Dislocation Counting Crows
Somewhere Under Wonderland is Counting Crows’ first album of original material in many years, and I while I wouldn’t say it’s my favourite, it has some standout tracks. This one took a while to grow on me, but it’s the kind of rock I think CC have always wanted to make, and I can hear both Adam’s delight and sincerity in the lyrics.
I am written in the radio
I dream on my TV
I am fading out in stereo
I don’t remember me
La Cienega Just Smiled Ryan Adams
The kind of laid-back, sprawling epic that Ryan Adams seems to put on effortlessly. If you want to chill out to a slightly melancholic anthem, put this one on.
Go Let It Out Oasis
Oasis never depart far from the script, but what they do, they do well. I love where the bass comes in on this track.
September Earth, Wind and Fire
Once again we did GraceTree movies over last summer. This song featured in a particularly joyful scene in The Intouchables, and brings up warm nights under the stars in summer for me.
Wiseblood Tender Mercies
Highly recommend this entire album – alt-country-gospel brilliance, and a side project for Dan Vickrey and Jim Bogios from Counting Crows (who often cover this and other Tender Mercies songs).
One Sunday morning at dawn you know they baptised my soul
But they held me down so long Christ I almost drowned
I was the kind of boy who never learned to smile, so I kicked and I screamed
‘Til I tore myself lose from all these, great big hands oh yeah.
I was trying to decide between this one and Tom Petty’s Freefallin’. I just like the way this one is so unabashed.
Against Th’ Law Billy Bragg and Wilco
2014 was definitely a year of civil disobedience, not only for me, but for stacks of others. With the rise of Love Makes A Way, Maules Creek and a particularly eventful Swan Island Peace Convergence, this song felt topical, but somehow also reassuring. While my overly-literal kids argued “Not everything is against the law”, sometimes it feels like it hey Woody?
Strange Desire INXS
Early in 2014 I was one of those sucked in to the nostalgia of Michael Hutchence’s death – an event which really affected me when it happened, I was a big INXS fan and it felt like they were at the top of their game. So I listened to Welcome To Wherever You Are a lot this year, and was reminded of the era when albums were written as albums, to be taken as a whole, and not just a collection of random singles for radio or iPod. I couldn’t include the whole album though, so here’s one you probably didn’t hear much from that album.
In Between Days The Cure
I listened to The Cure a lot in the latter 1/3 of this year. A ridiculous amount. Being the band of choice for Goths when I was in high school I never listened to them much, assuming they were a bit obsessed with death and depression, but they’re actually more often love songs with an edginess to their pop.
Ch-Check It Out Beastie Boys
I listened to a fair bit of Beasties this year. Every time this comes on my mp3 player in the car, the kids say, “Is this the Sesame Street one?” because the “Ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-check it out, wh-wh-wh-wh-what’s it all about” part is on Sesame Street. And for that, I love Sesame Street.
OPP Naughty by Nature
I don’t know, I think it’s the Jackson 5 samples, but this one is just so catchy. Wrong, but catchy.
Bless the Lord Taize
Craig Farrell and I sang this in the Geelong police cells after the sit-in at Richard Marles’ office, as the cold air seeped in from the exercise yard and the concrete walls echoed with our voices. It doesn’t really fit musically in this compilation, but I couldn’t not include it.
God Only Knows The Beach Boys
I’ve heard this described as an utterly flawless love song, and I can see why.
Bonus track: Possibility Days Counting Crows
It was hard to choose just one track from this album, and probably this is my favourite track from it, so I had to include it. They know how to bring a song – especially ballads – to a climax, and to get the right lyrical mix of redemption and regret.
So you pull down the shades
And you shut out the light
Because somehow we mixed up
Goodbye and good night…