I love this song although the video makes me mad. Our adorable hero is treated like garbage by her dirtbag boyfriend. Why’s he gotta be so mean?
Sam he doesn’t like me so much
Says I’m just okay
He doesn’t actually know what I’m like
He just knows my face.
Naomi Alligator, the nom de guerre of Virginia songwriter Corrinne James, impressed us last year with the Concession Stand Girl EP. She began writing her new album while living in Philadelphia during the height of the pandemic and the deterioration of a long-term relationship. She’s since moved to California.
Directed by Sports Team. Single out now on Carpark Records.
Woo hoo, the Beths are back with another batch of New Zealand power pop with all the hooks and harmonies we’ve come to expect.
Liz Stokes says the song is “a kind of anxiety dream. It’s a bit muddled, a bit frantic, a bit sinister. It’s what came out of my guitar in late 2020, post NZ election (and US election). I was limply reaching for optimism about the future, but was really just marinating in dread.”
I think we’ve got our new motto: Limply reaching for optimism, marinating in dread.
Another adorable folkie ballad from Naomi Alligator.
Come to me you’re always finding ways to fall asleep
While I am wide awake
Maybe you will keep me on a cloud where you could blow advice
In the front of my face
But then you’ll get a bird’s eye view
Of all the lovers that you once you knew
Yes all the lovers that I hate
Maybe I should go to sleep with you instead of thinking of them
When it’s so late.
Heavy sentiment but delivered with a light touch.
“I made this video on a rainy summer day,” says Corrinne James. “It serves as a farewell letter to my life in Virginia. A week after I finished shooting the video, I moved to California. While I was editing and looking back on clips to include, I kept returning to the funny and loving moments I captured of my family before I left.”
Well this is about as adorable as it gets. A voice and a banjo and lyrics about a pregnant kid at a football game. Wow. Who is this Naomi Alligator?
Turns out she’s a songwriter from Virginia named Corrinne James who’s been uploading her self-recorded releases to Bandcamp for five years. And now she’s signed to Carpark.
Inspired by Liz Phair’s Girly Sounds recordings, James decided to create her own music. “I was nervous to show it to other people because I was just scared about what they might think, but eventually I started sharing it with friends in college and they would share it with more people.”
Just like Girly Sounds! Very cool. I might have to dip into her Bandcamp archive. There’s a lot there!
Not as immediately catchy as the singles from 2018’a Future Me Hates Me, the latest from the New Zealand’s finest takes a while to sink in. The hooks are more subtle, but they’re in there.
I’ve never been the dramatic type
But if I don’t see your face tonight
I… well I guess I’ll be fine
I’m still regretting not going to see the Beths when they played a tiny venue in my town last year. Can’t remember what my lame excuse was for not going, but I can guarantee it was stupid. It sure would be fun to see a show at a club, wouldn’t it?
Don’t you wish you lived in New Zealand right now, where they have effectively beat this fucking coronavirus? I do. Apparently, I’m not alone: 80,000 Americans expressed interest in relocating in May. I guess “I’m moving to New Zealand” is the new “I’m moving to Canada.”
At least maybe then we would get to hang out with the Beths.
This is not a cover of the 1983 Billy Joel classic off An Innocent Man, but that’s okay. The Beths have released almost as many singles from their album Future Me Hates Me as old BJ released from his. And while the Beths haven’t managed to dent the mainstream pop charts yet, it would be hard to argue that it’s any fault of their songcraft.
I will go out tonight
I’m gonna drink the whole town dry
Put poison in my wine
And hope that you’re the one who dies
Elizabeth Stokes told Under the Radar that “Uptown Girl” is “basically about self-destructive behavior, when you’re angry at someone or you feel like somebody’s wronged you and your mode of revenge is to fuck yourself up. It’s very flawed logic but it seems to make sense at the time. It’s kinda that, it’s what that song is about. At the time all of my friend’s were going through weird shit so it was also building on their experiences as well.”
If there was justice in the world, Stokes would already be getting tired of her high class toys and all her presents from her uptown boys.
“Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” is, of course, the saddest Christmas song ever. Which is why it’s one of the best. The lyrics promise that our troubles will be out of sight, but the melody tells the truth: our troubles are here to stay, next year and forever after.
The song was originally sung by Judy Garland and nobody can conjure false optimism better. Frank Sinatra recorded his version in a state of near suicidal depression in the midst of his breakup with Ava Gardner, but the lyrics were still too sad for him. He asked the songwriters to change the line “until then, we’ll have to muddle through somehow” and they came up with “hang a shining star upon the highest bough.”
Sixty years later the Beths have recorded a version that perfectly captures this doomed attempt at jolliness. And their video nails it as well. Puppet videos rarely evoke this much emotional connection. I’m not going to spoil the ending but you should watch it.