Archive | February, 2018

Certain Songs #1142: Mike Doughty – “No Peace, Los Angeles”

Album: The Skittish Sessions
Year: 2000

On the short list of Prettiest Songs Ever Written: Scoring Drugs in Los Angeles Department, “No Peace, Los Angeles” is a song with a helluva backstory.

Mike Doughty was the famously unhappy lead singer in a 1990s band called Soul Coughing, who kinda worked the same territory as Beck, and put out three records — 1994’s stone classic Ruby Vroom is the one to get — before calling it quits before the end of the decade.

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Certain Songs #1141: Miguel – “leaves”

Album: Wildheart
Year: 2015

For the vast majority of “leaves,” the low-key highlight of Miguel’s 2015 album Wildheart, it’s just Miguel singing about “sweet California” over an sadly echoing guitar, making it yet another Certain Song about the state in which I live.

In this particular case, Miguel is equating California’s relative lack of seasons with his surprise at a relationship gone sour.

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Certain Songs #1140: Miguel – “Use Me”

Album: Kaleidoscope Dream
Year: 2012

What if Prince was influenced by The Jesus and Mary Chain?

That is the question that Miguel seems to be trying to answer with “Use Me,” the shimmering, hazy psychedelic highlight from Kaleidoscope Dream, the second album from one of the more interesting crossover artists of the 21st century.

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Certain Songs #1139: The Mighty Lemon Drops – “All The Way”

Album: Happy Head
Year: 1986

Shamelessly picking up Echo & The Bunnymen’s original neo-psychedelic sound from the the mouth of the cave where the Bunnymen abandoned it for good on Ocean Rain, Happy Head, the debut album from the even sillier-named The Mighty Lemon Drops was a bit of a salve for those of us who wondered what a less gloomy follow-up to Crocodiles might have sounded like.

So Happy Head was full of guitars that reached out and stabbed, basslines that circled back into themselves and drum rolls that stayed on the snare a bit too long and massively anthemic choruses, like the one on “All The Way:”

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Certain Songs #1138: Midnight Oil – “One Country”

Album: Blue Sky Mining
Year: 1990

After having their biggest world-wide album ever with Diesel and Dust, the Oils took a couple of years off and followed it up with 1990’s Blue Sky Mining, which was nearly as good, spawning a couple of major radio songs in “Blue Sky Mine” and “Forgotten Years.”

As good as those songs were, my favorite song on the album was the slow-burning “One Country,” which I guess is the closest Midnight Oil ever got to doing a U2-style anthem.

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