Five for Friday – The Aural Ecstasy Edition

hunting my dress Editor’s Note: I’m so excited to introduce this week’s Five for Friday! It was submitted by one of Women at Forty’s newest fans. I recently met Minka at a local blogging event and was immediately drawn to her energy and style. Imagine how geekly (yeah I said it) happy I was to find out that she was a woman at forty herself! WAF are doing great things and Minka’s one more example. She’s an accomplished career woman, avid traveler and the creator of Aural Notes, a website for lovers of eclectic music. This week she’s sharing five faves that put her in aural ecstasy…

Music is such an integral part of my life that I have a soundtrack for virtually everything that I do. A certain lyric or chord can touch us in ways that aren’t easily explained.  Here is a list of five songs that have touched me in various ways recently.  (Photo: “Murder of Birds” – Jesca Hoop)

1. “Little Girl” – Danger Mouse & Sparklehorse.  From the CD Dark Night of the Soul.  (available on Capitol Records) “Little Girl” is one of those songs that gets better and better with each listen.  The underlying track is a bit haunting and quite infectious, which is enhanced by the brooding vocals of Julian Casablancas. (of The Strokes)  The brainchild of producer Danger Mouse and late singer/songwriter Mark Linkous (Sparklehorse), “Little Girl” is a melodious, indie rock jewel, that isn’t at all predictable and well worth four and a half minutes of time. Grab the iTunes download here.

2. “Bittersweet”Fantasia.  From the CD Back to Me.  (available on J Records) Although her upcoming CD will be released in a couple of weeks, American Idol winner Fantasia’s latest single “Bittersweet” has been getting fairly steady airplay this summer.  This song just works because the lyrics are relatable (who hasn’t experienced love gone wrong) and Fantasia uses the instrument that is her voice to convey the hurt and emotion of the lyrics.  And what a voice she has.  This  will no doubt be a very popular song for the balance of the summer. Grab the iTunes download here.

3. “Your Easy Lovin’ Ain’t Pleasin’ Nothin’”Mayer Hawthorne. From the CD A Strange Arrangement. (available on Stones Throw Records) I love listening to Mayer Hawthorne.  His music always makes me smile, which is odd given that his songs are generally about lost, challenging, or unrequited love of some sort.  A lot of this musical goodness has to do with the arrangement (no pun intended…see CD title) of his music.  It is clear that he has been heavily influenced by the old 60s Motown sound.  Although the CD was released in 2009, I continue to discover subtle nuances that endear the songs to me even more.  This month, it just happens to be “Your Easy Lovin’ Ain’t Pleasin’ Nothin’”.  It is upbeat, catchy, with uncomplicated lyrics, and the execution of this song is masterfully done.  You won’t tire of this song. Grab the iTunes download here.

4. “Murder of Birds”Jesca Hoop.  From the CD Hunting My Dress. (available on Vanguard Records). I discovered “Murder of Birds” several weeks ago as I was exploring Jesca Hoop’s latest CD. (released on July 27)  I was left speechless when I first heard this song.  I listen to it constantly and manage to get chills with each listen.  This is one of the most beautiful songs I’ve ever heard.  On this song, Jesca’s voice is simply angelic, a great cross between Kate Bush and St. Vincent.  She duets with Guy Garvey (from Elbow), whose deep, soft voice is the perfect accompaniment to Jesca.  The lyrics are chilling yet poignant, and nothing short of brilliant.  Grab the iTunes download here.

5. “Faster” – Janelle Monae.  From the CD The ArchAndroid.  (available on Bad Boy Entertainment). I’ve been a fan of Janelle’s work for many years now and I’m excited that others are beginning to take note with the release of The ArchAndroid. (her first release on P. Diddy’s label, Bad Boy Entertainment) .  “Faster” is a prime example for why I really enjoy Janelle Monae as an artist.  She has such a beautiful voice…velvety vocals on top of a deep groove that builds to such a frenetic level that the pace of the song supports the content of the lyrics.  When I listen, my heart starts beating fast, as if I’m the one running faster and faster.  Her releases (Metropolis, and now, The ArchAndroid) are developed as suites, so while each song can, and does, stand alone, to fully appreciate the magnificence of Janelle Monae’s work, I suggested listening to the entire CD. Grab the iTunes download here.

Happy listening!

Aural Notes is all about the music.  Highlighting a plethora of great music, across genres and styles, Aural Notes is for lovers of eclectic music. Stay on top of the eclectic music scene by becoming a Fan on Facebook and following Aural Notes on Twitter.

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