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List Addicts Fridays: MJ goes Indie and so do Elvis, The Beatles, Sting and U2

by Cris


alone.gifBefore anything else, I’d like to apologize for not posting any recent Fresh from the Post artists this month – I have a couple of tracks from really great new artists just sitting on standby, but I haven’t gotten to setting these posts up yet. Time hasn’t been my ally as of late, but I do promise to empty out my queue this month.

Now for this weeks list..

As I try to be one with the times in my post, I have a somewhat relevant list in a sense that it celebrates the all-time greats in the pop music world – which includes today’s news headline topping artist, the late Michael Jackson.

My five songs for this week answer one question: What would Michael Jackson, Elvis, The Beatles, Sting and U2 sound like if they went ‘indie’? To answer that, here’s a couple of songs that have been heavily influenced by these über-popular artists but have chosen to be left of center.

1. Move Your Feet by Junior Senior

This actually topped the dance charts way back in 2003 and is a song from this fun loving Danish duo Junior Senior. Released under indie label Crunchy Frog Records, the song gained popularity being included in Hollywood movies like White Chicks and Forgetting Sarah Marshall. It was also included in the PS2 game, Dance Dance Revolution Extreme. Unfortunately, before they could score a hit with another rockin’ song, the group disbanded. I would beg to disagree that they are one hit wonders since I absolutely love their songs post ‘Move Your Feet’. Though to be honest, despite how good their other songs are – ‘Move Your Feet’ is a special one that can’t be topped. And why is that? It’s because of that one recurring bit in the song that sounds just like a sample taken from a Thriller era Michael Jackson song. Now before you start recalling what MJ song it is, despite of how it sounds so much like a Michael Jackson song, it’s actually not a Michael Jackson song. The vocals are from the group’s own producer, Thomas Troelsen. Troelsen, a famous Danish singer, is also known for creating his own Jackson influenced songs via his band – Private. If you’re curious to know how much he sounds like the King of Pop, you can check out the video for Private’s single ‘Crucify My Heart‘ . It will also satisfy your curiosity if you’re one who’s ever wanted to know what Severus Snape would look like if he sang for a pop band.

Move Your Feet

Move Your Feet is infectiously happy and the type of song you’ll love at first listen. It’s also been on my car CD player for a week now, as my son’s choice song of the moment to play until your ears bleed.

2. Stardust by Irene

The King of Pop has a lot more in common with the King of Rock n’ Roll now – not by virtue of cause of death, but by virtue of them both being on my Friday’s list. 😉

Elvis never sounded so good, indie-style, with Irene’s Stardust. A short song, that you wish could’ve gone on a bit longer – this Swedish band accents their minute long song about a love that was over before it even started, with the trademark Elvis ‘uh-huh huh‘. Leave it to Swedish indie-pop bands to make sounding like Elvis ever so cute. Stardust is twee – with a sprinkle of fanfare, retro-stylings and Elvis sounding vocals, it equals to a cutesy twee classic.

3. Flesh and Bone by Brendan Benson

What is it in the water in Lake Michigan that makes such great acoustic guitar playing artists? When not busy with The Racounteurs, Michigan raised and Nashville based Brendan Benson does his own solo stuff . Flesh and Bone comes from his Alternative to Love album, an album chock-full of songs that show Brendan unabashedly wearing his influences on his sleeve. This song in particular sounds a lot like The Beatles, only, the Beatles would usually complete their songs and not leave it sounding like it was left hanging in the air at the end (if you listen to the full album it sort of blends over to the next song – sort of). In any case, Flesh and Bone is just a sampler of what Brendan has in store. Though Flesh and Bone is quite Beatlesque, his album isn’t actually Beatles all around – there’s a bit of The Cars and Elvis Costello right there too – and somehow, you also get a feel for listening to a bit of Matthew Sweet after. Now where’s my copy of Sick of Myself?

4. Noticed by MuteMath

This should have been a hit. It boggles me as to why this single never reached the charts.
If you haven’t noticed – Noticed, is actually a very Sting influenced song. Actually, more like The Police. It isn’t just because Paul Meany sounds just like Sting, but the drumming is also reminiscent of Stewart Copeland’s hi-hat heavy, syncopated beats. Maybe if they made it sound a bit more reggae on the guitars, you’d definitely hear the The Police in there.

Noticed is one of my favorite songs to brood with. I’ve always wanted to have reason to post it up on the site in one of my lists, and I’m quite happy that I finally got to it – it was kind of hard thinking of a list of obscure songs that perfectly captures that a-ha moment when you finally realize that you’re in love after you’ve been thick-headed-ly denying it. (There’s probably tons out there, I just haven’t been listening to them – suggestions are most welcome).

5. Sweet Disposition – The Temper Trap

This one is my U2 indie song. I know, I know, I could’ve chosen a more obvious sounding U2 song, like maybe a song from Remy Zero. But where’s the fun and indie-ness in that? Besides, this one is one beautiful song! I also have it on regular rotation in my playlist so I definitely needed share it –  if I listen to a song more than 6 times a day, everyone should hear it.

Sweet Disposition is like listening to U2, only Bono got replaced with the lead vocalist from Bronski Beat. The falsetto actually works quite well with the song, as it adds to the emotional build up of the background guitars. Also, the one bit that make it all the more appealing to me, is that it’s on the trailer of 500 Days of Summer – a film I’m looking forward to seeing (it’s Zooey and Joey, and a love story that’s not a love story – what’s not to like?).

So, that is my list for the week. I could have gone on to make a top 5 favorite Wacko Jacko songs list, but I figure everyone’s sick and tired of that already. However, as a tribute to the late great MJ, I will be wearing ankle revealing trousers for the rest of the week (a.k.a. ladies capri pants).

artwork: a Threadless tee design by Wenceslao Almazan