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Five Songs For The Week, October 24th 2018

Rayland Baxter – ‘Casanova’: He is another radio discovery, and the song comes from his album ‘Wide Awake’ released this summer. I knew nothing about him, and despite his alt-country/Americana label, this pop song seems to have very little to do with country music. It’s a very catchy one, a bit Beatles-influenced in this power-chord chorus, but the most interesting part is this laid-back tempo that starts the song with the confessional lines: ‘Money, all I ever want is money/But I never wanna work for the money/So I bought a round of money from a woman’. The song has the slow assurance of an instant classic, a bit like an old Kinks song. Of course, talent often runs in families and Rayland’s father is Bucky Baxter, a multi-instrumentalist who has worked with Bob Dylan, Steve Earle, and R.E.M.

Mark Knopfler – ‘Good On You Son’: I have always loved Dire Straits, and back in the days, I admired Mark Knopfler’s low profile and great musicianship… ‘Brothers in Arms’ was basically the soundtrack of my life in the mid-‘80s. Mark Knopfler has released a solo album this year, and the single ‘Good On You Son’ has more sonic twists than most of the songs you will be able to listen: it has a funky rhythm habited by that very distinct signature guitar sound, plus a catchy chorus, plenty of percussions and a jazzy saxophone solo transforming the song into a retro hot dancefloor. It’s one for the road as Dire Straits songs have always sounded like good road-trip songs.

Brandi Carlile – ‘Sugartooth’: Once again, I was not familiar with this artist but this song caught my attention. It’s a track from her last album ‘By the Way, I Forgive You’ produced by Dave Cobb and Shooter Jennings and if it’s a country song, it’s done with the fervor of gospel and an uplifting poignancy. Even when you don’t pay attention to the lyrics, you feel the great emotional drama slowly swelling in the song, but this will break your heart, even more, when you know the song is about a friend’s suicide.

Paul McCartney – ‘Caesar Rock’: It’s difficult to realize that we have the chance to get new Paul McCartney material in 2018, as the man has been writing songs for something like 6 decades! This is a song from the new ‘Egypt Station’ album, and it’s quite a surprising piece. I just like it because Paul seems to have a lot of fun there, with an aggressive but playful arena-rock number going all funky dancefloor. It looks like Macca is trying new things if it’s possible to imagine… as if he hadn’t tried everything already?

Alex Cameron – ‘Candy May’: One of my favorite songs by my number two Australian singer-songwriter (you may know who the first one is…). I saw him recently and he introduced the tune as a love song, although it’s never that simple with Cameron: ‘And she is crying out “You f’n lonely man”/”You worthless piece of shit”…’So I live with a deep regret/Of all I do on the internet’ … There’s so much gut-wrenching drama, so much longing in a 4-minutes piece which adopts a dark hooky groove, performed with the swagger of a timeless crooner under city lights and a ’80s-club saxophone.


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