I don’t think I’ve seen a more affecting and raw film in the past year than what I found in Blue Valentine a romantic drama that does not shy from exposing a relationship at both its most earnest and its most raw. While the soundtrack as a whole is amazing, with great work from indie bands Grizzly Bear as well as the fantastic “In Ear Park” from Department of Eagles, interwoven with the emotional film.
Yet of all things on the fantastic soundtrack, (including a very sweet bare bones ukelele song by Gosling himself) the song that stands out is this beautiful soul number. Gosling’s character introduces it in the film as their song, and its beautifully worked into the plot to symbolize what’s changed. It’s a retro number that’s perfectly used to illustrate its timeless beauty, and how the meanings of words can be changed just by feeling. The song after the jump.
A Brooklyn based band by way of California and Canada actually got its name from a local colloquialism while in college in Boston, The Big Dig, which was a an ill planned vast piece of construction that lasted for the better part of 10 years. Fortunately The Dig dropped the Big and they’ve put out a very solid yet underrated second album, Electric Toys. “You’re Already Gone” finds itself in best of The Strokes territory, hijacking their urbanite punk derived rhythms into something enjoyable, comforting in its familiarity and yet exciting in its unique take.
While the lead singer possesses a Casablancas like vocal, The Dig breaches into darker songwriting territory with other songs such as “Two Sisters In Love”, which is probably the most enjoyable piece of incest-murder you’ll ever hear in a song. Download both songs after the jump.
Tucked in at the end of Justin Townes Earle’s Harlem River Blues, one of the best albums of 2010 is a rousing heart-wrenching ballad “Rogers Park”. While most of the songs on the album have a celebratory jaunt in the music to contrast the lyrical mood, “Rogers Park” is a restrained mood, with an absolutely beautiful piano melody motif, and some of the best lyrics Justin Townes Earle has ever written in his career. It’s a somber pick-up from Bruce Springsteen’s Born to Run tramp, starting off with the echoing words “This town’s dead tonight. I’ve got no place to be.”. An absolute profound recording with some beautiful slide guitar work.
I became a thin blue flame Polished on a mountain range And over hills and fields I flew Wrapped up in a royal blue I flew over Royal City last night A bullfighter on the horns of a new moon’s light Caesar’s ghost I saw the war-time tides The prince of Denmark’s father still and quiet And the whole world was looking to get drowned Trees were a fist shaking themselves at the clouds I looked over curtains and it was then that I knew Only a full house gonna make it through
Few songs will ever come close to Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” a brilliant ode to the problems within religion. Josh Ritter’s “Thin Blue Flame” becomes all that and more, the hushed tone in front of a live audience, the simple rhythm guitar, and the words. At times elegant and at times blunt, the prose is poetic not with a sense of cynicism, but reverence. Not many people could dot their lyrical stanzas with as many purposeful Shakespeare references as Ritter does here, as if to tell us underneath it all the world is our stage, and we the only players. The song is a long one at around 10 minutes but its a sermon that doesn’t patronize or drag, its got a ghostly power to it, and it is well worth your time.