Did you improve on the design? Did you do something new?

Dear friends,

I heard this from the other end of the office. I was sure someone else had poached Chris Martin for another hook. Something not as gray-sky dull as the one with Jay-Z. I went over and sought it out, asked the owner to tell me what it was. Oh. So that's Lupe Fiasco. And that isn't Martin singing, but some guy named Matthew Santos. Huh. Gotcha. Me go listen.

Superstar is refreshingly free of bullshit. It's got a smile to it alright, Fiasco can't help but drop all those dry ha ha ha's at the end of his verses, but there's skepticism underneath that doesn't seem hardened. I get the feeling that the narrator is not naturally cynical. They are optimistic but still observant and smart. So discovering the worms underneath the rock isn't causing a major outward show of horror. There's fear, yes, but also calibration at work. How do I sort out my situation now? What does this make me? Where am I going when this all stops? Where will I be?

Superstar (Featuring Matthew Santos)/Lupe Fiasco (mp3) (MP3 removed at the request of the label)*

Superstar (Featuring Matthew Santos)/Lupe Fiasco (video)

I do love that hook. Upon closer listening Santos sounds more New Romantics than Coldplay, that's probably why it's a million times more potent.

Purchase Lupe Fiasco's The Cool by Lupe Fiasco on Amazon Digital.

Love, D

* Well, not really. The label in question did not contact me directly about removing this MP3 but made itself known through other, more exciting means. NB (captastic so you can follow it better) IF YOU ARE A LABEL REPRESENTATIVE AND YOU WOULD LIKE US TO TAKE DOWN AN MP3, PLEASE CONTACT US DIRECTLY AND WE WILL REMOVE IT. ALL MP3s ON THIS SITE ARE HERE FOR SAMPLING PURPOSES AND ALL POSTS INCLUDE LINKS TO PURCHASE THE ENTIRE ALBUM.

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Say you're leaving, say goodbye

Dear friends,

I've got a migraine that won't go away and a tiredness like a waterside suicide. I have no energy, all I can do in my off hours is sprawl on the couch and watch endless hours of bad TV*. It was there, watching Idol, that I caught One More Time being used in a car commercial. How fitting! I've been putting this song on car mixes since adolescence, it's all motion and strife. Perfect for rolled down windows and scream-alongs. The lead vocal by Joe Jackson is stylistic perfection. Yes, it's pop punk snarl but within all the hissed out melodic venom, there's this tender vulnerability. Note the way he sings the lines "Tell me one more time your tears are only sad confusion/Tell me it's just been so long and that is all" and the way the last words trail off, cast down and dejected. You can hear the pit in the stomach. The stone being kicked across the road.

One More Time/Joe Jackson (mp3)

Maybe Look Sharp! is too catchy and slick to merit inclusion in some people's cool lists. I disagree, it's got real heart beneath the pop sheen. Highly recommended.

Purchase Look Sharp! by Joe Jackson on Amazon Digital.

Love, D

* Notice I never mentioned this past season of ANTM? Because it was a JOKE. For an en pointe recap of the ridiculous finale, go HERE.

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If you were here would you calm me down or settle the score

Dear friends,

Imagine The Ghost of You Lingers by Spoon as a student art installation documenting a love affair. Layers of transparencies, one in front of the other, each with a different projection. The start of a relationship; the first time you knew that it was a yes and went for it, even though you wondered if this might be a bad idea. The first time you kissed or fought. The first time you traveled together. The first time they saw you ugly as sin and loved you anyway. Or didn't. So it reverses and the images become something else entirely. The last time you looked at their face as they slept and tried to burn that image into your memory. The final goodbye. The sudden encounter with a photograph years later. A reminder of yourself as you once were. The ghost could be you and what you knew would happen.

The Ghost of You Lingers/Spoon (mp3)

Purchase Ga Ga Ga by Spoon on Amazon Digital.

Love, D

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I'm not usually involved

Dear friends,

& Jury by Colin Newman is such a pop song. It throws me off a bit. That and the end; these fabulously sour guitar lines clashing with one another under the fade-out. I picture a man at a station saying a hurried goodbye to a friend. Somewhere along the way, their heartfelt exchange takes a bad turn. There are accusations and recriminations. One person boards, traveling slowly towards their car, the other walks alongside outside of the train. It doesn't matter that they can't hear them anymore, they're not done, so they keep shouting. Even as the train sputters and lurches forward, they run along the platform, lips moving, waving their arms in a kind of grotesque farewell.

& Jury/Colin Newman (mp3)

Purchase X-Y by Colin Newman on Amazon Digital.

Love, D

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It's doing me in

Dear friends,

Friend and Neon Lights alum Olga Bell, winsome leader of the band Bell, is featured today on the mighty Fluxblog and Pitchfork!

Olga Bell is photogenic, among other things.

That's a whole lotta links! Yes, it is. Definitely go listen to her lovely medley/cover of Videotape/The Eraser posted on da Fork, you won't regret it.

Love, D

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Telegraph cables, they sing down the highway

Dear friends,

I am a passenger. I ride and I ride. Well, when I can. I hold maps, I point fingers, I raise my voice. I shout LEFT! NO! RIGHT! RIGHT! I look out windows and pretend I am a golden retriever excitedly watching cars pass. I fiddle with the radio. I dole out snacks to the driver. I am a passenger because I can't drive. Which is a pity because I like to wander. Go to random towns, take in the sights, however small potatoes they may be. This past weekend J drove me to a series of Hudson-side towns in a rented car. Lemme tell you, it's WAY better to get lost when you have wheels.

This house is impressive. Sadly, Anderson Cooper does not live there.

In Poughkeepsie, J and I took in a movie and went to the local Chili's since it was the only place open that late on a Sunday. We drank margaritas and ate unhealthy food. It was snowing outside like crazy and I started daydreaming about how we should go further north, where there are white-outs and picture-windows. I'm not picky though, I'd take an autumn evening as well. I thought of this song.

Moonlight in Vermont/Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong (mp3)

I have nothing to say except that when Fitzgerald returns with that rising "Ee-ee-eeevening summer breeze, warbling of the meadowlark" it's sublime because in addition to being sung beautifully, it embodies the sound of romantic contentedness.

Purchase Ella and Louis by Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong on Amazon Digital.

Love, D

PS I'm currently working on an interminable piece about In Rainbows. If anyone wants to chat about it, or Radiohead in general, holla at me.

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Your name came up in conversation, then somebody started the count

Dear friends,

Because I love you, I want you to start the year off right. This is a song that sounds like waking up after blacking out and realizing that you feel a-okay despite the intake, a fact which is more terrifying than any hangover. The light's burning your eyes and the blank terror of what might've happened the night before is slowly settling into your gut. The stupid shit you said, the people you alienated, and how something needs to change NOW.

New Year's Day (Live) (feat. Ryan Adams)/Chuck Prophet (mp3)

I heard this song trolling for Ryan Adams live bootlegs. Chuck Prophet has a dry, husky sound to his voice. You can feel the stare that comes with such a voice; confrontational yet cool. It carries into his guitar solo. Listen to it here. It becomes the narrator. That solo gets all up in your face with frustrated, inarticulate rage but when it ends, it just trails off and walks away, leaving you feeling somewhat responsible for the sorry state he's in.

Purchase Homemade Blood by Chuck Prophet on Amazon Digital.

Befriend Chuck Prophet on My Space and check out his latest album Soap and Water.

Love, D

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