November was a jam-packed month. And December is surpassing the busyness. Well all is good here. This month by chance got invaded by upbeat songs from more recent times. Not much early blues and older-than-oldies that I sometimes get hung up on.

Versus – “Eskimo”
Think of the coolest musical catches and a spurt of 90s noise rock. This has some great backbone to it too with the on-the-verge electro drums. They are not popular enough to have a music video, so enjoy the free download.

Pras Michel feat. ODB & Mya – “Ghetto Supastar”
Mya has such a captivating melody and her delivery is exceptional. Sometimes the rap interjections are distracting other than main verses, but this song managed to get stuck in my head without complaints. No reason why Mya’s vox get plugged into remixes and mashups.

Alicia Keys – “No One”
She can sing this well live and I am impressed. If you are a radio junkie or just have some passing knowledge of pop music, you’ve been bombarded with this song. I love it despite my usually negative encounter to mainstream radio (I thought this song was mistakenly put on hip-hop radio after they surprisingly played the Temptations). It sounds just as great with a backup band. The beat is strong, but the digital-bubble keyboard is a bit on the cheesy side yet extremely functional. There is a old-school R&B vibe mixed with a contemporary crispness. I can listen to this with ease and I even remixed this song with the Walkmen (see previous posting for a listen/download). It’s becoming one of my favorite songs of the decade.

The Rolling Stones – “Happy”
These fellers have some good songs and a few tacky songs. This one’s a classic. A winner. It has spunk.

City and Colour – “Sleeping Sickness”
A perfect discovery per recommendation of a friend. A soft and intense artist and song. Unlike the admiration for the song, it tells that “…this misery will suffice.” A nice solo project by a band I never gave the time of day. Alexisonfire, in which one member comprises City and Colour, is described as post-hardcore/screamo. I am open to this style, but I can’t really handle the end delivery.

City and colour – “Waiting”
Sad but intriguing. Good composition with acoustic guitar and instrumental additions. “Hold your head up high […] We’re all just waiting to die.” Nice interlude. By the way City comes from the man’s name, Dallas, and Colour from his surname Green, Dallas Green.

Silkworm – “(I Hope You) Don’t Survive”
Think if the Pixies were a little sloppy “And ‘I love you’ means I hope you don’t survive the night.” The recording of this sounds 200 times better than this video and you can make out a female harmony that works like the Pixies do.

Uncle Tupelo – “No Sense in Lovin'”
Wilco came from country roots. The alt-country sounds of Uncle Tupelo can be comforting. This video is actually performed by early Wilco (so no Jay Farrar), but this was released under Uncle Tupelo’s best Anodyne, with this song being sung in both instances by Jeff Tweedy. This even looks early.

Pinback – “Manchuria”
I like when multiple notes are played as often as words are sung. Sounds like Modest Mouse squiggly sound with a guitar-meets-voice that Pinback is known for. Fresh composition here.

Rites Of Spring – “All There Is”
Cruddy recording. I am not that big of a fan of this band. From what I have heard of the band (an album) is a bit repetitive. This song stands out though. A hardcore punk sound as a precursor to the new emo.

Led Zeppelin – “Going To California”
The well-known band can get overplayed, but some songs are worth listening to. “Someone told me theres a girl out there with love in her eyes and flowers in her hair.” This is a pleasant relaxing song.

Estelle – “American Boy” ft. Kanye West
I have never payed much attention to Kanye’s stuff, but I decided to hear out his 808s album and wasn’t as impressed as some seem to be. I’m sure I’m not the only one who would like to hear him without super-robot key correction. He sounds wonderful here and it compliments Estelle like a charm. I hear the UK tinge that Corinne Bailey Rae has. It’s charming.

And I’m noticing that I am warming up (or at least introducing myself) to more hip-hop/RnB influenced female singers.

Damien Rice – “Delicate”
Good minimal orchestration of a precious number. Certainly delicate in its own right. I wish Rice had more songs in his repertoire, and matched this greatness.