February 29, 2008 A sense of bittersweet resignation envelops The Everybodyfields' "Lonely Anywhere" like a fog, but the song is no mere downer. The song builds at a pace that seems almost glacial, until it swells into an affecting rumination on the ways a bad relationship is worse than no relationship at all.
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February 25, 2008 When Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova recorded the songs that would fill the soundtrack for the film Once, few expected that they'd find a wide audience. Now an unlikely Oscar-winner, "Falling Slowly" is a star-making showcase for Hansard and Irglova's bittersweet, beautiful music.
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February 12, 2008 These five songs are for those wishing to wallow in Valentine's Day's sheer, soul-wrecking brutality. Each has been carefully selected to provide a vivid soundtrack for those moments when alcohol isn't even necessary, so drunk is the listener on his or her own misery.
January 15, 2008 In "Serpentine," it takes about 40 seconds for Chris Bathgate to introduce himself as a skilled purveyor of lovely gloom. Throughout the song, a variety of handsome instrumental window dressing obscures a sad rumination on estrangement.
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December 24, 2007 Each obsessive music fan views the obligatory year-end Top 10 list differently, but best-ofs tend to be most effective when the selections are purely a matter of personal taste — "favorites" rather than "best." Here are Song of the Day editor Stephen Thompson's picks.
December 13, 2007 The week of Thanksgiving, NPR Music producer Stephen Thompson completed a daunting task: He listened to nothing but new holiday CDs for an entire 18-hour drive. The trip yielded prizes and punishments, and even a minor Christmas miracle.
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November 30, 2007 Great holiday music comes in many genres. But these five soft, pop-tinged selections hang together just right, making up a wintry mix of songs that, when heard collectively, simulate a soothing bath in a tub of warm cocoa.
November 29, 2007 The Avett Brothers' reputation has been staked on its unhinged live shows, which mix a rock band's power with the frenetic speed of bluegrass. But the North Carolina trio's best songs, like "The Weight of Lies," are nuanced and incisive, showcasing uncommon wisdom.
November 23, 2007 Like so many great songs about complex issues, Linda Thompson's cover of Tom Waits' "Day After Tomorrow" views the ethics and impact of war on the smallest possible scale, functioning entirely from the perspective of a disillusioned soldier preparing to return home.
November 19, 2007 In "Swing (Parts 1 & 2)," guitarist Mick Turner plucks out a simple, dreamy hook as a violin radiates unease. Meanwhile, drummer Jim White helps ratchet up the tension over the course of several eerie minutes. As a solo act, Turner expertly emulates his band, Dirty Three.
November 12, 2007 In "Elusive," Matthews strips down to the essentials of his songwriting: a dusky croon, gently strummed guitar strings, a hypnotic melody. Opening with a beleaguered sigh and getting only incrementally more cheerful from there, "Elusive" is a study in dreamy beauty.
October 31, 2007 Pumpkins are on doorsteps. Movie screens are aglow with zombies and torture devices. Virtually every show on television has a Halloween theme. For one last day, Halloween is everywhere. But where's the Halloween music?
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October 23, 2007 From its name to its stripped-down acoustic Americana, the L.A.-based duo Chris & Thomas revels in straightforward simplicity. But make no mistake: There's nothing easy about writing songs as purely infectious as "Take These Thoughts."
October 10, 2007 Fionn Regan's "Put a Penny in the Slot" has to be one of the most shyly nonchalant songs ever written from the perspective of a clinging ex-lover. Along the way, he casually slips in his underlying meaning: "I can't help from crying / I wish you were mine."
October 4, 2007 For a band prone to sad confessionals, Rilo Kiley sounds downright gleeful on "Breakin' Up." Granted, it's a kiss-off song that practically fetishizes rationalization. But there's something uplifting about hearing singer Jenny Lewis "wash the blues away," for once.
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