As promised this month’s list will include some new songs as well as rounding out my list of female singers. This is not by any means a comprehensive list of my favorite female singers and musicians, there’s Veruca Salt, Juliana Hatfield, Shonen Knife, and my current favorite Regina Spektor who will probably grace future lists.
1. “Them Heavy People” (“The Kick Inside” – Kate Bush – 24-bit/44.1kHz – Qobuz) Now back to my female ballad list; My first Kate Bush record was a 12″ 45RPM live recording of “Them Heavy People”. Unfortunately, that recording is not available streaming, and the only nod to high-resolution is 24-bit remasters of her albums, still she remains one of the greatest songwriter/performers of the 20th century. The story is that David Gilmour discovered her when she was 16 helping her to produce her first album which is the basis for this song.
2. “When He Shines” (“Take My Time” – Sheena Easton – 16-bit/44.1kHz – Qobuz) I saw Sheena Easton perform this song on Johnny Carson’s “The Tonight Show” and was instantly in love. I rushed out to my local record store Aron’s Too to buy the album but it had yet to be released in the US so I bought my first Japanese pressing (of which I would eventually buy over 200). Sheena has as near-perfect voice as is possible and this song is her best.
3. “Total Control” (“The Motels” – The Motels – 16-bit/44.1kHz – Qobuz) Martha Davis may not have the perfection of Sheena Easton, but this song is chill-inducing all the same.
4. “As I Lay Me Down” (“Whaler” – Sophie B. Hawkins – 16-bit/44.1kHz – Qobuz) With a voice that is reminiscent of Merrilee Rush this is probably the most positive ballad imaginable.
5. “Sunny Came Home” (“A Few Small Repairs” – Shawn Colvin – 24-bit/44.1kHz – Qobuz) With a chorus that sounds remarkably like “As I Lay Me Down” this one though much darker in message is the one that made it onto my regular test-track list.
6. “Uncle Alvarez” (“whitechocolatespaceegg” – Liz Phair – 16-bit/44.1kHz – Qobuz) Liz Phair tunes lend themselves more to anthems than ballads, but I think “Uncle Alvarez” qualifies. While “Polyester Bride” is the song that graces my test list, all the songs on “whitechocolatespaceegg” are epic, and since I was looking for ballads, this was my choice.
7. “Here It Is” (“Here It Is: A Tribute to Leonard Cohen” – Peter Gabriel – 24-bit/96kHz – Qobuz) A highlight on an album that is a collection of brilliant performances, Peter Gabriel’s rendition of “Here It Is” downbeat, slow and dark is more Leonard Cohen than Leonard Cohen. Released by Blue Note Records the album contains a list of jazz interpretations of Leonard Cohen’s most popular tunes, by some of the most talented performers out there, but as I said, Peter is just a cut above the rest.
8. “You Want It Darker” (“Here It Is: A Tribute to Leonard Cohen” – Iggy Pop – 24-bit/96kHz – Qobuz) Living up to the title of the song there could be no more appropriate tune for the talents of Iggy Pop.
9. “Tippa My Tongue” (“Return of the Dream Canteen” – Red Hot Chili Peppers – 24-bit/96kHz – Qobuz) A blistering almost progressive rock combination of funk and psychedelic, with a hint of house, “Return of the Dream Canteen” is the most spectacular entry from Red Hot Chili Peppers since, well period. All of the songs are laced around Flea’s virtuoso bass lending them a very complex and involving rhythm. It is hard to pick one tune out as best, but “Tippa My Tongue” was the first to catch my ear and is very representative.
10. “These Small Noises” (“FOREVERANDEVERNOMORE” – Brian Eno – 24-bit/44.1kHz – Qobuz) The reigning master of ambient music and the inventor of “Frippertonics” (he named it after Fripp because he felt Robert took the art to its peak) Brian Eno has released an album of vocal tunes that are composed in a manner that could only come from Brian Eno. Each song is so intense and unique it was almost impossible to pick one that rose above the rest until I heard “These Small Noises” which features vocals by his daughter Darla Joy Eno to enhance his David Sylvian like baritone. Though very different from the other compositions in that it has a strong piano melody throughout making it much less ambient, it is still all Brian Eno.
Well, that is another month come and gone, so remember until next month, It’s all about the music.
Qobuz Playlist Link: