Mixmas 2011 :: The Lumineers
December 5th, 2011 by Matt
If it’s December, then you know it’s Mixmas time at You Ain’t No Picasso! Each year I get a bunch of my favorite bands to contribute themed mixes and share their thoughts about each of the tracks.
MP3: The Lumineers – Ho Hey (live)
I picked up on the Lumineers late in the year, but that didn’t stop me from falling quickly in love with their catchy, straightforward blend of folk and pop. Seriously, check out “Ho Hey” before you listen to any of these other songs — you won’t feel as if your time was wasted.
“5 Good Songs with Good Backstories” by Wesley Keith of the Lumineers
i’m a firm believer that a song should stand on its own two feet… no explanation necessary. but every once in a while you hear a good song that is accompanied by a backstory that seems to enrich the song exponentially. some of these backstories prove to be myths, some true, and others we’ll never know… but here’s a few songs i’ve had the good fortune of hearing, and the back-stories that followed.
MP3: Felice Brothers – Hey Hey Revolver
the first time i played this song, the cd skipped, or so i thought… a few days later i opened up the CD jacket. now i rarely read liner notes, but the notes on “Tonight at the Arizona ” told a story. it talked about these boys, and how no matter hard you tried to bathe them, clean em up, comb their hair, they always had some dirt somewhere – under their fingernails maybe… somewhere. but then the liner notes elaborate,
giving the example of track 3 – “hey hey revolver”. as the band was recording this particular tune, a bolt of lightning struck the building – it happens around 20 secs, you can’t miss it – which interrupts the electrical signal and causes a skipping sound – however, the sound builds back up and returns and a slow rumble envelopes the track like a cloud of dust. they kept it on the record, and i was made a believer.
STREAM: Bob Dylan – When the Ship Comes In
the first time i heard this song was on the floor of a pitch black apt in france; a friend of mine played it for me. i was immediately hooked by the imagery.
“oh the fishes will laugh as they swim out of the path and the seagulls they’ll be a’smilin” and “and they’ll raise their hands, say we’ll meet all your demands, but
we’ll shout from the bow your days are numbered”
i eventually heard that Bob Dylan wrote it in response to an incident in the UK. According to joan baez, dylan was denied a hotel room because of his unkempt appearance (and the fact that he was not yet famous in Europe), and that it was only when baez vouched for him, that he was allowed inside. this apparently caused him to write a song about a day of reckoning; that universal idea that ‘my time will come’, and/or ‘one day, they will get what’s coming to them’.
MP3: Nathaniel Rateliff – You Should’ve Seen The Other Guy
great song on its own, but the fact that it’s about the tragic death of rateliff’s great-grandfather, a bootlegger in missouri, separates it from what many others write and sing about. The true story takes place late at night, in the dead of winter. rateliff’s great grandfather gets drunk on his own bootleg whiskey. on his way home from a night out, drunk and disoriented, he decides to sit down for a moment, and rest in the woods. He froze to death that night. Goddamn, what a song.
STREAM: Bruce Springsteen – My City of Ruin (A Tribute to Heroes version)
being as i’m a NJ native, i must include Bruce Springsteen. Most who know this as a song of hope, or as the Boss puts it, “a song for our fallen brothers and sisters” after 9/11. But, in fact, this song was originally written about Asbury Park, for a fundraiser to revitalize the very city he named his debut record after – “Greetings from Asbury Park, NJ”. The song holds up with either city in mind, and it’s interesting to listen back and flip flop the scenery: one scene is a small, former beach-town that’s failing and falling apart… and the other is a major city that’s been attacked, and the tragic aftermath that follows.
STREAM: John Lennon / Plastic Ono Band – Hold On
This one is a bit lighter… and i’m not really sure it’s true – but a friend of mine told me the story, and i not only find it believable, but i laugh to myself each time i hear it. It also revolves around the most popular kids show ever… Right at 1:08 on “Hold On” you hear the unmistakable impression of Sesame Street’s Cookie Monster saying “COOKIE!”… Apparently, John Lennon put this in the track because he and his son, Sean, would watch the show together and it was his son’s favorite character. the end.