I’ve always said that pretty much any Lana Del Rey song could be a James Bond theme. Her music is so lush and seductive, so retro romantic, that it’s made to play against floating silhouettes of guns and naked women.
It’s no surprise, then, that the Bond producers asked Del Rey to write a song for their latest film, Spectre. They wound up passing on her contribution in favor of Sam Smith’s ‘Writing on the Wall’ (big mistake, IMO). Today’s SOTD is assumed to be the track she wrote for the film (Spectre is the 24th Bond movie, and the musical and lyrical content are certainly in the ballpark). It would’ve worked like gangbusters.
After a dry spell for new music, I’ve recently picked up three very good and very different releases. I’ll feature a song from each this week.
First up is Ben Folds, who last graced us with The Sound of the Life of the Mind, his reunion album with Ben Folds Five. Since then, he has delved into classical composing and his new disc, So There, features his first fully instrumental work.
This performance by Bob Dylan of his classic protest song ‘Masters of War’ took place at Brandies University in 1963. The concert took place just weeks before the release of Dylan’s second album, The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan, before he became a star.
These tapes were unearthed decades later during some house cleaning by the son of Rolling Stone co-founder Ralph J. Gleason.
This early track by Childish Gambino is the reason Rap Genius was invented. Check out the annotation of these lyrics on that website to fully appreciate all of the double and triple meanings Donald Glover is stacking up here.
In terms of music, beat and delivery this track isn’t much to write home about but I love his ability to turn a phrase.
This 2-week dive into the albums ranked highest by critics in 1992 has been a bit discouraging. I’ve discovered a whole lot of murky and loud alternative rock that, for my money, is best left in the dustbins of history. Also a couple of rap albums and an extended disc of ambient noise.
So I’m happy to finish the span with a refreshingly melodic and resonant cut from k.d. lang. Lang followed her country crossover masterpiece Absolute Torch and Twang with 1992’s Ingenue, a full-on dive into adult contemporary territory.
I’m swiftly realizing that while 1992 was an important year for me personally, it was kind of a shit year for music.
To be fair, I listed my ten favorite 1992 albums and covered a lot of excellent ground (any year that includes R.E.M.’s Automatic for the People can’t be all bad).
But the critical consensus around the albums I haven’t heard is amounting to a great big disappointment. My look back at 1982 unearthed a few gems I quickly downloaded. No such luck this time around.
Other than Dr. Dre’s The Chronic, the rap album that showed up on the most year-end lists in 1992 was The Pharcyde’s Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde.
This is the debut album of a Los Angeles rap band that still performs today even though their last album came out a decade ago. in contrast to Dre’s focus on drugs and gang-banging, this album (and group) lean more toward ribald humor.