By special request, I bring the Random 5 back this week. Let’s see what craziness this weekend begins with.
The Cure, “Sinking”: In middle and high school I was aware of the kids who loved the Cure, but never became one until Disintegration came out. When I finally listened to The Head on the Door, I liked it fine, but I found it facile compared to the later effort. The highs were giddy, but the lows felt shallow when stacked up against the massive thundering tracks of “Disintegration.” I still feel that way about songs like “Sinking.” Robert Smith is trying to reach for that note of despair, and for most of the song he doesn’t get there—maybe it’s the keyboards that don’t work for me. But then there’s that bridge: “So I trick myself/Like everybody else/I crouch in fear and wait/I’ll never feel again/If only I could remember/Anything at all.” And then I feel the connection to the dark heart that the best Cure tracks touch.
Herbert von Karajan/Vienna Philharmonic, “Brahms: Ein Deutsches Requiem. I. “Selig sind, die da Leid tragen”: One choral masterwork that has become completely embedded in my soul. This recording doesn’t draw out the precision of some of the interior orchestral lines the way that Levine was able to on his recording with the BSO (on which I sang), but the way that the choir emerges from the void in the beginning, completely seamlessly, with all voice parts completely seamlessly blended is something to hear.
White Stripes, “Why Can’t You Be Nicer to Me?”: Back when the White Stripes were refreshing because of their relative lack of pretense and you weren’t sure whether they were brother/sister, husband/wife, or both, or what.
White Stripes, “I’m Bound to Pack It Up”: Proof once again that the iPhone’s random is really random, this second track from De Stijl sounds like the bastard child of “Going to California” and “We Are Going to Be Friends.”
Patrick Watson, “Big Bird in a Small Cage”: Ever run across a track that you’re not sure how it got into your music library? That’s this track. Wikipedia tells me it was a Starbucks Pick of the Week in 2009, which is probably where I got it—and the last time I heard it. But I like it. Sort of Devendra Banhart meets the Beach Boys and Dolly Parton.