First the ballad: "Almost Lover" by A Fine Frenzy. With a name like A Fine Frenzy, you'd think you might be listening to an indie rock quartet, maybe even an Emo band. But no, A Fine Frenzy is actually 22 year old Alison Sudol. Her debut album One Cell in the Sea has been out for just over a year, but I had never come across her until last week. Piano-driven melodic melancholia is an apt description for some of her songs, including "Almost Lover". But even the majority of the sad songs I find to be strangely uplifting at the same time. Melancholy lyrics set to an upbeat piano melody. Listening to songs on the album such as "Think of You", "Ashes and Wine", and "Almost Lover", you can't help but think that there is someone out there who has done this girl some serious wrong in her life. One commenter on "Almost Lover" had the following to say:
Yep, I think I agree with that. Here is Alison performing "Almost Lover" on VH1 .
"One day I will find the man who inspired her to write this song.
Shake his hand for introducing such a fine piece of musical art into this world.
And then kick the living shit out of him for breaking her heart."
The second song is "Cowboys" by Counting Crows, which for my money is the best song Counting Crows have released in years. When I first heard the song, I assumed it was expressing the frustrations of a man whose life had not turned out the way he planned "This is a list of things I should have been but I'm not; This is a list of things I should have seen but I'm not seeing". On repeated listenings I realized that it is definitely darker than that - it is a man on the verge of acting out on the perceived wrongs he has suffered; who feels insignificant and beaten down, and unnoticed by everyone- especially the woman he is obsessed with.
"The look in your eyes
As his fingertips slid down your neck and made you shiver
I'm just turning away from where I should have been
Because I am not anything, oh, anything, oh"
"You look at me, so please won't you look at me?
'Cause I'm not seeing you look at me
Oh, I will make you look at me
Or I am not anything, oh, anything, no, no, no, no"
Still a rocking song though!