April Music Faves
April, like March, was a tough cookie to tackle because of the millions of tasks that were shoved into a short time frame. But as the month came to a close, I felt relieved and accomplished after (1) having a semi-successful gig at PianoFight, (2) finishing up a huge project at work—a big chunk of it at least—and (3) presenting a successful session about making the most out of a studio apartment for my Pinterest Knit con session.
Lots of K-pop/J-pop in this one, and a combination of my old and new favorite artists. Tom Misch recently came out with his new "Geography" album which contains fantastic songs one after the other (my favorite has to be "Lost in Paris," which I've been obsessively listening to). After doing an IU cover, I started revisiting a lot of her songs as well.
Sleepless rainy night
(잠 못 드는 밤 비는 내리고)
I am so in love with IU's rhythm section these days because they tend to keep things very simple but tasteful. They're really good at making space for IU when she's doing more vocally-interesting things, but they also play some super melodic fills to take up the empty space. This song is a really good demonstration of that. Also please marvel at IU's belting of that high G at 4:10.
This intro track to Tom Misch's new album Geography (also an intro to the next song, "Lost in Paris") is so much more than just an intro track. I love the spoken part in the beginning where the musician explains that he will go out to "jam sessions regardless of whether [he's] getting paid or not", and the part where he goes on to talk about how "art is a mirror of society" and so forth. The cool guitar part following that is extremely funky and catchy and always stays in my head after I listen to this song.
Lost in Paris
Now, onto the actual song after that insanely cool intro. This is probably my favorite song in the album because (A) it's really simple and catchy and (B) there are really distinct sections of the song that keep it interesting (including a rap and trumpet solo section). I really love how Tom Misch will layer complex guitar melodies under a really simple and repetitive melody that he will sing. This makes his melody sound sophisticated even though it's super singable and memorable to the listener.
Make Me complete - unchained ver.
I applaud BoA for singing a full song in English and pronouncing her lyrics really damn well. Plus, this is one of the few times where the English lyrics in a J-pop/K-pop song actually make sense. I'm sure you're aware that a lot of K-pop songs these days are littered with what Koreans think are cool-sounding English catch phrases that make no sense in the context of the song. Luckily this song didn't adhere to that. I also love the addition of the acoustic guitar that cuts through the funky groove that rest of the rhythm section is playing.
Fool for you
Spotify suggested this song to me on multiple weeks' worth of Discover Weekly's. So by the time this song showed up again, I was already familiar with it and already knew all the lyrics. I found it too catchy and simple not to listen it over and over again this month.
Dreamin' - live
Loved this song ever since I listened to the original for the first time, mostly for its simple vocal + acoustic guitar paring, and also for its lyrics which I relate to so much in my life right now:
so if I'm dreaming please don't wake me up
because I feel so much better if I go to sleep
and if I'm breathing
faster than usual please
just let me be
Cyrille Aimee, Matt Simons
Because I'm going to see Cyrille Aimee in May at SFJAZZ, I've been listening to her quite a lot these days. Her live scatting is probably some of the most insane that I've heard, and her unique twist on classic jazz standards and 80s pop songs are so fun to listen to. For this song in particular, I really love the layering of vocals at 2:27. Matt starts singing first, and then Cyrille comes in a few bars later, offsetting the melody. Another highlight in the song to point out is the contrast of the electric guitar solo on top of the acoustic guitar at 2:00, which creates such a cool texture.
Boy do I love trumpets and this song is full of them. Not to mention they're perfectly in sync. Since they're not playing super high notes or super melodic passages, these trumpets lay a smooth foundation for the vocals to go on top of. Also, the lyrics to the rap part is just so. damn. good:
call it theory but I want to call it life math
call it melody but I call that my soul's path
call 'em chords and let 'em pluck the heart strings
call 'em instruments but they're with what the heart sings
the semiotics and semantics of a man's life
change ya mind
I've really started appreciating music that is simple these days. It's surprising because a while ago I was all about music that was complex and sophisticated. But after writing a few songs that were full of unnecessary complexities, and listening to musicians play complicated passages to purely demonstrate skill, I started getting a little sick of that complexity and looked to music that had fewer instruments and less note-y melodic phrases. I just find that simple music is more likely to make me feel the emotions that the song is trying to convey. This song is a really good example of a song that's super simple, but manages to convey a whole lot of emotion. The vocals paired with the muffled piano leave a lot of silence in the middle of phrases, and the simplicity really conveys the sadness and the helplnessness (?) of the lyrics.
Fly - unchained ver.
Here's another pick from BoA's Unchained album, which is basically a compilation of acoustic, jazzier versions of her existing songs. The layering of acoustic guitar sounds so damn good in this (i.e. the fills that one guitar will play at the end of some phrases). The chord changes at 1:23 are also just so tasty.
Friday (Ft. Yi-Jeong of HISTORY)
I was listening a lot to this song because my friend Anna and I decided to do a cover of it. Also because I just love IU so much. Who doesn't? Head on over to this post to listen to it, and to check out the cake that we were waiting to bake while we were making the cover!
You're on my mind
This is another one of my favorites from the Geography album. I love the choice of acoustic guitar for the majority of the song, which is a little different for Tom Misch (who has a very signature sound with his electric guitar). Because the song is very simple and sparse with just vocals and acoustic guitar in the beginning, when the electric guitar comes in with its solo at 2:54, it just sounds way more dramatic and sophisticated. I also love the addition of female background vocals, which also kinda diverged a bit from Tom Misch's usual sound.
I love these artists and these songs! If you love them too, let's talk :) Also if you have more suggestions on artists or albums I should be listening to, please let ya girl know!