December 12th, 2006

Sufjan Stevens' "The Avalanche"


Sufjan Stevens' "The Avalanche"

There are certain songs that I wish with all my being I could have written. Songs that so perfectly express the sounds and instruments and progressions I hear in my head but am never able to achieve in my own music. Songs that I hear and connect with so fully that I feel it had to have come from me.

The Avalanche is epitome of that song.

Just listening to the introduction defines what I mean when I say "interplay of instruments". Each element an individual sound that perfectly compliments the whole of the sound. The guitars, banjos, and pianos set a lush stage, which is only further accented by Sufjan's delicate vocals and perfectly arranged horn section. The instruments feel as though they were approached more as a symphony than an alternative rock song, beautifully thought out and arranged. Every note is intentional, though it still manages to sound rough and alive. The music creates a depth and texture I think is rare in modern songwriting.

"The Avalanche" was easily my favorite song from last year, even though it was only a b-side from Sufjan's epic Illinoise album. It was first released as an i-Tunes exclusive, then later as a bonus track on the vinyl pressing of Illinoise. This year it was released as the title track on a collection of b-sides from the Illinoise sessions. As much as it surprises me that this was left off of the main album, it makes me happy to see how available the song has been made since the album's release.

Sufjan's music has become some of my absolute favorite over the last few years. From his albums to his live performances, his style as a musician is one that I greatly admire.





Be sure to check out what Glenn, Rachael, Niveous, Andy, and Heuristics Inc chose for today.

Big Country's "In A Big Country"


Big Country's "In A Big Country"

I was looking over an old Myspace time waster survey I had filled out, and one of the questions was "Favorite 80's one hit wonder song". The answer is absolutely "In A Big Country" by Big Country. I remember loving this song with as a kid. It was one of those tracks that stayed with me as I grew up. I don't know if it's the soaring guitar riffs, the perfectly simple vocals and harmonies, or the fact that it's the only song you can legitimately yell "Shaaa!" out while singing. The entire anthem is put together perfectly. Even the lyrics, while still displaying their mandatory "you can do it" 80's message, are poetically visual and skillfully crafted.

"I'm not expecting to grow flowers in the desert
But I can live and breathe and see the sun in winter time"

Good stuff.

And let us not forget that bonus points should be awarded any time the band name and their only hit song are eponymous.

"SHAAAA!"





Be sure to check out what Glenn, Rachael, Niveous, Andy, and Heuristics Inc chose for today.