Certain Songs #760: Jens Lekman – “Black Cab”

Album: Oh You’re So Silent Jens
Year: 2005

Jens Lekman is a Swedish singer-songwriter who juxtaposes twee arrangements, his impossibly deep voice with song titles like “I Saw Her in The Anti War Demonstration” and “The End of The World is Bigger Than Love” with a result that often comes across as a less aggressive Belle & Sebastian.

And if that seems like I’m damning with faint praise, it’s also a combination that occasionally produces near perfect pop songs, the nearest of which is “Black Cab.”

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Certain Songs #759: Jenny Lewis – “Acid Tongue”

Album: Acid Tongue
Year: 2008

Probably because she’s followed her own idiosyncratic muse instead of doing whatever was expected, the solo career of former Rilo Kiley frontperson Jenny Lewis hasn’t made her the huge star that one might have expected her to become.

I like all three of her solo albums (and the Jenny & Johnny record, too), and she’s supposedly got a fourth one — like The Voyager, produced by Ryan Adams — on the way.

And while all of those records have songs I love, my favorite is title track to her second album, 2008’s Acid Tongue.

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Certain Songs #758: Jefferson Airplane – “Somebody to Love”

Album: Surrealistic Pillow
Year: 1967

I’m going to admit it: for the most part I found all of the incarnations of Jefferson Airplane, Jefferson Starship and Starship pretty dull.

And that includes the album that made their initial reputation, 1967’s Surrealistic Pillow, which I remember hearing in the late 1970s — I think it was one of the reel-to-reel tapes that my Uncle Bill gave to Joe — and not really getting it.

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Certain Songs #757: The Jeff Beck Group – “Girl From Mill Valley”

Album: Beck-Ola
Year: 1969

With Rod Stewart & Ronnie Wood both clearly eyeing a future without Jeff Beck — Stewart’s first solo album was on the horizon, as was both men joining the soon-to-be-remonikered Small Faces — 1969’s Beck-Ola was a weak follow-up to Truth.

So much so that the best song on the entire album was by the new guy, barely featured Beck, and didn’t feature Stewart at all.

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Certain Songs #756: The Jeff Beck Group – “Beck’s Bolero”

Album: Truth
Year: 1968

Of course, while there were only three Yardbirds songs that Jeff Beck & Jimmy Page performed together on, there was also one final tune upon which they collaborated during those heady Yardbirds days, the ridiculous epic instrumental known as “Beck’s Bolero.”

It gets better, of course, because not only does “Beck’s Bolero” feature the aforementioned dynamic duo (and maybe a rumoured Ritchie Blackmore, but that of course would be utterly insane), it also features The Who’s Keith Moon on the drums and a pair of extraordinary session men, John Paul Jones and Nicky Hopkins on the bass & keyboards.

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