Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Today's Jam: Ben E. King, "Stand By Me"

Inevitably, when I hear this song, I start to hum or sing along, and I never can get through the whole thing without choking up. It's one of those most perfect pop songs. That quiet, minimal, delicate shuffling backing track broken through by King's tear-cracked voice invokes the feeling of loneliness and isolation, of helplessness and hopelessness, but also the repudiation of it, the sharing of sorrow and comfort between two knowing, caring souls. Then in comes that note-perfect string break to relieve the fear. It is vulnerable and raw and yet resolute and polished. It is a testimony to strength in hard times, and it doesn't need to be romantic.

Anyway. I feel like it sums up the day pretty well for me.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Today's Jam: Mark Knopfler, "Boom, Like That"

Imagine being in a band. You've created some immensely popular songs and have a strong following and will go down in history as some of pop music's finest. But there's something missing. Even though you're the lead singer, guitarist and songwriter, you still don't feel like you're being heard, being permitted to make the music that truly matters to you. That's when you break away and begin a solo career. Write songs that are intensely personal and important, that you couldn't do with your old band because they wouldn't have understood, they would have straitjacketed you. Only now are you truly free to pursue these works of great importance, personal significance. Now the world will know the real you.

Anyway, here's a song written by Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits about Ray Kroc, the founder of McDonald's.