Friday Random 5: Dry the Rain

An odd grab bag of stuff for an odd grab-bag of a day. But as the morning fog and rain burns off before the afternoon clouds roll in (feels a little like Seattle!), it’s a good day to strap the headphones on for a little Random 5.

Radiohead, “4 Minute Warning”: A song from the “Disk 2” companion to In Rainbows, it’s like a lot of the songs on that masterwork: pretty and conventional on the surface, shot full of existential dread underneath.

Nick Drake, “Know”: Speaking of existential dread, this bare guitar-and-voice track from Pink Moon carries the same emotional payload as Drake’s devastating “Black Eyed Dog,” without the comforting John Fahey-inspired solo guitar work. The repeated guitar figure comes across as accusatory and mocking as the narrator sings “You know that I love you/You know I don’t care/You know that I see you/You know I’m not there.” Is the narrator accusing? Stalking? Dead? A great track for Halloween.

PJ Harvey, “Hanging on the Wire”: Another pretty song of despair, this one from the battlefield. The technique is offputting for me, which may be why I never cottoned much to this album.

Nada Surf, “Here Goes Something”: Lovely, optimistic track from an album I’ve slept on a bit. Lucky isn’t as unabashedly brilliant as Let Go or The Weight is a Gift but there’s some really good stuff on it.

The Chieftains & Kevin Conneff: “The Green Fields of America”: No, I know. But come back. This isn’t the typical Chieftains track, heavy with tin flute and bonhomie (though I like a lot of those tracks too). This is a solo song by Kevin Conneff about the Irish immigrant experience, and it’s totally devastating. Must listen.