First, a word about Lou Reed: I was shocked to see that he had died, and then I wasn’t. Because when you think about it, the fact that Lou lived so long is kind of amazing. Especially when I reflect on the power and visceral thrill of my favorite Velvet Underground song, “Heroin.” (Sample lyric: When I put a spike into my vein/And I’ll tell ya, things aren’t quite the same/When I’m rushing on my run/And I feel just like Jesus’ son.”
Anyway, if I wasn’t so preoccupied with the World Series, I would have taken a moment to listen to my Velvet Underground CDs, and my Lou Reed greatest hits album. But I haven’t had a chance to do that yet. Perhaps this weekend, when I’m chilling out at home, I’ll tale a moment to remember Lou — his trailblazing music, his witty and brilliant songwriting and his creative daring.
OK, here are five new songs I’ve been enjoying whenever they come on the radio.
5. 'Refuse to be Saved' by Elvis Costello and The Roots — Elvis Costello is a genius, and The Roots are also pretty awesome. When they combine forces, you get a good song. What I find especially intriguing is Elvis’ decision to collaborate with a hip-hop group, which just goes to show that he’s as musically adventurous as ever.
4. 'Shake by The Head' and the Heart — I really liked The Head and the Heart’s debut album, but I’ve been somewhat iffy on whether I need to acquire any more of their music. But “Shake” is a really good song, and I’m happy to listen to it.
3. 'Man' by Neko Case — Unlike many of my friends, I haven’t gotten into Neko Case. But “Man” is a tremendous song — catchy, angry and, above all, fun — and has made me feel like it’s time to get on the Neko Case bandwagon.
2. 'The Walker' by Fitz and the Tantrums — Fitz and the Tantrums specialize in soulful, energetic music, and “The Walker” might be their best single yet: Whenever it comes on the radio, I find myself bobbing my head and singing along.
1. 'Reflektor' by Arcade Fire — The new Arcade Fire album is divisive. Some people seem to love it, others hate it; the Washington Post’s Chris Richards was especially vicious, writing that “Arcade Fire still sound like gigantic dorks with boring sex lives.” I have not heard the album yet, so I can’t complain about it, or praise it. However, I have heard “Reflektor” and I really like it. It’s disco-y and makes you feel like dancing. It’s multi-layered and complex. And David Bowie sings on it! Really, what’s not to like?
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