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February Music Review

I decided I’ll share some songs I’ve been enjoying each month! Generally keeping it to one song per artist. I like talking about music too much. These songs are listed in no particular order (aside from roughly ordered by favorite artist first).

Everyone and their ancestors knows Eighth Wonder is my favorite Lemon Demon song and I don’t think that’ll be changing any time soon, so I won’t pain you with neverending infodumping about it here. Moving on to reviewing a different Lemon Demon tune: Crisis Actors!

This one’s a bonus track from Spirit Phone, so I guess it’s technically “unofficially released,” but still one of my favorite Lemon Demon songs of all time regardless. The theory this song is based around is obviously a stupid and terrible thing to believe in, but it’s sort of interesting to hear it from a satirical point of view. I never have believed in this theory and never will, but in fact this song has actually helped me through some times where I was forced to see really disturbing and tragic footage from real life events like terrorist attacks and war. I don’t really know why, I guess it just made my (at the time) seemingly overreaction to what I saw feel heard and shared, even if others may have a different reaction to it. Alright, enough about that. The song itself is awesome, the energy is some of the best in any Lemon Demon song I think. The guitar of course really appeals to me. The lyrics are very well-written; the historical references are very interesting. I love when songs can take dark topics and turn them into really funky tunes. It sounds weird but honestly, sometimes it’s fitting and it opens your eyes (..ears?) to the lyrics eventually, too.

Imposter - Oingo Boingo

This is probably my favorite track from Only a Lad, possibly tied with Controller, but I love the high energy in this one. This song criticizes critics. Interesting! As an artist, both visually and musically, I’ve always found the idea of critics a little strange, particularly if the critique is coming from someone without experience or expertise in the field. Plus, a lot of it is opinion-based. This song pretty much makes fun of how this is an entire job, and calls out the jealous people who put others down because they couldn’t do what they do. The song was released in 1981, and I still find it pretty relevant today. Musically, I of course like the guitar, but this song really made me appreciate the bass in Oingo Boingo, too. Kerry Hatch was the band’s bassist at the time of the song’s release, but John Avila eventually took over as bassist and I, at least, haven’t noticed any change in quality. Shout out to them! While bass is certainly an important part of music, especially for new wave and rock, most of the time the bass doesn’t really stand out to me too much, but Oingo Boingo always amazes me with how good the bass is. Imposter also gives me a slightly spacey feeling, just that 80s touch I guess, but I really like it.

Houses in Motion - Talking Heads

This is a really great commentary on capitalism. Unfortunately, I can relate to it, but I also think many others probably can as well. Life really is too short to waste time, which is something I do often, but it comes with a lot of consequences. I think I share the idea that this song seems to be subtly suggesting: the majority of capitalism is against human nature and constantly tries to push us to impractical limits, and it all happens so fast, we hardly even have time to think about it and make the best possible decisions. As a senior in high school halfway through my final year who has gotten absolutely nowhere with even starting to prepare for college stuff (for personal reasons), I definitely feel strongly about the effects of capitalism, and I noticed many of my favorite artists tend to write about similar things. Capitalism is a very interesting and very broad thing to write about. As for the music part of it, I love this bassline. It’s a funky sound that while pretty upbeat and fun, also sort of has this “guilty” or “defeated” undertone to it that goes perfectly with the lyrics. Talking Heads has such a unique, funky style that is so instantly recognizable and attention-grabbing, and in fact I’ve noticed that in my own guitar-playing I tend to mimic their style without even realizing it. It’s fun to play! Talking Heads is a truly awesome band.

Big Mess - Devo

Actually, no Devo songs are really sticking out to me at the moment, aside from Jerkin’ Back N’ Forth, which I already talked about in my last music commentary post, but I still wanted to include one of their songs because they are one of my favorite bands. I don’t actually listen to as much Devo as I thought I did, I’ll definitely have to get onto that soon, but I do love the stuff I have been listening to. Anyway, onto the actual song. This one has been one of my favorites by Devo for a while now. This is an interesting song about some weird mysterious guy that I don’t really know much about, but I really like the way it’s done. I love the synths, and the melody of the vocals go really well with it. I just learned that the instrumentation for this song inspired Dare to Be Stupid by Weird Al Yankovic, which is interesting to me because I never even noticed any similarities between the two songs. I’ll probably look up more of this Cowboy Kim/Mr. Reality guy’s story soon because it sounds pretty interesting. He’s a DJ! Cool!

Cold War - Styx

I recently started getting into more Styx and I am in love with this band. There’s a handful of songs I could’ve put here, but Cold War is one of my favorites because despite the very simple chord progressions, it’s a super fun guitar-driven song with some supplementary synths and and a really cool solo. Tommy Shaw sings this one, which I was actually surprised to learn, because the first Styx song I heard was Mr. Roboto, sung by Dennis DeYoung, and their voices sounded so similar to me I actually thought DeYoung sang this one too. Then I found out James Young also sings some of their songs. That’s a lot of singers! They’re all equally talented though, I’ve never been so amazed by anyone’s voice as I am by these guys’s. Lyrically, as a part of a concept album, this song follows the character Kilroy, a hard rock fan living in a dystopian future where machines have taken over and rock music has been outlawed, and I assume this track is his sort of “declaring of war” on the corrupt government. It’s a very energetic and upbeat song, I’m rooting for Kilroy! He seems pretty confident in this one. Really though, this album overall seems to be a Sci-Fi-esque commentary on the rapid advancement of the human species, to the point of it going too far and too technology-based for our own good. Obviously, Styx is a rock band, so that’s part of where the rock part of the story comes from, but I think it also subtly suggests that music is becoming more robotic as well, basically a critique of the music industry. As someone who listens to almost exclusively rock and new wave from the late 70s-80s, I can tell you that’s because there’s far more creativity, originality, and life to appreciate in older music, and we’re losing that now because everything’s become so incredibly commercialized. There was a lot of commentary and predictions about this stuff in the 80s, and they really were damn right. ….Capitalism.

Hell Bent for Leather - Judas Priest

Here’s a sort of palette cleanser in between all this capitalism stuff. It’s sort of a commentary on reckless behavior in order to look cool, from a satirical point of view, but honestly it still makes riding motorcycles like a chicken without a head sound badass and I don’t even care about motorcycles. This song’s pretty fast, probably the fastest song on my playlist, and the catchy vocals and guitar work really well with that. Overall just a badass song that makes me feel really badass, that’s really about it for this one.

Who Feelin’ It - Tom Tom Club

Tom Tom Club is a weird band, but luckily I like weird. Tina Weymouth’s bass-playing is awesome in Talking Heads, but I think she really shines in Tom Tom club, especially in this song. The band also takes significant influence from early hip-hop music, and the new wave guitar and bass mixed with the funky record scratches make a really interesting and unique sound and style. Chris Frantz’s occasionally silly, short lines and background vocals make it pretty funny too. I don’t really know what this song’s about, but it seems to reference a lot of other music and stuff, even previous Tom Tom Club songs. I’m really tired as I’m writing this so I may be wrong, but so far I’m just getting that they’re pretty confident in themselves as a band despite anyone who doesn’t believe in them or tries to put them down. Mostly I just like how incredibly funky and silly this song is, it makes me groove.

That’s about it! Thanks for reading! You have a really long attention span!

capitalism sucks

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