No the title is not a metaphor. This song is about actual hypothermia and is based upon a particular sub zero temperature night in the mountains Fletcher Gull suffered through. It’s a subtly delirious pop song that’s not a million miles from The Flaming Lips with an undercurrent of anxious mania running through it. Infectious, and full of hallucinatory elation, “Hypothermia” makes the act of survival sound positively joyful.
Ric Ocasek was one of those people where if he was out in the street you couldn’t miss him. One day about a dozen years ago, my co-worker Dennis and myself were in Union Square Park on our lunch break from the music store where we worked, walking through the food stands and heard a couple of woman shouting. “Ric ! Hey Ric !” We turned and saw Ric Ocasek meandering through the moderately crowded path between the stands. The women were giggling and prodding each other, trying desperately to get his attention but he didn’t acknowledge them. They appeared to be a couple of suburban ladies who couldn’t believe their luck ( Hey, I can say that because I’m one of those technically), here he was, the man who soundtracked their school years in the flesh.
Dennis and I were embarrassed on his behalf, I mean he was just peacefully cruising through his neighborhood, not looking for attention. But I understood and appreciated their excitement even though we’d seen him around before. It was Ric of The Cars. Ric who wrote Just What I Needed, Let’s Go, You’re All I’ve Got Tonight and Drive. Ric from MTV and Creem Magazine. And so yeah, they couldn’t help themselves. You couldn’t really blame them for getting excited.
Ric was one of a kind in every way. He and the Cars made perfect weird and wonderful pop music that will endure as long as the earth is turning. He also actively mentored, coaxed, and nurtured new bands. As I write this, The Cars Complete Greatest Hits album is # 1 on iTunes. No matter what you might feel about people predictably jumping on the posthumous bandwagon, the fact that these songs are still getting love and that maybe a younger generation are discovering them for the first time is really kind of beautiful and awesome.
Okay, no way to transition neatly from that. Let’s just say here is some wonderful new music by some artists you may not know of yet but who hopefully will make your day feel better. Welcome to the latest Weekly New Wonders Playlist. Heartbeat City, here we come…
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I had this poster of Boy George up in my bedroom as teen (not the physical one depicted, that was lost ages ago but same image). I truly, truly loved him. I kept a freakin’ scrapbook. Bought 2 copies of every magazine he was in so I could cut one up for scrapbook inclusion. Alas, I was totally embarrassed by my infatuation with George, worried people would think it was “weird”. And so I fell into the self-hating routine of hiding my giant poster. Basically if anyone was coming over and there was potential of them seeing my room, I would pre-emptively take it down and temporarily replace it with something more “respectable” like Adam Ant or f-ing Sylvester Stallone in his green tank top. When they left I would put it back up. Sad right, that I was worried what people would think. I was ultimately “cured” once I saw Culture Club actually perform at the Pier in NYC and found myself surrounded by hundreds of freaky George loving anglophiles like me who while they also loved George passionately didn’t appear remotely ashamed ( yes, it was a real life version of Bee Girl in the Blind Melon video). While I wasn’t completely healed of my insecurity, I did cave considerably that night and bought a garish Culture Club tee shirt which I subsequently wore in public. Baby steps. Anyway, a trillion years have gone by since then and at this stage I can honestly say I feel no shame admitting I’d rather listen to Culture Club than Tom Waits or Leonard Cohen. It’s not even close.”Church of the Poison Mind”? Turn that shit up.
Speaking of transcendently beautiful pop music, here is the latest WEEKLY NEW WONDERS PLAYLIST, featuring the best new music from recent days. We hope something here will melt your heart and take you there .
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“When I’m With You (I Feel Love)” is a dizzy, lo-fi, otherworldly collage of a pop song that exudes love from it’s every corner. It’s chorus is plush, emotional and euphoric enough to be the centerpiece in a hymn book of a benevolent religious cult. Nancy describes it as “my love letter to the people I meet in my dreams at night” which is to say mission accomplished, perfectly.
This song is huge. Joseph’s “Green Eyes” is a widescreen Wall of Sound, classic girl group stadium anthem. I swear that is not an oxymoron. On the one hand, it’s as desperate and grandiose as a typically perfect Shangri-La’s, Crystals or Ronettes song and features all the same blessed touchstones including pride swallowing, irrational waiting and cliffsides. On the other, it’s a gigantic, audience singing in unison, arms swaying, lighters in the air stadium ballad. Empowering glorious despair done to perfection.
I was in Cape Canaveral, Florida last week and that pic above is what things were looking like then, calm and serene. My family lives there these days and frankly the impending hurricane, Dorian, has been ever present in my mind and causing a lot of worry. Of course there’s been a lot of bad news on the planet over the past few days beyond that, so much that it can feel like there is no reason to be joyful or celebratory…but yes, we’ve got this music stuff. And these songs, well, they’re just here and that’s enough. And with that here’s the best new music of recent days otherwise known as the WEEKLY NEW WONDERS PLAYLIST.
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AND there have been several pretty fine albums kicked out over the past week especially those by Orchin , Kris Kelly, and Shura. I’ve attached links below so please check them out, as they are all in possession of beautiful things. Here are the links, dig in ! :
Alex Bloom’s “Cigarette” is an absolutely insidious earworm that had it existed in 1995 would have played in a non-stop loop on MTV. It sounds like the wayward child of Alice in Chains ‘Heaven Beside You” and Local H’s “Bound For The Floor” and both verse and chorus are criminally infectious. It’s all kinds of wonderful. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
“Much Like My Father” is gloriously, unapologetically over the top. Basically between Caroline Brooks aka BELLSAINT’s scenery chewing voice and the pointed lyrics, this thing is a total emotional trigger. It will remind you of what your therapist told you a while back that not only never occurred to you but that you didn’t want to acknowledge or admit. It possesses more pathos then 1000 Celine Dion songs put together and sounds like a lost track from one of the classic collaborative albums by This Mortal Coil. Epic and regal sadness.