You wouldn’t think Josh Rouse was one of my favourite singers, given the amount of coverage I’ve given him on this site. Sorry, JR.

joshrouse

Several years ago, I read a review of “Under Cold Blue Stars”, and asked my sister for it for Christmas 2002. After a blank look, and a long search, I found it in my stocking, and listened to it a couple of times, before discarding it to gather dust on a shelf. However, over the next few months, I got my hands on some of Josh’s older albums (namely 1998’s “Dressed Up Like Nebraska” and 2000’s “Home”), and once “1972” was released and gained critical acclaim in 2003, I was happy to role out my elitist head, and utter those immortal words: “I’ve been listening to him for ages!”

Josh has just released a “best of” from one of his older record labels, the resulting collection of which is a must-have for non-Josh fans. Yep, you heard me – the collection is a whistle-stop introduction to Josh, and pulls together most of his top songs. However, if you’ve already gotten most of JR’s work, then you’ll already have most of 25 of the 32 songs on the collection (the other 7 being demos and rare tracks).

However, being the Josh completist that I am, I got my hands on the collection as soon as it was available. From it, I’ve decided to include four of my favourite Josh songs:

  • Directions – the song which got me into Josh in the first place; a rip-roaring, high-tempo ode to a bad relationship
  • Feeling No Pain – not quite as rip-roaring, but still up-tempo; a happy tune about the invincibility that love can instill
  • Nothing Gives Me Pleasure – from the same album as “Feeling No Pain” (2002’s “Under Cold Blue Stars”), a slow, insistent little ditty about dependence on another
  • My Love Is Gone – and finally, the song containing my favourite Josh Rouse line of all time….

And I sleep with the TV on. Its the only sound, our love’s gone.

And so, here’s to Josh Rouse. Releasing nearly an album a year (and I’ll be honest here – of ever-decreasing quality). Getting happy and married and moving to Nashville. Having that marriage end and moving to Spain. Producing bittersweet (and sometimes just plain sweet) music. And now with a post on my blog. Surely the pinnacle of his career.

Josh Rouse – Directions

Josh Rouse – Feeling No Pain

Josh Rouse – Nothing Gives Me Pleasure

Josh Rouse – My Love Is Gone

Well, the description for this one doesn’t get any clearer – no melancholy whatsoever in this one.

Biffy Clyro – crazy name, crazy people. As Wikipedia so perfectly put it, their sound is

a heavy, yet melodic, mixture of guitar, bass and drums, with all three band members contributing to vocals. They are known for complex and interwoven guitar riffs, chord sequences and melodies that often change throughout songs.

biffyclyro

I have a love-hate relationship with Biffy Clyro (wow, there’s a phrase I never thought I’d say). Some of their music touches me deeply, and really affects me – their slower songs, their melodic quiet-loud-quiet patterns. Some of their music makes me want to throw all the electronics in my apartment out the window – experimental to the point of torture. But when these guys get it right, boy, do they get it right.

It’s not melancholy. But it’s fun.

Nothing lasts forever, except you and me. (You are my mountain, you are my sea)
Love will last forever, between you and me. (You are my mountain, you are my sea)

I am a mountain, I am the sea, you can’t take that away from me.
I am a mountain, I am the sea.
I am a mountain, I am the sea

Biffy Clyro – Mountains

But all I know is
I’m not ready yet
For the light to dim
Got a suitcase, got regrets
But I’m hopeful yet
And I’ll raise this glass of wine
And I’ll say your name

Before these new-fangled CD things took off, and a long time before people are putting songs onto pieces of computer RAM, way back in the mists of time, I used to tape a lot of music off the radio. As I mentioned before, I listened to these tapes so much, I could tell you every song in order. Even now, two stick out – on one of the more mainstream radio stations, something obviously broke, and they played “Here Comes A Regular” by the Replacements, followed by the ex-lead singer, Paul Westerberg’s “It’s a Wonderful Lie”.

thereplacements

A couple of days ago, I found I had copied “Here Comes A Regular” to my iPod, and the memories came flooding back. I promise to post “It’s a Wonderful Lie” soon, but for now wanted you all to enjoy the greatest song about the loneliness of alcohol I’ve ever heard. Even now, this 23 year old song cuts deep.

Well a person can work up a mean mean thirst
after a hard day of nothin’ much at all
Summer’s passed, it’s too late to cut the grass
There ain’t much to rake anyway in the fall

And sometimes I just ain’t in the mood
to take my place in back with the loudmouths
You’re like a picture on the fridge that’s never stocked with food
I used to live at home, now I stay at the house

And everybody wants to be special here
They call your name out loud and clear
Here comes a regular
Call out your name
Here comes a regular
Am I the only one here today?

Well a drinkin’ buddy that’s bound to another town
Once the police made you go away
And even if you’re in the arms of someone’s baby now
I’ll take a great big whiskey to ya anyway

Everybody wants to be someone’s here
Someone’s gonna show up, never fear
’cause here comes a regular
Call out your name
Here comes a regular
Am I the only one who feels ashamed?

Kneeling alongside old Sad Eyes
He says opportunity knocks once then the door slams shut
All I know is I’m sick of everything that my money can buy
The fool who wastes his life, God rest his guts

First the lights, then the collar goes up, and the wind begins to blow
Turn your back on a pay-you-back, last call
First the glass, then the leaves that pass, then comes the snow
Ain’t much to rake anyway in the fall

The Replacements – Here Comes A Regular