This song was pretty much my primary motivation for getting out of bed this morning, it’s that catchy. It’s the latest from the A-Trak/Armand Van Helden collaboration, and the video features a variety of Fool’s Gold collaborators and friends, including Kanye West, Pharrell, Chromeo, and Vampire Weekend’s Ezra Koenig.
Having picked up on the Morning Benders on their post-SXSW wave of attention, I’ve been listening to their recent release Big Echo quite a bit recently. I like opening track “Excuses” as much as the next person, and the song certainly deserves all of the praise it has been receiving. It’s lushly orchestrated and densely layered, yet airy-sounding; the vocals are delivered with that particular combination of youth and advanced wisdom that I often find myself favoring. It’s also more than five minutes long. The fourth song on Big Echo, “Cold War (Nice Clean Fight),” is just as striking, if in a different way. It clocks in at a mere one minute and 44 seconds. However, it manages to accomplish more in this short span than other songs do in double or triple the amount of time. “Cold War (Nice Clean Fight)” is a compact slice of sunny, jangly, 60s-inspired acoustic pop, with nothing particularly frenetic or rushed about it. It is a fully self-contained package, perfect for an ADD generation that finds it difficult to sit through a four minute-long YouTube video. (Apologies for the poor sound quality of the above.)
There is something to be said for short songs, particularly ones that are catchy and easily digestible. As cliché as the comparison is, those sorts of songs are like candy, instantly gratifying and often consumed in large quantities. Out of the top ten most-played tracks in my music library, eight are under four minutes long. Out of those, four are less than three minutes. Looking at these songs, I must give “Kids” by MGMT exceptional credit for making the list in spite of being a whopping 5:02. (One of their other hits, the 3:49 “Electric Feel,” is my most-played track.) In addition to being brief, these top played songs are generally immediately accessible, not emotionally demanding, and have catchy choruses that demand triumphant fist-pumping–who hasn’t leapt around to M.I.A.’s “Paper Planes” while doing stupid gun hand gestures? They are the qualities that made me want to listen to them so much in the first place, and I can’t deny them.
I used to be able to listen to “Blue Monday” by New Order (7:29) on repeat. I’m not sure what happened to that ability.
Unless you’ve been in a coma for the past three days, if you are a fan of this particular corner of the electronica scene, you are already aware that LCD Soundsystem’s new single “Drunk Girls” is available for your listening pleasure. And what a pleasure it is. “Drunk Girls” has received comparisons including Blur’s “Parklife”, the Velvet Underground’s White Light/White Heat, and the Undertones’ “Jump Boys.” It takes the party vibe of 2005’s “Daft Punk Is Playing At My House” that got so many people into LCD Soundsystem in the first place and injects an additional boost of endorphins to make sure you stay out all night. It’s easy to imagine the semi-iconic trailer for the first series of Skins being re-edited to this song. There’s not much I can say about this track that hasn’t already been covered by more significant members of the blogosphere, but hot damn this song is so much fun.
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Somehow, over the course of my rampant obsession, “Ottoman” went largely ignored until this past weekend. I’m not sure why; it’s lovely. If I remember correctly, it was intended as a sort of bridge between the first and second albums, and I understand that completely. It combines the Mark-Mothersbaugh-on-the-Rushmore-soundtrack arrangements from the debut with the more tender delivery and sentimentality of Contra. Additionally, it’s a step away from the dense production value of the earlier recordings, moving toward the cleaner and more obviously calculated style of “White Sky” and “Giving Up The Gun,” though this could be attributed to the greater focus permitted by quitting day jobs and becoming professional musicians. The narrative thread in the lyrics is also much more distinct than many other Vampire Weekend songs, perhaps minus the invocation of “Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa” line “Feels so unnatural, Peter Gabriel, too.” The story seems much along the lines of the typical fare that causes music journalists to come up with snappy catchphrases like “pining for blue-blooded babes,” but it’s handled with a vulnerable intimacy, unlike “Run” or the aforementioned “Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa.”