Monday, March 10, 2008

Mixtape Monday:
Songs Marching Two by Two

I spend a lot of time thinking about the meaning behind song titles. Sometimes they don't seem to mean anything, or at least not anything I can discern. Of course, other times a song title can cue us into the song's major topic, or if we're lucky, themes. Knowing this, I thought it would be interesting to look at songs that have the same titles. Would their content or themes coincide? I found some surprising results. Even more surprising: out of all these songs, there's not a stinker among the bunch.

Hell, I thought about putting "Rain King" by Sonic Youth and Counting Crows on here, or "Creep" by Radiohead and Stone Temple Pilots and TLC, but that would just be cruel.

So here are songs marching two by two... toward greatness.

“All I Need”
Air – Moon Safari (1998)
Radiohead – In Rainbows (2007)

I love this pairing, both musically and thematically. What do they need, after all? Thom says he’s “a moth who just wants to share your light.” Meanwhile, Air’s guest singer Beth Hirsch says all she needs is “to get behind the sun and cast my weight.”


Galaxie 500 – On Fire (1989)
Built to Spill – Ancient Melodies of the Future (2001)

BTS' Doug Martsch sings, “This strange plan is random at best.” By the end of the song he admits, “It’s strange but not all that strange.” In an alternative universe more than a decade ago Galaxie 500’s Dean Wareham wails, “Why’s everybody actin’ funny? Why’s everybody look so strange?” What’s a fellow to do? He stood in line, and ate his Twinkie.

“She’s the One”
Caribou – Andorra (2007)
The Beta Band – The Three E.P.s (1997)

I like this pairing quite a bit. The Caribou track is one of my favorites off this album. As for The Beta Band, The Three E.P.s is every bit as good as John Cusack would have you believe.

“Paper Tiger”

Spoon – Kill the Moonlight (2002)
Beck – Sea Change (2002)

2002 was a fantastic year for music, and for tracks named “Paper Tiger.” For anyone who doesn’t know, a paper tiger is “a person, group, nation, or thing that has the appearance of strength or power but is actually weak or ineffectual.” Thankfully neither of these songs are weak or ineffectual. The Beck song in particular has always blown me away.

Cyann & Ben – Sweet Beliefs (2006)
Doves – The Last Broadcast (2002)

This is perhaps the most homogenous pairing here, and so far, the most rockin’. We’ve got your shoegazers right here, folks.

The Rapture – Echoes (2003)
Talking Heads – Fear of Music (1979)

These two songs couldn’t be more different. But for some reason, I rather like them together. The Rapture tells us, “If you focus very hard, the train will come for you at last,” while a countdown leads us to seven, God’s “number.” But maybe we shouldn’t worry about getting to heaven at all, David Byrne suggests. He puts it best when he says, “Heaven is a place where nothing ever happens.”


Hackworth Artifex said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hackworth Artifex said...

There's Air again, following me around!

That's a well-researched list. I don't think Creep would have been cruel to do, considering alternatives like "Slide" by the Goo Goo Dolls (a guilty pleasure) and Everclear (not a pleasure).

Joshwa said...

yaknow.. if you use seeqpod you can embed entire songs.