Ry Cooder brought the Buena Vista Social Club, the famed celebration of old Cuban music,to fruition, but his career is more diverse and stylized in the music of Americana. On Paradise and Lunch, arguably his best LP, he merges traditional spirituals, delta blues, soul numbers and even a Burt Bacharach tune into one big melting pot of the American songbook. It’s quite a thrilling expedition and despite its rampant anachronism, it contextualizes quite well. “It’s All Over Now”, written by Sam Cooke protege Bobby Womack, and made famous by The Rolling Stones was by all means a sweaty 60’s r&b number but Cooder turns it on its head, making it into a soul/reggae fusion with great vocal harmonies that truly makes you pause on realizing this is a number by a white virtuoso session man. It’s one of the many reasons to grab the complete album. I’m also including “Tamp ‘Em Up Solid”, the traditional ballad that leads off the album which wouldn’t be out of place on a soundtrack for a modern film about the Civil War (or perhaps on Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained).
I don’t think even Snorri Helgason would be offended to know you haven’t heard of him, but he would be if you didn’t immediately fall in love with his song “River” off of his new Winter Sun LP.
If you happen upon a picture of him, you might be surprised to find he looks like a Icelandic equivalent of Bon Iver. He may as well be, except his mellifluous vocal doesn’t quite reach the ethereal falsetto. However Helgason proves immediately endearing with a beautiful melody and some nice background vocal touches. With a natural lyric that’s simple but not simplistic, he’s sure to make a fan out of anybody he comes across. Who knew Iceland could have such musical talent. Enjoy the video below, and if you dig it, right-click the link below and go buy the rest of the album.
(For all you xenophobes out there, the lyrics are in english)
George Harrison once said “What is my life without your love?” and he’s right. If there is one thing for certain in life it is our need to be needed, to be accepted, to find relationships with people that mean more than growing up with the person. We find that our friends early in life are more to teach us how to be more personable, sociable, and make connections to grow past our fears of alienation and loneliness, a concept that persecutes our everyday lives, as people we want to provoke ourselves. And in a way, a social life educates us more than just an academic education. With friends we have people to bounce our ideas off of, to whittle down beliefs we have that are not necessarily untrue but are not fully developed. Love however defies our logic and sense of friendship, a powerful feeling that can make you feel lonely even with friends, a connection we seek our whole lives to make us feel, oddly enough, whole. Physical attraction is an entirely different animal not to be confused with love, we’ll say “Damn, that girl/guy has a nice body, I wish I could get with her/him.” But that’s not love, love does not necessitate a physical attraction, but a mental attraction; feelings we share, connections we can’t explain but want to know. In love there has to be as much unknown as there is known, for it’s in the seeking of such knowledge that we bond, we fall in love. It drives us to do irrational things; to murder, to wage war, even just simply overspending our money. We feel uncomfortable in our own skin, we feel it is necessary to project an image that is above ourselves. It’s funny to see that true love can be based on white lies that we believe about ourselves to make us more mentally intriguing to the ones we seek. It’s not wrong though, it drives creativity in our culture. What would our society have without this unquenchable search for love and the trials we go through finding it? Now ladies and gentleman, I give you, a mixtape driven and concerned about love.