In the Mix: From Dido to Grace Potter

For anyone who’s known me for any length of time, you know that my first passion was and will always be music. Okay, okay, so it’s 1A and 1B with writing, but you get my point. So you would think that when given the possibility of a blog that I would have gravitated toward a HUGE music-themed extravaganza, right? Wrong. And I guess that’s because as much as I love music, it’s pretty much been an individual thing for me, a private oasis that only I visit, or can understand.

But as I’ve gotten older I have felt the need to share music more, with the knowledge that others might not appreciate what I find sacred. That’s okay, though, because it doesn’t change my appreciation and love of that music. It just means that others also approach music individually, which is fine. I have a friend who shares so much new music with me all the time. She texts me every day with some new band she’s “discovered” and I can’t help but smile because even though some of them are really not my cup of tea, some are, and I am grateful.

A while back I did a series of blogs called “Shuffle” where I turned on my iPod, set it to shuffle, and chronicled the first 18 songs that came up in an attempt to share some of my musical tastes with my readers. So I’m going to do something a little different now. Instead of hitting “Shuffle” I’m going to scan through my artists and pick five relatively random ones, listen to one song from them, and write about it here. Here goes…

  1. Dido – Let Us Move On. What I love about Dido is the ephemeral nature of her voice, almost like she’s an angel sitting on a cloud and we’re getting to hear the music through the haze of that experience. I remember when I first heard “Thank You” and then “Hunter” and I thought I would never get tired of hearing the tone of her voice. I haven’t. This song is from her most recent album, The Girl Who Got Away.
  2. Dolores O’Riordan – Skeleton. Yes, I’m one of those freaks who really likes unique voices, and Miss O’Riordan would certainly classify as such. I first heard her with her group the Cranberries in the early 90s singing “Linger” and I’ve adored her voice ever since. When she left the group to pursue a solo career I went with her (and they’ve since reunited — twice). This song is from her second solo record, No Baggage, and it includes some of her signature howling/yodeling that my wife finds annoying but that I must try to copy anyway.
  3. _single_i_m_a_freak_enrique_iglesias_feat_pitbull__by_juniiorsm-d7csxefEnrique Iglesias – I’m a Freak (feat. Pitbull). “Bailamos” grabbed me and shook me when it was first released, and I got addicted to Enrique the second I heard “Escape,” but then he sort of dropped off my radar until last year when I heard him perform “Heart Attack” on one of the music talent shows (it was probably American Idol). I loved that song so much that I got the whole album Sex And Love when it was released, and I enjoy the whole thing immensely. There’s something about Enrique’s voice that draws me in every time, even when he sings in Spanish. And did I mention Pitbull’s on this one?
  4. Filter – Hatred is Contagious. Okay, so I’m a huge Nine Inch Nails fan, and I have been ever since I heard The Downward Spiral blasted through speakers in a hole in a wall shop in the late 90s. There’s just something about industrial music that makes me want to thrash my head and not worry about scrambling anything. Filter is a group started by a former member of NIN and you can tell in most of their songs with that industrial edge. While they’re no NIN, they are their own brand of amazing, and not a one of their albums has disappointed me. This song is from their fourth record, Anthems For the Damned.
  5. Grace Potter And The Nocturnals - White Rabbit (FanMade Single Cover) Made by SebastiaoMotaGrace Potter and the Nocturnals – White Rabbit. I’m a sucker for the movie Alice in Wonderland (yes, the one with Johnny Depp), and the companion album to it was called Almost Alice. It features some of the best names in both folk rock and alternative rock. Grace Potter fits neatly into both categories, and this song is her tour de force take on the adventures in Wonderland, particularly the ones dealing with the White Rabbit, of course. Her voice is evocative of those husky singers of the 60s and 70s because she can emote with the best of them, and she’s got crazy range. The whole album is dynamic, but this song is a standout indeed.

Sam

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