Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Pipettes and Other Dubious Recommendations

My latest guilty favorite is "The Pipettes," three British cuties who recreate early 60s girl-group pop with modern wannabe bad-girl sass.

Now I have always enjoyed powerpop, sugary pop, and so on. If you are a person who's concerned about a band being "authentic" or "real," the Pipettes are not for you. They are a manufactured band, and the sound is purposely pseudo-retro. It's the kind of stuff that would end up in a David Lynch or Quentin Tarantino movie.

But, if that doesn't matter to you, and you like music with a bit of a sense of humor about itself, I think you might dig them. They are now available for download at Amazon's awesome MP3 store.

Rolling Stone even gave them a decent review, which spurred me to put up this post. Sometimes I'm sorta embarrassed about my wide and weird tastes in music - I like most everything except gangsta rap and opera. So I originally wasn't gonna put anything up here about them. But, heck, groups can live and die by word of mouth, so I decided to put my pride aside and say give'em a shot.

I bought the British release a while back which, according to the blurb about the album, has a different mix than this "American" version. From the samples, it does seem to have more electric guitar. But, the mix isn't so different that it changes the core sound of the songs.

If any of ya'll buy any of their songs, let me know what you think in the comments.

Other songs I've bought lately and have been enjoying immensely are:

"I Wanna Kiss You" by Paula Cole - A sweet, slinky, sexy song that culminates in the line "oh, won't you marry me?" Perfect for the bedroom mix tape, if you get my drift and I bet you do.

"Beautiful Wreck" by Shawn Mullins - "In the dark end of this bar, what a beautiful wreck you are" goes the lyric. Who hasn't witnessed that? Great tune and perfect evocation of an archetype.

"Crazy Bitch" by Buckcherry (which just now I realized is a play on "Chuck Berry" ... sometimes I wonder about myself) - My my, what a dirty, dirty song. I laugh every time I hear it. No kiddies within earshot, plz.

"Hey Eugene" by Pink Martini - The rest of this salsa-esque album didn't do much for me, but this backhanded groove of a song about a new relationship makes me smile with lines like "I'm that chick you danced with two times through the Rufus album Friday night at that party." I'm always a sucker for a horn section, too.

The moldy oldie "Blow Away" by George Harrison - I was surfing through the top-selling MP3 singles and noticing the theme is hits that have not been anthologized appropriately (those you had to buy an album to get the one good song (if was still in print)) or it's the one song you'd want from that artist. "Blow Away" is one of those, as it has never been on any of his hits compilations. Heck, I'd even forgotten about the song till I heard it again on Amazon. It was one of those that played incessantly back in my high school cruising days, so I had to have it.

"Big Girls Don't Cry (Personal)" by Fergie - Since I listen to popular radio only about an hour a week anymore, and even then often by accident, it was a great feeling to hear a song that made me ears perk up. I personally think she sings the hell out of this song. Sadly, the rest of the album is rap and hip hop crap. THIS is why the ability to buy the one good single off an album ROCKS!

I've had these on CD for a while, but they're worth checking out.

"Hold On" by Ian Gomm - Kinda sums up 70s pop one-hit-wonders all in one song. Killer bass line, too. It's also notable in that it features the much maligned "Aural Exciter" prominently, which was overused in the 70s for a while. It makes the high-end all shimmery and adds some edge to the bass notes. The Eagles has a snippy little liner note on some of their albums that says they DIDN'T use it, which was kind of a lash out at the artists who had a credit in their liner notes announcing the whole album was processed that way. Ah, liner note memories.

"Lights Out" by The Mighty Mighty Bosstones - How can you not dig thrash with a horn section? This little under-two-minute gem is from their introductory EP, and it's a hoot.

Finally, David Byrne, previously of the Talking Heads, covers Whitney Houston's "I Wanna Dance with Somebody." I'm still debating whether I want to own this one or not. It's enough of a lark that I'm sorely tempted, but I don't know if I'd ever really listen to it for enjoyment, or if I'd merely pull it out at a party or two to bore the crowd with "ain't this a hoot!" only to have them mumble a half-hearted assent before going back to their conversations. I mean, Whitney's version is almost a parody unto itself anyway, so the further irony of mr. stop making sense doing it isn't enough of a difference to really count, maybe.

(Remember, btw, that you can listen to a pretty decent sample of each of these before you purchase, so don't just take my word for it on any of these.)

Happy listening!

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