness with production value and musical chops. To me, it is an extraordinarily emotive piece of music, that seems to be a real opus of modern African American expression, in a time of when there is a huge struggle for equality.
The Everly Brothers – Bye Bye Love
I grew up listening to this song in the back seat of my parents‘ Toyota Camry. I’ve probably been listening to it since I was 3 or 4 years old. I forgot about it for a long time, and remember even disliking the Everly Brothers for a period of my childhood, becuase I thought they were too clean and sappy. Later, I realized that „Bye Bye Love,“ really embraces loneliness, while hinting that the singer might kill himself over this lost romance, and all with perfect harmonies. The formula of sad, sad lyrics, with upbeat music will always work.
JJ Cale – Crazy Mama
My dad has a copy of this album (Naturally), and every time I pass through town, I make sure to brew up a cup of coffee and listen to it front to back. I could pick any song from that album for this list, but „Crazy Mama“ is worth talking about for a few reasons. 1) The slide guitar tone on it is unlike anything I’ve ever heard before. It has this mercurial wah wah tone, with tons of mid range, allowing it to lead the song. 2) This is essentially a folk song with the rhythm being supplied by an early drum machine (this was released in 1971). How cool. 3) Like many of JJ Cale’s songs, „Crazy Mama“ is deceptively difficult to play. There are just a few chords, but the groove that he locks in on is incredibly subtle.