366 Songs 366: What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?

Firstly, anyone who didn’t think that I was going to go with this song for the final day of the year, you really don’t know me that well, do you?

This is such a lovely song in almost every incarnation, if only for the longing and hopefulness in the lyric and the swooping melody. “Oh, but in case I stand a little chance/Here comes the jackpot question in advance…” How can you fail to fall for a song that says that? Myself, I’m partial to the Rufus version above; I think the plain arrangement and his moaning vocals fit especially well, for some reason, but there’s no denying that Ella made it swing like few others:

And so, we come to the end of this year-long experiment to write about a song every day. It failed, in many ways – I didn’t write one a day, and had to play catch-up numerous times – but it was fun nonetheless, even when it felt like a broken promise hanging over my head. I’ve been emailed to ask if I’ll be continuing it in the new year, and I doubt it; I’ll search for new ways to write about music and find my footing there, I think (An album a month, maybe?), and I want to get away from promising something every day because I know from experience that that’s not always possible for various reasons. As to where that’ll leave this blog… Well, we’ll see together, I think. 2012 has been, as I’ve said elsewhere, a rough year and as part of 2013’s correction course, I want to try and find a new creative equilibrium to tamp off the excesses of work. I suspect this site will play some part in that, even if I don’t know what form it’ll take.

Happy New Year, everyone reading this, wherever and whoever you are. May your next 366 songs, and days (Well, 365, of course; next year isn’t a leap year), be something to leave you smiling.

366 Songs 108: Out Of The Game

I’m not the world’s biggest Rufus Wainwright fan by any stretch of the imagination – He’s always been a marvelous performer in search of material that’s worth his attention, to me, with his own songs constantly falling short of that mark – but the vocal hook of his comeback single “Out of The Game” is another of those earworms that works where the rest of the song just doesn’t. Up until the “Look at you/Look at you/Look at you/[Unintelligible]” bit (Seriously, does he say “Sometimes”? “Sundance”? I can’t make it out, but that doesn’t matter, it’s the sound of the word, the feeling of release it brings after that build) at 0:51, this is an astoundingly generic song, but then that hook comes in and decides it likes the look of your inner brain and might just move in. Good job, Mr. Wainwright; here’s hoping there’s a song that has that stickiness all the way through on your new album.

What’s really interesting about the song to me, though, is the sound of it. It’s Mark Ronson producing and he’s apparently moved from the retro-60s of his Amy Winehouse and Version period (and the retro-80s of his Record Collection album, for that matter) to something very firmly 1970s and Californian. Listen to the sound of the guitars here; you can almost imagine syrupy-album cover photo the song would’ve had had it been released in 1976 and fighting with Elton John to top the sales charts. There’s something seductive about such fidelity to the original aural experience, but it leaves me wondering where Ronson will go next. Surely ’90s retro would just sound like ’60s retro again…?